Saturday, August 09, 2008

Animalia

G has saved me from a tree frog. I nearly stepped on the poor thing in the living room this morning. He was just little -- under two inches long. He would have been cute had I not been so startled by his presence. Tree frogs in the living room? Not the usual thing a-t'all. The boy fills big shoes -- his dad ushered a baby skunk out of our family room late one evening. G remembers this because he'd been up reading, though he was supposed to be asleep. My squeaking in alarm from my perch halfway up the stairs, uh, caught his attention, so he was peering around the corner whilst his daddy calmly handled things.

When G was about three weeks old, a rather gigantic alligator lizard got in through the cracks in our little old rental house. Even missing most of it's tail, it was about 14 inches long. I looked at it, turned around, went to our room with baby G, laid him on the bed, then closed and stuffed towels under the doors between the kitchen and the bedroom. We hung out there until a certain someone arrived home from work to rescue us. I might have dealt with that one myself (or not) but I thought something that large might just bite and then what? I'd have to walk to ER (only about six blocks) with my newborn son so they could clean out wounds? Or maybe I'd somehow communicate salmonella to the baby? Uh-uh, no way.

Then there was the mouse that made his home in the insulation in our stove and died, so when I went to preheat the oven to make pizza one night the house filled with the most awful stench. I was pregnant (these things never happen when one isn't) and had to go outside, gagging, so I wouldn't throw up. Roasted mousey a la rigormortis is awful. Thank God mister was there. He took the stove apart and got rid of the unfortunate creature. I can still sort of taste the smell...

The end of June we were en route to a family reunion and stopped at a favorite family spot for vegeburgers and curly fries (this thought atop the last paragraph is not so very nice). As we were leaving, the kids wanted to spend a little time under the trees in the grass, leaping, stretching, wiggling, before we got back in the van for the rest of our trek. I put Q's food and diaper bag away and turned from closing up the van to see G and E following the progress of a baby bird along the edge of the building. He'd hop a few hops and stop, then squawk at the eaves, as though calling his mom who must surely be up there and just be missing him like mad, right? "Right? Mom? I know you're there. MOM!!"

We watched for a minute. K was on the grass with Q and S was standing with them, transfixed. It was clear that he (she?) was healthy, just too young to fly. By this time several tables full of patrons had noticed what was going on and I'd grabbed a napkin. With a little discussion, we decided the best thing to do would be to catch the little guy and put him up in the most likely tree. G and E wanted to try to capture him, but they were tentative and the birdy loud and fast. I took the napkin back from G and wrapped it quickly around the little ball of feathers. He didn't fill my hands, cupped together.

G selected the noisiest tree (more likely to contain parent birds) and hauled a very heavy picnic table close enough, all by himself. He climbed up and I handed him the bird in the napkin. G released him on the nearest sizable branch with sort of a hollow to catch him in case he was wobbly. But he wasn't. He chirped once and hopped off, disappearing up the branch into thick foliage.

A smidge anticlimactic, that. G and I sort of blinked at each other, then he jumped down off the table, we returned it to it's proper spot, and headed back to the van, blushing to the applause of nearby patrons.

This scenario ended much better than our previous baby bird incident about five years ago. That one involved us praying over a dying fledgling as the kids tried to shoo the perpetual train of ants off him. That was awful. The kids were littler and not really grasping that death can be merciful. And how do you explain that to very young children when you'd like to shield them for just a little longer?

After a strange series of noises two nights ago, G chased off a raccoon (with help of a friend staying over), reclaimed a prodigal who we had assumed was dead (but may have been living off the bugs under a particularly large cedar), buried an actual dead chicken (cause of death: infected dog bite) and marvelled at the strange and varied bugs around it's carcass (so glad he loves entomology -- shudder).

On that happy note, I'm off to feed breakfast to my peeps.

1 comment:

Summer Fae said...

I found you via Doc's Sunrise Rants.

I just had to share an animal story. The house next to us had been abandoned for a few months. The owners sent some guys to clean up the yard. They found a 3ft iguana living under the house. I have never seen 2 grown men run so fast in my life. LOL