From the archives. Six years ago. Perky Girl has arrived, and has trotted merrily off into the living room to play. I am at the back door greeting parents and later arrivals, but I can still hear her. This is a good thing, because a all parents know that a silent 19 month old is all too often a child who is endangering something - herself, her friends, the pets, the furnishings. It's not quiet out there, but what we can hear is in no way reassuring. Sudden and horrific choking sounds: "Gak! Hork! Whoop!" assault our ears. Perky Girl is quite clearly choking to death out there. Ohmigod, How long do I have? I'm halfway across the room in one giant, adrenaline-fuelled bound, two terrified parents in my wake, when Perky Girl rounds the corner of the kitchen. Her face is a healthy pink. She beams sunnily up at three frozen adult faces. Not even a tinge of blue, nor even of green. What gives? "Hey there, Perky Girl. What on earth were you doing out there?" I aim for calm and cheerful, but I can hear the quiver in my voice. She doesn't notice. She has something to show me, and how convenient I should ask! In her pudgy fist she holds a yellow plastic drumstick, which, I assumed had been used for such benign pursuits as, oh, beating on a drum, or maybe the walls or furniture. Dragging it across the poor long-suffering guinea pig's cage is also a favourite activity, but that wasn't what I'd been hearing. None of the above, not this time. She takes the drum stick, and shoves it down her throat, surely giving her tonsils a solid wallop in the process. "Gak, hork!", she wretches, gags, and heaves. She pulls the drum stick out of her throat, and gives me a repeat of the big, beaming smile. She radiates excitment and satisfaction. Her thoughts are crystal clear: "Way cool!! Great party trick, huh, Mary???" Gak, indeed.