So, Ethan finally discovered that the "cactus garden" so lovingly planted by this home's owners-- not us-- is not quite so beautiful when it's sticking thorns up in your biz. When I turned my back on him to flip the shrimp skewers on the grill, he scooted over to the cactus patch that we've tried to keep him away from for so long and took an incautious step inside. Whoops! I heard his cries of pain, jerked around to face him, and saw him balancing precariously on one leg, with his right hand wrapped around the top part of an aloe cactus, wobbling back and forth and trying not to fall face first into the worst patch of plants this side of the Rockies. I ran over and yanked him up, to find that he had thorns and stickers and cactus needles sticking out of his feet, toes, and hand. ACK!!
By some lucky coincidence, Joel had just that minute arrived home from a computer job, and was able to come in and inject some soothing calmness into the situation, as well as be the one who pulled out the tiniest stickers with tweezers. It was not a pretty scene for a little while, but we finally got most of the stickers out (the deep ones, only a few, will have to work themselves out) and Ethan went back to his normal happy, laughing self. He was even walking around on his feet without any apparent pain within a few minutes. Thank god, because I thought I was going to have a panic attack or a heart attack or (some kind of attack, anyway) when I saw him there, teetering on the edge of the cactus garden. Lucky my kid's a trooper!