Seriously, it’s no big deal (or why I shouldn’t have been allowed to procreate)

So, when you’re sitting in priesthood meeting in church and your
almost one-year-old is crawling on the floor of the gym, just let her
roam. It’s not a big deal! Babies are babies.

when she crawls over to a metal cart that is used to transport hymnals,
go ahead and let her pull herself up to standing by the shelves.
Honestly, what harm is there in that? She’s just learning to be

Then, when you notice her playing with a
loose screw sitting on the cart, make sure to take it away. You’re a
good parent! You totally just averted a choking disaster. Go ahead and
bask in your proactive nature, and let her continue to play on shelves
you haven’t yet examined.

Next, when she starts choking
violently, run to her aid and fish a second screw you hadn’t noticed
out of her mouth, and then watch as a third one falls to the floor.
Consider yourself lucky for a milisecond that you were able to extract
them before things got dangerous.

When she continues
choking violently on what must be yet another screw stuck in her gullet,
panic in such a way that instead of immediately doing the Heimlich,
your attention focuses on the church meeting you are interrupting, and
go ahead and just carry your daughter out of the room while she gasps
desperately for oxygen, dying. Propriety first! The death of a child is a
small price to pay to ensure that an entire room full of people doesn’t have to be distracted for thirty seconds by your life-saving ruckus.

you approach the door to leave, don’t be alarmed when the choking
noises shift into the sound of vomit pouring onto the gym floor. Babies
vomit all the time! It’s not a big deal at all! When you hear the loud
clank of a screw smacking the ground, quickly bend over to pick it up
and hurry out of the room. Maybe the entire room didn’t notice that your
child violently choked for twenty straight seconds until she poured
vomit onto a gym floor and then upchucked metal. You’re so good at not
interrupting meetings!

In the bathroom, sweep your baby’s
throat to ensure there are not more screws threatening her windpipe, or
that at least she swallowed the ones that were left. (Delicious!) Grab a
bunch of paper towels so you can clean up the mess of milky vomit you
left on the floor.

On your way back to the gym, casually talk to a few people as if
nothing happened. It will make it feel a lot less like you nearly just
killed your baby.

When you get back to the gym, go to start cleaning up, but then
have someone say “Oh, no, don’t worry, we’ve sent some of the Young Men
to take care of that. You probably have a lot to deal with already.”
Realize at that point that there’s no way anybody didn’t notice your near-infanticide, and accept the fact that you are a horrible person. For interrupting a meeting.

When your friend Konrad comes up to you after the meeting to ask
if Tessa “got her fill of screws,” shrewdly ask him to take a couple of
pictures so that you can document this triumphant moment in parenting.

She looks kind of not-traumatized, right?
There is a 78% chance I will find one of these in Tessa’s diaper tomorrow.
Father of the Century Award? A winner! Yet again!
At least I can take comfort that I’m probably not the only parent that has had this type of thing happen. Right?


  1. Parenting is definately a constant learn on your feet thing. Be a lot easier if they came with an instruction manual.
    Havent had a child eat hardware but remember a few times when I have felt like the worst parent in the world. But I havnet killed one yet

  2. thank you so much for this post! i had a massive parenting fail this past week that is still haunting me (i left my kid in a stroller that rolled into a ditch and she smacked her head on a fence) she's totally fine by the way… anyway i really needed to know i'm not the only one that fails 🙂

  3. So that's what was going on when priesthood started. And I thought it was just a cheerio or two. Shame on you for attempting to smuggle hardware out of the church using your child. You know the secondary market for screws and other hardware isn't very lucrative. You'll want to be more subtle next time in any case and hold down the ruckus so the rest of us can focus on the lesson.

  4. Love the post. I can surely identify with it. I'm not trying to one-up you, but I couldn't help but think of what I would have done differently in this situation: I would have used reverse psychology. As Alice is lifting the screw to her mouth I would say, "You should put that screw in your mouth." Then everybody in priesthood would hear me encouraging her to eat the screw, and of course my reverse psychology tactic would fail as it often does. From that point on, we would have the same exact experience.

