8/2/08

The Squirrel Experiment














Yesterday the boys and I were on a "venture," as Miles likes to call a walk in the double stroller. He takes these adventures very seriously and his imagination is always running wild with ideas of what kind of hunt or rescue we're on.

I chug along pushing 50 pounds of children and about 40 pounds of stroller. Sometimes I can't breathe, especially while headed uphill. So Miles gets frustrated and says things like, "talk to me, Mommy! Why aren't you talking?!" And I pant out, "I...can't..."

I'm in great shape.

Anyway, yesterday I noticed that we were about to come up to a very dead squirrel, one who must have met his fate below a tire. Now most mothers would veer away a bit, attempting to shield their children from such an awful sight. But those are most likely the normal people. I, on the other hand, decided this was an excellent teaching opportunity. So I pulled right up next to the dead squirrel and stopped the stroller. I said, "Miles look at that."

He did. Long and hard. He said, "what is that?"

"That is what happens to a squirrel when it doesn't look for cars before running out into the street. This is what I've been saying could possibly happen to you."

Silence.

"Why, Mommy?"

"Because cars are very heavy and you are not. I don't want what happened to the squirrel to happen to you."

(By the way, we have moved on at this point. I didn't want to totally traumatize him, so we talked as we walked on, even though Miles kept asking if we could turn around and look at the "quish sqirall.")

Sometimes life lessons take drastic measures. Miles has always been quite oblivious about the perils of streets. Of course this has much to do with impulse control and his developmental level. But he's also the type of kid that if you finally are able to get his attention and he really thinks about something, it will stick. He'll remember. He'll be able to stop and think before chasing a chipmunk across the street, or suddenly running out to the middle to fetch a stick.

I'm not sure yet if our little lesson will do the trick. Because as we walked on, Miles continued to ask to go back to the squirrel. I continued to say we had looked long enough. He asked if the squirrel was "died." I said yes. He asked if the squirrel was "kewed" by a car, and I said, "yes, he was killed."

I'm pretty sure he doesn't fully understand the gravity of the squirrel's demise though. Because the next question I had for him was "what does killed mean?" And he said he didn't know. So far I'm pretty sure he believes that pancake of a squirrel simply had owies and would sooner or later pop back up. But who knows? Sometimes the results of drastic teaching moments don't reap a harvest of knowledge until they are mulled over for a bit.

For now, right before Miles shoots out into the street, I'm going to try screaming "SQUISHED SQUIRREL!!!" We'll see if that makes him freeze. It's simply an experiment in desperate and excellent parenting.

3 clicked right here to comment:

Kimberly said...

You are nuts - I love that about you! Emma is the type to run out heedlessly into the middle of the street and I sure wouldn't hesitate to use such drastic measures on her either.

In fact, maybe we'll go for a walk today...

charrette said...

I love that you had the guts to go inspect the "quished sqiral." Talk about confronting parenting issues head-on! Very funny. And wise.

(I also love the image of you pushing that 90 pounds of stroller up a hill! Truly heroic.)

warmchocmilk said...

I have to tell you I just read this.... and I am dying laughing over here. So totally something I would do, yet sick in some way. Ha!

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