Brock and Mitch joined me for my post-call, post-nap afternoon Starbucks latte (in my free January mug). We found a big, leather chair where we settled to await our beverages, while Mitch chewed on his bunting and played with the stretchy-cow thing hanging from his carrier handle. Brock wandered over to the drink counter, announcing, "I'll be right here if you need me, mom!" Brock, I hate to break it to ya buddy, but for your entire 5 years of existence, I haven't "needed" you for anything...in fact, you generally get in the way, but, man do I love you. Anyway, our drinks are finally finished, and somewhere between obtaining our beverages and getting settled back into that big, leather chair, Brock had acquired a wooden, stir stick. As soon as I noticed, I immediately suggested he set it down, as I had assumed it was used. Perhaps, one he had found on the table adjacent our chair. This rampant stomach flu bug has brought out my inner germaphobe full force. He just laughed, "Mom, I got this my self, silly." Phew.
No sooner had I finished taking a photo of my mug, which had attracted Mitch's undivided attention, did I hear Brock begin to get worked up, "Mom, what is this on my finger"!? I attempt to look at the microscopic "thing" that I was certain he was inventing. It was nearly impossible to see anything on the panicked, moving target in the dimly lit Starbucks cafe. "It looks like some dry skin." He didn't buy it. "I think there is something in there." I continue to try to blow it off, "Ok, Brock, just sip your hot chocolate". He won't get over it, his anxiety builds, I can see he is verging on a breakdown. I oblige him another look, he holds still, and I see it. The finest of fine, nearly non-existent, hardly underneath the skin surface; splinter. "Oh, it's just a splinter, we'll get tweezers at home and..."
I can't even finish my sentence. Tears are welling up in his eyes. He is terrified and sad and worried sick. "But my hand will fall off! I don't want my hand to fall off. Not a splinter! Oh no, my hand's going to rot off." Sadistically, all I can do is laugh and make a paltry attempt to comfort and reassure him as I'm simultaneously trying to get organized for our sudden departure. A few, nearby patrons are finding humor in the abrupt turn of events. We get outside, and Brock is pacing, crying, and holding his precious, soon to be lost, hand. I continue to try to explain the harmless nature of his perceived plight, but it falls on deaf ears. While in the car, I here him mumbling, "I hate splinter problems." I had no idea there was such thing as "splinter problems", this makes me laugh. I'm still bewildered by this reaction, but am thoroughly enjoying the amusement it has afforded me at my young child's expense.
We arrive home. I find the tweezers. I remove the splinter without trauma. Brock's finger and hand is saved, He's relieved. He informs me that he doesn't think it needs a Band-aid, but he'll let me know if it starts bleeding. Then, suddenly, that worried look again...
"Mom! Oh no! Where's my hot chocolate!? Oh no." And just before the tears return, he sees me pointing directly in front of him on the table. "Oh. It's right here. Silly me, mom."