Thursday, September 26, 2013

Bee Prepared

A few weekends ago, we decided to take advantage of the lovely Fall-like weather and head to Ernie Miller Nature Center. We know better than to take a family vote on our upcoming activities. It's never pretty. And it's rarely unanimous. But we went ahead and took a vote anyway.  You might be able to guess how Tate voted by his body language.
Tate needs a bit more convincing/nudging/dragging to go anywhere beyond the comfort of his own home. However, once we pry his fingers from building his magical castles in Minecraft, and reintroduce him to trees, dirt, and sticks, he thoroughly enjoys himself. 
First step, look at the map and figure out which trail we're going to try first. Many things make me laugh about this picture. Of course, the tiny backpack on David's broad shoulders. Also the fact that he still gets confused about 435 East/West, but get him out in the woods, and he really knows his way around. And finally, David has never stayed on a trail in his life. He believes the best adventures are to be had just off the beaten path.
As I was snapping all these pictures, I began thinking of what I could write about this trip. Just as I had decided it would be a pretty short story, and perhaps mostly just pictures, the excitement began to unfold. (We'd only been there about 10 minutes.)
David and the girls headed off the trail onto a side path. Tate decided to stick with me, found this super huge boulder, and had me snap a picture. 
As we continued down the trail, we heard Reese scream. Not an "Ewww, I walked into a spider web" type of scream, but a blood curdling scream that made me think she must have seen a snake. She kept screaming, so I figured I had better head back to check on things. She emerged from the path screaming and crying and holding her neck. 

A snake fell from the trees and bit her neck?! was, of course, my next thought. Between sobs and hiccups it was ascertained that she had, in fact, been stung by a bee.  Her first sting ever. 

I'm not allergic to anything so I started to at least feel relieved that she probably wouldn't be either. Remembering she also shares another person's DNA, I quickly turned to David and said, "Are you allergic to bee stings??" 

He didn't think he was. I then remembered hearing somewhere that you can't always tell from the first sting if you're allergic. It's the second one that does you in. Well, great. As if I needed anything else to worry about when the kids aren't with me. What if Reese is attacked by a swarm of killer bees when I'm not around? Guess who'll be wearing a bee keeper suit to school from here on out? 

It was turning red and swelling slightly. I felt helpless, but wanted to do something, so I started blowing on it. Hey, it was all I had. And it helped. Or, at least distracted her somewhat. I had zero first aide items on my person. David grabbed a cold water bottle from his Barbie-sized backpack and she held it against her neck. 

Drue's sympathy department can be a little, well, lacking at times, and as I hovered over Reese deciding what our next step should be, Drue acted as though she was being bothered by this whole ordeal and said, "Do we have to go home?!" 

I was about to make a fire to send up smoke signals letting others know we were in need of first aide attention STAT, when I remembered that even though it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere, we were actually right off the highway. And there was a Wal-Mart just up the road. So I revised my plan, declaring that I would take Reese to get some medicine, while David and the other two continued their trek. 

It totally should have been the other way around, because David is just more sensible in these types of situations. Actually, in all situations.  We got to Walmart and I drew a complete blank. I couldn't think of anything that would help a bee sting. All I could think of was my Mom making a paste of baking soda and water for our wasp stings. 

So as we dashed into the store, I quickly Googled remedies, having to pause every few minutes to blow on Reese's sting per her request. I found a bench near the pharmacy and plopped her on it as I began looking down the aisles. But the insect bite medicine was a few aisles over, and I didn't want to leave her where I couldn't see her, so I pulled her up off the bench and brought her along. As you can imagine, the Internet is full of bee sting remedies. So i decided just to go with the first one I came across.  Toothpaste. Double score because we were almost out anyway. I grabbed a tube, as well as Tylenol (thank you, Google) all the while asking, "Do you feel strange? Are your lips swelling up or going numb?" 
We made it back and were reunited with the rest of the adventurers. (Thank you, cell phones). From there on out, it was a much calmer, more enjoyable experience. They performed a few skits in the outdoor amphitheater.
We found some other fun spots to stop at along the way. 

Tate predictably ended our time there saying, "I love this place! Can we come back?!" 
Absolutely, Buddy. But next time I'll be sure and bring the toothpaste. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Shower Tales

As a mother, my heart swells with pride when I witness the kids behaving thoughtfully, with no prodding whatsoever.  Especially when it involves one of their siblings.  This morning was one such occurrence as they were getting ready for school. Well, sort of. 

