Not on my Watch: I’ve got 99 Problems but Explaining ‘Squirrel Death’ Ain’t One

It was Family Day weekend and I was working hard to get the kids out the door and over to my parents’ house where both of my sisters and my little niece and nephew were visiting. My sister had kindly popped by to help me wrangle the troops. All 3 kids were practically body surfing in the tub downstairs when she arrived. We had spent the early afternoon painting flower pots and stamping with potatoes cut into shapes… the only recovery from this painting project was a full body scrub in the tub. Miss M had fire engine red streaks in her hair, Mr. C was basically blue and Mr. O had painted his hands and forearms just for fun in addition to the paint splatter around his mouth from tasting it over and over again. When it looks so tasty, there’s no way it’s not edible, right?

My sister walked into the bathroom with her socks on. Rookie mistake. It was like the aftermath of a tsunami in there. She helped me dry them off and wrestle them into clothes before politely excusing herself after seeing how chaotic it can be to find 3 separate matching pairs of socks in an overflowing, neglected basket of stray kids’ socks.

“This is insane!” she exclaimed. “Why do you not just buy them each 20 pairs of the same sock?” she asked. “Because they don’t sell them that way! That would be too simple. A package of 6 pairs of socks usually contains 6 different patterns!” I answered. “Ugh! Just when you think you finally have a match because they are both grey with green and blue stripey things on them, you hold them together and bam! This one has a green toe and blue heel and that one has a blue toe and green heel. So close! This is the worst thing I’ve ever done in my life! How do you DO this?”

I know… These are the mind numbing, never ending tasks that people who don’t have kids can’t possibly understand. These details just don’t make it into the high school sex-ed curriculum! They probably should! Ha!

It was really cold and windy out so I had started the car to warm it while Hubby had run out to the store to grab a few things that we needed in order to spare me from having to drag all 3 kids in with me for a 10 second task. Bless his heart.

I asked 5 year old, Miss M and 4 year old, Mr. C to go around to the other side of the car and get into their seats while I wrestled 2 year old Mr. O into his car seat. I can’t wait for summer. Getting kids in and out of the car in winter gear is so annoying. Because Mr. O is still in a rear-facing seat, he sports a carseat poncho in and out of the car which makes seeing what/where you are buckling difficult.

Side note: When we were out for breakfast a month or so ago, we got Mr. O ready to leave by putting on his monster-print poncho and Elmo hat. He happily ‘flapped’ his ‘poncho wings’ up and down the aisle. I noticed an elderly gentleman eying him each time he approached his table. Then, I overheard him call one of the servers over and ask “Why the hell is that kid dressed like that?” Ha! It was amazing. It may look ridiculous but we are practicing car seat safety, Sir.

As I fumbled around trying to buckle Mr. O into his seat while he playfully hit me in the face with his hat and laughed, I kept asking Miss M and Mr. C to please get into the car. They were fooling around behind the car, likely distracted by a piece of ice or a pile of snow.

They have the attention span of goldfish sometimes. Saying “You don’t have snowpants on so please don’t walk through the snow!” is basically an invitation to walk through the depths of the snow on our front lawn to see how deep they can get before the snow fills the inside of their boots and they cry about it making them cold. Or, saying “Okay, we are running behind, so please go straight to the car and get in your seats!” is translated into “Definitely stop to grab that icicle and lick it before taking the time to print your name with the tip of your finger in the winter sludge caked on the side of the car.”

I finally finished buckling Mr. O and loaded the bags into the passenger seat of the car while again, asking them to get in the freaking car. I could hear them chittering back and forth behind the car but had no idea what they were saying.

Finally, as I closed the back door to Mr. O’s seat, I asked “What are you guys doing?”

To which Miss M replied, “We are saving a squirrel!”

Pardon?

“Look!” She backed up to the side of the car next to me as Mr. C boldly shouted “Squirrel, Come!” just like the command we use when calling our dog. As he said it, he moved backwards, slapping his thighs…and then, I kid you not, a large, black squirrel dragged its body towards him with its front legs.

You have got to be kidding me.

“See!” Miss M smiled, “I told you! We are saving this squirrel’s life!”

“Yes!” replied Mr. C. “He really needs our help so we are going to save him because he is so cute!”

“He’s our friend!” added Miss M.

Again, you have got to be kidding me.

I looked into the window of the backseat to see Mr. O kicking his legs in protest and yelling “Mummy!” over and over as he wondered why no one else was getting in the car. Then, I looked back to see Miss M and Mr. C crouched over this squirrel who honestly seemed to be following their voices as it moved from behind the car to safety.

Well, this is definitely outdoing our normal worm or potato bug backyard discoveries.

Video of Miss M and Mr. C caring for their patient

See? I wasn’t kidding!

“Should we bring him in the house, Mom?” Mr. C asked, still walking backwards, towards the front door, tapping his thighs and chanting “Come on, Squirrel! Good boy!” in a soothing, high-pitched voice. The squirrel kept following him each time he moved backward.

NO!” I replied firmly.

“Then what should we do?” Miss M asked. “He really needs our help!”

“I don’t know yet…” I said. “…but he’s not coming in our house!”

