Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Not Exactly My Plan for the Night Before Kindergarten

It was a lovely evening -- clear skies, cool breeze, the last night before the chaos of the school year descends. The kids were playing a game of ring around the rosy with our neighbors across the street. The grownups were chatting about back to school plans.

The kids' game ended suddenly as one neighbor's older daughter erupted in shrieks of pain. Almost simultaneously, Sean did as well. After a few panicky moments we discovered that ring around the rosy had disrupted a yellow jacket nest.

We hustled our kids indoors. Sean was screaming, Allie was unhurt. While I was tending to his sting, I felt a sharp pain in my own arm from a yellow jacked that had hitched a ride inside my shirt. I tried to be nonchalant about it, but even my slight wince set Sean off even more: "Get it out! Get it out! Make it go away!" I'm not sure if my inept swatting succeeded.

Pulling Sean's shirt off of him, I saw another angry yellow jacket still on his pale, smooth skin. This one I killed for sure. Fueled by fury, I was, at this creature who hurt my child. After removing the stinger (that scraping with a credit card suggestion really does work), I cleaned and tended to all the stings. Four of them! I can attest that just one is rather painful.

Sean's hysteria waxed and waned over the next 45 minutes or so. He was both in pain and terrified that there were more yellow jackets in the house. I haven't seen him this upset since he woke up from anesthesia last year after his tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. Finally, the Benadryl appeared to kick in and he relaxed. By the time he was in bed, he seemed back to his normal self.

Throughout all this, Allie was remarkably helpful. She relished the role of primary tissue- and and comfort item-fetcher. She does need a little instruction in bedside manner, however; as Sean was sobbing that he couldn't lift up his arm (site of three stings), Allie noted that since SHE hadn't been stung, she could in fact lift up her arm. "See?" she asked, raising and waving her arm. "Umm, sweetie, I'm so glad you didn't get stung, but it might make Sean even sadder to see that right now," I said, to no apparent avail: "Oh, okay. See, Sean? I didn't get stung!"

My neighbor called to check on Sean; her daughter had just two stings. Next step, I suppose, is for our other neighbor, around whose tree the kids were playing ring around the rosy, to tend to the now-disturbed nest. I don't think we'll be playing over there any time soon!

I'm sure that tomorrow, the first day of kindergarten, will be far less traumatic.