Tuesday, May 14, 2013

8000 Things NOT To Do: Do Not Let Your Child Touch a Dead Bat on Mother's Day

I have decided to start a series of posts entitled, “I Don’t Know What To Do, But Here are 8000 Things NOT To Do.” This is what my husband suggested as a title for my blog, so I believe it must be a fitting title for this series of posts. I will add to the series as relevant events occur. And believe me—they will. 

So…(drumroll please)…here is one thing NOT to do:
Do not let your child touch a dead bat on Mother’s Day, which just happens to fall on a Sunday—a weekend day. (And just so you know, if your child decides to pick up a dead bat, you know it’s not going to be on a weekday during a time when offices are open. Right?) In fact, you should probably discourage your child from touching a bat, dead or alive, anyway, even if it’s not Mother’s Day or a Sunday. 

Even if you make her drop the bat the second she picks it up, this will still involve having your husband retrieve the dead bat after he throws it out into the woods, keeping the carcass in a plastic bag in a safe location, calling the health department, the pediatrician’s office, the vet (if you have a dog), receiving messages and multiple calls back from the health department, getting one call back from the pediatrician’s office. You will have to explain the scenario to everyone on the phone multiple times. Finally, you will be asked to meet the health department lady at your house a day later so she can examine the bug-infested carcass of the dead bat and proclaim that it’s too far-gone to test for rabies.

The well-meaning health department lady will look at you and ask you in her helpful, hopeful way, “Do you believe this bat was rabid?”

You will look at her with a dumb look on your face and say, “Well, I mean, it was dead. She just picked it up. I wasn’t even sure it was a bat. How should I know? It is a bat, right?” You will think to yourself, “Why in the hell would I know? That’s why I called you people!” But you won’t say that. She seems nice enough, after all.

While the health department lady is asking you if your child had any open wounds or cuts on her hands, and you’re just answering, “No—her hands are completely fine,”  your little girl will run out of the house to see what all the excitement is about. She will trip over her own two feet and fall on the gravel, catching herself with her tiny hands and scraping her palms and knees. You’ll look at the health department lady and say, “Okay, well, she probably has some open wounds now.”  

While you hold your embarrassed daughter as she fights off tears, well-meaning health department lady will squash some of the worms crawling all over the carcass by pinching them through the ziplock bag containing the remnants of the bat. She will ask you if you want her to dispose of the decaying, stinking carcass (Please note that I have not included a picture of this. You’re welcome, reader. You’re welcome.) and you will say, “Um, YES.”

45 days later, she’ll come look at your dog, just to be sure the dog is not rabid. Nobody thinks she is, but they want to watch her run around the yard a time or two, just have to be sure she isn't foaming at the mouth or anything.

And this is why you shouldn’t let your child pick up a dead bat on Mother’s Day.

Help the rest of us out. Based on your vast experience, what else should a parent NOT do? (Not that you ever did it. We all know you just saw somebody ELSE do it, and now you're just telling us about it. Obviously.) Comment with a story of your own!
A Mother Life