My oldest child had his very first wasp sting over the weekend. He was playing with a toy set while very tired adults (we were hauling furniture and packing a U-Haul for my great aunt and uncle) had lunch.
The setting was serene. Puffy clouds, warm but not too warm temperatures, bright green and absurdly soft grass, and the shade of an apple tree kept the backyard the place to be. With a selection of toys and play-sets at the ready, the oldest was having a great time.
That is, right up until a wasp crawled out of the Sesame Street play set and hitched a ride on Ernie straight into the palm of the poor child’s hand.
There was an ‘ouch’ followed by confusion. The wasp was still in his palm when the pain of the sting really set in. The wasp was quickly dislodged not by a flailing arm, but by a shriek that usually means an over tired boy has stubbed his toe. It is unusual to hear a warranted cry of pain these days, but by golly did the kid earn it this time.
Screaming, freshly stung five year old in my arms, we make way for the kitchen to wash out the wound.
I was told to take him to the kitchen. It turns out when surrounded by not one, not two, but three grandmothers a parent becomes more little more than a pair of arms to hold a crying child.
We got to the sink and the water was already running. “Put his hand in the cold water,” one granny said. “Fill this with a little bit of water” another said, handing me a bag of ice. “That’ll be too cold, use this to cover it,” said another putting a wash cloth between the ice bag and the child’s hand. In unison they all said “Baking soda?”
I thought ‘baking soda’ was perhaps a code word, but a moment later the refrigerator door was open and a box of actual baking soda appeared. It floated to the sink area, one granny’s hand popped under the running water, lifted the ice bag (which was in use to keep swelling at a minimum, that part I understood) and put water on the wound. Another hand put baking soda on the water and yet another hand began making a paste.
As this was happening, a band-aid found its way into the mix and was placed over the baking soda paste.
It was like a grandma pit crew converged and the ‘ouchy’ was set aside like a worn tire. It was the most remarkable thing I have seen in a long time. All the while each granny was comforting the kid with Level 99 ability (compared to my, maybe, level 40 skills in that realm). I was there to hold the kid on the counter and even that was superfluous, but with the flurry of grannies running about I could not step away.
The kid was healed, the tears dried and the minute and a half of activity to fix him is etched into my memory forever.