Sort of looks like a blueberry to a toddler. Photo provided by Ledge and Gardens.
We had the misfortune of a small emergency last night. My two-year-old decided to sample some berries while playing outside. Her ever-vigilant sister caught her in the act and sounded the alarm to whomever would listen.
Since Daddy was on duty, they all paraded into the house with the plant and a crying toddler with a purple mouth.
“She ate poison berries!” exclaimed my panicked 8-year-old daughter.
I was in the middle of making dinner, trying to make sense of what happened. My actions, in hindsight, are what I’ve been stewing over all day.
What would you do in this situation?
- Scoop up baby girl and whisk her away to the emergency room.
- Take matters into your own hands, literally, and induce vomiting.
- Smooth away everyone’s worries, assure them everything will be fine, then Google your way to more information.
Well, if you chose number 3, we’ve got something in common. She’s fine, fine, fine. It’s just an elderberry. Go outside and play so I can finish dinner. Semi annoyed by the interruption.
Is it an elderberry? You can make wine and juice from that, right? So I look it up online, study some photographs and hmmm. That’s not an elderberry.
I Google “looks like an elderberry” and wait a minute… it’s a pokeberry. Looking up pokeberry… ALL PARTS OF POKEWEEDS ARE POISONOUS.
Okay. Mild panic sets in at this point. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, cramping… coma and death. Heart is pounding. Still trying to be calm because 8-year-old is still hovering nearby.
How many berries had she eaten? This is the child who can polish off a pint of blueberries by herself.
Not to toot my own horn and throw in a blatant product endorsement, but I rushed to my desk to get my Baby Love Carebook. On the first page is a list of phone numbers, including the poison control hotline.
After a brief chat with an R.N., I was reassured that the ER would not induce vomiting; that she would have to eat at least 10 berries to get sick; and if she did begin vomiting, dehydration was our biggest worry. She even called me back two hours later to check on my daughter’s condition.
No vomiting. Everything was indeed fine, fine, fine. But shouldn’t my panic button have gone off a little sooner? Is it really a good thing to always be cool as a cucumber? Is there a part of me that is always in denial?
Yes, I know, my reaction ultimately turned out to be just right. The situation just made me think of all the different ways this little drama could have played out with different people involved.
Grace and peace.
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