Slopsville – Our Baby Weaning Diary. Week Four.



In Catherine Newman’s gorgeous book Waiting for Birdy (if you haven’t read it, get hold of a copy as soon as you feasibly can, seriously), she describes an occasion when her young son, Ben, choked on a “Lifesaver” (that’s a Polo to us Brits). She writes that Ben was less worried about choking and more that his mother would never give him a Lifesaver again. “Indeed,” she says, “I never will.” Slopsville Joe

I was the same the first time I gave my eldest son, Harry, an apple. Even though he was quite old and the apple was chopped into teeny pieces, he still choked. And he’d been enjoying it so much that, even as he was choking, he was opening his mouth and reaching for more apple. “Not likely, buddy,” I thought after the partialy digested apple had shot out of his mouth and across the room. “You can eat apple when you’re living under your own roof, not mine.”

But somehow, with Joe, I’d managed to forget about the risks of choking. That is until a recent chat with my health visitor who said the following: “It’s different with a second child. One day, your older son WILL give Joe something and he WILL choke and this is what you do…” As she mimed putting a baby over her knee and patting between its shoulder-blades, I sat wide-eyed and terrified. He WILL choke. Not that he might or he could, but he WILL. I felt like we’d been cursed.

So when Organix sent over some second stage food (with lumpy bits!) and finger foods (solids that are actually, you know, solid!), I laughed hollowly and shoved them to the back of the cupboard. A couple of weeks went by and I realised that I’d have to give Joe something solid eventually or, you know, social services might have to get involved.

Because Joe is Joe, I thought he’d appreciate a biscuit. So, primed for disaster, I gave him an Organix rusk type biscuit, holding it so that only about half a centimetre could actually go in his mouth. He grabbed it with both hands and shoved it in whole. I yanked it out. This went on for a while. David got the camera and filmed. After about ten minutes, my hands, Joe’s face (and hands… and clothes) and the sofa were covered in mushed up, soggy, biscuit. And Joe was beaming. And, more importantly, still alive.

Next I tried him with a rice cake. The first one went down well. I would bet good money that never in the history of food has a rice cake been eaten with such expressions of joy. But the next time I offered him one, it seemed he’d had time to reflect and had come to the same realisation as the rest of us: rice cakes taste of nothing. He wouldn’t even try it.

I realise this is quite a long column so I’ll have to continue ‘adventures in choking’ next week, but I want to say just one more thing before I go. It seems that the body is designed to actually prevent one from choking. To death, I mean. Well, as best it can. Because on the few occasions that Joe has actually suddenly stopped chewing and gone a bit red and wide-eyed, in the time it’s taken me to think, “Oh my god! He’s choking!” he’s coughed and whatever was troubling him has shot out. Funny, that.


Keris Stainton


Author: Laura

A 70's child, I’ve been married for a Very Long Time, and appear to have made four children, and collected one large and useless dog along the way. I work, I have four children, I have a dog… ergo, I do not do dusting or ironing. I began LittleStuff back in (gulp) 2004. I like huge mugs of tea. And Coffee. And Cake. And a steaming cone of crispy fresh fluffy chips, smothered in salt and vinegar. #healthyeater When I grow up I am going to be quietly graceful, organised and wear lipstick every day. In the meantime I *may* have a slight butterfly-brain issue.

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