Pepper Spray and Kids…Don’t Mix Well

Do not attempt this in your own home…if you do…you’re as stupid as I am! You’re going to love this one. I can’t even believe I’m sharing it with you.

Last night around 6:00, we had an unexpected visitor at the front door. A husband and wife (both so ridiculously attractive, I must add) who wanted to speak with “Mackenzie’s mom.” She’s my 11 year old.  I should have run out the back door and hid, Mackenzie is the fifth child, I know how these sorts of visits go down.  “I’m looking for Mackenzie’s mom” is never…ever…ever good.  This time would be no different than all the other times with the four kids prior.

Mackenzie’s friend came by this afternoon to see if she could play, it was about 3:45.  She wasn’t quite done with her homework, so it would be about 5-10 minutes before she was available.  The friend decided to wait out front for Mackenzie to get done.  She wasn’t allowed to come in and wait per her fathers specific instructions.  I told her to make herself comfortable out front at my bistro table.  Because I often write at my bistro table, I keep a few office supplies handy in a ceramic cup my older daughter made for me.  Some old scissors, a couple of pens, a pencil, a marker, a nail file, a pepper spray pen, etc.

With all of the workers I’ve had around my house over the last six months, I keep my pepper spray pen handy, just in case.  There is no way of knowing what the screening process is for the people who work for the companies I’ve hired.  I don’t know any of them from Adam, I don’t know if they are criminals, addicted, rapists, out of their minds, etc.  Better to be safe than sorry (this time I would be sorry 🙁 ).  My pepper spray is disguised as a pen, and you’d never know it was pepper spray unless you actually sprayed it.  All of my kids know what it is, they know not to touch it and that if they did, it would be all bad.  The neighbor kids unfortunately never got my speech about my pepper spray!  To a bored nine year old waiting out front at my bistro table, it looks like a pen, a marker!  If I was nine and I took the lid off, I would have thought it was perfume or something fun like that.  I most likely would have sprayed it.

I think you can see where this is headed…

The little girls parents were at the door to try and figure out what their daughter and Mackenzie were doing and what had happened.  I was completely in the dark because Mackenzie hadn’t touched the pen and didn’t even know her friend had touched it and played with it.  We were all terribly confused when her parents showed up speaking of the girls playing with mace and that they had contacted poison control because their nine year old (so pissed at myself!) daughter’s hands were burning and itching and that she touched her face and eyes which were also burning. Poison control suggested it may have been mace.  I had no clue what they were talking about. Then it hit me…she was at the bistro table by herself waiting for Mackenzie for about five minutes!

I rushed over to the table, picked up the pen and showed it to her parents, obviously horrified as to what their daughter might be experiencing. It now made sense…she got pepper spray on herself!  OMG!  OMG!  OMG!  My heart sunk as I stood there holding the pen in disbelief.  I’m one of those over protective, drive my kids crazy, lecture them about safety, hide things, kind of parents.   I keep prescriptions in a locked gun safe and the alcohol in the house is hidden in my room!  I have teenagers in and out of the house and don’t like to take chances, so I usually don’t.  Call me Nervous Nelly…Nervous Nadine…whatever.

They were both so gracious and understanding that I had it there for self protection because I sit out front so frequently.  They explained that their daughter is a curious one and shouldn’t have been in my things in the first place.  I couldn’t have been more apologetic and kept saying I’m so sorry.  Seriously…I didn’t know what to say…she’s nine for heaven’s sake!  I couldn’t imagine the pain she must be in…poor baby.

And it was while I was standing there talking with her parents, letting them know the pen would go straight to the garbage, begging for forgiveness, holding that pen that I touched my face.  I hadn’t thought about the fact that it was “played with” and might have residue on it.  I’d certainly never tested it, I feared even taking the lid off it.  I’m a total “sissy baby pants” who avoids physical pain at all costs…no way!  As we talked I could feel my face getting hotter and hotter and hotter.  It began to burn like it was being seared by heat.  It hurt like the sting of a really bad sunburn when the sun gets on it. Ouch! I realized that I too had gotten the pepper spray on my face.  Arggg…at least I knew what my little friend was experiencing now and boy was I feeling for her.  It really stings and I don’t think I got much of it on me.

Pssst….If you should ever get pepper spray on yourself, wash the area with Dawn dish-soap to get rid of the oil the spray leaves behind.  Don’t use hot water, it opens your pores and that would make it hurt even more!  You may have to wash and repeat several times to remove the oil residue.  Poison control recommended applying mayonnaise to calm the sting, I used yogurt because it was all I had (it worked) and then decided to try zinc oxide (Butt Paste), which did the trick to remove the sting with less mess.

The sting lasted for about an hour I’d say, my face turned bright red where I had touched it and I had that little girl on my mind alllllllll night long.  Her mom assured me that she was okay at around 9:00 via text.  It was a long couple of hours while I waited to hear how she was doing.

No matter how hard any of us try to be perfect parents (ha!) we all make mistakes.  I’ve forgiven myself, I’ve thrown out the pepper spray, it was an accident, not an “on-purpose,” so now I’m moving on without beating myself up about it.  It’s in the past and the past can’t be changed, but it can certainly be learned from.

I’m loving you… big time!

Nadine

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