Ancient History

Follow Me?


Cold water

So much can go so wrong in five minutes.

Saturday night we were making a simple dinner of grilled cheese sandwiches and sliced apples. The kids were outside playing. I had just sliced the sandwiches and put them on plates when Aidan and Beatrix began to scream. I ran to the door in time to hear Aidan shriek that Beatrix had been stung by several wasps. Beatrix held out her arm toward me and I scooped her up and ran her to the faucet. My first instinct is always cold water. A child’s eyeball could be dangling out and I would say, “Get that thing into some cold water!”

After a minute or two, I took her into the living room with a bag of frozen corn for her hand. We sat on the couch and snuggled. My husband went outside to find the source of the wasps. He reported they had built a small nest in one of the hollow legs of the gas grill. From Beatrix-level, it was quite easy to see. She must have reached out to touch it, not understanding the danger.

He decided to kill as many as he could using his patented High Pressure Garden Hose Nozzle Blasting and Foot Stomping Method. They had just hurt his baby girl and mercy wasn’t on his mind.

The kids sat down with their sandwiches and the bowl of apples in the kitchen. In the next room, I continued doling out the sympathy and Beatrix continued soaking it up. Suddenly, all five of the big kids began to scream.

I thought of my husband. I was sure he was being attacked by swarming wasps. I jumped up and ran around the corner into the kitchen where I stopped dead in my tracks. There was blood, everywhere. The floor, the cupboard doors, the refrigerator, the oven door, and Joel, standing in the middle looking ashen. His hand was deep red. It was my turn to shriek, “What happened?”

“Joel was cutting an apple!” they wailed.

I saw the large butcher knife, covered in blood. I yelled for Lee, who heard the kids screaming and thought the wasps had somehow gotten into our house. He tumbled inside, saw Joel, scooped him up and ran for the bathroom to run his hand under cold water. The kids were hysterical. Sam, who hadn’t witnessed the knife incident, thought the wasps were in the house so he ran to the basement to hide. He thought all the blood was from the wasps.

I grabbed towels and my husband put pressure on Joel’s thumb. The cut was severe and deep. There was no question regarding stitches. It was obvious. After a few tense seconds of haggling over who was going and where exactly, my husband left with Joel and Ryley, who went along to help. As a veteran of hand stitches and a mature kiddo, he would prove to be a steady and amazing presence at the Children’s Hospital urgent care that night.

Left to calm down the kids and clean up the scene, I got to work. The kids were deeply worried for Joel all evening. I found blood in the most astonishing places, which proved how violently it erupted from his little thumb. I had to mop the floor several times. The work was a blessing, though, because it kept me from wallowing in worry. I knew he was going to be okay.

Four hours later, they arrived home. Joel has seven stitches in his four-year-old thumb and it is wrapped in a thick splint which resembles a cast. He endured several shots in various points around his hand. The cut was deep and long and his thumb has to remain immobilized for several days. In ten days, he’ll get the stitches removed.


When he walked in the door, he said, “Mommy, I feel great!” Me too, kiddo.

My husband reported that Joel announced he wasn’t going to use knives until he was sixteen. I can live with that.

Now, a couple of days later, his only complaint is itching. Beatrix’s hand is fine, too.

Writing about it is my cold water.

37 comments to Cold water

  • It’s always something. My toddler grandson closed his finger in the door at daycare recently and took the tip completely off. Luckily, there were able to sew it back and he is fine – you would never know it happened. He still swears that Alex (the troublemaker at daycare) closed the door on his finger, even though that is completely untrue. I think he just doesn’t want to remember the trauma.

    But two emergencies in one day is a little much. Glad the cold water worked!

    Mrs. Who’s last blog post..Mrs. Who’s White Elephant Giveaway – June 30, 2008

  • Oh, mercy.

    I’m glad everyone is okay.

    Veronica @ Toddled Dredge’s last blog post..Woozy But Upright

  • Oh no! Poor Beatrix, and poor Joel, and poor you! Hope today is unventful.

    Katrina (Callapidder Days)’s last blog post..A brand new book meme

  • Omigosh, a mother’s nightmare! I’m so glad everything turned out okay and that Beatrix is not allergic to wasps! That’s all you would have needed!

    Stephanie’s last blog post..Just Playing Around

  • Oh my. Prayers for peace and healing in this new week. For the kiddos and their (must-be) exhausted Mama!!

    Llama Momma’s last blog post..Rule #297

  • Oh wow, I’m so glad that everything turned out ok. It is always so scary when your child gets hurt. But, isn’t it amazing what cold water can do? I think that is the first thought for a lot of us.

