Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sorry, you just hit Mommy's Panic-Button

I'm known in my circles here at home to have a tough stomach. In fact, my friends in the Mom's for Christ playgroup have sorta told me I'm now the go-to gal for when their kids have questions about things they would normally shirk at, like what do grasshoppers look like up close, and what does a snake feel like. I'm totally used to going out in the back yard and finding and investigating whatever creepy crawlies we can find, oftentimes bringing them into the house to live a short while (I say short because typically they're poked and prodded to death by my critter-investigation team, sorry little Buggies). But there was this one time that my "eeeeeeew" limit was far exceeded...

We were vacationing in NJ with the in-laws, and my SIL Stacey was down visiting from their home in NH with her 5 children. Stacey and I are like 2 peas in a pod normally when we get together, and with both of us being homeschoolers it's usually like a tag-team event of who gets to teach the little ones for the next hour before you get to slump exhausted in a chair and let the other person take off with the 8 kids for the next hour. But this particular day, Micah, the oldest at 6 1/2, found a dead squirrel on the sidewalk. Of course, all the children thought this was AMAZING and rushed over to check out the poor critter like a bunch of drooling lawyers at a car accident. I lagged behind, allowing the girls and Caleb to run ahead and join the investigation, mostly because, well, I'm slow and lazy. When I came to the scene, I thought, what a neat way for the kids to learn about death, decomposition, and squirrel anatomy (it was fully intact, no guts/no blood, I was just looking at the neat features of their body... I wasn't aiming for an inner anatomy class), and then Stacey allowed Micah to poke the body with a stick.
Well, of course, then all 7 of the big kids soon were hunting around for sticks to poke the body with, and then, to my horror, were soon flipping the sad little creature about like a pancake on the sidewalk. I saw my kids creeping down to their hands and knees to get a better look, on the selfsame sidewalk where the squirrel just lay, and at that point announced, "ALRIGHT, that's enough... time for my kids to head inside" This was followed by a chorus of whines "Awwww Mommmmm! Whyeeeee? It's neeeeeat... weeeeeeee're not touching iiiiiiiiit!!" Stacey looked surprised and smirked, knowing I'd just snapped past my comfort zone. I laughed too a little inside, knowing that her kids would be out there quite a bit longer investigating, and knowing that the two of us were more than ok with the other person's choice because (at least I think) neither one of us would judge each other for their parenting choices, for the most part. But still, I had drawn the line, and my kids were dragged back into the house and ordered to "WASH AND SANITIZE EV-ER-Y-THING!!! And then wash again!" My toddler was wiped head to toe with germ-x and their clothes, though not burned in a bonfire, were washed about seventy-five million times before they were allowed to wear them again. Shoes were bleached, and kids were once again restored to a relatively germ-free state. This Mommy found her freak-out limit, and it apparently was reached in the handling of a dead rodent-style creature on the sidewalk. They'll just have to learn about death and decomposition on you-tube from their germ-free, sanitized bubbles :)

"I saw what your kids did to my buddy, and I'm comin after you!"

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