My baby girl was fussing around ten-thirty last evening. She never fusses at this time of the night. On this rare occasion I can say that I am absolutely thrilled that she kept me up. I can also say without pause that, for what it’s worth, I am glad my husband was home from his men’s group at church earlier than normal.
After I nursed her I was settling her back into her crib when I heard one of the cats pawing at the window blinds in the dark.
“Argh,” I thought as I tucked the blanket under the baby’s legs to keep her warm, “when will those dumb cats learn to leave the blinds alone!”
The cat must have gotten bored quickly because I heard him start to play with the piece of Styrofoam on the floor that my son had pilfered from the box belonging to the new microwave. I turned to leave the room and head back to my own when I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a dark shape hovering near the window and heard the unmistakable sound of wings in flight. Turns out the cats were not in the room with me after all; the sounds I had heard were courtesy of another animal.
I groaned. “You have got to be kidding me! Seriously? A BAT?!”
And then I did what any good mother would do: I ducked. No, I did not gather my children together and haul them to safety; nor did I drape myself over their bodies to protect them from this horrible apparition. I ducked. Allow me to defend myself by stating two semi-obvious facts: I did not wish to wake them only to have them become frightened, and I did not believe them to be in any immediate peril because bats don’t tend to be aggressive creatures. Oh, and this one was, to my estimation, clearly not rabid.
I continued to crouch as the bat swooped and glided around the room looking for a stable place to land, all the while making those kissy/squeaky Styrofoam noises that bats make. I began to consider how I should go about the process of bat-removal. There was the distinct possibility that if I alerted my husband to the bat’s presence he would freak. (My husband would freak, not the bat.) I had visions in my head of my husband blindly running around in circles until he dashed into a wall and knocked himself out.
Trying to sound perfectly calm so as to engender calmness in my husband, I called out, “Honey, can you come here? There’s a bat in the kids’ bedroom.” I had to call several times before he dragged himself out of bed to walk down the hall. (I later asked him why it took so long for him to come to my aid. He replied that he believed me to be joking. ‘Cause, yeah, any mother would want to wake her sleeping children up so she could have an excuse to begin the ritual all over again by shouting about some imaginary bat).
He plodded to their doorway, looked over the gate and gazed stupidly at me. “What are you talking about?” he asked, with a look of concern that undeniably indicated that he thought I had gone mad at long last.
The bat took flight again, squelching my husband’s concern for my mental faculties while at the same time making his concern for his own well being much more imminent. He feels the same way about bats as he does about bugs. Cue the freak-out music, please.
It was then I decided that I could not remain in my hunkered position forever, so amid his shouts of “get the kids out of there!” and “save yourselves!” and the standard “what should I do, what should I do?” that I arose with my arms about my face and head and clambered over the safety gate into the hallway. Probably because things with wings always surround a light in the outside darkness, my first inclination was to start turning on lights in order to draw it away from my sleeping babies.
I quickly flipped the hall switch and the office light switch, illuminating half of the upstairs; then I opened the office window and lifted the screen. The bat darted out of their room all right, but it missed the office doorway and went down the stairs instead. It alighted on some blue ribbon from which hangs a framed photograph of our first portrait as a family of three.
Now that the creature seemed less of an immediate threat my husband started to bark orders. My son had woken up what with all of the shouting and shrieking, so I was commanded to stay with the children while my husband, brave soul that he is, dealt with the bat.
I found it impossible to remain upstairs. With the level of noise emanating up through the floor I was afraid that the bat had somehow discovered that it could arm-wrestle my husband to the floor: it sounded to me as though my fearless protector was shouting and thumping the equivalent of “uncle” in some strange and foreign tongue indicating that he needed urgent help. Either that or he was performing an Indian bat-ridding dance. Either way I didn’t want to miss it.
It must have been the latter because when I arrived on the scene my husband was not pinned to the floor. He must have forgotten one of the critical steps in his dance though, as the bat was still present- circling around and around the ceiling fan in the kitchen. Actually, what my husband was doing was taking pictures! And ducking. I don’t think the bat liked the flash very much.
Once again the fearless ridder-of-things-black-and-yucky commanded me to go upstairs and tend to the children. I made a quick detour to turn on the porch light and open the front door. There continued to be much shouting, stomping, and falling over while I waited with the babies for the battle of the wills to be over downstairs. Eventually my husband threw himself to the floor one last time (he claims the animal was attacking him), and the bat became tired of all the shouting and extricated himself from the house by means of the front door I had left open.
Needless to say, a number of books were read and songs sung before everyone was sufficiently tired enough to go back to sleep. The only injury sustained during the whole ordeal was a broken toenail that my husband acquired during one of his spectacular dives to the floor. Hopefully that blue throw rug I stuffed behind the attic door will prevent any other nighttime creatures from penetrating into our living space. Hopefully.
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