Words you never want to hear your child say.
And yet knowing that they are also acutely aware of their own mortality at age five, is yet another reminder that life is fragile and everything can change in an instant.
We had such an instant on Thursday afternoon. It was just like any other Thursday. Noah and I had walked home from school, he went out to jump on the trampoline while I boiled the kettle and poured myself one of my favourite vanilla roobois teas while cutting up some fruit to eat. He came back inside and came into the kitchen and for reasons I still cannot fathom touched the kettle to see if it was hot. Of course it immediately burnt his fingers and in shock he yanked them away in a hurry but in the process his arm caught the cup of tea on the bench and the entire boiling hot cup of tea went down his chest and arm and crashed all over the kitchen floor.
I know some people say things happen in slow motion when there is an emergency but I actually think it was quite the opposite, like time suddenly sped up and I couldn't do what I wanted fast enough.
He ran screaming out of the kitchen in pain as the boiling water immediately soaked through his T-shirt. Instinctively I ran behind him and ripped his T-shirt off to stop it from burning through more. He started screaming
'I'm sorry...I'm sorry'
to which I replied 'I'm not mad honey, it's OK...it's OK...quickly we need to get you in the shower'.
We ran into the downstairs bathroom, and as bad luck would have it, the shower hose had broken last week and I had forgotten there was no shower head in there. I yelled at him to follow me and we ran up the stairs to the upstairs bathroom, turning the shower on and trying to strip off his shorts and undies and socks in the shortest time possible. I made him stand in the shower aiming the water as much as I could on his chest and arm, while he sobbed in sheer pain.
I told him I loved him and that it was OK, that I would go downstairs and run a cold bath for him to get into and I would try to call Daddy at the same time. It was then that he cried out those words to make a mother's heart break 'Am I going to die Mummy?'
I reassured him saying 'No honey, you'll be absolutely fine, really truly I promise' and ran to run the bath. I'm glad I didn't have time to really stop and let his words sink in or I would have been an absolute mess.
As soon as there was enough water for him to lie down on his front, I called to him to come downstairs. I wasn't too sure what to do next, whether to take him straight to A&E, or call the doctors or what. I'd been desperately trying to call Mark but he was on a conference call and it took him about five minutes to call me back. After talking to him briefly and letting him talk to Noah (who was still lying in the bath and shivering by this stage either from the cold or shock or both), I decided to call our local doctors surgery for their advice. The nurse listened and asked if there was any broken skin, I checked and told her there was, so she said to bring him in so they could assess him and probably dress the burns.
There is much to be said for having a local surgery that is only five minutes drive from home and will see you immediately at a time like this. I got Noah out the bath, dried him off carefully avoiding all the burns, we put his shorts and undies back on and wrapped his torso in a towel. I put him in the front seat, with no car seat or seatbelt on, not the safest I know but there was no way I wanted to put a seatbelt anywhere near his burn and it was less than five minutes drive away.
As he said to me on the drive 'I've learnt my lesson Mummy' I was able to reassure him that accidents happen, and I told him the tales from my childhood where at seven I poured hot water from the kettle all over my fingers when the kettle slipped on the bench as I was pouring my mum a cuppa. And about the time at age seventeen right before Bursary exams when I put my hand down on a glass-top stove that had only just been turned off and burnt my entire palm. He seemed buoyed by the fact that even his mama had done silly things in her time, not once but twice!
When we arrived at the doctors we were seen immediately by a lovely English nurse called Lesley who had the best manner, and even got Noah watching Ben 10 videos on You Tube while she waited for the doctor to take a look and before we knew it, we were all having a good giggle and banter while she dressed his wound with silver sulfadiazine, gauze and a big thick dressing. I kept telling him how brave he was being (he was!), and Lesley declared him 'to be better than awesome if there is such a word' and so we all declared that must mean he was 'awesome-tastic'.
We were home again within the hour, and I immediately gave Noah some kids paracetamol and cuched him up on the couch watching Rio on DVD with a Freddo Frog chocolate, and a Chupa Chup lollipop for being such a trooper.
We weren't sure how he'd go through the night, or his brother for that matter who came home with a temperature of 38.6 and has two of his last back molars coming through, but Noah slept right through and seemed chirpy this morning. And believe it or not went off to school, I think he was secretly longing to show off his battle wounds to everyone.
The next afternoon we went back to the doctors (via a short stop to watch the cable car and eat icecreams) and once again, he toughed out the horrible process of another nurse having to pull off the sticky bandage on his chest off. And he did it with such bravery. If anything, that was probably almost as bad as getting the burn itself, no one likes the feeling of pulling off a sticky plaster at the best of times let alone on a tender and sore chest. I was so proud of him and told him so several times! So now we have a hyperfix dressing stuck directly to his chest and arm which will need to stay on for a whole week before we soak it in oil, wrap him in gladwrap (he was most amused at the thought of being wrapped up like a sandwich) for a few hours and then the dressing will just peel away hopefully with some nice new skin underneath. The nurse said she's fairly hopeful there will be no long-term scarring either.
So no swimming for at least the next couple of weeks, and probably no trampolining or swinging from the treetops either. His little sidekick was also moaning in pain saying 'my teeth, my teeth' throughout dinner Friday night and barely touched his corn fritters (which is unheard of for him) so it'll be a gentle weekend all round for us all me thinks.
I am truly grateful for God's loving hand on us yesterday. I am so thankful the hot tea did not spill on his face, and I am thankful we could go straight to our wonderful doctor surgery and be seen by such a kind, gentle nurse who put us immediately at ease and knew just what to do.
Do I wish it hadn't happened, of course, but on this day, just like any other I see the loving hand of the Maker, leading, guiding, touching even the innermost details of our lives.
Whether its the glimpse of heaven when I open my curtains each morning....
or in keeping my loved ones safe in the worst of times. He is always there.
Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his mercy endures forever.