Once upon a time when Stella was born, we needed a basic rocking chair, STAT! We didn’t have a zillion bucks to spend nor did we want something like an upholstered glider so we looked for something strictly utilitarian, like a plain wooden model. Most of what I saw online tended to be designed for outdoor use, which was fine. Being that this was late fall, however, it was not the best time of year to find this. When my father came to visit the baby for the first time, we went to one of the big box hardware and outdoor stores and he bought a cheap white wooden rocker that I thought would do. Problem solved.
They say you get what you pay for, and I guess this was no exception. Within weeks, the thing was starting to torque and creak alarmingly. Will spent a Sunday afternoon cramming this thing full of extra screws to ensure it would stay together. Looking back, we should have probably just gotten something a little nicer and pricier, as we have already rocked to the moon and back in that poor wretched chair, and now another baby is coming. Who knew? Stella has also enjoyed rocking chair surfing, spending hours standing up on it in classic “look Ma, no hands” pose. It used to scare the bejeezus out of me.
Yesterday the chair scared me again, although for a different and weirder reason. Stella has taken to trying to hide behind the chair from time to time. It’s cute but pathetic, since the large gaps between slats leave her plenty visible. I left her hiding while I went to pop my contacts out, so we’re talking an absence of about 1.3 minutes, max. After a second I realized there was something in her mouth that she was chewing on.
You kind of assume it’s an old goldfish cracker or fruit snack from last week that you missed with the vacuum when this happens. I watched her for a bit and when she wasn’t swallowing whatever this was, I went in for a closer look. Of course she ran away and I had to chase her. I got even more alarmed when I could see a flash or glimmer from inside her mouth, indicating that whatever this was had the luster of metal.
In a panic, I grabbed the kid and prepared for extraction, tilting her head back and attempting to reach in without losing a digit. The problem with this tried and true technique is gravity. As you tilt the kid’s head back, the object will be tipped into their little throat. This is a rotten moment for a parent and seems to go in slow-mo. You can see the scenario play out in your head in the 1.8 milliseconds it takes for you to tip the head back, for the projectile to lodge in your kid’s throat, see the recognition in their eyes that something is blocking their airway, and then witness the very rapid and violent gagging which pops it right back out into your hand, punctuated by a giggle. I guess sometimes it isn’t a giggle, but a quick gripe protesting your having taken their Precious.
Fortunately, big wood staples aren’t round so this chewed up bit of metal didn’t roll into the back of my kid’s throat. Yep, she was chewing on a damn staple. What’s worse was she went back to the chair and started picking at it again. Believe it or not, she plucked a wood screw out the second time. WTF? For starters, why? Secondly, how do those sweet little fingers pry a screw and staple out of a wooden chair?
I don’t know what we’ll do, but the chair may have to go live outside, and by outside I mean by the curb for the garbage man. If we didn’t have another baby coming and would miss not having it, I would have hauled it outside by my fat self yesterday. As it is, we may have to wrap the whole thing in electrical tape to hold in all the metal bits until BY is done with it, at which point we will bid the chair a fond farewell.