Monday, March 23, 2009
Taking One for the Team - A Teachable Moment
My two youngest chickadees and I were enjoying the unseasonably warm weather by doing some yard work (me) and standing around complaining there was nothing to do (them). As I verbally ticked off all of the things they could be doing Cherie, The Affectionate One, went to pet the dog.
Suddenly, she stumbled back to me and mashed her face into my left side with a small whimper. I automatically put my arm around her and asked her what was wrong. I soon found out. Not because she told me - she was extremely incoherent- but because I got stung by the bee she was bobbing and weaving to avoid.
Until then I had never been stung by a bee. Even though I know it's dumb luck, I kinda wore that badge with pride. And it always scores big when you play "I Never."
Anyway, as all that was running through my mind, along with Oh, my GOSH that hurts! my children were staring at me with their jaws unhinged. I was making a valiant effort to not hop up and down, but children can be pretty perceptive when they want to be. My children finally found their voices, unfortunately for me, it was at an octave higher than their usual ear piercing level.
"Was it a mumble bee mommy?!"
"I wanna go inside right now, mom!"
I tried calming them down and twisting my arm at odd angles so I could check my elbow. Father, forgive me for my little white lie. I knew I would be fine, I just claimed it a little sooner than it actually happened.
"It's OK, guys. I'm fine."
Still in my arm right above my elbow was the stinger. I turned away from my kids and plucked out the offending appendage. And then I realized that I had a teachable moment staring me right in the face. Or the arm as the case may be.
My children are exceptionally afraid of bees. Let me rephrase that. My children are exceptionally afraid of bugs and insects of all types. This makes for some interesting outside play, I can tell you. And now that we live in a rural setting, their fears have magnified exponentially.
"See? Isn't this cool? It's the stinger." They jerked back like the recoil on a bazooka. And I don't mean the chewy-caught-in-your-hair kind . "Wait, come here. See how little it is? Hardly hurts at all." It's a good thing we are forgiven seventy times seven, right?! I'm just sayin'.
I talked about all the avoidance strategies. We chatted about how a bee dies when it uses it's stinger, so it doesn't really want to use it. (Please tell me that's not an old wives tale.) And I watched my children's eyes as fear was replaced with minor disbelief. Not exactly the reaction I was hoping for, but I'll take it - for now. I managed to talk them into not nose diving under their covers, so it is progress. But I'm not sure I convinced them that bee stings only hurt for a minute. Though it wasn't for lack of trying.
The moment of joy came when Whirling Dervish realized the another part of the bee was still attached to the stinger. "Mom. Is that the bee's butt?!" And when I confirmed his suspicions a round of giggling ensued. The mishap with the bee was forgotten as each of them tried to work the word "butt" into every sentence possible for the next ten minutes.
I have a feeling that it's going to be a long summer, dear reader. A long summer with many teachable moments.
And hopefully many, many more giggles.