In Her Words
When Your Children Get Hurt
A Stinging Lesson
Any parent who has witnessed their child getting stung by a bee knows it can be an extremely intense situation. Aside from a bee sting being pretty painful, you’re not even sure if your child will have an allergic reaction requiring an immediate trip to the ER. Your child is frightened and sobbing, searching for the nearest parent and escape route indoors, and rubbing the spot to stop the stinging. You, as a parent, are doing all you can to settle her down, trying to remember what you learned in first aid about treating a bee sting.
Multiply the above scenario by three, and then, to escalate an already alarming situation, you might as well get stung, too. This is what happened to my family, and it was, for lack of a better phrase (and an intended pun), no picnic!
We were at a neighborhood evening barbeque and our 5-, 4- and 2-year-old children were playing by a small tree with the older neighborhood kids.
Suddenly, 4-year-old McKaelen let out one of her signature, ear-piercing screams. Knowing how squeamish she is around worms, flies and even ladybugs, I figured an insect landed on her and one of the older kids would swipe it away.
When she continued to scream, I sprang up and ran to her. In a matter of seconds, a stream of actions took place, one after the other – so close that everything seemed to happen simultaneously. McKaelen was still screaming and I spotted something crawling on her foot and tried to brush it off. My son, A.J., started screaming. I felt a sharp sting on my ankle, and then 2-year-old Luke joined in with frantic cries. The children had disturbed a bee’s nest and the bees were doing everything possible to stun them – the enemy.
My husband grabbed McKaelen, who was clinging onto me and in complete hysterics. I carried the boys to the hose, yelled for someone to turn it on, and began stripping off their clothes. That’s when I confirmed it was a bee attack – one had crawled into Luke’s diaper.
A.J. was screaming that he wanted to go home and that he was never going to go outside again, and Luke was clutching me, scratching and shaking his little body. McKaelen was switching off from sobs to screams that never seemed to cease. I ignored my own stinging ankle and tried to calm my kids. With the help of neighbors, we bundled up our naked, wounded and wet children, and carried them home.
Not only was McKaelen hurt; she was mad, too. Through tears, she asked her dad a very serious question. “Daddy, can I say a bad word?”
My confused husband asked, “What?”
McKaelen replied, “It hurts so much I … I just have to say a bad word!”
We prepared for the worst, granted McKaelen permission to spew foul language, and braced ourselves for the slew of expletives we were sure would come.
“I … I HATE bugs!”
If only they could stay that innocent.
Later, as we inspected their little bodies, we were thankful that A.J. and McKaelen had each been stung only once or twice, and that no one was showing signs of allergic reactions. Luke had the worst of it with four raised and red stinging bumps on his body. A.J. was concerned for him and commented, “The poor littlest feller got the most stings.” And again, he declared, “I am never going outside!”
Since A.J.’s statement was completely unrealistic, I tried to explain nature’s rules to the children as best as I could. I told them that just like I had rushed over to help them by slapping bees away, perhaps the bees were doing the same thing. The bees were probably upset because people were stomping all over their home, hurting and scaring the baby bees. I said it was just nature’s way of parents keeping their babies safe, whether it was a human parent or a bee parent.
This explanation, some Benadryl, and a couple of ice pops calmed them down enough and we headed up to bed. We said a prayer, thanking God that more bees hadn’t hurt us, and we spent extra time cuddling.
The next day, most of the unpleasant memories had become just that, and my kids were soon jumping around the house, begging to play outside. They said they weren’t afraid of bugs or bees and wanted to go out. I lathered them up with sunscreen, breathed a sigh of relief that they weren’t going to be traumatized for life, and told them I’d be right out.
I bent down to scratch my swollen, red and stinging ankle and remembered how I told the kids the bees were only protecting their home and family. I had to do the same for mine. With one last scratch, I grabbed a flyswatter, a can of Raid and headed outside to guard what belonged to me.