August 28, 2012
This is a tribute to one of my silent readers. She has a 2 year old little girl called Ariana, a beautiful little princes just like Pesh 🙂 And in rememberance of this nasty age, we raise a toast to the ‘Terrific twos!’
Just the other day, we fêted another day away from work. It was one of those impromptu public holidays that we always cross our fingers to land on a Monday. This one did squarely.
As usual, as nothing major happens on Mondays, we unwound and grew all sluggish and cosy at home…well everyone except I, did. I thought it best to check out exactly how clean my house was. The dirt was perfectly disguised… moving forward, I gathered all my cleaning tools and proceeded to clean out everything that been swept under the carpet, behind the fridge and every other crack that could fit in just about anything. There were lots of bottles that I literary kicked out, lots of softened carrots and shrunken onions that were hardly chop-able anymore.
Pesh was not left behind. She is no lazy bag of bones, no. Even with her tiny hands, she is always ready to help where she can and with mom teaching the little girl some house chores, I left her to tend to the bottles and newspapers I thought was garbage. ‘Throw them in the bin, hun,’ I shouted over my shoulder to which she said her famous new word, ‘sawa’
She sat carefully on the floor and began throwing each item on the pile into the bin; of course after a thorough scan and making sure it was indeed invaluable. I went on scrubbing the surfaces, oblivious of everything else happening around me. I was in ‘Super Mom’ mode; I almost grew wings and turned into Casper, the friendly ghost as I cleaned away the dust mites and cobwebs. Vivian was busy whipping something up for Pesh’s lunch. Unlike me, however, she constantly threw watchful glances at Pesh.
A choking sip
I heard her cough and at first ignored it. It could be anything anyway. She could be choking on a plastic toy she probably tried to swallow…or more comforting, her own saliva. I turned to look her way hoping the latter was true. ‘Patience Mwambi!’ Vivian, screamed, surprising everyone was trembling as she pulled a bottle away from her. Her lips glowed and glittered with sun rays sparkly on them. She coughed again. What she took was obviously oily. ‘Good heavens I hope she took cooking oil!’ I prayed loudly as I moved closer and smelt her lips. It was the worst I could have asked for. I looked back at Vivian who trembled some more. She still held the bottle in her hand. I grabbed it from her and put my nose on its mouth. Confirmed, Pesh had just sipped some paraffin.
The bottle barely had any liquid in it. I could see a teaspoonful of paraffin still dancing at the bottom of it. How much was in here? I asked Vivian who quickly stated it was hardly there. ‘I used it the last time I lit up the charcoal jiko.’ I knew there was no more left so I hid the bottle behind the fridge.’ She hung her head in shame and looked away. I could tell she had tears threatening to fall, but I had no time to calm her down. I had to act fast even in my absolute confusion.
I called my sister in law. We thank Jesus for people like my sister in law. She works in a hospital and has three children to her name…uh, to her husband’s name; and she is always just a call away, ready to sort out almost all our medical sins. She advised on some anti- poison tablet to give her and some milk as well. She was kind enough to also prescribe some self assurance for a terrified mom! If none of you have experienced this before, note some things I almost did but was stopped in my tracks.
Doctor Mama Pesh advises
Firstly, do not try to make your baby puke. I had brought in a raw egg ready for this task already. The idea here is to avoid the paraffin from getting to the lungs and making it all come back up from the tummy is as good as making her swallow it over and over again. Secondly, clean her up! Do not stare bluntly at your shocked baby like I did! The more she inhales it, the more it affects her lungs. Why the lungs, you may ask? Your baby will be prone to getting pneumonia or some other fatal lung disease. If a lot of it is consumed, baby will suffocate, convulse, form at the mouth and possibly die! Yes, I heard it happened to someone’s child. Thirdly, give your child a lot of milk but not so much to nauseate her. Then get her a coal tablet and give as prescribed depending on their age. If baby reacts to the paraffin, get them to see a doctor immediately.
Luckily, our little girl did not suffer any reactions from her little tasting adventure. She is however careful not to sip any clear liquids anymore. ‘Nilikunywa’afuta!’ she now tells everyone she meets. If you probe further on her experience, she will proudly tell you of the awful smell that made her choke! The bottles were disposed of and we all are more careful of our ‘Paraffin Baby’.
It was never Vivian’s fault to put the paraffin bottle near our little girl. Neither was it Pesh’s for thinking all clear liquids are either water or Sprite. It was totally my mistake not to have taken precaution, but instead of hanging myself by the rope for it, I feel really wiser now, that I can even pass on some advice on it..for instance, always check out your house help’s hiding spots, especially to the back of the fridge! I am not a perfect mother, but I am indeed a perfect student.
Ps. Now that its my birthday today, those gifts will come in real handy 🙂