In my defense, Hallie has never choked while eating. Not once (except while drinking, but what can you do? Like mother, like daughter I guess). AND she has sixteen teeth, with which she is usually extremely good at chewing, I make sure because when she does it she tends to put way too much food in her mouth.
I wasn't hungry when she wanted lunch today, so I sat her down with her little plate of food and she began happily munching away. My attention drifted, and I was completely distracted, thinking about, of all things, the papers on our refrigerator. All of a sudden she made a noise that will remain, for the entirety of my existence, as one of the scariest sounds I'll ever hear. My heart stopped, I turned to look at her, and she had this panicked look on her face.
I said, stupidly, "Are you breathing?" Although, again, in my defense, I have been caught many times thinking she was choking when really she was just, say, pooping. So I'm a little skeptical of my own instincts now. She started turning a little red and I was trying to get my heart pumping again so I could move my arms to get her out of her high chair and figure out how to remove the food that was blocking her airways when all of a sudden I heard this strained intake of breath. Then she exhaled and began to look more relaxed, so I tried to relax. "You're ok?" I said. She just stared at me like "what's goin' on mom?"
Without even realizing that I was doing it I dropped my head, and closed my eyes and began one of the most jumbled, albeit heartfelt, prayers I've probably ever prayed. I couldn't seem to decide if I should focus on repenting for not being a more observant and careful mom, or gratitude that my little girl was just fine and that I had not been called upon to use my rusty skills in first aid.
Phew. She's sleeping now, and I will try to curb the impulse to check on her every ten minutes like I did when she was a newborn. All is well.