Monday, May 27, 2013
Tea is for Trouble
We were at my Mom's and Michelle was walking around the ottoman. Sometimes letting go, sometimes holding on. Grabbing the toys that were on it, reaching for ornaments and things around it. My Mom came in with her tea. I didn't notice she had sat the tea on the ottoman. I was focusing on Michelle and making sure that she didn't lean forward and fall. Then I must have glanced away for a second and "OMG!" she had her fingers in my Mom's teacup. The tea spilled over, Michelle was screaming, I was in shock. My mother yelled "Run cold water on her fingers!" I raced with Michelle over to the tap and ran cold water on her little red fingers. I was furious with my Mom. "OMG! You don't sit HOT TEA where Michelle can reach it! She grabs at EVERYTHING!" "I know. I'm sorry. I wasn't thinking," my Mom said. I was shaking. My Mom doesn't even put milk or cream in her tea to cool it down. She drinks it black. It must have been scalding. I suddenly felt ill at the thought of leaving Michelle with my Mom. What kind of death trap would she be in? I had visions of Michelle playing with matches, running with scissors, juggling knives. My Mom blamed her aging brain but she has a friend who's older than her who cares for several grandchildren. She says that it keeps her young. As a control freak it's tough to let go and to leave your child with someone else. I wouldn't trust her with a stranger but even with my Mom I worry. Now more than ever.
My Mom explained that all of us were burned by tea as kids. As if that made it better. Apparently I managed to get my toe into a cup of tea as a baby. My brothers and my sister all got scalded too. I was suddenly very glad that I don't drink tea or coffee so it's been a non-issue with me. My Mom said that is how kids learn. They all get burned. When my nephew James was little one of his first words was "HOT!" spoken with an emphasis on the "H." He had maybe learned the hard way not to touch things that are hot. Why is it human nature to be drawn to things that will hurt us? How can I explain to Michelle not to touch things that are dangerous? Even as an adult I didn't have the common sense to avoid being hurt. I fell in love with the worst man in the world (her father) and definitely got burned there.
Thank God she was OK. Within minutes her fingers weren't red anymore and she was back to crawling and climbing and grabbing things as though nothing had happened. I am pretty sure my Mom will NEVER put tea on the ottoman again.
Kids do get hurt. No matter how careful you try to be and how relentlessly you watch them you can not protect them from everything at every second. There is always a margin for human error. A moment's inattention or a slight miscalculation. Getting hurt is part of learning too I suppose. Explaining doesn't have quite the same effect as experience. Someone can tell you a thing a million times but it doesn't mean anything until you actually live it.
When I hugged Michelle after she had gotten hurt, she hugged me tighter than ever. That night she was more snuggly than she had ever been. It's like she realized I am her comforter when anything bad happens. She has a book called "Why I love my Mommy" and on the front is a Mama bunny kissing a baby bunny's foot. There are all different animals illlustrating the different reasons kids love their mommies. The bunny page says "I love my Mommy because she kisses me better." Of course your kisses can't magically make something better whether it's a burn or another kind of booboo, but it's the love that makes a hurt easier to bear. Love has the power to heal anything.