Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Creepy things

A maintenance man’s version of good news: “Everything is working the way it’s supposed to, but… you have a couple thousand crickets living under your house”. Anything in that amount (except for money) has to be bad. Even if he had said, “You have a couple thousand butterflies”, I would be concerned. At least we got something musical.

As usual, Willie was gone. He’s always gone when cataclysmic things happen. The first time he left for a month, our jeep broke down and I found out I was pregnant. Another time, I landed in the hospital on my birthday and upon being discharged found that my jeep refused to start (yes, the jeep was a lemon). When the mice tried to run us out of our house this winter, he was deployed. The worst part of that fiasco was resetting the mouse traps. The only kind of trap the mice would even consider dying in was the old fashioned snapping-guillotine. So I would dispense of the mouse, bait the trap with peanut butter, and then promptly snap myself. My thumb will never forgive me for those months of torture. I would, of course, scream both in frustration and surprise. No wonder the mice liked them so much. They’re thrilling devices.

Halle would ask me what was wrong.

“Oh, I just snapped myself with the mouse trap.” Halle was a mouse sympathizer. Disney teaches children to be rodent sympathizers. It was difficult to teach her that there are invisible germs on them that might cause something like the bubonic plague.

“What’s the bubonic play?”

“It isn’t as fun as it sounds.”

Bacteria is an impossible concept for children. This past weekend, we went gold panning and fishing in the river. At a slow spot in the river, I sat on a rock panning for gold while Halle stirred the water with a spoon we had brought. “What are you doing?” I asked. “Making soup for the alligators,” she replied. (Alligators are as plentiful as snipes in that area.) I thought that was an excellent idea until I noticed her tasting the soup.

“Honey, you can’t drink the water. There are bugs that you can’t see that will make you sick.”

She tilted her head to one side and then smiled. I didn’t think my child would consider me an idiot until she was much older. But it was clearly a patronizing smile. I took the spoon away and told her if she couldn’t stop drinking the water, we would have to get out. I held her hand and led her out of the river. She “slipped” in the shallow water several times, causing her backside to rest on the river bottom and her head to stay just above water. At those moments, she opened her mouth and let loose her tongue, slurping up as much river bounty as possible.

There are so many things we teach children, just hoping one day they will either learn it for themselves or take our word for it. We have faith in their ability to grow and change and learn and re-learn. I wonder how often God shakes his head and thinks, “She clearly doesn’t get it. But someday she will realize that I wasn’t just telling her about invisible threats for no reason.” Oh Lord, I hope that I will indeed understand everything one day, and until that time, obey you because I trust you. 

1 comment:

  1. I love this post! I can just imagine you with the mouse traps and Halle giving you that patronizing smile. I sense their was a greater, deeper overall theme but mostly I'm just glad you have a cat now so the mice will stay away. :)