“It’s okay, Mom. He’s really friendly! He can sleep in a little shoe box with a blanket in my room.”

“No… I don’t think that’s a good idea… because… (among 1000 other reasons) Zoey (our dog) will eat him!”

I glanced back to our front door to where our dog was literally drooling and going insane trying to figure out why we weren’t bringing her out to finish off this furry friend.

I’ve never been so happy to have a dog. They couldn’t argue with me on this point. They knew she would eat this squirrel if given the chance.

Mr. O squealed from inside the car. Mr. C was ready to pick this furry rodent up and kiss him better and Miss M looked to me for the solution as to how we were going to cure him.

The hopeful, compassionate look in her eye made me very aware that we had to perform some sort of miracle. Ugh.

The way the squirrel was moving, it didn’t seem like he had been hit by a car. He was dragging his back legs but they didn’t seem broken. He seemed a bit lethargic. It was pretty eerie, really. I silently wondered if he had been poisoned. We’ve had some trouble with rats in our neighbourhood so there is rat poison around, including inside our own shed out back. It’s possible that this squirrel may have eaten some. Crap.

Maybe he needs some food!” Miss M said. “Yes, maybe!” I agreed, willing to assist them in feeling like they helped this little guy recover. “Why don’t you go in and get a small handful of Zoey’s food?” “Okay!” she squealed. Mr. C offered to watch Mr. Squirrel and promised not to touch it while I helped Miss M carefully open the front door so that our dog couldn’t bust out of the house and destroy this squirrel before our eyes.

Mr. C sang a song to the squirrel while I opened the car door and tried to explain what was happening to an impatient and frustrated Mr. O.

The front door opened and my sweet little Miss M walked outside with a tall glass of water, a china bowl of dog food, proper silverware and a napkin.

Good Lord. That squirrel is not touching our actual dishes!

I explained that the spoon and bowl might be difficult for the squirrel to maneuver so I took a small handful of the dog food and sprinkled it near the squirrel.

“Come on, boy! You can do it! You will feel so much better with food in your tummy!” Mr. C applauded. “I think the squirrel is a girl!” Miss M commented.

Of course you do.

While they debated whether or not it was a Mr. Squirrel or a Miss Squirrel, and promised not to touch Mr./Miss, I quickly ran in and grabbed a paper plate that was still sitting on the counter from our morning painting project. I returned and poured the water on to the plate before either of them let that squirrel get anywhere near our actual glassware. Shudder.

Just then, Hubby pulled in the driveway. He naturally wondered what the hell we were doing as he saw us huddled around something in the driveway.

“Oh you’re not going to believe this!” I said. “Hi Dad! We are saving a squirrel’s life! Want to help?” Mr. C bellowed in his big, deep, confident voice. “Yeah!” Miss M squealed. “She is a girl squirrel!” While our 2 heroic children debated again whether the squirrel was male or female, I explained to Hubby that I was pretty sure the squirrel was “oisonedpay” and prayed that he remembered pig Latin and that my kids didn’t know pig Latin.

He understood. Excellent. “Sooo what do you want to do with it?” he mumbled to me through a forced smile towards our miniature doctors. “I have no idea… but if it dies right in front of them or if either of them touch it, I’m going to lose my mind!” I replied, also through a fake grin with teeth clenched together.

As we stood there, staring at our kids and their (likely) terminal patient, Hubby asked if we should just explain the circle of life to them. No. I’m not going there unless I have to…not today. They were so invested in this furry, little rodent.

Suddenly, the squirrel made its way over to the paper plate filled with water and started to drink. Miss M and Mr. C quietly cheered so they didn’t startle him/her. The looks on their faces were filled with pride and relief. At the same time, they didn’t seem at all surprised that the squirrel was drinking the water since they had already agreed that he must just be thirsty.

I told Hubby that I remembered reading that you should leave fresh, clean water outside in the winter because when everything is frozen, it’s challenging for birds, squirrels and other animals to find enough drinking water to stay hydrated.

He looked at me like I was crazy.

The squirrel drank so much water that I had to refill the plate. He/she drank again and then started to move his/her back legs. Then he/she started to walk on all 4 legs. Miss M and Mr. C applauded and cheered! Then, the squirrel scampered off across our driveway and disappeared into the bushes. It was like something out of a Disney movie. I now regret not bringing out all of Mr. C’s school pants with rips in the knee. With the way things were shaping up, I’m pretty sure this squirrel would have recruited a couple of birds to help mend them like the scene out of Cinderella.

It was so bizarre.

We peeked under the bushes to see where he/she went. There was no sign of him/her. We yelled “Goodbye Squirrel! Hope you are feeling better!” and I quickly boarded the kids into the car before anything else dared to happen so we could leave on this high note, just like the happy ending in a Disney movie.

As we drove away, Miss M and Mr. C recounted their story of saving a squirrel’s life to Mr. O and started listing other animals that they would like to save too.

I sincerely hope that Mr./Miss Squirrel has recovered well. But, if he/she hasn’t, I can only hope that he/she chooses a final resting place far, far away from our yard.

7 thoughts on “Not on my Watch: I’ve got 99 Problems but Explaining ‘Squirrel Death’ Ain’t One

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