Frazzled already and it was only Wednesday morning, so I decided to treat the little ones to some time at the McDonald's playland. As usual, I got in, sent the big kids to play while I ordered with Mud Pie. The boys hurried back out for their food, gulped it down, and headed back in, only I noticed a handful of other kids were in the playland too, older ones. So instead of sitting right outside the playland doors (where it's quieter), I braved the shrieks and found a table right by the twisty slide. Good thing I did.
No sooner had I set my soda down Fish and Pie came running, crying that they'd been pushed on the slide. The culprit was a developmentally challenged youngster who was there with a couple of others like him and a couple of adults (chatting across the room). I convinced my kids to let it go, to return to the slides, and throughout the next hour the pushing child managed to hit, push, even spit on every other kid in the place. One family left in disgust after the spitting; I just warned Fish and St. Nick to keep their distance.
They tried, but in those plastic tunnels anything can happen. Right as I was thinking we should leave, St. Nick ran out of the play area, steaming mad. "That kid scratched my eye! Right here! He's a bad kid, what a BULLY!" (Thanks, Grandma, for making my kids bully-phobes.)
I calmly started explaining (once I saw that the scratch was really tiny) that the boy was different, that he didn't understand how to behave because of his limitations and whatnot. That's when Fish let out with a shriek.
He shrieks a lot, but something in the tone, the sheer shock and terror of it caught me. I closed my computer, got up. "Fish? Fish? St. Nick, go see what's wrong with him."
St. Nick scurried into the tunnel while Fish continued to shriek hysterically. Several other adults came to make sure it wasn't their own kid screaming (since they do often sound alike at this age).
"He's biting him! He's biting him!"
Finally, finally the adults with the special needs kids roused themselves. One scurried into the tunnels and said, "He's ok, but there's a kid in here who's bleeding."
Fish emerged from the slide slowly, hand cupped over his nose, blood mixing with tears, flowing over his fingers, down his chin. A mom behind me gasped. I choked back a cry and gathered Fish up and took him to our table where I gave him a napkin and set to seeing, first, where the blood was coming from. Out of the nose, on the nose, his cheek. Everywhere, it seemed. Before I knew it, the McDonald's staff was taking down my address for an incident report, the nurse at the next table over was handing me baby wipes, I was digging into my purse for an emergency Xanax. I found it but had blood and tears to wipe, and vomit now too, thanks to Fish's reflux issues. Fears flooded me - a bite, a human bite. This could mean infection or worse: hepatitis, rabies, HIV.
The kind McDonald's folk found antiseptic wipes, a bandaid, and I searched the crowd to make sure the other child and his ... parent? had stuck around. They were still there.
I approached. "Um, I just wanted to know, if, well, sorry to ask this, but does your boy have any medical issues I should be aware of? Hepatitis? Anything like that?"
No, but they'd have to check his file back at the school, they're his teachers, see, and really he's never done anything like this before and wow, you're so calm, thank you for being calm, mom's usually aren't so calm ...
I went back to my table and took that Xanax.
Eventually all the questions were answered, the biter's teacher joked with the McDonald's manager about insurance ("I dunno about that," the manager said, "I don't think it would apply cause this wasn't our fault." "But we couldn't see through those tunnels," the teacher said, then backtracked at the evil look the manager gave her. Just a joke, she said.). Finally I got what might have been an apology from the teacher, and the nurse kindly urged me to take my little guy to the ER.
After a call to Dr. D, who called the pediatrician, and another nudging from the nurse, we did just that (Urgent Care Center up the road) and Fish got put on some seriously strong antibiotics. And, after a supper of salami sandwich on potato roll, a Fish favorite, we went out for ice cream. He's in bed now, but Dr. D just had to settle him again - he's afraid of having a nightmare about bullies. I don't blame him. It's not every day you meet a seven-year-old vampire in McDonald's playland.
Here he is, bitten Fish: