On Friday Ellie and I had lunch with Heidi, my friend from high school. There are only four such people in the world: Heidi, Jenny, Sallie and Megan.
Click here to find out why.
We decided to meet at a Mexican restaurant, for obvious reasons. Click here for the obvious reasons.
We began reminiscing about old times, which usually includes discussing our days of scrubbing toilets at McDonald's and afterward driving around in her truck smelling like McFries stalking the cars of the boys we liked, leaving prank notes on their windshield.
Anyhoo, like clockwork, after about 30 seconds Ellie demanded that her presence be appreciated and warned me that if we didn't immediately start paying attention to her she would tell everyone in the restaurant that I once forgot to buckle her car seat. Ok, it actually happened like 10 times.
"Can she have a chip?" Heidi asked.
Hummph, PUH-LEEZE. Can she have a chip... I thought, rolling my eyes. Just wait until you see what my amazingly advanced daughter can do. Why don't you throw her a REAL challenge and pull some nickles out of your purse? In fact, hang on a moment while I stand on my chair and make a quick announcement:
CAN I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE! PREPARE TO BE AMAZED! COME ONE COME ALL AND WITNESS THE AMAZING ELLIE AND HER ADVANCED TABLE FOOD EATING ABILITIES! AT ONLY 13 MONTHS SHE WILL EAT THIS CHIP, ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT FOODS TO CONSUME WITHOUT TEETH, BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES! AFTERWARD YOU MAY BOW DOWN AND PAY HOMAGE TO MY MAGNIFICENT MOTHERING SKILLS BY PLACING BURRITOS AT MY FEET!
The chip immediately went from her fat little hand into her greedy mouth, and Heidi and I resumed our discussion.
Then I heard it - something that sounded like an alligator being dragged across gravel coming from Ellie's direction. I looked at her and my stomach dropped - she was choking. At least I was 80% sure she was choking.
Now, I will say that I have imagined myself in this, and countless other scenarios where I come out looking like the hero, hundreds of times.
Other scenarios include rescuing an elderly driver from a Little Debbie truck that just crashed into the median and is about to catch on fire, and afterward I am rightfully compensated for my bravery with a lifetime supply of Zebra Cakes.
My mind raced back to our infant CPR class, where we sat in the same chair for four hours looking at a slide show of horrible baby scenarios and even got to practice expelling an invisible object from a plastic baby. A plastic baby that is nothing like the 24-pound, squirmy, clingy, frantic baby making a noise like an alligator being dragged across gravel who has somehow finagled her leg in a pretzel-like fashion through the side of this God damned high chair.
Finally the chair released her leg and I lifted her out and gave her three firm thwacks on the back, praying the chip would just land on the floor. But when I turned her over the chip was nowhere to be seen and Ellie was just looking at me very confused and still making the alligator on gravel sound.
The fact that my efforts were not working immediately sent me into REAL panic, whereby I tossed her across the table like a hot potato to Heidi and screamed "DO SOMETHING DO SOMETHING DO SOMETHING!"
Heidi looked at her and said, "Umm, I think she's brea..."
To which I quickly cut in and screamed "YOU'RE WRONG! YOU'RE WRONG! SHE'S NOT BREATHING SHE'S NOT BREATHING DO SOMETHING!"
So there we were, in the middle of the Mexican restaurant, me holding Ellie's feet while thwacking her back, Heidi with both hands in her mouth, and Ellie wondering why we're trying to take away her precious chip.
All this time there was a flurry of people in my face, telling me what to do. The fat woman at the table across the room screaming something, the waiter who barely spoke English in my face saying "ewater?" It was all a blur... a panicked, messy, dizzy, sweaty, frantic blur.
Finally either the chip dislodged or Ellie decided she had enough and started crying, to which everyone in the restaurant started applauding, making me painfully aware that what we had just done was already racking up hits on YouTube. Ellie spent the rest of the meal (you didn't think this was enough to abandon the burrito I had coming, did you?) clinging to my shoulders, crying into my neck, wondering why her chip had betrayed her.
As I sat there, eating my burrito, shaking, listening to her judgemental sobs, aware of the dozens of eyes fixated on our table, all I could think was that this was not how this was supposed to go down.
I want a do-over.