My baby girl tried to do every fun thing that she could think of to celebrate her first birthday. She climbed onto the chair and trapped herself under the table many, many times. She put her face in the path of her brother’s back swing and was consequently hit in the face by his plastic golf iron. An attempt was made to tip over the garbage can, and she tried to eat some mulch while out in the backyard. She insisted on crawling on the sidewalk instead of in the grass, even though she didn’t have shoes on, and she scraped one of her toes all up. Tops on the list, however, was the inquisitive sampling of a piece of fungus found outside.
Every day I am more convinced that I am going to die of stress: and I am quite sure that this child is going to be the death of me. During the minute it took for me to address whatever request it was that her brother made that caused me to turn my back, she plucked a mushroom out of the ground and as I again turned in her direction she took a bite.
It is rather unfortunate that I have, as of yet, not been given the chance to purchase, steal or otherwise gain any super-powers through skill, osmosis, or freak-accident. The longer that I am a mother, the more I realize that being able to fly or have laser vision wouldn’t be the wisest choice: having stretchy elastic arms would be, that way one’s child would always be within arms reach.
Needless to say, I called my friends at Poison Control. The other two times I found myself in need of their expertise, I was instructed to give milk to the child so I thought it would be a good place to start. The baby wasn’t interested in drinking milk; she wanted to go back outside and forage some more. I spoke to a very reassuring nurse, named Mimi, who informed me that since mushrooms are so hard to identify they treat them all as poisonous, just to be on the safe side.
Since the child had enough sense to spit out the fungi, Mimi didn’t think that she needed emergency care. (If a child actually ingests a mushroom found elsewhere than the refrigerator or the produce section of the grocery store, they need to be taken to the emergency room and given activated charcoal.) Instead, she cautioned me to be on the lookout for the usual signs: nausea, vomiting, abnormal behavior. Since fungal poisoning can manifest itself in many different ways, depending on the type of mushroom, she couldn’t be any more specific. She also informed me that Poison Control would be in touch over the next twenty-four hours to help monitor the birthday girl.
I’m sure that I do not need to expound upon the tension and anxiety that plagued me over the next few hours. Every time the baby cried or fussed, a great hand clenched and twisted all the organs in my chest. It didn’t help that the picture I found on the Internet that most resembled the slimy fungal antagonist had the label poisonous underneath it. When Mimi called during the afternoon she calmed my fears and told me not to let the incident ruin the birthday: “Write it down in her baby book,” she said, “it’s just going to be a birthday to remember.” Business as usual.
We read some books.
I killed a freaky looking cricket (or something) in the kitchen.
Both of the kids fought over toys and grabbed and screamed.
The toddler commandeered the baby’s birthday present.
We ate; I cleaned; we slept.
The twenty-four hour mark has passed now, and the baby is no worse for wear. Poison control has placed their last phone call to check up on her. Another day, another disaster averted. Thank God for that. Now, on to year number two for the little monkey. I am quite sure that it would be foolish of me to hope that it’s not too exciting.
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