Do you ever know in advance just exactly what Complexes (Complices?) you are going to give your children? Like, are you a neat freak and you just know you are going to breed children who cannot go to sleep if their stuffed animals are out of place? Or maybe you are super stranger-danger-phobic, and you have instilled in your children a deep fear of all people, and they will assume that every person they pass is going to accost and torture and murder them? Perhaps you are afraid of sheep and your children scream every time they hear "Mary Had a Little Lamb." You get my point.
Well, I already know what my kids' neuroses will be. HAH! You think I'm going to say germs! Well that goes without saying. I plan to raise tiny tiny robots who use Clorox Wipes as toilet paper and who take bleach baths and who drink shots of Purell thrice daily. Bygones.
However, my other deepest darkest secret is that I am a choke-phobe. I am terrified that my kids will choke. And I know I'm instilling this fear in them. I must say at least 40 times a day, "Stop talking while you eat you'll choke." "Do not laugh and eat, you'll choke." "Please take super little careful bites, I don't want you to choke." "Tiny bites! I SAID TINY BITES!" "Stop doing weird inhaley things while you eat your sandwich, you'll choke." "We do not sing whilst we eat." "QUIT LAUGHING." "STOP FUCKING AROUND WHILE YOU'RE HAVING LUNCH, YOU'LL CHOKE GODDAMMIT." (That's only on a bad day.)
I just know my children are going to grow up thinking that they'll die of sandwich-asphyxiation or carrot-hack. I am just waiting for the day when I walk in on Maya playing with her dolls, and hearing her admonish them, "Take tiny bites of cake, Runchel,* I don't want you to gruesomely die right before my very eyes. RUNCHEL YOU COULD CHOKE!!111122!@"
*Runchel is the name she invented for her very favorite dollbaby.
Anyway. I don't know how to fix this situation. I don't know how to find a happy medium. As it is with so many other things in my life.
How do you ever let your kid gnaw on a raw carrot? How do you ever give them a whole apple without slicing it tissue-thin? How do you let them eat the shit out of a hotdog without dicing it into microscopic pieces? Godsakes how do you let them eat innocuous things like cereal and not tell them, "Fucking quit fucking laughing with your baby sister right fucking now, you'll both fucking DIE!!"
Above all else, how do you let them eat OMG whole grapes?! When is the day you decide, "OK, now my child is ready to shovel perfectly sized choking hazards down her gullet"?
When I was 19, I choked on a bite of salad. CHOKED-choked, not just sort of got it halfway down the wrong pipe. I was with a friend and I was just about to laugh, and I inhaled, and *thwap* a piece of lettuce completely sealed off my airway. With an audible thunk. I stood up, flailing, unable to even cough. Eventually I managed to push out the last remaining air I had in my lungs and barely dislodge the lettuce, enough to gasp and wheeze and let air whistle & screech through my windpipe. I coughed and coughed for like an hour, trying to fix things. Through the grace of God I am here to tell you this tale.
Yesterday I choked on a minuscule piece of ground beef. A crumb, really. Like, choked quite badly. Thought, "What if I sit here and die right in front of my two children because I can't get any air in or out?" Finally managed to get my lungs to cooperate and un-seize so I could cough.
So I know that choking can happen at any age, with any food. It's a lifelong hazard. But I am just terrified it will happen to my kids.
How do you get over something like this? Or, how do you just accept the fact that you are creating mini-paranoiacs?