Friday, April 19, 2024

Poison Ivy and Marbles

We keep a bar of special soap in our cabinet specifically for poison ivy emergencies. Sometimes it's Fels-Naptha. This time it was Marie Originals Poison Ivy/Oak Soap. 

Honestly, given how long we've lived in the south—where poison ivy seems to grow about as prolifically as dandelion weeds do on the Alberta prairies—we have a pretty good track record of not getting into poison ivy. It's true that I spend a considerable amount of time looking for poison ivy (and watching for snakes) and teaching my children to look for poison ivy (and watch for snakes). 

Growing up I didn't often worry about those things—snakes and poison ivy—because all the poisonous snakes came with alarm systems and running into poison ivy was a true rarity. It's possible that's why I'm so scared of them out here. Unfamiliar things are often a little scary. And we've been so have thus far avoided having any serious run-in with the vines. 

Zoë has had to take a few baths after some flirting with disaster too close to the side of the trail (or sidewalk—because poison ivy is all over the city as well as in the woods, which just blows my never-seen-poison-ivy-before-moving-out-here mind), but we haven't had, like, a serious run-in. 

And then today I noticed some poison ivy growing on our little hill. 

Cue Phoebe's high pitched voice: "On my little hill?!"

Indeed. On our own little hill. 

Our neighbours have a tree that is, uh, covered in the stuff—thick, hairy vines snaking up the tree trunk, and long branch-like tendrils of ivy masquerading as genuine tree branches overhead. Poison ivy can be a real trickster that way!

I've been concerned about that tree, but so far that vine has just kept to its one location and hasn't bothered us. But today I noticed several little ivy babies unfurling on our hillside and decided I had better do something about it. 

So I get all suited up—with disposable gloves on, even with the heat and humidity that's begun to set in—and I'm doing something about it. And I'm feeling pretty good, pretty clever, hunched over the ground, destroying those itch-inducing foes.

And then...I stood up to stretch my one does after, you know, digging about in the dirt for however long...and I felt something brush against my head. I looked up and saw all around me brilliant green leaves clapping their mittened hands with glee, white flower buds laughing their tinkling laughter—so delicate, so deceptively beautiful. 

I had stood up...directly into an overhanging branch of poison ivy. 

"Ugh." I moaned. 

Andrew came outside right at that moment. He'd been inside cleaning up Phoebe, who tripped on the driveway and landed right on her face just as I was getting suited up to deal with the poison ivy. I carried her inside, bleeding and screaming, and he'd taken over from there. And now they were back outside so we could go for a walk.

"Let's get you into your stroller," Andrew narrated, as he sat her down. 

"Oh, wait a minute," I said, slowly pivoting to face him. I'd hardly dared to move as I processed my predicament. "I need to take a shower..."

"Uh-oh," he said. "Did you..."


So we postponed our walk while I pulled out our Marie Originals Poison Ivy/Oak Soap and lathered it into my hair...and...honestly...I really hope that was enough to prevent a rash...only time will tell. 

Andrew was like, "So how long before we know..."

And the answer is frankly ridiculous because it's, like, between hours and days

So, join me in crossing my fingers for the next few days...


And just because this story is so short it doesn't warrant its own post and also because I think part of the reason Phoebe was so emotional at bedtime this evening is because she fell and scraped her face up (humans, I've noticed, typically have shorter fuses when they're hurting) it might connect somehow.

But Phoebe was just out of sorts and super intense and emotional all day. 

The kids went into the back-backyard to catch a fish for science (that' at least, right?). They succeeded. But Phoebe screamed and cried and carried on the whole time they were gone because she had wanted to go with them. Like, absolutely not—you're two years old! 

And she cried over everything before and after that as well. She just...cried a lot. 

Anyway, after scriptures and prayer she headed right upstairs for bed, like she's supposed to. But then—while I was still herding some seemingly less compliant children in the right direction—I heard her getting out the marbles. 

"No, Phoebe!" I hollered up the stairs. "No way! We're not playing marbles right now! Don't you dare open that lid! Come on, kids! Upstairs! I've got to go stop her!"

It wouldn't have been the end of the world if she had dumped out the marbles, I guess. But I felt like stopping her was the right move here. So I stopped her.

She stormed over to her bed and threw herself onto her mattress.

"Me feel anghee!!!" she snarled at me. "Me feel so, so mad!"

"Well, I'm sorry you feel angry, but I'm glad you can name your feelings. We can't play with marbles right now because it's time to go to sleep. I think you'll feel a lot better after you have a good sleep. And you can certainly play with marbles tomorrow," I nattered on and on consolingly as I tucked her into bed. 

"Get out mine own bed!" she growled, kicking her legs at me to emphasize each syllable: 

Get. Kick. Out. Kick. Mine. Kick. Own. Kick. Bed. Kick.

"Sheesh," I said. "I'm only on your bed so I can tuck you in and sing you a lullaby and kiss you goodnight. Those are all nice things that you like, but I can't do those things if I'm not on your bed a little bit."

Bunkbeds, I tell you. They're great...but tucking kids in is a little more complicated, especially with Phoebe's floor-bed situation (the bottom bunk is a floor bed, and then there's a bunk overhead). I can't lean over that low without touching the mattress (because I have to basically get parallel to the floor to kiss her?) and then I can't tell you the number of times I've banged my head while tucking her in (or saying goodnight to Alexander, though his mattress is higher so I can kneel beside his bed to say goodnight). Anyway...

"Oh!" she sang, switching into lovey-dovey gear and wrapping her arms around my neck in a chokehold while showering my face with kisses. "Me love you, too, Momma!"

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