Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Urban wildlife

groundsquirrel pups

We are foster-parenting five roundtailed groundsquirrels right now. Despite hours spent over two days trying to find mom and/or burrow, we could find neither for these not-quite weaned pups.

Added bonus, while looking for burrows and mom today, we found a groundsnake. No picture, but a beautiful vibrant orange on top, green/yellow on sides and belly.

I'm not one for bringing wildlife into the home, but how could I give these little guys up to the elements/predators, especially after my daughter (who found the first one) had fallen in love with them?

I estimate them at about four weeks old - about a week short of weaning. I hope in a few weeks they'll be old enough to let go. However, they are quite tame (for now), so I think the schoolyard is definately NOT the place to release them! We can't find wildlife rehabilitators for groundsquirrels around here, so it's up to us.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Working Mom: Volume 1, Issue 6: Mother's Day

Despite my best intentions to not be judgmental about such things, I am often left slightly airless when I hear moms mention how they just want to get out and do something by themselves. Airless as like when a huge truck races by while you stand/crouch/cower on the side of the street for whatever it is you may be standing/crouching/cowering on the side of a busy street for, or at least a street busy enough to have huge semis race by you. Perhaps you are hitchhiking, or searching for the stuffed animal that mysteriously got sucked out the car window at freeway speeds during purely experimental maneuvers to see if it can, indeed, fly. Airless because the vacuum created by the displacement of tractor-trailer-sized quantities of air pulls what was perfectly happy to be exchanging gasses in alveolal (I made that word up) bliss out of your lungs to draft behind the receding truck with the trailing dust and litter hijacked from stasis.

I am left, as I said, slightly airless as I am hit with the realizations all at once that 1) people actually get to spend enough time with their kids to want some time away from them 2) why is life so unfair that I don't get to have so much time with my kids that I would want such a thing as time to myself away from them 3) if I'm at all honest with myself, there are times when a few hours to do whatever it is I want or need to do can be alluring and 4) how dare I admit to 3).

Such was my Mother's Day. Or, rather, Mother's Day Weekend. The kids and Dad wanted to bake me a cake, and, mind you, keep it a surprise. Oh, I knew days beforehand that they were going to bake me a cake because Pinkie Toe, at three, was far too excited about it being a chocolate cake to not mention it. I played (?) stupid with the rest of the Metatarsals and insisted throughout the week and even into Mother's Day itself that I had no idea what they had planned for me, even with Pinkie Toe asking for cake after dinner Saturday night, and insisting that it was in the fridge despite her sisters' adamant denials.

So, they kicked me out of the house on Saturday so they could get to baking (while leaving me the dishes to clean up. Thus, I learned that it was a three-tiered heart-shape cake with cherry icing and whipped cream filling). For the first time in a very long time, I was out of the house at the behest, nay, urging of all family members, with no guilt whatsoever to muddy the experience up. I actually had to kill some time, not get back home as soon as possible.


I cannot remember ever, EVER having such a situation since having kids. I am *all* about the guilt over not being home enough (for my tastes) with my children.

I cringe to say it, but this was an A+ Mother's Day present. Yes, I admit it. Me, who just nine years ago on Mother's Day was clutching the remains of my miscarried baby while being wheeled into recovery from a D&C, swearing that I would appreciate every second I was blessed to share with any children I may have. Here I am, declaring that it can be nice to have some time to myself, as long, that is, as no one else is upset with my absence.

I didn't spend the time purely on myself. I bought a tree and some shrubs for the long-neglected side yard, which I had been meaning to do for the past year but never had the chance. I went to the bookstore, and returned to the shelves the books I was going to get for myself in favor of books I knew the kids would love. I went to the craft store to restock some dwindling craft supplies that are sure to clutter up the floor, but I bet I'll get some really cool "I love you, Mom" cards out of, so it wasn't a totally selfless act.

Although I missed my kids and my husband, it was good to make decisions about landscaping on my own without the inevitable, "Well, what do YOU think?" that leads to inaction and explains a lot about the state of our house projects. It was nice to wander the bookstore and at least *look* at some books I'm interested in. I was able to get in and out of the craft store without uttering a single word of control over smaller, inquisitive, tactile people. All, and this is the true gift of it, without one pang of guilt over squandering my time.

I came home refreshed, and did my best to hide the washing of the cake pans and tossing of the empty icing tubs. Sunday, we had cake for breakfast (and payed for it with jittery, sugar-crashed kids later. What, you expected me to continue the torturous denial of a three-year-old's cake dementia?), went to two parks, I got to kiss an ant sting (although she asked for Daddy to heal it - ouch!), ate at the dinner table with all five family members in attendance (too much stress for me to go out on Mother's Day with the crush of people), discovered my youngest is probably allergic to strawberries, and even got a shower. Nine years ago, despite a job, a husband, a home, and a loving extended family, all I had in my heart was loss and empty promises. Now I have it all, including guilt, worry, and voracious hymenoptera. I am truly blessed to be a Mom.

To me, Mother's Day is not about me, the Mom, wanting presents and adoration and time to myself, but about being a Mom, and celebrating what makes being a Mom so special. Bring me ant stings and itchy hives (poor kid! I can't imagine a life without strawberries!) to kiss and scratch, and sugar-high kids to wrangle. I'll go to a spa some other day (week? Year? I hear there are such places...), perhaps when the kids are grown, and I'd rather the money for a jeweled necklace go towards the college fund. The best present of all is knowing my family loves me enough to kick me out of the house.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Be careful where you pee

Be careful where you pee

Found while seeking a descreet spot to cop a squat.

Good dreams to you all.

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