It was a very normal afternoon. Bear in and out from the garage, the dogs hovering around my feet, and Abraham bouncing around the kitchen while I cooked dinner. I had a mild amount of mom-stress because I was up against the clock. Bear had to leave the house by 5:45, which meant dinner must be on the table at 5:15. I pulled one pot off the glass-top stove and flipped another one off while I got plates. My phone rang. “Hey! What are you doing?” my girlfriend asked from her drive home.
“Cooking dinner,” I said while Abe pulled his stool up next to me. He likes to help me stir and add ingredients.
“Oh, ok, are you…”
My whole heart stopped. From my peripheral vision, I could see my son removing his hand from the hot stove. And what did I say?
…as if shouting his name with concern and confusion based on the number of TIMES we have talked about never-ever-ever touching the stove would reverse time and undo what had just happened.
I hung up the phone and grabbed his hand, hurriedly getting it under cool running water. I filled a big, red mixing bowl that was waiting for the salad with water and sat it on the floor. I put a screaming Abe next to it and sat with him, dipping his already-blistering hand in and out of it. His screaming made it impossible to even think about whether I should go to the doctor or the ER or the Urgent Care or a bar. We did this for about 20 minutes before I realized this wasn’t getting better. So I called the Urgent Care.
“He needs to go to the children’s ER immediately,” the no-personality woman said to me.
“HE DOES?!” I asked, shocked that this was an ER emergency.
“Yes, take him straight there.”
I gathered myself. Abe was still sitting on the floor, less screaming, dipping his hand in and out of the water. I worked with Bear to walk Abe, the water bowl, and a small tupperware of dinner into the back seat of the car so that he never had to take his hand out of the water, nor starve.
What was so amazing was how, in between waves of pain, Abe would look at me and reassure me that he was OK. Reassure ME. I’m your mom, KID! Let me feel bad about myself right now, PLEASE.
I began driving Abe to the ER and suddenly, I heard the my Mom Gut talking.
You don’t need to take him to the ER. The ER is going to freak. him. out. Call Rhonda. She’ll know what to do.
Rhonda is a true-blue friend. She’s the person that lured me out of bed with chocolate during my divorce. She also knows how to stay calm in emergency situations.
After some explanation on the phone with her while I drove aimlessly as Abe sat in car seat holding a bowl of cool water, she told me exactly what to get from the pharmacy and exactly what to do. In that moment, it made far more sense to get medicine and sterile gauze than it did to sit for hours in an ER waiting for someone to give us medicine and sterile gauze.
Except that when we pulled up in the pharmacy parking lot, I realized we were going to have to walk with the big, red water/salad bowl throughout the store together.
“Abe. Here’s the deal…” He was still sniffling back tears. “You and I are a team right now. We are going to go into this store with the water bowl so you don’t have to take your hand out. We have to walk next to each other and go slowly so we don’t spill.”
“Can’t you just <sniff> leave me in the <sniff> car?” he asked.
“No, baby. That’s illegal. And scary. I can’t do that. We can definitely do this if we work together.”
I carefully helped him out of his seat while holding the water. We stood in the parking lot together, situating ourselves so that we could walk without him taking his hand out of the water.
“Mom? How am I going to hold your hand in the parking lot? For cars and stuff?”
So I put my hand in the water bowl. If both our hands are in the water bowl, we’re technically holding hands.
We navigated the aisles and aisles of first aid to find the burn cream and gauze we needed, made it through the check out line, and all the way back to the car without spilling a drop.
The rest of our evening was spent finding ways to eat dinner, get our jammies on, and lie in bed while keeping Abe’s hand in the cool water. And I Googled. A LOT. At one point it was pretty clear Abe had shingles, which is when I turned my phone off.
Once Abe finally fell asleep (with his hand in the water), I crept into his room like a ninja. I ever-so-gently removed his hand from the water and held it in the air, waiting for him to wake up from the burn…
…but he didn’t.
I gently applied numbing creme and medicine to his burns, wrapped them in sterile gauze, and then wrapped his whole hand with a giant ace bandage. I was so proud of him and of me.
The next morning the pediatrician agreed that it was not an ER-worthy burn and to just continue doing what I was doing. The moral of this story is that I am a horrible mother and no matter how many times you tell your children not to touch a hot stove, they only have to touch it once…