Yesterday morning wasn't good. Yesterday afternoon was worse.
We had promised L that we would go and buy her some new knickers and a new potty. So off we went, bundled into the car, for a couple of hours of joy at the retail park. While there we seized the opportunity also to buy L some new shoes. She is clearly a changeling because she doesn't appear to enjoy buying shoes (am also wondering if she's really female) so was bribed into it with the promise of cake (more good parenting there).
So off we went to M&S (this being the only retail park in the Western Hemisphere with no Starbucks) for a reviving coffee and cake.
Picture the scene. B doing the hunter-gathery stuff at the counter. Me and L sitting on the bench on one side of the table, S and A in highchairs on the other side, all waving to each other and showing each other how clever we are because we can clap. I wanted to bottle the scene and take it out in years (or hours) to come to remind me of how perfect my girls can be and how lucky I am.
Until B came back with the food and drinks, unloaded them onto the table and went to put the tray away. And A grabbed the full cup of coffee and tipped it all over herself.
It probably didn't happen in slow motion, but it felt like it did.
And in my head was the voice of my lovely friend SVS, saying to me not four weeks ago "I remember when G (her youngest) tipped a pot of tea all over herself. Fortunately I knew exactly what to do. I ripped her clothes off and charged through the cafe into the ladies and stuck her in the sink and kept her there until the ambulance came. She's fine now".
I didn't know exactly what to do. I had no idea what to do. But somehow I heard SVS. And though I was shaking and crying and yelling for B, together we ripped (literally - we have lost several buttons) her clothes off and B grabbed her and got her in the sink.
The staff called the ambulance and between us we managed to keep the other two entertained, and A's tummy and chest covered with cold compresses until they got there. They took us off to the hospital where the doctor told me that due to our prompt action in doing exactly the right thing, she has suffered no serious damage. Had we not done so it could have been a very different story. We were home again later on the same day. A is now clearly feeling a bit sore at times, but she is (and will be) fine.
So anyway, the point of this post is threefold:
First; to thank SVS for her incredibly timely advice (even though she had no idea she was giving advice at the time) and to thank the amazing staff at M&S in Kew. They were utterly utterly brilliant. We walked away with new clothes for A, a jigsaw to keep L happy, a towel to wrap A in and they even (bizarrely) refunded all the drinks. They also kept a very stressed and worried pair of parents calm with their sensible and friendly advice and approach. I've written to them and to their head office, but I also wanted to say it on here.
Second; because this is what I seem to use my blog for a lot of the time, to revisit that panic and fear and to remind myself, in writing, that it is all ok and she (and we) are all fine.
And, most importantly, third; in the hope that others will read this, and if and when (and sadly it's more likely to be when rather than if where babies are concerned), someone else's child grabs something hot, maybe they too will be lucky enough to have a little voice in their head telling them what to do. And hopefully they too will be fine.
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