My back was turned for a second when I heard her cough. I looked around to see dirt smeared near her mouth.
“Have you eaten something?” I asked, dropping the wand (stick) I had just found for her and walking the three or so steps to her side.
“Yes, a berry,” she said.
“You’ve eaten a berry?” I knelt down.
“Yes, mmm, yummy.”
“What colour berry?” I asked, frantically scanning the ground near her feet.
“Red.” The only thing by her feet were leaves. I couldn’t see any berries, although that’s not to say there weren’t any.
“What have we said about berries? You must not eat them because they will make your tummy hurt.” Why am I telling her this now? I think. I should be calling an ambulance or at the very least Googling “are red berries poisonous to toddlers?”
“Mmmm, yummy,” she repeated.
Must. Not. Panic.
The park is rich with colour at this time of year with a several different types of red and orange berries, which is why we’ve talked about the dangers of eating them. The only place we really encounter any is on our way out. In a bid to get Freya to leave without a fuss we play a game where we find a wand (stick) and then she casts spells on me as we walk along the path. We then reach some metal railings where her wand turns into a drumstick (not sure that’s proper wizard behaviour) and she bing bongs along until the exit (not annoying in a peaceful park at all).
She’s usually so caught up in casting her magic/music that she doesn’t really pay much attention to the berries…until today.
We came home quickly. Me rambling brightly all the way. I Googled as soon as we got in and called 111, as advised, where I spoke to a very nice lady who told me what to look out for. As I couldn’t identify the berry she ate and, indeed, could only identify a holly bush out of the several different types near where we were (note to self: learn about berries) it’s just a case of wait and see.
Four hours later and she seems fine. Normal.
Despite being calm throughout I feel like I’m on the edge of panic. I know these things (and much worse) happen but I feel like they shouldn’t happen on my watch. I’m usually so vigilant (you have to be extra careful when your child has intolerances) but I feel like I’ve let her down today – both from not watching her carefully enough and for not knowing the different berries.
It feels like I’m constantly on the back foot with this motherhood gig.