It is so wonderful when your child has a friend that they just love to bits. It is even nicer when that friend has a mom that you just love to bits because playdates become a win-win situation all round. And so I was absolutely thrilled to get an sms on Thursday night from Rebecca’s mom to ask if we could pop in for tea on Friday afternoon. Of COURSE we could! Work could wait, the grocery shopping could do itself (well, actually I sms’d the list to Stephen) because Kayla and I were going on a playdate!
Look, to be fair, I also had an ulterior motive, because Kirsty’s youngest daughter is 3 months old, and popping in for a cup of tea would give me the perfect excuse to “help with the baby”. Which actually means “Give her to me, I am so broody I could die!”
Either way, Kayla and I arrived at their house with very happy hearts at the prospect of some time with our respective friends. And it WAS lovely. Kirsty and I sat on the patio with steaming hot cups of tea and a plate heaped high with biscuits, I had the baby fast asleep in my arms, and the children were playing beautifully outside. In fact, other than a small bump on Kayla’s head that necessitated a few minutes with the ice pack, the kids were playing happily and all was right with the world.
Until two solemn faces suddenly arrived at our side.
“Mommy,” began Rebecca with these enormous blue (and very sorrowful) eyes. “I’m very sorry but Kayla and I have eaten the ice block.”
Silence while Kirsty and I tried to figure out what they were talking about.
“Ice block?” asked Kirsty. “What ice block?”
“Ummm, the one Kayla had on her head just now. We’re very very sorry!” replied Rebecca who was now actually hanging her head in shame. (Kayla, on the other hand, saw the look I was giving her and decided to play “Survivor”. You know – the game where you throw your friend to the wolves at Tribal Council and claim total innocence? I was NOT happy!)
Turns out that the two of them had wondered if the ice pack tasted like those frozen flavoured “iceys” that you buy from SPAR and had decided it was worth a try. Half way through the ice pack, they solemnly decided that it didn’t taste very nice and maybe they should just give up.
Kirsty and I were completely and utterly horrified. There were no actual ingredients or warnings on the ice pack wrapper and we had no clue if our kids were fine or if they had consumed so much anti-freeze that Hell would freeze over before they did. (Looking back, I think Kirsty was a bit more worried than I was, I was more annoyed that a trip to Casualty would mean handing back the baby.)
Common sense then kicked in quite quickly. Kirsty phoned the Poison Line (it no longer exists) and I phoned my mother. Kirsty then phoned her GP while I phoned my paediatrician. She then called her husband while I tried to strangle Kayla with my right hand (the left arm was still holding the baby).
Turns out that all ice packs are different and that we needed to take our blissfully unaware children, along with the leftover icepack, to the Sandton Clinic as quickly as possible. Which necessitated getting four children under then age of 5 into their shoes and jackets and into the car. And just when we had two sorted, we would lose one and have to on another hunt for the missing child. It was like trying to herd cats!
Five minutes and four children later, we were in the car and on the way to Casualty. Kirsty was driving and I was hoping out loud that the doctors would give our children something that would make them throw up for hours on end to teach them a lesson they would never forget. That lesson being: when-Shelli-is-holding-the-baby-do-NOT-do-anything-that-requires-a-trip-to-the-bloody-hospital. (Oh, and try not to eat anything poisonous either.)
By now, we had arrived at the hospital and the RKs (Revolting Kids) were beginning to get a little anxious about what was going to happen to them. (I was more concerned that NOTHING would happen to them and that we would have spent our Friday evening at the hospital for nothing.) Stephen had also arrived and was fanning the flames by telling the RKs that the doctor might have to stick a huge needle in their stomachs to suck out the poison. Which was probably not the BEST idea, given the fact that they were both now white with fear and beginning to think that possibly eating an ice pack was not the best choice they had made in their four short years on this planet.
We were then ushered into see the nurse, who was trying VERY hard not to laugh at the two wide-eyed RKs and their very angry mothers, not to mention the shaky voices asking if the doctor would use a very very VERY big needle to suck the poison out their stomachs.
Luckily, a very efficient doctor phoned the manufacturers and found out the this particular brand of ice packs had nothing toxic in it at all. In fact, apparently a poor gentleman had tried to commit suicide a few months previously by ingesting about 10 of them and had phoned the supplier to complain when he woke up completely fine the next day! I must admit to being slightly disappointed that they wouldn’t just make the kids throw up anyway (the situation could have been VERY serious and I think it would have been a good lesson to both of them) and had to content myself with telling Kayla that she was a very lucky girl because the needle would have been as long as my leg and VERY sharp and pointy. I am not lying when I say that she almost passed out at the thought.
The evening DOES have an upside though. Seeing as though both sets of parents were there and it was a Friday night after all, we decided to ensconce ourselves in a booth at the Wiesenhof Restaurant in the hospital’s reception and have dinner.
And so we did! And other than the fact that there was NO WINE ON THE MENU (which should be illegal, surely, after the day we had), we actually had a really nice time. The kids played beautifully (at the tops of their voices), I cuddled the baby to sleep while Kirsty fed me, and the Dads watched the Soccer on the TV just above our heads.
In fact, it was SUCH a success that we have decided to throw caution to the wind and try the Morningside Clinic THIS week. Never let it be said that we moms don’t get out much since having children!