MAY 2, 2011 10:00PM

Nature Is Terrifying

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There’s nothing that’ll steal away a child’s innocence more than nature. Nature is cruel and full of grim death. Also, itchy.

About a week ago…

We venture into the great outdoors, also known as our backyard. As we survey our vast domain of mowed lawn and azalea bushes, nature creeps in. Actually, it creeps in and dies.

First, we sit in the grass. Suddenly, two children dive into my lap. Because there’s a bee in the grass. A bee who is struggling up a blade of grass. It falls back. It climbs and falls. Climbs and falls.

{sigh}

My children: What’s the bee doing?
Me: I think it’s hurt.
My daughter: Why Mama?
Me: Well, it keeps trying to climb and fly away, but it can’t.
My son: Can we help the bee?
I think: By killing it.
I say: Not really. Let’s go over here {as I point to the other end of the lawn and then mumble} and I’ll hope that the bee disappears into the abyss of natural death without us stepping on it.

Then, we find the mouse. THE DEAD MOUSE. A gift from our cats. Wild, vicious, purring cats who sleep 15 hours a day.

Probable suspect: Juno. Don’t let her former owner’s declawing fool you. Also, the other cats are too stupid to kill anything.

Me {without thinking}: Look! A mouse!

My son runs over.

E: What’s the mouse doing?
Me: He’s dead.
E: Why?
I think: What do I say? Do I blame the cats? That makes the cats seem a little… terrifying.
I say: Maybe the cats did it?
E: Oh… {reaches down to touch the mouse}
Me: Oh no! We need gloves to touch it.

So I get gardening gloves for everyone and my son picks up the mouse. I’m not sure if I’m the cool science mom or the stupid my-kid-has-the-plague-now mom.

E picks up the mouse for awhile. Then his sister does. And back to our walkway dead mouse goes.

Me: Actually, we need to put the mouse away.
E: Away?

I want to be an example to my children and respect of all living things. I’m pretty sure this means flinging the mouse into the alleyway is not an option.

I glance around. As it turns out, a peat pot is a perfect coffin for a mouse.

Me: Okay let’s put him in the coffin.
E: What’s a coffin?
Me: It’s a box for dead things.

This is why I’m going to just watch television with my children for the rest of the summer. Less REALITY.

Me: Where should I put the mouse and his coffin?
E: I don’t care.

Awesome! Because I don’t want to bury this guy in our backyard. Nature has a way of unearthing creatures. As does Stephen King.

Plop! into the trash coffin mouse goes.

E: NOT THERE! OH NO! OH NO!

Crap! Where are my maternal instincts? I should’ve gone for flinging it over the fence!

Me in a desperate play to not have to reach into our city trash can: Well, E, you can’t say that you don’t care where the mouse goes then get upset when I pick the trash can.

E: Oh, okay.

{phew}

Next up? Mating birds!

Not enough? Read another post:
  1. Sometimes You Just Miss Him
  2. Motherhood Screws You Up. Big Time.

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