Well, it finally happened. I burned myself. Mama doesn’t ususally let me so close to the pan when we cook, but I’ve been wowwing everyone with my big-boyness of late, and I guess she thought if we were very careful, I would be fine. She and Papa are always saying the stove is hot, but whenever I put my hands on the burners, they never are. Or they say the grill is hot, and when I go touch it anyway, it never is. Yesterday morning, Mama brought my hand near the pan so I could feel the heat and told me it was very hot and not to touch it. I think she felt satisfied that this time I knew it was hot, and I think I did understand that because I did a pretty good job scooping pancake batter into the pan, then tossing blueberries on the pancakes when they started getting bubbly.
We had done about half the batch when—and I don’t know what came over me—I tossed in some blueberries with my left hand and grabbed the pan with my right. I think I might’ve been trying to bring it closer, but I don’t know for sure. Or I just forgot how hot it was, so caught up was I in my task. Mama tells me it seemed like I held onto that pan for a full second before I registered the pain and let go. She rushed me to the sink, where she ran soothing cool water over my fingers; it made me feel better enough to interrupt my crying and eat the blueberries I was still holding.
But my fingers sure smarted. They were red and shiny. I managed to eat my breakfast then go off to play with my books, all left-handed. Mama finally thought to give me something for the pain, and then she called my doctor, who advised her, since the burn was on my hand, to take me to a place called the E.R. I walked into the hospital on my own, and because it has a special E.R. just for kids, Mama didn’t even have time in the waiting room to get a book out of her bag for me. We went to a room just for us, where I stood on the bed (to be weighed), and a friendly man gave my leg a hug (to take my blood pressure) and put a funny red-light band-aid on my finger (to take my pulse?). The other nurse asked Mama where I was burned, and she said, “The hand that’s currently clutching my shirt.” And it was true. My hand hardly hurt anymore, and I was using it like normal.
We read books, played with trains, watched the ambulances come and go outside my window, and danced a polka while we waited for the doctor. It turns out that only my index finger, the very tip of my thumb, and just a wee part of my middle finger got burned. It was my index finger that concerned the doctor, since there was a possibility of it blistering. She decided that even though there were no blisters, because I was using my hand so much, it might be best to wrap it up. She told Mama that they’re very proactive about burns now, especially if they’re on the face, genitals, or hands.
So the nice nurse came back, put something goopy on my fingers and wrapped it up with gauze. Mama tried to convince me that it looked like a dinosaur hand and that we could have fun with it. I wasn’t buying it. You’re not seeing a picture of it because it wasn’t on my hand long enough. C’est la vie.
We were actually at the hospital quite a while, so we missed lunch. Mama took me to one of her favorite places to eat: a burrito joint where she says she ate at least once a week when I was growing inside her. There are two things she loves best about the place: its smoked tofu and its fish tacos. This was my third time going where Mama actually ordered something for me, instead of giving me bites of her food. You know I can be a picky eater, but I have to tell you, I love the food here. I can eat almost an entire beef taco or cheese quesadilla by myself. And I like dipping their homemade tortilla chips in the different salsas. (Yesterday they had pineapple-mango.) Neither of us know what it is about the place, why we like it so much. Its food is superfresh and locally sourced when possible; it’s reasonably priced and fast. The music they play is pretty cool, too.
So what did we all learn from this experience? Let’s review:
1. If Mama says something is hot, do not touch it. I wanted her to hold me while she cooked my eggs today, and when she told me the pan was very hot, I didn’t even reach for the spoon to stir them. I now know that hot means hot.
2. Mama should not be letting me near the stove, no matter how careful she thinks we’re being. (The same goes for using knives around little fingers.) She knew this but thought I might be ready to assist her. I’m not even 2 yet, so we should really be sticking to mixing cakes and scones. No matter how fast you think you’ll be able to react, it’s really hard to anticipate a kid reaching out and grabbing something he wants. It’s okay, though. She’s still my mama, and I love her. And if my finger ends up a crooked little hook of its former self, leaving me unable to operate as a right-hander, I’ll be able to lord it over her when I’m 16 and she won’t give me the car keys.
3. When you go to the E.R., you later get to eat at the best place on earth.