  5. Kids have a strong gag reflex for a reason. 🙂

    Since having my daughter (the queen of choking) I have begun trusting the innate body systems more. Such as gagging and vomiting. We have these reflexes to protect the species and the individual. 🙂

  6. Waaaay too funny! I asked Isaac on the way home from church how church was and he said "fine". I said "What'd ya learn?" and he said "how to clean up baby barf"………… we know who's ha ha 🙂 Thanks for the teaching experience – some day he'll be a great dad and be able to clean up his own child's puke 😛 bah ha

  7. so wish kids came with onwer manuals but they don't and so far mine is still breathing so i must be doing something right. glad to see Tessa is ok.

  8. LOL, I can relate! My husband lets our babies run around and it drives me crazy! I don't want to be "that" person that lets her kids bother other people. I can say that all the women in Relief Society have always been very understanding. 🙂

  9. My favorite parenting moment was when I had just finished boasting to my neighbor about an article I read that said babies had depth perception and could therefore stop at the top of stairs or before they fell in a hole. And then we watched as my one-year-old fell face first into the sandbox, right next to me.

  10. @Mynx–Yes. An instruction manual would be handy. As would a metal detector, apparently 😉

    @ljobab–Hey, thank you for sharing your mishap of the week. Solidarity my friend! Our children lived, so I think we both deserve a pat on the back. We're good parents.

    @Phil–Wait, there can be money made on this deal? You said it's not very lucrative, which means it's a little bit lucrative. I'm in. Show me the tricks of the trade.

    @Justin–Yes, exactly the same except for the lynch mob that forms to hang you for encouraging Alice to choke on a screw. I'm even a little bit offended about it, and I knew it was reverse psychology and that it never actually happened.

    @Karin–thank goodness for the tricks of physiology. Good job Tessa's gag reflex! You saved the day!

    @Special K-Yeah, I try to serve where I can. Fast offerings. Home teaching. Making Isaac clean up body fluids excreted by my offspring. It's all part of the process. 😉

    @becca–I'm pretty sure that the rule is that if your kid is breathing and has never lost an appendage it means you're an amazing parent.

    @runnerwannabe–(I love running btw), yeah I think I'm becoming more and more *that* parent. With Anna (our first) I was more self-conscious. Now I'm like, "go ahead and choke on some screws and die. See if I care. Oh wait, I care! I care!"

    @Trish–Seriously. Imagine if I had a boy. That kid would be a goner with my attention span. Kudos to you for being kinda like a super-hero.

    @Dayna–Ha! I think you're right. It was actually a suicide attempt. She was like "get me out of here, or so help me I will CHOKE ON THESE SCREWS." And it worked. For a minute at least.

    @Dayna again–Good news! I didn't see any feces laden screws yet. But digestion can take a while sometimes 😉

    @Jeigh–See, moments like that are too priceless. Also, I didn't know that babies had depth perception at that age! I don't have depth perception, personally, so I probably would have fallen face first into a sandbox too if you had said it about me. But that really is cool to know.

  11. Oh Geesh….I'm about to become a Grandparent for the first time and I'm starting to rememeber a long buried list of potential hazards to babies. I'm looking around my living room and realize it's a death trap for toddlers….what I can't remember is which houseplants are toxic. I'm googling it….

  12. Seriously! You have to make sure the meeting is not disrupted at all costs! Oh, boy. My youngest choked a couple of times and puked each time – the culprit? Lint! Not big pieces, just small enough that she would pull them from the carpet, really quietly, without our knowing, and then she'd just start choking and then puke.
    Must have been scary for you, so I'm glad she's okay. Those evil screws! 😉

  13. Luckily my son never put anything in his mouth–well, other than the time he decided to drink some dishwasher stuff when we were having our kitchen redone but luckily it was the one kind the company made that wasn't poison to children. Our scariest moments were when he turned on the table saw–luckily he's scared of loud noises and ran away the second he heard it. The other was when he picked up a steak knife off the counter and started walking across the kitchen with it. I didn't realize he was tall enough to reach it. Stupid me. Luckily he was a toddler who didn't actually "toddle." He's now 11 and is still alive so there is hope for your girls. LOL

  14. Meh… I ate all kinds of things when I was a kid.

    To the point that I think my mother was actively encouraging me to stuff new and potentially hazardous stuff in my mouth.

