Do you remember that post I wrote like a week or two ago about Valentine and the possum?
Last week, before it was atrociously hot, I'd taken Danny and Oscar outside for the morning. We usually head out around 10 when Miles goes down for a nap, if I can keep them contained for that long. The Going Outside involves multiple steps - sunscreen application, drink and snack preparation, a collecting of my own supplies (book, magazine, cell phone, home phone, water, keys) - and then we all four (with Valentine) schlep outdoors.
Once we are outside and I've divested my self of snacks and reading material and telecommunications devices, I have to lock the front gate (to prevent escapees); open the sand box; open the sand and water table; fill the sand and water table; bring down dump trucks, ride on toys, bubbles, balls, and sidewalk chalk from the porch; and get the boys started in a game. It takes a good 15 minutes to get all of this going.
After things are cooking, I generally move an outdoor chair to a position that is optimal for monitoring the boys and read until I'm called upon to referee a dump truck race or break up a scuffle over the best sand shovel.
About a month ago, Nelson filled in our side (weed) flower bed with stone to create a little patio. It's lovely. The boys love the stone. They load it up into their dump trucks and move it all around the yard, doing "struction jobs" as Oscar calls them. One such pile of stone from the previous day's struction job was right next to my chair.
So, maybe 5 minutes of play pass and I here Oscar beside me asking, "What's that? What's that? What is it Danny? Momma, what's that."
Valentine is lurking around the boys, which is pretty common, and I sort of glance over and say, "It's rocks."
And then, I notice Danny has something in his hand.
It is not a rock. It is the same color as the rocks, but it is much larger. And formerly living.
"GAHHHHAHH! PUT IT DOWN! DO NOT TOUCH THAT!"
At which point Danny drops the thing like a hot potato and Oscar immediately reaches over to touch it.
"NO! That is very yucky. It's gross. DON'T TOUCH."
"But what is it Momma, what is it?"
"It's a possum. It's just a possum, guys, but you can't touch it, okay?"
"It's a possel? Why? Why is it a possel? Can we play with it?"
"Absolutely not. Now, both of you, lets go inside and wash our hands."
"Why? Why we wash our hands? Why we can't play with the possel?"
"Because it is gross, that's why."
"But why is the possel gross? Why is it a possel?"
At which point I ignored the next 50 million questions out of Oscar's mouth, brought both boys inside, and scrubbed their hands until they bled.
While I was removing the top layer of epidermis from Danny and Oscar's hands, I recalled the previous night. When I put Valentine out after dinner, she stayed out for like two hours; an unheard of amount of time for her to stay out after dark. And, when I called her in, it took several whistles to get her to respond. It seems she was busy laying siege against the resident possum.
We went back outside and I used a plastic bag to remove the definitely dead possum and tossed it in the garbage. Valentine was beside me the whole time.
I swear she was laughing.