4 kids in 3 years: reflections on motherhood, art and life.
This has been a growing weekend, the most bat-tastic weekend ever, in fact. There’s so much that I want to share. But early symptoms of rabies include cerebral dysfunction and confusion, apparently, so I’m going to write it in list form so it’s easier to get through.
Things I learned this weekend include but are not limited to:
1. Babysitters don’t like bats. They don’t like bats in the living room. Or the upstairs hallway or anywhere else for that matter. I learned this by listening to the cadence of our babysitter’s voice when she called me on date night and said something along the lines of, “There’s a BAT in the house! Ohmigod! BAT! Jen, what do I DOOOOO?!!”
2. Pediatricians treat all bats as rabid bats who have bitten your children, repeatedly, like in Twilight, except those were vampires, but you get the idea. Bites, maiming, death. In fact, that bat may have already killed all my children and all your children, too. Wake them up, drag them into the bright light of the hallway and check. I did.
3. Hospitals make you wait. And even if you’re in a cute pediatric waiting room, your four children will eventually start shooting Matchbox cars at each other after approximately 142 minutes.
4. Even the fear of a huge needle in the posterior (or two) can be forgotten when any screen time is allowed at all. Any screen time. Even cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs II with no sound.
4. Apparently nurses think rabies immunoglobulin shots in the rump hurt. And coincidentally, nurses like to make sure moms know that rabies immunoglobulin shots in your kids’ rumps hurt. And they’ll tell you that. Over and over. In front of your kids who haven’t gotten their shots yet. Apparently.
5. The kid who volunteers to get the shots first? The one who promises to not cry in front of the others because he doesn’t want to make them scared? It’s not the one you’d think. And watching him climb bravely up on the table, belly down with his butt in the air will be the only thing that will make you almost get the chokey voice through this whole thing.
6. You go in for rabies shots, like, four times.
7. Don’t assume you no longer have a bat in the house just because the babysitter suggested the bat flew out the back door. Because maybe the bat didn’t fly out the door. Like, maybe he’s just waiting for you to finish your second round of shots, which happen to be on Father’s Day, just when your mother-in-law walks in with the gluten-free cupcakes, to start his crazy swooping flight around the living room.
(OHMIGOD! HOW DID THE BABYSITTER SURVIVE THIS?! I should have paid her more.)
8. It turns out that “kill the bat humanely, keeping the brain stem intact” means two entirely different things to two parents holding tennis rackets over a bin of their children’s clothing, right next to the bed, on Father’s Day.
9. Family doctors treat bats in the house like mice or birds. Like they’re cute. Like only a crazy person could possibly think that a bat in their house who could survive for three days on water from the beta fish bowl, that can still fly in a circle, could be rabid. So, I’m the crazy one. I’m the crazy one?!
(Has my pediatrician and my family doctor ever met? And in a cage match, who would win? Hard to say.)
10. My mother-in-law would drive a dead bat in a Smart Balance container to the ends of the earth for me (and for her son and grandchildren too, I guess, but whatever…)
11. There are videos on youtube of people dying from rabies. Don’t do it. Don’t go look it up. You will sleep with a tennis racket next to your bed forever.
12. It takes three days to test a bat for rabies. Three days.
And statistically there’s, like, no chance we have rabies. Or at least not much chance. Like, if that bat has rabies I’m buying a lottery ticket. Because I’m that lucky. Also, because we’d all need the rabies shots and they are thousands of dollars each. At least that’s what the lady at our insurance company said. Then she apologized. But then she tried to blame the lack of coverage on Barack Obama, which made an awkward conversation only slightly more awkward. Barack Obama did not let the bat in the back door. My kids did.
So that’s it. Bats in full: possible rabies, probable shots, positively expensive, definite pain in the rump. Apparently.
And if you play your cards right, there just might be a brave little boy who volunteers to go first, who hops off the table rubbing his rump with a tear in his eye and says, “Dat didn’t even haht,” even though it did.