Baby Safety Class

I was pumping my hand into the chest of the dummy kid with purpose and concentration. The instructor gave us a narrative, “Now you hear the sirens…” I was near tears. I was getting so wrapped up in my faux rescue I was nearly shaking.

I was still waiting for the choking talk. It had been 90 minutes since my save a little life class had started, and I was there primarily because of that.

Two weeks ago I was at my mom’s. Rex was on my lap, and my sister Cecily and I were yakking away. Rex was teething on some pizza crust. When he started to choke. Or nearly choke… cough/choke hybrid. Cecily started to push up on his lower belly, I stuck my finger in his throat to make him gag. A combo of the gagging and the coughing produced the pizza crust. They usually get soft in his mouth, but this had a burnt part that baby saliva couldn’t melt.

Rex started crying (a good sign), and I passed him to my sister so I could collapse for a second in hysterics. “He is fine Daphne, he is fine,” Cecily said.

“I know, but I was so scared.” I pulled it together and took Rex to nurse him.

Cecily, always wise, said, “We should take a baby first aid class, because I think what we did was wrong.”

Apparently it was. I learned so much in the class I can’t scratch the surface here. And I’ve taken it twice before. Once in college and once when I was pregnant with Vivien.

THE RULES KEEP CHANGING.

Did you know that beats we are now suppose to perform CPR on adult or child match the beats to the Bee Gee’s “Stayin Alive”? True and ironic.

Did you know that you shouldn’t dial 911 on a cell phone? Can take forever. Landline is better. Or program a local police station into your phone for emergencies.

That your kids should NEVER eat in the car. We heard some scary stories about that. One child who nearly died in his car seat on a piece of chicken (a bystander in the parking lot saved his life) and another child who did die eating a tiny piece of apple in her car seat. There isn’t enough time to react.

And my car has way too many cheerios on the floor anyway.

The instructor said, “Has anyone ever seen a child choke?” I raised my hand.

I told the story and, of course, I started crying. The nice RN teacher came and patted me. Then we went to work tipping the kid over, whacking him on the back. The imaginary grape came out, and all was fine.

I went home and drank wine.

Tops of Escalators

Probably another symptom of sleep deprivation. Here, exposed. My deep dark secret. Sigh. Well, now you know it all. And I couldn’t have done this in a less flattering angle. But anything for my art! My video explains it, but here is a good piece by a British writer about her fear of escalators and how she overcame it. She feels dizzy. I don’t feel that; it’s more a concern for my children and a bit me. Uh, I feel so ashamed. Like I just admitted I wet my bed. Did you know there is a name for fear of escalators? It’s called Escalaphobia.

Here is some stuff from about.com.  Italics are mine.

Elevator Myths & Fears

  • MYTH: The biggest myth about escalators is that you don’t have to pay much attention to them. TRUTH: Escalators are six-ton moving machines and should be treated as such. Pay the same attention to an escalator as you would to a moving bus.
    Oh, great, that makes me feel a lot better.
  • MYTH: The steps will flatten out and all the people will slide down. TRUTH: This is impossible. Each step is a full triangular structure consisting of tread and riser supported on a track and cannot flatten out.
    But can it claw at you?
  • MYTH: Many times people think that escalators move too fast.TRUTH: They move at only normal walking speed. The misconception is probably due to the visual perception created when you are standing still and everything else appears to be moving.
    I can’t hear you I’m heading for the stairs.
  • MYTH: Children often think that the steps fall into the basement and have to be restacked every morning. TRUTH: Escalator steps move on an endless chain system. At the bottom they rotate under and over up the underside of the chain to reappear at the top.
    Over crushed bones
  • MYTH: Escalators can reach out and grab you. TRUTH: No part of an escalator can do this. But people must be careful of loose clothes, untied or long shoelaces, high heels, long hair, long jewelry, etc. because these can get caught in an escalator’s machinery.
    See I told you!
  • MYTH: Escalators will stop and restart themselves. TRUTH: Escalators only stop if they are stopped by the specially designed STOP button, or if there is an obstruction or over speed. Once stopped, escalators can only be restarted by someone with a restart key.
    Hmm, maybe I should stop it, then I could get on.
  • MYTH: If an escalator is standing still, it is just a set of stairs. TRUTH: Not at all! Escalator steps are not the correct height for normal walking and should not be used in that manner. The risk of tripping and falling is increased
  • Yeah, but great for working your glutes.

