Tuesday, April 20, 2010
A Chip Off the Old Munk
Today started out as an ordinary Tuesday. I hit the snooze alarm 27 times before jumping out of bed wailing like a siren that we were going to be late for school and therefore the world would soon come crashing down around us. Andrew, my super organized, level-headed, (what end of the gene pool did this kid come from) child got up, methodically packed his lunch, ate breakfast, washed his dishes and experimented with six different manly scents of body spray while I clunked around the house wearing one shoe and searching in vain for its mate. Andrew, of course, found it under the couch and gave me a lecture about footwear organization.
After returning home from my Northwest Laurens Elementary carpool duties, I had 12 minutes to eat breakfast, get Jack dressed for preschool, feed the dogs and save the world from impending manic mommyhood drama. I was determined that I wouldn't be late for work again this morning. And I wouldn't have been, had a certain chipmunk not entered the picture. Well, he didn't actually enter the picture. He died there.
Anakin, my fluffy, good for nothing, metro-sexual tabby-siamese apparently decided to go hunting this morning. Being an anally meticulous cat, Anakin never draws blood, or even leaves visible puncture wounds on his victims. I regularly find sparrows, squirrels, moles and meter readers lying peacefully in the front yard, as if they're simply comatose or acting in a murder-mystery. That was the case with today's victim.
As Jack and I walked out to the car to leave the house....on time, just as I was about to say "hop in, Sport," he spied it. The perfectly preserved body of Chip or Dale or one of their cousins, resting on the driveway. Anakin sat in the flowerbed surveying his kill and methodically bathing his right paw. "Mommy!" Jack cried as he ran over to the rodent. "I know what I can bring to school for show and tell!"
"Whew I thought you were going to scream and cry about the injustice of killing a poor woodland creature in cold blood," I said.
"This is the coolest thing ever! Lets put him in a bag and take him to Miss Alicia's class," suggested Jack.
Trying to redirect his attention to a better idea, one that wouldn't get us kicked out of First Methodist Preschool, I said, "why don't you bring your new Matchbox car. That's cool. Right?"
To this Jack stomped his foot, crossed his arms and said. "If the chipmunk doesn't go to school. Then I'm not going either."
Just as I was about to explain that kids don't bring dead animals to class. I mean, maybe some do, like on National Taxidermy day. But the average preschool child doesn't walk into class swinging a freshly dead chipmunk by its tail. However, the words never left my mouth, because growing inside my brain at a rate I couldn't control was the morbid curiosity of what would happen were Jack to nonchalantly hand Miss Alicia his jacket and backpack and say "Oh, by the way, this little prize is for you." Would she scream? Would she say "hey kids, looky what Jack brought! He always shares the neatest things." I had to know.
Standing there looking into Jack's pleading eyes and praying for morsel of common sense, I caved in and said "Okay, Hon. Let me just get a plastic bag and the salad tongs and I'll be right out."
Grabbing the chipmunk by its tail proved very difficult. It slipped from the tongs' grasp, hitting the pavement about seven times before landing in the bag, and was no longer a perfect speciman. On the way to Jack's preschool he bounced in his seat with excitement. I questioned my sanity. The chipmunk just lay in his bag not saying a word.
As we entered the preschool, Jack raced ahead of me. Saying "hurry Mom, c'mon!" A little voice in my head, that sounded exactly like the fish in Dr. Seuss's Cat and the Hat, was arguing points like "this is the kind of thing that gets reported to the Department of Family and Child Services. People are going to think you're some kind of sick mom who lets her small child play with dead, disease carrying rodents..and doesn't even use hand sanitizer."
When I walked through Miss Alicia's door, a few students scampered over to see. As I opened the bag, I thought "what if some parent calls the school and complains about that whack job Weight lady and her decomposing varmant freak show." At the last minute, just as I was about to forever be the world's coolest mom, I chickened out, telling Alicia that indeed we had a dead chipmunk in the bag, but it probably wasn't the best idea to pass it around. She took a quick peek and thanked me for sharing it, in the same tone she'd use to thank someone for having constant gas in her presense. Jacqueline, her assistant, a very British woman proned to having spells, ran from the room as if the chipmunk were a rabid viper and lunging for her neck. Alicia gave me the evil eye and tried to get the kids back involved in their coloring pages.
Leaving Jack's classroom, I ran into Mindy, a pretentious, and particularly snotty mom who has perfect clothing and highlights. I hate running into Mindy. She peppers all of her conversation with disdain. "What's in the bag there, Angela?" she asked. I could imagine Dublin's rumor mill spinning out of control as she called all the other perfect mommies to announce that she finally had enough evidence to kick me out Tuesday Morning Bible Study. "Can you believe she was carrying around a dead RAT in her handbag. OMG. That's just insane! I bet her handbag came from Walmart too. OMG.