Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chipmunk Craziness

When my oldest, Alyssa, was born, there was no such thing as "blogs". The best you could do was a mass e-mail to grandparents to update them on the status of their grand babies (and I was not terribly good at that, even), so it is safe to say that most of you now reading my blog really don't know my Alyssa very well, unless you have just known me and her for the last fourteen years. She is quiet and understated, can be a tomboy but knows when to be a lady, and, overall, is a pretty good kid.

Her one most distinguishing quality, however, is her love for nature. When she was just, still crawling....she would find a lady bug or caterpillar on the ground and pick it up with the most gentle touch. I never EVER saw her 'squish' anything. She used to keep about 6 bug catchers in her room, all full of something at  all times. I have seen her cry when she realized builders were cutting down trees to build a house, and she will go to any length to help any animal.

That sort of brings us to this story. Yesterday, while Emilie and Clara were in their American Heritage Girl meeting, Alyssa was at her discipleship time, Jeff was teaching his Tuesday night Tuba Ensemble at Notre Dame, which left me and Megan. One of our favorite things to do during that time is to go visit Angela and her dog, Beau. (We say we have joint custody of him.) :-)Angela was not home last night, but Meggie and I still let Beau out, took him around the neighborhood for a nice long walk, and then ended up in the back yard with his favorite outdoor ball. Megan and Beau could entertain themselves for HOURS with each other and that ball. We had already been out there for about thirty minutes when Megan threw the ball into the brush that is an empty lot right beside her house. It was taking him a while to find it, so I went to help. Not a minute after I got up, we saw Beau running through the brush and we heard a loud squeaking.

Megan exclaimed, "Mom. He found the ball!!!"

For a second, I thought he had, but it wasn't long before I realized that the squeak coming from Beau's mouth was not the squeak of the ball . About that time, I could see Beau (he is a dachshund and we can only see his tail in that brush), and not wanting to burst Megan's bubble, I said, "Ummmmm, honey, I don't think that's a ball."

We quickly realized that what he had in his mouth was not a ball, but a baby chipmunk.


At first Megan was very happy, thinking she could just take the chipmunk from Beau's mouth like she does the ball and get the chance of the lifetime to play with a REAL CHIPMUNK. (Don't worry. I would not have let her. That's just how her four year-old, Pollyanna mind works.) The closer we got, however, we realized that he was not letting go of that little guy.

OK. So picture this: little short Beau sitting on the ground, refusing to make eye contact, with a GIGANTIC wad of nest/fur hanging out of his mouth, in addition to the little squirming, squealing chipmunk.

When we really realized what was happening, Megan started bawling and hanging onto my leg. I started telling Beau to "Drop it!". I don't know why I thought that would work. It doesn't even work with his ball, but at least I tried. When the chipmunk quit squealing, Beau would look at us out of the corner of his eye and rearrange it in his mouth to get it to squeal he was taunting us. About that time, I started gagging.

Realizing that my precious, squawling, pig-tailed four year-old was about to be thrown up on, I said, "Hey Megan, why don't we go in the house and clean up a little bit. "

She was not totally sold, but reluctantly agreed.

All the way into the house, she was wailing like a southern mourner.

"Why did Beau have to do that?? I didn't want THAT to happen!"

"That poor, poor baby chipmunk."

"We need Ms. ANGELAAAAAA......"

And then she really lost it.

I took her to the restroom to clean her face up a bit and try to distract her, at which point she looked right at me and said,

"Mom. I need some me, myself time."

"Ummmm....okay." Me, myself time?? Can someone please tell me....What does a four year-old do with me, myself time? And how do I get some? Do I just ask, like she did?

Anyway, I digress.

It was time for us to leave, so I walked outside to get Beau, realized he was STILL carrying that blasted chipmunk around, and then...the cavalry. Ms. Angela got home. However, not even she could snatch that poor little rodent from the very locked jaws of victory, and within a few minutes, he had

Pardon me while I puke.

I told her that she could no longer blame my children for his overweight condition because it was quite obvious that he could take care of that all by himself. :-)

This brings us to Alyssa. (You were wondering, weren't you?)

When we all got home, Megan could not WAIT to tell her war story. While the rest of us grimaced and groaned at the whole thing, I looked up at Alyssa to find a look of sheer horror on her face.

"Mom. We've got to go save the rest of the chipmunks. Will you take me?"

"No I won't take you! It's almost 10:00 and I am TIRED!"

"Can I text Ms. Angela?"

"OK." (Should have asked her why)

A few minutes later we got a text back from Angela that read:

"R U Crazy?? Beau and I are in the bed!"

I texted back:

"Yes, she is crazy. Sorry we bothered you."

Then Alyssa popped into action, doing extra chores....even doing Emilie's chores....hoping I would change my mind.

When she realized it would not be that easy, she totally fell apart. I mean....FELL. APART.

My heart really did go out to her, but really? Bring home baby chipmunks....wild THIS house, that we are already crammed into, to rehabilitate, and in the presence of a very curious four and five year-old.....I just didn't think I could go there. Besides that, her Daddy very definitively said, "No."

After a very long time, she finally cried herself to sleep. This morning, however, it was the first thing on her mind. She woke up early, did extensive research on the little critters, made charts and graphs and asked if I would reconsider. (Did I mention that she is Type 'A'?)

My compromise:

I agreed to find someone who rehabilitates wildlife to ask them what to do, which I did, but they said to leave it alone. The rehabilitator did tell me, for peace of mind, I could go back and check the nest... just to see. If there were live babies in it, Mama was still around and they needed to be left alone.

So this afternoon,with her Daddy's permission, in the pouring-down rain and 51 degree weather, in my shorts and flip-flops (the perfect all-purpose shoe), I took my very tender-hearted teenager to check on the nest. She started dancing around, exclaiming, "I can finally make a difference in the world".

I will not even go there in this blog.

She had a box fixed with towels all ready to rescue, if needed, little abandoned chipmunks, but when we arrived, the nest was totally empty. We are choosing to assume the best, that either 1) Mama moved them, or 2) They were big enough to run away on their own.If you know anything different, please don't tell us. We like really is bliss.

As she stood out there, very tenderly looking under all the fur, she said, "Mom, I'll bet you never thought you would be doing this one day."

I said, "Ya know, babe, before I had you, I never would have believed I would be out here doing this; but knowing you for as long as I have, being out here like this doesn't surprise me in the least."

We didn't save the world today, or even a nest of baby chipmunks, but I would like to think that today was one more building block for a lifelong relationship with my daughter. Before she walked out the door for church tonight, she said, "Mom, thanks for being a part of all my craziness."

It's just a family affair, dear. It's what we do best.


Much love!!

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