Spring Break

My youngest, sleeping off his Benadryl high. Poor little panda bear.

Hurrah, it is spring time! April is beautiful in the southeast. The weather is in the 70’s and 80’s most of the time and the trees and flowers are blooming. My allergies are out of control and my nose is running like the leaky faucet in my kitchen. A lovely mental picture, to be sure. Despite all of this, I planned to go outside to do some yard work yesterday. Let’s get this straight, by yard work, I do not mean planting a lovely row of gardenias in my back yard. I mean that I will be raking/scooping up the tons of dog shit that accumulates over the last week.

Cleaning up doggie waste is generally my husband’s job. I handle the kids, the house, my schoolwork, the bills, and any other random chore that comes my way. The dogs and the backyard are his deal. He wanted the hounds, he takes care of them. Easy way to look at it. Naturally, he went to the field this week. Also naturally, he left on Monday morning without taking care of the backyard. Since the weather is so nice, I planned to spend the week outside, tiring my children out. The oldest is on Spring Break this week. We have a gigantic trampoline in our backyard and the community park is outside our gate. But in order to get to the trampoline, or the back gate, I had to carve a path through the dog poop.

I put the boys on the trampoline while I toiled in the yard. They were bouncing and having a generally good time. I looked up from raking, the smell of dog excrement in my nose, just in time to see a gigantic hornet land on my youngest, Joey. This little boy is fearless, really. He will do anything at any time…Totally all boy. As I see this hornet land on my child, I yelled at him to stay still, don’t bounce! You see, I am allergic to bee stings and the allergy is genetic. Of course, Joey, being a 2 year old, did exactly what I told him not to do. He flung up his arms and did a belly flop onto the trampoline. Naturally, he was stung by the hornet.

I went into panic mode. I had visions of anaphylactic shock running through my head. My husband was gone (and the Epi Pens with him), my five year old Scott was screaming that his little brother was dying, and I had dog shit on my shoe. Joey had been stung on the neck, near his ear. He was already starting to puff up. I was watching my child turn into a balloon. Luckily, the kids were dressed, had eaten lunch and the car had gas in it. I hauled both of their asses into the car, threw a movie into the DVD player (best invention ever:  a DVD player in the car), and tried to buckle Joey into his car seat. He wouldn’t fit! He looked like a red-headed, red-faced panda bear. The buckles wouldn’t close over his tummy. He had fluffed up to unimaginable proportions.

The whole drive to Portsmouth Naval, I had my eye on him in the review mirror. Thankfully, I didn’t hit tunnel traffic. The emergency room nurse took one look at my panda child and stabbed him with an Epi Pen and IV’ed him up to some Benadryl. The swelling started to go down. There was no damage to his airways or anything like that. This is lucky since that is what happens to me when I am stung. A few hours later, I took home my slightly less fluffy panda bear boy and an extremely bored and cranky five year old. Joey was drunk on antihistamines, weaving in and out of the rooms in the house, giggling. I was exhausted.

In my panic to get to the hospital, I left my phone at home and didn’t get a chance to snap a picture of Joey in the throes of a hornet sting attack, but I did get one of him passed out in a Benadryl stupor on my chest (posted!). I texted my husband and told him politely, but firmly, that I was never taking care of the “yard work” again. It was obviously detrimental to mine and my children’s health.

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