After nearly five years at this parenting gig, there are a few things I have figured out. Picking your battles is paramount. Your child’s behavior typically has a source – hunger, boredom, fatigue, frustration (to name a few) – and the quicker you can figure it out, the better. And my children are always their best selves when they spend time, as much time as possible, outside.
Living in Atlanta is certainly a positive when it comes to outside time during the dark days of winter. The mild weather allows us to take advantage of our neighborhood’s playground and area parks throughout the year. The trouble with summer, however, is that it can get too hot. If we don’t play outside somewhere in the morning, I don’t have it in me to tackle the playground in the 90+ degree afternoon heat.
This afternoon, I had to pack them up for a quick grocery store run before dinner. When we returned, Pumpkin was practically pulling me down the hill from our front walk to the playground across the street. Even though they’d had some great playground play this morning, I decided to suck it up, put my own tired bones aside and off we went.
Balancing two kids with two totally different skill levels at the park can be tough. We tried some frisbee action in the field, but pretty soon Pumpkin was having none of it. I managed to convince Peanut to join us on the playground, where he promptly fell off the monkey bars. Mommy was there to pick up the pieces and put his confidence back together, once it was apparent there were no major injuries, but I was contractually bound to watch whatever jumping game he had just devised.
And while Peanut was mid-bounce, that’s when I heard Pumpkin start crying. It wasn’t the hey, mommy, pay attention to me cry. It wasn’t the somebody help me cause I can’t reach cry. It wasn’t even the I was running too fast and fell down cry. It was the I. AM. HURT. cry.
I immediately rushed to his side and couldn’t see anything obvious at first – he was standing, there wasn’t any blood, all his limbs were attached. Then I saw it. A small red dot near his temple that was beginning to swell around it.
My baby’s first bee (wasp? something?) sting.
He’s fine. Mama’s fine. But our impromptu attempt to get through the witching hour despite my better instincts? I want to say it was a fail, but to be honest, the outside time, albeit brief, helped their moods immensely. And when I was done putting the baking soda paste on Pumpkin’s head, Peanut came over and gently gave his little brother a kiss on the head.
That certainly took the sting out.