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    That Stung

    “Like bees, they must put their lives into the sting they give.”

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

    It’s near the end of January.  We shouldn’t hear frogs croaking at night.  Little buds shouldn’t be appearing on plants in our garden, and we most definitely shouldn’t be in the company of bees.

    My daughters typically like to run around the house barefoot.  I love my cozy slippers, but they apparently like the feel of the floor under their feet.  To be honest, I think the girls slip and fall with greater frequency when they wear ‘slippers,’ (aptly named,) so I don’t mind that their feet are usually bare.  Do you know what’s coming?

    Wonderful Big-Daddy-O built a foot-locker for our laundry-room.  We should really call it a ‘multi-purpose’ room because besides the washer and dryer, it contains our dog’s bed, a stash of wood for the fireplace, and it serves as one big closet with a wide variety of shoes, jackets, and other outdoor-garments strewn about.  Needless to say, keeping the room tidy was a challenge.  Thus, I put in a request for some shoe-shelves, and voila…my handy husband delivered!

    It was an exciting moment in our household when the shelves were finally erected and secured to the wall.  Pip, Fig and I joined Big Daddy-O in the ‘laundry-room’ for a ceremonial unveiling of our footwear’s new home.  We ‘oohed’ and ‘aaahed’ as Pip placed her bright pink rubber boots on one of the shelves.  Then it was Fig’s turn.  As she walked over to the shelves, my little barefoot beauty started crying.  She walked back toward me and the crying escalated to screaming.

    “Fig, what’s wrong?”  She distraught and couldn’t get a word out.  I looked down at her feet and saw something brown; I assumed it was a bit of mud that had been tracked in from outside.  “Oh, is it this dirt that’s bothering you?”  Fig was now screaming.  Upon closer examination, I realized that no, it was not dirt stuck to her foot;  it was a bee !!!  A fuzzy, dozey, lazy bee that had fastened himself to Fig’s baby toe.  I flung it away and examined Fig’s toe.  She had been stung alright, (luckily the bee took his stinger with him,) and she was really starting to feel it.


    Into the kitchen we went, to mix a concoction of baking soda and water.  Fig hated it, but I like to believe it helped.  It took thirty minutes of cuddles before the tears completely subsided.   She’d calm down for a bit and then a fresh wave of tears would emerge.  I felt so badly for her.  It wasn’t fair.  At least when it’s summer-time and you’re outside enjoying a barefoot romp in the grass, bug bites and stings are somewhat justified.  The indoor sting in the middle of winter made no sense whatsoever.  Dumb bee.

    Fig has recovered from the sting, in fact, it has become something of a badge of honour.  Now, when we read, “Time for Bed,” by Mem Fox, Fig grabs her pinky-toe when we get to the page about the bees.  “Mama, bee sting… toe,” she says proudly.  “Cry and cry and cry.”

    “Yes, Sweetie.  You cried because that bee sting really hurt.”  I say.  And I’m suddenly thankful that we can’t remember pain; at least not the bee-sting variety.

    (PS…I stand corrected; Big Daddy-O just informed me that it was a wasp that stung Fig.  You forgive me.)

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