Friday, November 15, 2013

"Stop Slappin' Bees Son!"

J developed a habit of slapping bees this summer. The first time he did it on the playground, he slapped a bee into the slide and crushed it. I admonished him NEVER EVER to do that again.
"NEVER SLAP A BEE SON. It will sting you! You'll cry!"
This lesson, WHOOSH, right over head. Not a week went by before he crushed a bee against my car. Bam!
"I got you bee!" He squealed with delight and complete ignorance.
"J! Do not SLAP bees son!"
"Imma slap beeeeeeeeees mama! I got you bee!" 
Pride comes before the fall people. Pride before the fall. Lessons learned the hard way have a way of sticking. From his gleeful declaration I could tell no amount of admonishing was going to work.

A week or so goes by and then on a nice walk at Parker Mill. Lindsey, J, and I encounter a swarm of bees by the river, A SWARM. Listen, I was nine when My Girl came out. I lost my shite when Thomas J died.

My J gets to stompin'. He's fixin' to get him a bee. (My Gram would say.)

No nooooo and no.

Do not stomp on, near, or around a swarm of bees. We were two women with a newborn and a child and we were running.  This wasn't the time to let J learn the hard way. We are grown ass women. We don't trifle with bees.

So the summer rolls on and the bees are getting more aggressive, but so is J. He gets another one at the park. He gets one at the apple orchard, crushes it right against the little bench we are sitting on enjoying our cider mill donuts. Since I wasn't done with my donut, and I have heard bees can sting posthumously, I broke a little twig off and let him examine the bee with it.

He was very proud and rattled off a little,  "I got you bee" tune. He wanted to take bee home and show daddy, so wrap we it in a napkin and stored it in the donut bag. At this point I'm starting to feel a little pride in his bee slapping abilities. I wasn't encouraging it, but by the fifth or so kill my strict admonishing had turned into a slightly exasperated,
"Stop slappin' bees son!"
The day of reckoning came early last month. After a long beautiful day of playing and hiking, and making new friends, we were packing up the car to head home. I picked J up to say our goodbyes and had turned for the car when a bee flew between us. This was an end of the year bee, the kind of bee that will buzz around, all up in your grill. I turned away from the bee but not fast enough for Sir Speedy Hands.

Before I knew it, J had slapped the bee into his cheek. I immediately ran for the grass to lay him down. I was SURE that he could not have performed that action without consequence, but there was none of the crying and carry on I would expect from a child who had just SQUASHED a bee INTO his cheek. I peeled back his hand to reveal little red dot.
"J are you okay? Did the bee sting you? Can you hear me?" I asked fearing he maybe in toddler shock.
A slow smile spread across his face. The red blotch spreading up his cheek had reached the underside of his shining brown eyes.
"Bee got me Mama! Bee got me!...I got you bee!" He said.

Wait, this was supposed to be the moment the lesson sank in. There was no crying. Sinking in, it was not. I could tell the lesson was still floating somewhere in the stratosphere. After a summer of slapping bees, the bees were supposed to have won. J still looked for bees to slap through October, but as it got colder they got harder and harder to find. As near as I can figure, the score for the summer was J- 5 Bees-1.

It's November now so all the bees are long gone. Hopefully this will all blow over by next summer, and he will develop a proper respect for bees. Even then, "stop slappin' bees" will be in my vocabulary. You can use it too. It is a flexible phrase used in place of "don't tempt fate." I promise if you use it you'll sound cool.