Scare tactics
Finn proves just who is in charge. Hint: it’s not his mommy
Finn has just recovered from a bout of hand, foot and mouth disease. I know. It’s not something one should be hollering from the rooftops. Although I have been assured by our new best friend, the pricey paediatrician, that this is a fairly mild and common condition found in babies that has absolutely nothing to do with bovine foot and mouth disease.

Still, it’s been traumatic. Firstly, where the hell did he get it from? I’m pretty convinced he’s given it to my best friend’s daughter but have no idea which other mange-infested child he picked it up from. The tell-tale signs started as a rash on the arms and legs followed by small blisters on the hands, feet and inside of the mouth. They’re gone now but the emotional scars remain. What next, I ask, what next!?

We’ve already had a number of colds, falls and ear infections followed by a fairly upsetting but quick grommet operation. Oh, yes and there was that dog bite on the ear a while back. I mean he’s only just turned one.
But what stands out as the most traumatic of all is a recent incident at our well-visited shopping centre down the road. It was on one of the few days in the last two months that Finn wasn’t dripping from the nose and mouth or covered in a pink rash. He was healthy. He was happy. He was gnawing on a sugar-free lollipop as I wheeled him rapidly around the supermarket throwing vital ingredients into the bottom of his pram. We have about a 12-minute window period before Finn loses patience with being forced to do anything other than run wildly towards busy roads, deep bodies of water, sharp objects and edges of cliffs.

I flung us into the shortest queue we could find and had just got to the checkout when Finn threw the small sucker stump to the ground and started to arch his back. I quickly asked the cashier to throw away the leftover lolly as I chucked cheese block, milk bottle and broccoli floret onto the conveyer belt. Finn was beginning to turn red and squeal rather loudly.

As I bent over to attend to him, I heard the cashier shout ‘He’s choking on his lolly!’ I turned to find her hoisting up her pinafore and scrambling over the counter, all the while shouting in a panicked voice ‘He’s choking on his lolly! This child is choking on his lolly!’ I looked back at Finn who was now beetroot. As I bent over to check whether in fact he was choking, I was muscled out the way by the cashier who ripped him free of the pram and began to administer the Heimlich maneouvre. Finn began to holler and cough and scream. The cashier next door had joined the mayhem.

I looked to see lines and lines of long queues of shoppers all turned to face me. Some were standing on tiptoes to get a piece of the action. Others were looking vaguely annoyed. Some were white with shock. I remembered reading that when your child is coughing it’s a good sign. It means there’s air getting into their lungs and death is not imminent. I wrestled coughing Finn away from the woman and firmly said, ‘He’s fine! He’s not choking! He’s crying because he doesn’t like being in his pram.’

At this, the woman suddenly stopped.

She paused before simply saying, ‘Oh.’ And then, ‘Ohhhhh. Yes. I threw that sucker away.’

As she returned to her rightful place behind the till, not as sheepishly as you might imagine, she sighed as she informed me that her baby had recently had a choking incident of its own and that she was clearly not quite over it. As I, red in the face and heart pounding, marched Finn off home, he turned and smiled at the woman mischievously. What a way to get yourself out of that pram! I said to him. But what I really want to ask him is this: What other freak-your-mothers-out tricks have you got up your sleeve?
What next Finn? What next?!

Have you been in a similar position before? What was your reaction?

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