Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Really, I tried to avoid being a bad mother (at least in this category)

We live in an old house. It was built in 1843 as living quarters for farmhands or something like that, and while it has had many modern conveniences added since then, it is still, at its core, an old house. One typical old-house problem it didn't initially have, however, was bats. But we added insulation, thinking we were being all green and shit, and it turns out that bats totally LURV insulation, and in the winter of 2006/2007 we started hearing noises in our attic (which is a teeny-tiny crawl space). They were chirruping and scratching noises, and I gamely tried to convince myself that they could be from, say, songbirds or a benevolent elf. Then my coworker said, "Oh, they're probably bats," and I got on the horn STAT with the local pest/bat people. Actually, I think I didn't do anything until I found a dead mouse in the house, and then I casually mentioned the attic noises to the pest guy who came over, and the next thing I knew I was paying something like $600 or $700 for "guaranteed" bat service, which involves the bat guy plugging up all the places bats can get in and also putting in one-way valves that let the bats out but not back in.

The "guaranteed" bat service involved a checkup six months later to make sure there were no bats. No one came to check, but I was on it. I kept calling them and asking them to come check. Then it was winter, and I heard those same noises in our chimney area. The dog always seemed unconcerned, and I now know not to trust him.* The bat people said they couldn't check until the snow was off the roof. Well, this winter SUCKED ASS, and the snow was on the roof until recently. I called again. They said I was on the list. And then, finally, the bat guy came last Thursday and did some checking and plugging (for which I paid $93), but he said he didn't see any signs of bats.

On Saturday night, two days after the bat guy was there, we looked up and saw a BAT flying around the house. I suggested that maybe it was a songbird or possibly a Wonder Twin in the form of a bat, but it was a goddamned bat. We had no idea where it came from. After it had been flying around for a couple of minutes, I thought to shut the door to the upstairs, but could we definitively say that it hadn't been upstairs, where So.ren was sleeping? No. My husband got the bat out the front door, and thought it maybe looked hurt, but he also might have hit it with the broom.

I called the pediatrician on Monday to report the bat incident in the hopes that they'd say something like, "Oh, that must have been the benevolent elf species of bat, which is never rabid; don't worry about it." Instead, they said, "Take So.ren to the ER immediately for immunoglobulin and the first rabies shot. Then go back on day 3, 7, 14, and 28." So we (my mother and I) did.

Here are my recommendations from this experience:

1. If you have a bat in your house, catch it. (How? I don't know.) This will allow you to have the bat tested for rabies, which may mean you don't need to have any shots or subject your poor, tired, squirmy, SCREAMING child to such shots.

2. Do not go to the ER around dinnertime. You'd think people would be at home watching television, but, no, TiVo means that they can go to the ER at dinnertime. I think I'll try 8am for shots 2 through 5. (Why do we have to go to the ER for every shot? I don't know.)

3. If they offer to weigh your baby, accept. This way, you'll know that it's 24 lbs. that you're holding for hours, which means it was totally fine to skip the gym.

4. If you do catch a bat in your house, you can call the police about it. (This according to the family in the waiting room next to ours. I suspect the police then called animal control, but hey.)
And that, dear friends, is how I am currently FAR IN THE LEAD for bad mother of the year. I'm really looking forward to shots 2 through 5. No, really. Damned CDC guidelines. (Better safe than sorry, though.)

* The dog has been living a lie. This morning, my mother found him sleeping on the couch. He has never tried this when we're there, and when we come downstairs in the morning, he is always standing on the floor. My mother apparently snuck up on him since the guest room is on the first floor.


My Reality said...

Bats really freak me out. I hope So.ren survives the shots ok!

TLB said...

Damn flying rats! Hope the little guy is holding up OK. I guarantee you are not Bad Mother of the Year--one of my students is pg and, I have reason to suspect, doing a lot of meth. Mostly because she looks so stoned all the time.

twirl said...

that picture is frightening.

Kim T. said...

Stopping by for the first time and enjoying reading up on your new start. The bat thing happened to my friend, who is a good mom AND a pediatrician. She hated having to give so many shots to her little girl but you are right, better than the alternative. I'll be adding you to my handy dandy google reader.
Best wishes!