    Snowbird’s last blog post..Meeting the Not So Rich and Famous

  • I’m so glad all’s well that ends well.

    And my kids have that same shirt Joel has on!

    Rocks In My Dryer’s last blog post..Catch and Release and a Firefly Named Larry

  • Oh, Gretchen! What a night!
    I am so glad everyone is okay.

    Now you need another night out at the Cheesecake Factory!

    Robin’s last blog post..In our home recently

  • Oh my goodness, Gretchen! I think I need to take some cleansing breaths after this post! Or some cold water. Something! So glad all is well now…


    Adventures In Babywearing’s last blog post..Running From The Paparazzi

  • Wow. I know just how you feel. We had a very similar weekend here last week. It started with Alex swallowing a large sharp metal object. That involved two hospitals and several x rays. Days later, when all danger had passed, I sat down to settle my nerves and eat a proper meal. That’s when Jacob came in screaming and all stung up with Yellow Jacket bees–he’d stepped on their nest. As he was telling me what happened he was stung again and a bee dropped dead to my kitchen floor. That’s when I noticed he had several more on his clothes and in his hair. My husband took him and the other boys that had been stung to the garage. There was much screaming and all came inside stripped to underwear. Luckily Jacob was only stung three times in all and Simeon twice. Unluckily, we discovered that Simeon is allergic to bee stings and we had to take him in to the doctor to stop his swelling and get the medicine he needs to keep with him if it should ever happen again.

    That feeling that it just won’t ever stop is unnerving. How can we possibly prevent all possible dangers? How have we ever survived up to this point? But then it quiets again and life returns to normal. I’m glad the danger has passed and hope the rest of your summer is quiet and peaceful and pleasant.

    Suzanne Temple’s last blog post..WALL*E

  • Oh no! That is quite the evening. Glad you have your “cold water.”

    The shirt your son is wearing is quiet appropriate. My son has the same won. It earned its own little post a while ago.

    Lizz @ Yes, and So is My Heart’s last blog post..Just Thinking

  • Holy frijoles. It sounds like you handled that very well. So glad everyone is ok!!

    Stacey @ Happy Are We’s last blog post..When It’s Already Gone

  • Whoa. I can’t believe there was actually MORE to this post AFTER the WASP ATTACK. Unbelievable. I’m glad everyone was ok in the end. Is mommy ok? Walking in to find a child covered in blood and a butcher knife nearby? Um, seriously, are you ok?

    Beth – total mom haircut’s last blog post..I know! I know!

  • That’s one of those days where I’d be afraid to take my child into the ER for fear of being accused of child abuse via knives and bee stings. I hate hate hate it when things happen in groups, and am thankful that we have an awesome pediatrician who knows I don’t beat my kids. We were at a playdate the other day and my friend’s six-year-old split his head open jumping off the couch. Her pediatrician asked what I considered to be an enormously inappropriate question, “Where were you when this happened?” Like she was down the street chatting with a neighbor or something. (We were in the next room, which isn’t even really a next room since it’s an open floor plan – the kids were in a sunken den that only has a railing separating the two rooms.)

    Both my son and daughter have the same shirt.

    Alice H’s last blog post..Colburn Hotel

  • amy

    Holy cow!! I think MY heart skipped a beat at the mention of blood every where!!

    Poor kiddos – I’m glad they are both ok!!

    amy’s last blog post..Back to square one

  • what a weekend! oh i’m terrible with bloody cuts. just terrible.

    chickadee’s last blog post..Huddle while you can

  • Oh, my goodness! I’m so glad to hear that he’s okay. Nothing sends a cold shiver of fear up your spine like the sight of blood in the moments before you are able to assess the source. Yikes.

    Glad Beatrix is OK, too; it’s no fun being stung. Talk about a hair-raising weekend. Are you all breathing normally yet?

    (My son has that shirt, too–it’s a concise summary of every boy’s creed, I think, Independent Risk Takers, that they are.)

    Jamie’s last blog post..Camera Shy

  • My, what a night!! My nerves would have been shaken for hours. I am glad everything ended up ok.

    My husband always used cold water as a universal remedy, too. 😉

    Barbara H.’s last blog post..I Remember Laura blogathon, Week 5: Heirlooms and Treasures

  • Kimberly

    Oh I just love reading your blog, and I am impressed how you handle all the kids. BUT sheesh! I am freaked out with only one son, and he isn’t even two yet. WHAT would I do with more to get hurt?


