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!"