I spent the afternoon hanging around with a bunch of dummies.
We had CPR training after school. I've had it before, even more thorough than this presentation, in another district. Once you've been trained in unchoking people, or restarting their ticker, you never really forget how. It's like riding a bicycle, but without the wind in your hair.
Times have changed. Now we watch a video of actors performing CPR, rather than listen to a presenter from the American Red Cross. The resuscitables are mere slick plastic torsos that light up at the shoulder when you're pumping them right. Gone is Resusci-Annie in her navy blue track suit, whose floppy legs the coaches so loved to tie in knots. Gone, too, the dummy infant.
Which reminds me of my precious Baby Genius. He was only six or eight months old at the time. We were visiting my mother, who sat Baby Genius on her knee and fed him candy orange slices. I KNOW! I told her not to do that. She replied, "He's not EATING them, honey. He doesn't even have teeth. I'm just letting him suck the sugar off the outside. He loves it!" And we see how Baby Genius got started down the road of spoilitude.
I should have commanded Mom to stop with the orange slices already. But you know how it is. You never know when you might need Mom to babysit, so you don't want to ruffle any mother hen feathers. She went on plying Baby Genius with sticky jelly candies, and I reclined on the couch reading the local paper. Until I heard a "GAAAAASP!" A sudden intake of air. Squealing, almost. It's what my mom does when she panics. She's done it her whole life, ever since I can remember. She sucks all the air out of the universe, then freezes. Whatever calamity was about to befall her will just have to happen. Because Mom has given up. A kangaroo could punch her, a grizzly bear could maul her, a giant anaconda could crawl out of the swamp and swallow her. All while she remained immobile, eyes bugged out, mouth dropped open.
I jumped off that couch in a jiffy. Baby Genius had his eyes bugged out, too. His baby blues registered surprise. He made no noise. Mom stared at him. And at the half of a candy orange slice between her thumb and finger. I grabbed Baby Genius and flipped him over on my left forearm. Not an easy feat. He was a healthy baby. I lowered his head. Held his chin on my palm with my thumb and index finger, so his head didn't flop around. Kind of wedged his right leg up under my armpit so I didn't drop him. I thumped him on the back with the heel of my right hand. Once. Twice.
A gob of gummy goo shot out of his mouth. Baby Genius started to scream. Mom regained her voice. "I won't give him orange slices any more."
If you've never been trained in CPR or the Heimlich Maneuver, you might want to check into a first aid class. You never know when you might use it.