sting

 Been writing this post all day it seems. Summer and one thing after another. You know. And I am finishing it up from a tent in my back yard, listening to Margot’s heavy and satisfied breaths, occasional residential traffic and those awesome night sounds that blend together and sound like a river.

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First, this week’s mama digs is about this primal, wonderful alone-but-connected experience I had in a storm last week. Click to read mama digs: storm chase.

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I have wanted a sandbox for the kids for some time and meet resistance from Andy on a few fronts:

a) he imagines a giant kitty litter box.
b) he needs a new project like a kick in the shins.

So I’ve been imagining my own building plans (which is always tricky because, while capable, he is much much better and faster) and, even more so, been on the hunt for something that would work so I wouldn’t have to build a thing.

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Last week, it materialized. Our friends had a yard sale and, lo, my future sandbox was sunning herself in between a pile of table linens and a pair of camel colored clogs. My favorite part is that the husband bought it at a yard sale, imagining his tall, beautiful, blond wife using the 3×4′ metal trough as a pool in their backyard. She never did don her bikini, curl her legs up and soak in that thing. It’s a wonder.

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I stacked rocks (the big ones scored from our friend’s old riverbed farm) around the bin to make for fun and easy climbing in and out, drilled holes in the bottom for drainage, filled with sand and yay! I dig it.

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I filled between the rocks with dirt and filled the nooks with lemon thyme that I cut from our behemoth plant.

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Margot and Ruby have been little nervous to play in the sand because last night when the whole family was out there for the excited sand-adding, they were both stung by bees. At the exact same moment on the exact same body part. It was surreal.

I was, and a little bit still am, heavy with guilt over the whole thing. See, our birdhouse fell last week and when I went to rehang a few days ago, I heard the buzzing of bees. A hive! I know nothing about feral honeybees but have a friend who keeps bees so I left the hive alone and planned to consult about what the heck to do, if anything. Margot is really into bees right now so she was especially interested in imagining the furry dudes building combs inside our fallen birdhouse. They were mellow and cool, it was mellow and cool.

Last night a few flew out during the sandbox inauguration. Alice ate one and shook with a sting. A few more buzzed by. Just as I was taking notice that the bees seemed agitated, Ruby started screaming. And then Margot. I looked up and both my girls stood motionless in our green backyard, mouths open, crying, each with a solitary bee on their lip. Thankfully, Andy was there too so we could each grab a bee and a kid.

It was scary, bizarre and painful for them although Margot nearly immediately declared, “Really, mama, I am totally fine. Can I have another popsicle?” and thought it felt funny to smile with her fat bottom lip. The whole left half of Ruby’s sweet little face swelled up, nursing her only solace. I should have moved the hive right away, I should have left the backyard when those first few flew out. Ack, I felt like shit. I know a sting isn’t that big of a deal but I felt so responsible for these stings.

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post-sting, pre-bed walk

I corresponded with my favorite, hilarious beekeeping pal and she told us how to expertly relocate the hive. So we applied baking soda paste, lavender and purification oils to the swollen lips, tucked our girls in and went to investigate whether or not the bees were “asleep like tiny dead fuzzy muppets” as Finny said they would be. The colony was still abuzz so we waited until this morning when Andy, far braver than me, confidently picked up the birdhouse, put it in the back of our truck and drove it deep into the woods.

Now, the feral hive sits in an awesome handmade tin birdhouse under giant cottonwoods by the river. Operation Hive Relocation a success so we ventured back to the sandbox. We played out there today and it was good to redefine our experience in that space. It’s life but it sucks to be stung, whether on a kid’s lip or on a mama’s heart. It felt right to just dig in, following the forgiving, inquisitive lead of my children. I kept thinking of that dorky but poignant Ziggy quote about roses and thorns. “You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses.” You can complain because bees have stingers, or you can rejoice because stingers have bees. Or, You can complain because life has misadventure, or you can rejoice because misadventure has life.

Sweet dreams.

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all photos taken with a Canon Digital SLR from Vanns.com

24 Responses to sting

  1. Christi says:

    Love the sandbox. Sad about the stings, don’t beat yourself up about it. It happens. I have one son that seems to attract bees, he must smell sweet. I love that you took the time to relocate the hive. A friend of mine said to keep bees/hornets out of bird houses you rub bar soap inside it or around the edges.

