Squirrels

Every day I get asked all sorts of questions. These range from the flat-out bizarre to theoretical, and all of them typically come out of my six-year olds mouth. For those of you with children, I don’t need to explain further, but for those who are childless I will explain. Children do not come with an instruction manual, and if they did it would be written in Swahili. They are very curious about things that we, as adults, either don’t think about, or take for granted. Kids will ask questions at the most inopportune time, and at times about inappropriate things, but the best questions are about things for which there really isn’t a good solid answer. For instance, Raven asked one day “Mom, why do birds fly?” My answer was short, and to the point, and least likely to generate a follow-up “But why?!” question. My answer was “Because it’s faster than walking”. Simple and to the point, and likely to satisfy his burning curiosity. Raven has become very curious and interested in wild life here lately, and in our neighborhood that means squirrels.

These little grey tree rats are everywhere in this neighborhood. We have a lot of oak trees, and they just love the nuts. They also happen to be the roadkill of choice. It is not unusual at all to see a squirrel pancake on the road with its tail lifting with the breeze like some sort of macabre fuzzy salute. So, today on the way home from school, as we were pulling into the driveway Raven spied a big fat tree rat munching an acorn on top of the air conditioner outside. “Mom? Why do squirrels run?” It took every fiber in my being to refrain from saying something like “To get to the other side of the road”, or “So we won’t serve them with whipped cream and strawberries with a side of maple syrup”. Instead, I whipped out the “Mom” answer, “Because like birds, it’s faster than walking.” Raven chewed on that answer for all of about 0.245 seconds and then said “But, squirrels aren’t birds!” And now you know why nine times out of ten my brain hurts at the end of the day.

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