    Glad things have worked out.

  • What a terror of an evening. I’m glad you had grilled cheese though. Grilled cheese is a balm to my soul.

    Anonymouse’s last blog post..will-ingness

  • Oh my gosh!! I actually got that horrible feeling in my stomach reading about the blood – how traumatic for all of you! Thank God it’s over now!

    Laura aka LaLaGirl’s last blog post..Yo Bama Bama!

  • Why is it those things happen in the midst of some crisis?

    The story reminded me of when Christopher broke his arm. Michael and I did the who goes/stays etc. He was the one who went to the ER. (I had a nursing infant.) My neighbor felt so bad about my son falling out of the tree, while her kids were at my house, she took my oldest to the park with her kids.

    She brought her back with a broken arm. I met Michael at the ER as he and Christopher were coming out. We switched kids and I went home. The staff really grilled my daughter about how this happened, no doubt were thinking abuse.

    Joanne’s last blog post..8 hours, 27 minutes

  • What a day that was! I’ve often wondered if it really hurts the kids more or the parents…

    Heidi’s last blog post..Mo? Meme

  • Good night nurse, that was quite the night you had. So glad the kiddos are okay and I hope mom was able to find some relief with the cold water… 🙂

    Karen {simply a musing blog}’s last blog post..Custom Blog Header For Sale

  • My son got a knife out the other day, to cut his apple. He is also 4. I caught him before any damage was done, but we have had stitches here to.
    I was stung on Saturday night by a yellow jacket I was trying to help my son who just got stung, I am allergic and thankfully the party we were at there was a paramedic and I was fine. Looks like we both had very interesting weekends.
    And cold water does wonders!

    Happy Mommy’s last blog post..By the way did I mention

  • Whew. Glad he’s ok. I can’t help but notice the t-shirt he’s wearing, with the graphic of someone falling and the word ‘stunts’ on it. Somehow, seems fitting.

    We just got DJ’s first stitches taken out of his forhead a few days ago. Amazing how much stuff a dad wants to lay waste to when one of his babies was hurt by something.

    Clayjack’s last blog post..Don’t Worry About the Courts, Cuz I’m Gonna Kill Ya

  • edj

    A fond evening of a summer evening…yeah right! So glad that everyone is okay. Never a dull moment, eh?

    edj’s last blog post..Doctor-1; Google-1

  • Ann

    I just about started crying when I read the part where Joel came in and said, “Mommy I feel great!” A huge wave of relief came over me. What a brave boy. And Beatrix! I hope so much that she won’t have a paralyzing fear of wasps for the rest of her life. Thank goodness they have a mom who can think clearly and keep a level head in emergency situations like that! Good job Gretchen!

    Ann’s last blog post..Everywhere I Go

  • OH MY STARS AND GARTERS, I am in a cold sweat just reading about this!!!! My terror and uselessness during any bloody emergency is legendary, so I’m full of admiration for you since you apparently remained conscious (no way I would have been).

    So glad all turned out all right and LOL at Joel’s comments!! We have that shirt here too.

    Jenni’s last blog post..Over and Out

  • Sounds like one of those eventful days when you just want to go back to bed and pull the covers over your head. So glad everyone is mending.

    Linda’s last blog post..Visiting the Grands

  • Shayne

    So glad everyone is ok. Joel’s shirt seems incredibly appropriate in this instance (Jacob has the same shirt — one of my faves).

    Why does it seem that things like that always happen one right on top of each other?

  • Tanya

    Ack! I had chills running up and down my spine and realized by the end I was tense all through my body reading that! I’m glad he’s ok, poor guy! What a crazy night for you all. I think i would have treated myself to a bottle of wine and a long bubble bath after the kiddos were put to sleep that night! (yes, an ENTIRE bottle of wine!)

  • Oh, my goodness! How scary! Glad to hear everyone is okay.

    Melanie’s last blog post..Chocolate Peanut Butter Trifle

  • You have such a great narrative voice and the last line – perfect. I know exactly what you mean.

    Angela’s last blog post..Alternate Titles for my summer vacation

  • ter

    Wow, that’s alot to go on in such a short amount of time. I’m just glad that, in the grande scheme of things, everyone’s ok!

    ter’s last blog post..The Day We Celebrated Our Nation With A Big Kick

  • Oh, how scary! Good quick thinking on both of your parts.

    Kristin’s last blog post..The Fourth

  • JoAnn

    WOW! Never a dull moment at your hosue! WOW!

    Great scary, story!


Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>