Saturday, June 13, 2015

Tick-tock

The first line of business when we arrived home from the beach was to get all the children bathed and into bed. Initially we had told them all to take a quick shower but Benjamin needed a bath (he told us so through tears and tantrums and it just wasn't worth the fight) so we sent the girls to our bathroom to shower and ran a bath for Benjamin.

I sat down to nurse Zoë while Andrew bathed Benjamin.

Soon, though, the girls were yelling at us from the master bath. But the tub was running and the shower was running and Rachel was screaming. I'd have gone to investigate, myself, but I didn't think it was that serious and Zoë had already been patiently waiting to nurse for so long that I didn't want to deny her milk any longer. Miriam would not come out to talk to me, nor would Rachel come out to show me, so we were doing this yelling match thing.

Something's stuck on Rachel.

(Send her out here).

She's trying to get it off.

(Send her out here).

It won't come off.

(Send her out here).

It's a shell...maybe.

(Send her out here).

It's stuck under her skin.

(Send her out here).

It's bleeding.

"For crying out loud! Get out here!" I called.


Rachel came limping out of the bathroom. Whatever it was was stuck in her hip. The light's not very good in the living room so I couldn't really see it.

"Go show your dad," I instructed. The bathroom has better light.

Rachel limped off to the kids' bathroom.

"We need to get it out," Andrew said. "Go get some tweezers and bring them back to me."

Rachel limped back to the living room.

"Where are the tweezers?" she sniffed.

How is it that children never know where anything is?

"You know where they are," I said. "They're in the top drawer with the nail clippers."

Rachel limped into the master bath to fetch the tweezers. She limped past me on her way to the other bathroom. She handed the tweezers to Andrew and then she flipped out.

"Don't touch me! Don't touch me!" she screamed.

"It has to come out!" Andrew said. "Come here!"

"No!" she wailed. "I won't let you! Don't touch me! No!"

There was a tussle and more yelling and the next thing I know, Rachel is streaking through the house, Andrew is stumbling after her, and Benjamin is soggily dripping through the hall (he'd been yanked out of the bath tub).

"Leave me alone!" Rachel screamed. She was backed into a corner.

"We just need to get it out," Andrew said, calmly approaching her. "It's going to be fine, I promise."

Somehow, though, she got around him and was off again, screaming and running in circles around the kitchen. It was getting a tad ridiculous. The clock was ticking closer and closer to 11:00. The kids had to get in bed. The girls hadn't even showered yet, Benjamin was half-bathed, Zoë was half-fed, and Rachel was being ridiculous. She was also completely naked.

I put Zoë down in a safe spot—away from the ruckus Rachel was rousing—and joined the fray.

While Andrew was chasing her in one direction, I cut off her path as she came out of the kitchen, grabbed her, and plopped us both onto the bench by the table, pulling her over my lap. Andrew was right behind her, luckily, because there was no way I could hold her for long. He grabbed her flailing legs, and tweezed out the culprit off her hip.

Blood splurted. Rachel squealed.

We let Rachel go and she skittered across the floor, fleeing to the bathroom where hopped into the shower, which had been running this whole time. She sobbed and sobbed while she washed her hair.

"Was it...alive?" I asked Andrew.

"Definitely," he said.

"Do you still have it? Or did you squish it?" I asked.

"I still have it," he said. "It's kind of squished, but it's right here."

He showed me the tweezers. I looked at the mangled body on the tip.

"That's a tick!" I moaned. "And from the looks of things it's been feasting for a few days."

So, now we have a dead, semi-smashed tick sitting in a zip-lock bag with Rachel's name on it so we can identify the tick later if we need to.

"Pulled from Rachel June 12, 2015," the bag reads (just in case we pull a different one from a different victim later; don't want to mix up ticks, you know).

I'm hoping she won't get sick because remember how sick she got last year (from what doctors assumed was a tick-borne illness)?! She missed a full week of school and was miserable—throwing up, fever of 105°F, basically delirious. We also gave the girls (another) lecture about checking for ticks.

"How often do we check?" we asked.

"Every. Single. Day," the girls chanted because if you live here and you go outside (not hiking or camping...just outside) then you check for ticks (or even if you don't go outside, you still check for ticks, because a tick could have hitched a ride inside on someone else who did go outside and then pick you for lunch).

Checking Zoë and Benjamin is fairly easy because I see them naked fairly often still, but how do I convince the older girls to check themselves every day?

By chasing their naked little hiney around the house for a half hour, I guess. That's got to be pretty memorable.

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