H is crawling around on the merry go round. He usually sits on my lap as I slowly push us around with my feet, but today he strains away from me and crawls toward the center when I put him down. He crawls around looking for stray wood chips, and I walk, pushing slowly, guarding the edge. I sweep off wood chips before H can get to them, but I am not fast enough. He finds a wood chip and crawls back to the center. He sits and holds it in his hand, examining it, shaking it up and down. Shaky, shaky, shaky, shake, I sing, as his hand bobs up and down. Not for eating, I say. H smiles delightedly at me and puts the wood chip in his mouth. I panic. He is going to get a splinter in his mouth. He will choke, I worry. I have to get it out. I take a deep breath and decide that this is not an emergency situation. I push the merry go round some more and wait for H to crawl close to the edge. Finally he does, and I scoop him up. I will offer him milk, I think, and he will spit the wood chip out.
We walk to a shady spot under a tree. Would you like some milk? I ask, and H dive bombs my chest. Good, I think. I unlatch my nursing bra and wait. H smiles at me. I attempt to insert my finger in his mouth. H purses his lips, his smile small and tight. I try again. Still no. I say ah with my mouth wide open hoping he will mimic me. Nothing works. He will not give up the wood chip.
I put him in Baby K’tan. We walk home, H riding on my hip, his head nestled under my arm. He smiles his small, tight lipped smile, and I can see him moving the wood chip around in his mouth. And then his smile loosens. I sweep his mouth with my finger and the wood chip comes out, smooth, no danger of splinters. H is unperturbed. He looks up at me serenely and lifts up a tiny, loose fist to place another wood chip in his mouth.
I burst out laughing, and then so does H. We walk home, me with a smile, H with a wood chip in his mouth.