The Stewart Family
By Suzanne Mazer Stewart
No matter how much we love our children, no matter how much we try to protect them from dangers, no matter how closely
we keep our eyes on them, things are bound to go wrong. Something will happen in that split second we turn our back, or in
an instant innocence will turn to ugliness. Take the time in April when two-year-old Taylor fell in the pond. He only wanted
to catch a "foggy" but when the froggy jumped in, so did he. Well, sort of.
Then, there are those times when no amount of parental diligence short of psychic abilities can prevent harm from occurring.
Now, it's a natural part of childhood to get bumps and scrapes, owies and boo-boos. It is also, it seems, in families of more
than one child, natural to want to eliminate the competition. That's where this story starts. Well, sort of.
It was a beautiful sunny Saturday not too long ago. (Now, how many of those have we had lately?) So, naturally, we
planned our day mostly around outdoor activities. Brian was going to take the older two children to Son #1's Little League
game that afternoon, after having them help with some much needed mowing and trimming. I was going to have the little
ones help me dig up the flower beds in anticipation of planting, if the rain ever decided to stop again. Alas, it was not to
be. (Insert heavy sigh here, please.)
The beauty and peace of that otherwise glorious day was shattered first by Son #2 whacking Daughter #2 in the hand
with his little plastic garden spade. Not that it hurt her physically, mind you. Everyone knows the squeaky wheel gets the
grease. Well, around here, it the one who can scream bloody murder the loudest, or so they think. After assuring her that
all her fingers were still attached and that no further medical attention was needed, we tried once again to resume our
work. With one child on one side of me and the other on the opposite side, of course. Then, the four-year-old darling of
our lives decided she needed to "pull that big dandelion out of the garden, Mama." So, I let her. You know those things
have roots to China and so do I, but she was happy and thought she was going to do us a great service. Who was I to burst
her bubble? I should've used the weed killer on the darn thing, but that didn't occur to me until much, much later.
Baby Brother was not going to be outdone by his sister in the helping hands department. either that or the sight of his sister
struggling with this huge weed looked like too much fun to miss out on. Whatever his motives, his actions betrayed the evil
that lurks inside every human heart. He got up from beside me, walked over to where she was standing, all red-faced and
leaning backward with both hands wrapped around the stem of the offending plant. She tried pushing him away with a little
bump of her hip. After all, it was "her" weed to pull. So, Little Brother sized up the situation, and then realizing she was
pretty much defenseless unless she let go, he promptly poked her in the eye.
Oh, the screeching, the howling, the inhumanity of it all! She didn't stop when I picked her up. She didn't stop when I took
her inside and washed off the dirt and tears and other by-products of getting poked in the puss. She didn't even stop when
I made Baby Brother sit in the corner. That's when I knew it was serious. I finally got her calmed down enough to examine
the injury. And there, plain as day, was a scratch even I could see.
Now, I don't know about you, but it's a pretty good sign you've got lots of kids when the cleaning staff at the Emergency
Room calls you by name. After exchanging "hello"s with Bill, the janitor, and waiting for what seemed like an eternity, she
was finally examined by a very nice, young doctor. Well, sort of. You see, she was not about to let some stranger look into
the nether regions of her already embattled eyeball. And there was also no way he was going to those drops in her eye, nor
look at her through that special scope they use for just such examinations. Not without a fight anyway. Didn't matter how
softly he spoke, didn't matter how many teddy bears and lollipops he showed with the promise of receiving if she'd just
"lie still and be quiet for a minute." Finally, like a rookie cop faced with the Dilinger Gang, he called for back-up. With one
nurse holding her legs, another holding her head still, and Mama attached quite firmly to both hands, all that she could do
was to once again howl like the wounded and trapped little animal she was. Baby Brother, meanwhile, was sitting calmly in a
chair in the corner of the room, watching with that "Did I do that?" expression on his face. Well, sort of.
Just as the nice young emergency pediatrician was finishing his exam and treatment of Sister, he chose to make his move.
He stealthily descended from his lofty perch and crept up to where that nice young doctor was attending to his sister's
needs, got a firm grasp on the doctor's ankle, and then bit him on the leg.
No one realized he'd moved until he struck, so I'm certain he has a career in the military special forces, or maybe cat
burglary, I'm not sure which would fit his personality better. As for the eye, after a few days of special eye drops and
ice packs, it was back to normal. As for the doctor's leg, after a lollipop and a few kind words from the nurses, he seems
to be doing fine, as well.
Oh, by the way, Bill the janitor says, "Hey!"