We were sitting on the patio at an area restaurant. We just ordered our food and both girls were working on activity books. Shortly after the beverages arrived, The Milk Belly Princess spilled some lemonade on her dress. She was concerned, but I told her not to worry about it; it was only a few drops, it was a hot day and the sun would dry it quickly.
The Mister and I were busy watching a small group of younger patrons smoking just on the other side of the patio fence. While the patio itself was non-smoking, that rule did not apply to the restaurant's parking lot and half a dozen twentysomethings were lighting up fifteen feet away from us.
I glared at them and thought evil thoughts. Are they going to do that the whole time we're here? Who do they think they are? How dare they ruin my family dinner with their disgusting habit?
"Stupid. They're stupid." I muttered as The Mister and I both shook our heads in disgust.
I say this as an ex-smoker, someone who started in high school out of boredom and endured several seasons of smelly clothing, lessened energy and subpar health before I forced myself to stop. If, when my daughters get a little older and go through the "Did-you-ever-smoke-or-drink-or-do-drugs-or-run-away-from-home-and-join-a-traveling-circus-as-The-Bearded-Lady-because-we-know-how-often-you-get-your-eyebrows-done-and-your-lip-waxed-and-you-could-definitely-pull-it-off Phase" I will answer the smoking portion of that question in the affirmative...and admit that it was stupid.
All of a sudden The Milk Belly Princess was screaming like I've never heard her scream before. Her chair was rocking from side to side as she kicked her legs, flapped her arms and shreiked. As I leapt up to see what was wrong, I saw a bee fly out from under her dress. She'd been stung.
Neither of my daughters have ever been stung by bees. In addition to being in pain, I think part of her reaction was out of fear. One minute she was working through mazes enjoying some lemonade and the next she was being stabbed in the thigh. What was happening?
I ran into the restaurant and asked the bartender for a bag of ice. As I passed a couple dining on the patio I shouted, "She's been stung by a bee! She's a good girl! She's been stung!"
Did you see what I did there? How I judged and wrote off a whole group of people based on one superficial trait and then, not five minutes later freaked out at the thought of anyone thinking my daughter was "bad" for screaming? The irony of the juxtaposition of my snap judgement of the smokers with the fear of me and my child being judged harshly by others is not lost on me. ...but thank you for noticing.
The staff at the restaurant was very attentive. Within a minute we had a giant bag full of ice. As The Mister and I examined The Milk Belly Princess' rapidly swelling knee, one of the young men who'd been smoking by the fence approached us.
"Is it a bee sting?" he asked.
When I said it was he said, "Garlic, I swear to God, rub a clove of garlic on the sting. It works." and then he walked away.
Our server brought us a clove of garlic from the kitchen. The Mister put it on The Milk Belly Princess' knee and it worked like magic. Almost immediatelty she stopped crying and the swelling started to go down.
Someone I'd written off not ten minutes earlier as stupid saved the day with his knowledge of how to treat bee stings. He helped my little girl in a way that never would have occurred to me.
The food arrived. I usually love this particular restaurant's Buffalo Chicken Salad, but on that particular night it tasted a lot like crow.
Afterword: Since the garlic worked like a charm, The Milk Belly Princess was her usual, playful self by the time we arrived at home. Little Tiger wanted to do something nice for her little sister so she offered to give her a "makeover." Here she is about two hours post-sting showing off her new "pin curls" courtesy of Little Tiger: