You can imagine with 4 boys in the house pets would therefore follow. We've had a number of interesting, and not-so-interesting pets over the years.
There was one year in particular we had an absurd number of them.
Mortimer the goat
Lucy the pygmy goat
3 baby catfish
2 fire bellied toads
baby painted turtles
2 dogs-Apache and Sophie
2 cats-Tigger and Butterball
27 bantam chickens
and Rocky the snapping turtle
It was so rediculous that many of our friends would ask to come over just so they could visit our zoo. (Hey, it was free.)
There was one pet, however, we didn't buy, catch, or want. He just came to us of his own free will.
One evening we were sitting in our livingroom watching Antique Roadshow on PBS. Our then youngest son, Alec, (about 6 years old) suddenly chirps, "I wish I could see a bat. I've never seen a real bat...."
I promise you, not even 5 minutes later a bat swooped down out of the fireplace and started flying around the room!
Can you imagine the instant chaos? I shrieked. The 3 boys were thrilled! The room burst into action.
Suddenly there were 4 people in the house armed with butterfly nets running, clambering over furniture, jumping toward the ceiling swinging their arms, and all yelling "I got it!"
"I GOT it."
"Oh, it got away."
"Grab him! He's over there!"
"Where'd he go?"
I just stood frozen in one spot ducking my head and screaming every time the bat or a net flew past my head.
Finally my husband caught the terrified creature. The boys studied it for a few minutes and then he was released into the night. We thought that was the end of it. However, a few nights later I was peacefully sleeping when I felt a hand gently shaking my shoulder. It was my husband.
"Sweetie, don't move, and don't panic, but there's a bat in our room."
"What?!" I tried to sit up in order to shriek a little louder, but he held me down.
"Get him! I want him out of our room!" I hissed.
As my eyes adjusted to the darkness I could see the shadow of the bat as it flew overhead. It would circle our room, gently hit the screen on the window, fly out of our room and then return a few minutes later. My husband got up and dressed, turned on the lights and went in search of the bat. Every time he'd turn a light on, the bat would disappear. Lights off: bat. Lights on: no bat. Finally he gave up and came back to bed. Needless to say it took me a long time to go back to sleep.
This scenario repeated itself every night for about a week. After a few days we were almost used to having a bat in the house. Even the kids got used to it. If anyone had to go to the bathroom during the night we would just duck waddle across the hall so we didn't disturb the bat's flight pattern. :-)
It was during this time my brother and his family were preparing to move across the country to Idaho. We spent alot of time that week helping them pack and clean their house and prepare for the move. When they left my husband was going to go with them to help drive and unload the moving truck once they reached Idaho. My only hope was that the bat would be gone before they left. I couldn't stand the thought of being alone in the house with 3 little boys and that nocturnal creature still on the loose.
Of course it didn't happen that way. My brother, his family, their belongings, and my comforting, safe husband all left and the bat stayed. I was not a happy camper.
Back to the old routine. Content during the day because I knew the bat was sleeping somewhere, and insomnia at night. Where was that blasted creature anyway?!
A few days after my husband left the boys and I got up to a beautiful morning. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and a warm breeze blew in the windows. We ate breakfast and I gave them some chores to do while I cleaned the kitchen. All of a sudden James starts screaming, "MOM! MOM! Come quick!!! MOOOOOMMMMMMMM!"
I went tearing down the hall to see what on earth was causing all the commotion. As I flew into James' room I spotted him standing next to one of his aquariums grinning and pointing. There sat Rocky innocently chewing on the bat's head. Apparently the bat had become thirsty and decided a snapping turtle's water would quench his parched throat.