  2. Ellie says:

    Ouch about the bitten lips. What are the chances they both would get stung at the same time in the same place??…strange. Your sandbox looks inspired, and I like your concluding thoughts…been very much thinking along those lines lately. So much is about perspective, and the same perch in life can so often offer one of two opposing viewpoints.

  3. ~ M ~ says:

    Oh man! Stings are no fun. I remember running through my grandmas raspberry rows when I was a little one and getting stung on my eyelid. Made me scared to sneek any more berries – love that your Margot was so blasie about it. But really… Ahem, is there a cover for the sand box after playing? because pretty sure that would be hard to resist for most kitties

  4. jen says:

    Reign in that guilt, woman. There will be so many larger opportunities to feel that way in the future! ;o)

  5. Awesome find on the sandbox.

    I remember being stung as a child, unfortunately it was inside my mouth. As the story goes my family says, Yes even back then she couldn’t keep her mouth shut! Oh gotta love the families objectivity on a sore subject. LOL

    :)
    Teri

  6. Tina says:

    I seriously can’t believe your two girls were stung in the same place at the same time. What an unusual coincedence! But I’m glad they aren’t overly phased by the experience. I clearly remember every single one of the 3 times I was stung by a bee as a child, the most prominenet memory being when I was stung by two bees mating who landed on my thumb. I was stung on both sides of my thumb simutaneously, and it was also the last time I was stung – I have been petrified of bees ever since.
    I will shamefully admit that if I see a bee flying around either of my children, I don’t swat it away from them… I run in the other direction. I’m sure you handled the bee situation much better than I ever would be able to!

  7. ~M~, I know! Cat poop heaven, I created. I think I will build a simple wood frame with screen? Maybe I could find an old window frame at home resource…

    Ideas?

    jen, You are so right. When I wrote this I kept feeling like I was overreacting and would delete and then retype…mama guilt is such a horrid emotion. I suppose I am happy to cut my teeth on bee stings because, yes, bigger opps to feel it later!

  8. Aw, poor kiddos :(
    I have horrible memories of being stung as I was actually terribly allergic to bee’s as a kid (epi pen and all!). I remember going camping with a friends family while my parents were away for the weekend and got stung just under my eye while I slept. When I woke up, I could tell something was wrong and kept touching my face and hiding from all the adults so that they didnt see how funny I looked! They noticed quickly and freaked out, rushing me to the hospital and by the time we got there my entire face was swollen and I couldnt open my eyes!

    Needless to say I’m STILL crazy scared of bee’s.

  9. Kristine says:

    Bee stings are scary…especially when it’s the first one….you don’t know if they are allergic. I have vivid memories of my parents rushing my brother to the hospital as a kid. Gah! Mama guilt rears it’s ugly head so often. Don’t beat yourself up. I love the sand box. You’re so creative. Makes your back yard even more awesome!
    Totally off topic. Trying your yam and black bean burritos tonight. Birthday dinner for my brother. My Guinea pigs, they are. ;)
    xo
    Kris

  10. Adriana Iris says:

    I staked a tarp on my sandbox otherwise it would have been kitty party every night… i also planted catnip across (far) from it to entertain the cats.

  11. TRB Holt says:

    I will guarantee you Burb that the sting on your heart will long out live the sting on our girls.

    LOVE the sand box!….since Andy did not have to make one, maybe he could make a slick cover for it! :)

    See you soon!

    xoxo

  12. Gosh I love that rustic trough for a sandbox. I think a simple screen will do the trick – if you can’t find a window frame, have Andy make a simple one and let the girls paint it all up before attaching the screen. LOVE the river rocks on the edge. Makes me yearn to be Margot’s friend and sit on a rock and talk about how to weasel popsicles from you. :)

    Stings are horrible, but feel like a right of passage as a child. I am glad to see that no one had a horrible allergic reaction; now THAT would up the mama guilt tenfold. I remember riding my yellow stingray up the sidewalk, and as I got to my next door neighbor’s driveway, I rode right by a wasp nest that obviously someone uncovered while gardening. Oh good lord. I think I got over a dozen stings. I remember dropping my bike and running home screaming and crying; those buggers got stuck in my shirt and had a field day.