Gone are the days I could just plop all 3 of them in the tub at one time and scrub them down.  Bath time at our house has never been a relaxing, nor bonding experience of any kind.  Oh, we bought the sweet lavender-smelling soap with calming capabilities after seeing the sweet toddler on the commercial peacefully getting bathed, nary a splash, then promptly falling right to sleep after his bath.  But I just slathered it on as quickly as possible and scrubbed down all their little cracks and crevices, grabbed the bottle from one child trying to pour it out to make more bubbles, then turned right around and pulled it away from Tate before he could drink more than a few teaspoonsful.  And watch out if it was David's turn to do the baths!  From my spot on the couch where I was thanking the Lord that I had a night off from giving baths, I could hear the kids squealing as as he dumped cupfuls of water directly onto their little heads, without shielding their faces and eyes from the monsoon. 

No sir, bath time was anything but calm.  It was simply a "how can we get this done as quickly and painlessly as possible so you'll smell good for church" activity.  One, because they are all three so close in age.  And, two, we were bathing them all the time!  Syrup in their hair, marker on their face, and other unbelievably messy undertakings.  Like eating.  Eating anything.  We used to buy these little baby biscuits for Reese that were supposed to help her grasping skills because her chubby little hand could hold them all by itself. They would easily entertain her for a few minutes while I tried to get some sort of supper thrown together.  Those were the absolute grossest things I have ever encountered.  They turned to mush instantly and she would be a mushy biscuit-covered mess 30 seconds into the ordeal.  Her grasping practice would have to wait.  We ceased buying those. 

I knew we had to bid farewell to collective bath times, when they began to outgrow the tub together.  Legs would be dangling over the side, the pushing and the shoving began, and I was wetter than they were by the end of it.  So we graduated to collective shower times.  We discovered the tiny shower in our room was the best bet.  They have a full tub with a shower curtain in their bathroom and the floor would be a wading pool when all was said and done. 

Our shower has a door we can pull shut.  Hallelujah!  Of course, our floor still becomes a semi-wading pool when they leave that door open to holler something out to us.  But our shower is so tiny, that only two kids could fit at a time.  Most of the time, we'd throw the girls in together, I'd soap up their hair, then leave them to their giggling, soaping up the walls, or whatever else they would do, until I would holler into the bathroom that they were going to need to get a job to pay for our water bill.  The faucet would promptly shut off. 

So now, obviously, they are way too old to shower together, so now we take the revolving door approach.  Or the automatic car wash approach if you will.  I just don't have time to keep track of who showered when, so they just do it back to back.  If one of them needs to shower, well, they're just all three going to.  And because of the girls oh-so-lovely curly locks, it's necessary that they shower in the morning. That is, if they want their hair to do anything but rat up and stick out in all directions for school.  And because Tate likes to wear remnants of his last meal on his face, his hands, etc. it's best to just always shower him right before we go, well, anywhere.   

He always goes last.  Because he's the boy.  And he just has to run his hand over his hair once, and he's ready for the day.  It's usually Reese, Drue, then Tate.  Age order.  Just another battle we don't have to fight with "who went first last time?".  They can't remember where they just took off their shoes.  But, by golly,  they'll remember who went first in the shower last, or who sat in the back of the van last Tuesday. 

And so begins the herding.  When Reese is finished, she gets out and covers up with her towel, then we send Drue in, while the water is still running.  Then Tate, after Drue gets out and toweled up.  It's just our routine.  And they have it down pat.  So much so, that if one of them does happen to need an extra shower at some point, and I'm not making the other two take one also, they'll still holler out, "Is someone else coming in?" before turning off the water. 

So, yes, that was a loooooong explanation of our showering practices, to get to this morning's event.  Reese was getting ready at my bathroom sink/mirror while Tate was in the shower.  We heard a loud crash come from the shower.  Without any prodding to check on her brother, Reese hollered out concerned, "Are you ok?!"

Thus the swelling of my heart began.  

Silence (other than the running water). 

"Hello?!" she hollered again, growing more concerned.

They really do love each other, I thought. 

My heart began to deflate at a rapid rate, when after she still didn't get an answer, she resumed brushing her hair, shrugged her shoulders, and said, "Oh well." 

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