Classic case of over-parenting with consequences. This most recent episode of over-parenting ended with me having a palm full of black urchin spines piercing my skin.
Over-parenting is something my family is familiar with and they have now coined the term OPM. An example might be, warning too loudly about dog poop on the ground and then they do step in it even though they were totally clear of it before the warning. And then there is the motherly involuntary verbal vomit “BE CAREFUL!!!!” Never useful and totally over used.
We spent 2 days on a small island, Koh Ta Kiev, off of the coast of Cambodia. A small, super chill, no electricity, no cars, funky cool, tree housey, open air, bungalow island guesthouse.
On our second evening, I asked Porter to snorkel with me at a spot down the beach with good coral. Our beach was known for the black sea urchins which are very cool and totally avoidable (unless you over-parent and lose your head). We had a nice snorkel in the setting sun, held hands, pointed to cool stuff together. As we approached shore, I showed Porter how we needed to aim for a certain point on the beach in order to make it to the sandy safe section and not drift into the rocky section of beach. As we approached we hit the sand and let go of hands. The story could have ended with me saying nothing and both of us happily swimming to the shore, but NO! I couldn’t stop myself. I had to issue more warnings about possible stray urchins in the sand and to not just walk out without looking and blah blah blah. Meanwhile we had drifted, we were over the rocks, I yelled commands to Porter to the left, swept my hand through the water to the right and bam! spikes to the hand. More yelling, a little navigating and then assessing the damage. 6 bloody punctures stained black from the urchin spines. I was able to remove one spine but made a run for the guest house to get tweezers for the rest.
Oh, how was Porter? Just fine. Just fine before I said anything, just fine before I panicked and just fine after I panicked. I like to think I saved his life, I sacrificed my own for his safety but the reality is that he was fine and I had spikes in my hand.
Black Urchin spine attack looks pretty nasty. We didn’t get a picture so I will include one I found online as an example.
I told john that from here on out, if it is not life threatening, get a photo (which he did today while mia was puking from car sickness just after we arrived to our new guest house in Kampot. I wish I had a picture of him taking a picture. One hand holding her hair back and one hand taking a photo from above with a sheepish look on his face).
Fortunately, there was plenty of local wisdom for dealing with the urchin. It didn’t hurt very much but I had heard that it can get infected or make you sick from the toxins. The first bit of advice came from Ozzy, the steampunk meets island hippy German who worked at the guesthouse. He said to “smash a beer bottle over your hand many times.” Hmmmm…. He went on to say that it will help to break up the spines. I first thought he was making a joke that I may as well break glass over my hand because I’m screwed, but then saw that he was quite serious. John finally clarified by asking “So break a bottle and use the sharp jagged end for what?” Ozzy howled “Nooooo, I’m German but I’m not crazy! Hit your hand with the smooth bottle to break down the spines in the skin.” Advice #2 came from TJ, full body tattooed ex-marine Hawaiian living in California, with the most beautiful smile I have ever seen. He recommended very hot water to draw out the toxins. Advice #3 came from the Cambodian cook who said both ideas were solid. By morning, it was sore but faded, a few days later still a little sore but it looks like it never happened.
I have included pictures of the cool guesthouse called Coral Beach. It is owned by a French chef and the food was AMAZEBALLS!!! Each meal was a choice of 2 meals that had to be ordered at a specific time. Everyone gathered together to eat, drink and enjoy each other’s company. We befriended an Aussie couple, Indigo and Laura, with whom we played cards each night.