    Glad to see that life, summer, the garden are affecting your productivity in some way. Just tried my first baby carrot today. Mmmm…loving it.

    -Jennifer from Annapolis

  13. Charity says:

    I laughed a little bit about the bee sting. I distinctly remember the first time my son got stung.There wasn’t much I could do being about 2 hours from where we lived. We were outside the Neuschwanstein castle,Germany. He yelled out loud that it bit him. He was about 3.
    Now he is a young man of 16, who is keeping his own honey bee hive in the back yard. Go figure!

  14. Jenn says:

    Never heard that quote, but really needed to. Thank you. Hope the girls (and you) are doing well.

  15. Gramomster says:

    Oh the bee stings! Poor little things! Love Margot’s attitude. Kids are so funny!

    Connor has only been stung on one occasion, about the age Margot is now. He was climbing on an old play structure in the yard of a friend who’s son was too old for such things (16?) but it hadn’t been taken down. Apparently, there was a hive under the platform. Kid has only been stung ‘once’, but he had probably a dozen punctures. Holy cow! He too recovered quickly and announce, “I don’t think I’ll be playing on that. Do you have any Legos instead?”

    Oh I miss my boy…

  16. MeganMR says:

    Love the quote at the end.

  17. Poor girlies! Thank God they aren’t allergic at least! I am loving the sand box and it looks like it just fits in perfectly in your yard. Great find!

  18. Holly says:

    You could cover the sandbox with an old sheet, tarp, slab of wood or an old section of a fence…the cover will also keep all the pincones, needles and other debris out of the wonderfully clean sand! My friend had a momma bunny make her nest in her sandbox over the winter (it was nice and warm with the tarp keeping them dry) so make sure whatever cover you choose that it is secure. Have fun! :)

  19. FinnyKnits says:

    Was thinking about your birdhouse after all this and thought I’d mention that if you venture back out to where Andy dropped it off in the woods in a few months, you may find it empty and able to come home.

    Unless it’s a LARGE birdhouse, it probably won’t provide enough space for a burgeoning hive, so they’ll likely swarm and find a larger home closer to the end of the season (fall).

    Anyway – still bummed the girls were stung, but it’s one of those childhood experiences we all have, right? And we’ve all lived to be spectacular adults, I think you’ll agree ;)

  20. Alice says:

    Is your quote about misadventure an original? I’d love to use it. Thanks for writing.

  21. Jennifer says:

    Take some 1×1 wood yard sticks, measure all four sides and staple window screen material to use as a cover. Keeps animals out and cleaner, rain will still pour through and drain too. Don’t know if this was mentioned or suggested.

  22. Kelle says:

    I see “You might also like…” old post, B or G way back when you were pregnant. I love those little reminders of old posts at the end of these. I find myself clicking sometimes.

    I loved your Mamalode this week. I was in awe of your reverence for nature and the way you expressed it. Beautiful, Friend.

    Sandbox kicks ass too.

  23. Kelly Cach says:

    Poor babies!!!! And your poor mama heart! It’s not your fault, but I understand those pangs…..so hard to shake.

    Here’s something kind of the same but different:

    I was visiting a friend one time and we made spaghetti together and fed our then 2 year old boys dinner. They tried eating their “sketty” with forks, but inevitably, in a two year old manner, ended up scooping noodles into their mouths with their fingers. A few bites into it and they, in unison, began SCREAMING and waving their little hands wildly in the hair….mouths full of spaghetti, gaping wide open. We couldn’t figure out what was wrong; it wasn’t too hot, too spicy, or disgusting (in our opinion–haha). They were too hysterical to explain, so we finally washed their hands only to discover they both had a paper cut on the SAME tiny finger! The acidic sauce was stinging them. At the same time. The same finger. Bizarre.

    Sorry this was so long. I had forgotten about this incident. Your sting story reminded me about my sting story :( Hope the girls aren’t too itchy! Aaawww….

    Kelly

  24. Alice, Yes I wrote that but it was a spin off of that Ziggy quote about roses and thorns. Thanks for reading!