The Stages 1) Sadness 2) Barf 3) a Mix Tape

Years ago, TV reporter Betty Rollin wrote a memoir called First, You Cry about her experience being diagnosed with breast cancer and then having a mastectomy (later made into a movie of the week with Mary Tyler Moore, natch). I kept thinking of that title the first few days after my husband called me on the way home from work one day to say we had lost the majority of our net worth. That we had invested in a scam. I was on my way to pick up Vivien from school. I was numb for a few minutes, but as I saw Vivien drawing near with her teacher, my eyes welled up, and I couldn’t keep quiet.  I blurted to her teacher what I had just found out and started crying, hard.  The teacher was very nice.

“We are going to have to sell our house,” I cried. I tried to pull it together and asked Viv to come home with me. She was not budging; she was pissed at my emotional outburst. That would be the last time I cried in front of her.

That evening I dropped Vivien off at my mother’s. I had to be alone. I drove around town in hysterics. I called my family members sobbing like you do when you’re a kid. I called one of my best friends and did the same. They were all stunned.

Mark and I had calm talks about what was best to do. We could stay in the house for as much as two years, but then if the economy didn’t turn around I’d be afraid it would like Grey Gardens, and then we’d have to sell it, cats and all. The first night I woke up every 45 minutes and vomited.  I spent a day returning all our Christmas presents except for most of Vivien’s (I couldn’t part with her recently requested super hero costume), and I kept back one each for my stepsons and Mark.

I cancelled every trip we had planned, told my pilates instructor to consider me dead. I cast about for things to sell. An older friend said, “Yeah, when people we’ve known have gone through this, they always panic and sell too much of their stuff.”  I was so taken aback.  I was so deep in my grief, pain, shock that I thought, “He knows people who have gone through this? There is a pattern?”  Kind of like after a break-up, I figured MY pain was the ONLY pain.

A few days later, I went next door and cried to my neighbors. They told me that they had a different kind of downturn and would soon be decamping to a rental apartment. That’s when I started to realize it was better to talk about it, and how widespread this reversal was.

Over the holidays, my wonderful stepdaughter Vanessa visited. She has amazing strength. She had lost her own money but was more concerned with us. She would say, “What can I do for you?”  I would often say, “Please play with Vivien; I have to go and lie down.” Not just ’cause I was 7 months pregnant, but because I was emotionally fatigued and wanted to cry in private without Vivien seeing me. And as I have often said, “When the going gets tough, the Brogdons go to bed.”

I kept waking up at 5 a.m., unable to go back to bed. I was scanning for new Madoff developments. To read that he was still in his NY penthouse at this time galled. I would look and see what houses were going for. I would look at Craigslist to gauge how much I could sell a couch for.

But one morning I woke up thinking these feelings were parallel to a bad break-up.  And I asked myself what I used to do after a break-up to help me get through it. Sleep with a stranger? No, that made me feel worse. Starved myself and lost 10 lbs.?  No, I’m pregnant, have to protect the baby. Ah, I used to make a mix tape. Eureka.

I went down to my computer and I made a mix called “ripped off”. It started with Frank Sinatra’s “That’s Life”

“You are riding high in April, shot down in May.”  How true.

Then the part where you want your lover/money back.  “Why,” Annie Lennox.

You want to feel the love/security of money one more time? “Touch Me in the Morning,” Diana Ross.

Just full blown wallow “We Are the Broken Hearted,” Back Porch Mary.

And then why did I date that guy/ why wasn’t I more diversified?  “What Kind of Fool Am I ?” Sammy Davis Jr.

Then a little anger creeps in… “Ain’t No Way to Treat a Lady,”  Helen Reddy.

Survival… “Knowing Me, Knowing You” by Abba; “Don’t Look Back” by the Temptations, and of course like any good post break-up, I had to put on: “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor.

Followed by Sam Cooke’s “Get Yourself Another Fool.” I dragged myself to look beyond the horizon with the Carpenters’s “We’ve Only Just Begun” and “No More Tears( Enough Is Enough)” by Donna Summer and Barbara Streisand. I began the next section of renewel with “Believe” by Cher.

Years ago I had a friend who was working in Yugoslavia as the civil war was ending. Cher’s song was new then, and he said when the peace accord was signed, people ran into the street and blasted that song. Thus, he had loved that song ever since. I figured if people who survived genocide and total civil unrest could look forward, I certainly could over some cash. I reminded myself of all that I have and that “They Can’t Take that Away from Me” (Fred Astaire) not “My Favorite Things” (Julie Andrews).

I wrapped up with “Not Going to Cry ” by Mary J. Blige, “The Best Is Yet to Come” by Tony Bennett, and finally, “Let’s Hang On” by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

And then I ate a bowl of cereal and wondered if the drapes would fit windows in another house.