The day my daughter ate a Christmas bauble
Updated: Dec 3, 2019
I remember one Christmas, just over 20 years ago when my ex mother in law tore shreds off me because I'd decorated the Christmas tree with gorgeous little fragile ornaments.
She told me that, considering I had three babies at the time under 3 years of age, I was not only irresponsible but also obviously a bad mother because who in their right mind would put delicate, breakable choking hazards on a Christmas tree, even if they were all at the top, out of reach?
Well, I'd done it for two reasons, firstly, because that's what I had always done, and secondly, when you bulletproof your home after having a baby (or three) sometimes you need a reminder, (no matter how small) that the world is not all about being suck-proof, chew-proof and spew-proof.
My uterus has been decommissioned due to overwork, so I needed something else in the house that was fragile ... to match my post-natal depression mindset.
So, down came all of the ornaments and off to WA Salvage I went. Remember that magical place?
Within hours the tree was covered with good old plastic crap. Plastic ornaments, shred-proof tinsel and 'bleh' was the new festive theme.
But at least I was a good mum!
Until we ended up in hospital!
Fast forward a few days and I was outside with the fam-bam, revelling in talking to adults when the ex-mother in law announced that Stacey, my youngest bub had swallowed a bauble?
Yes, read that again!
So, to cut a long story short (oops too late), MIL, in obvious approval of all the new plastic fantastic on the tree, saw Stacey, who’d just learned to sit up by herself, admiring a particularly shiny one.
So, she decided to give it to her to play with.
Now, anyone who has had children knows that once they get their lips locked onto something, you just about need a crow bar or their favourite breast to get them to release the vacuum.
Stacey, unable to put the whole thing in her mouth, suctioned onto the side of it with a force that Hoover would be envious of, and the apparently unbreakable plastic ball shattered.
One of the pieces got sucked up into the nearly 5-month old’s mouth and was swallowed, scratching the poor darling’s throat all the way down. To say she was distressed was an understatement. Her tender stomach, obviously realising the foreign object had arrived without a visa or correct documentation, promptly ejected it and back up it came, scratching again along the way back.
She was inconsolable.
I rushed her to the hospital and scans showed that there was damage to her soft tissue. Remarkably it didn’t perforate anything, thank goodness but none-the-less, she was admitted and put onto an antibiotic drip. She was not discharged until the risk of serious infection had passed which took 2 days of observation, more scans and a rotating conveyor belt of my other two babies who decided their dad wouldn’t cut it and demanded me.
The hospital’s children’s’ ward, thankfully free of other occupants became the Shaw family creche and wasn’t so bad as it was free of washing, cooking, dishes and a cranky (son to be ex) husband.
Back at the time of that initial conversation about the evil, fragile ornaments, if I had found the strength to own my space, acknowledge her concerns but politely tell her to insert expletive here off, in a way that wouldn’t have offended her, none of this would have happened.
Which is why I now, as a Professional Mindset Coach, dedicate December to teaching people how to cope with anything and anyone at Christmas. How to stand your ground and win people over in the process. How to experience the joy of the season, without the stress.
How to laugh in the face of inlaw danger ... yet come off looking like the ducks nuts!
Think about what you’ve dealt with in previous years. The judgement, the pressure, the expectations … and how things would be if you could say exactly what you want to say, in a way that offends no one but sets some really firm boundaries.
Trust me, you’ll be looking forward to welcoming “that” family member over, yes, you know the one, because they’ll be no match for you this year.
*Disclaimer* I know it sounds like I am, but I don’t blame my ex MIL for what happened to Stacey, after all, accidents happen. She wasn’t a bad old stick … she just preyed on my inability to stand up for myself.
Evil laugh … maybe I should have a reunion 😊
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Leanne Shaw - Reboot Mindset Coaching
Partnering with individuals and organisations wanting the absolute best out of themselves and their lives.