    If blogging had have been the thing to do in the 70's my mother could have filled reams of net-space on .

    Helpfully the time she took writing that blog would have given ME the opportunity to then go and stuff something else in my mouth…

    … the self perpetuating engine of blog posts.

    (Glad the little one is okay)

  15. "Propriety first!" Now THAT was a funny line. As a fellow Mormon(ish) guy (who swears too much), I'm always pleased to run across one of my brethren with an irreverent sense of humor. Looking forward to following your blog.

  16. Dude. When I was a kid I almost had my foot amputated by a diseased fish bone that was lodged in my toe. True story.

    I take your handful of tiny screws and raise you blood poisoning/near foot amputation.

    I turned out fine. My parents were great, but not the helicopter types. I think they would have been mortified to interrupt a church meeting than realize we put yet another piece of hardware in our mouths.

    My first child is coming in December. I think we have tool boxes accessible.

  17. I love you crazy Mormons. Maybe your next calling at church will be to aid/teach/instruct in the nursery.
    I remember having to call Poison Control one time when I was pregnant with my 2nd and my son got into my purse and was chewing through all the yummy Unisom and Vitamin B-12s I had in there for *not morning* ALL-DAY sickness.

  18. Is it horrible that I laughed so hard I had a hard time finishing the post? I knew she was okay or you wouldn't have blogged it.

    There have been other stories that I have heard about from fathers in preisthood. Mainly their small baby happens to toot very loudly interrupting prayer or spiritual moment. Haha.

    @Piper- you wouldn't happen to be in Illinois would you? There was a call from someone on their day in a life of blog about a mom that had their small child get into those same meds from their purse!

  19. I have to say that one thing I really miss about Mormon church (as opposed to Unitarian church or any other church for that matter) is how lax Mormons typically are about this type of thing happening during Sacrament meeting. It's like 'all in a day' for them. Mormons are uptight about a great many things. But not noisy children or vomit or children running and crawling about during services.
    My son vomited twice in Unitarian church. The first time it was out in the center of the place where they all congregate and the vomiting seemed to be for no good reason at all. Totally random. The second time it was in the bag of treats I had been asked to bring for coffee hour. (They were store bought treats that came in a plastic shell. Picking up goodies on the way to church and then serving them with coffee afterward is very un Mormon like but I digress…) I kept the treats in the container that was seemingly untouched by vomit and threw the other half away. But since my son had, at that point, barfed twice at Unitarian church, I felt he might be trying to tell me something. Something like: You know I'm going to be a young Republican and then Elders Quorum president when I grow up, right? This leftist hippie church you're taking me to is bullshit. You won't be able to drag me here forever.
    I would learn years later that my son has gastrointestinal problems associated with autism, so… phew. What a relief. I mean, not about the autism of course. Just an explanation for the vomiting that doesn't involve him becoming an Elders Quorum president.
    I should mention that the Unitarian church is carpeted, as are some Mormon gymnasiums, I suppose. But it didn't make cleaning up the vomit any easier.

  20. Our 2nd son went down the stairs in a walker – and then did it again once more in the same week. Last time we used a walker with any of our children. With 3 older siblings, it was not possible to keep that door closed. (this was 20+ yrs ago; he returns from his mission in 5 weeks!)

  21. Okay, but what I want to know is did the hymn book cart fall apart after so many screws were removed? That would have been a fitting end to this escapade.

  22. I locked Erin in the car one time (yes, the keys too and she was still strapped in her car seat) in 90 degree heat in New Jersey….lucky thing I was at AAA and they had one of those door unlocking thingys. FAIL

  23. I locked Erin in the car one time (yes, the keys too and she was still strapped in her car seat) in 90 degree heat in New Jersey….lucky thing I was at AAA and they had one of those door unlocking thingys. FAIL

  24. I am often surprised that child services haven't been called on me yet for all the things I allow my 2 year old to do. (Sitting in the shopping cart in a spot that is not considered safe with a seat belt is the first thing that comes to mind. There's also a host of facebook videos of my son doing funny things that some people would be shocked by.)

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