“Squirrel” by Halle 10/03/2011
My children are fascinated with squirrels. I blame my husband for this.
When he first moved to America, he was stunned at the great quanitity of squirrels we have here. Apparently there are not so many back in Japan. He was even inspired to write a short story about the squirrels and their symbiotic relationship with humanity. But that’s a story for another day.
My girls love to chase squirrels, which is not my favorite thing for them to do, being ever mindful of the possibility of rabies and other diseases that the (cough) vermin (cough) may carry.
And they just adore watching the squirrel tree that is right outside our living room window. Every winter, some squirrel is busily toting leaves and twigs up it, to build a nest. He/she isn’t very good at it, because about half the leaves get knocked out when a new load gets dumped in. Still, it keeps the kids entertained!
And the girls love to gather acorns and other bits and bobs, leaving them at the foot of the tree, “It’s for the squirrel, Mama!”.
In fact, one of Zanna’s favorite stuffed animals is a teeny little squirrel that I got for her (Halle’s long since lost hers) from ZooAsia in Japan, when we went there a couple of summers ago. She’s just about loved all the fluff off of its fur, has pulled off its eyes, and it’s become rather seedy looking.
At one point, Little Squirrel was lost and we could not find the thing anywhere.
I’m sure that all of you parents out there know what it’s like to have a child lose a favorite toy which can’t be easily (or at all) replaced.
So I went to our local thrift store, after spending a fruitless hour trying to navigate the entirely Japanese ZooAsia website in vain hope I could mail-order a new Little Squirrel, and I sifted thru the large quantity of Beanie Babies they had there.
At last I hit paydirt, and Little Squirrel had “grown up” and become Big Squirrel!
To my surprise (and immense relief) this actually worked.
Zanna and Halle’s eyes were very wide when I told them that Little Squirrel had “grown up” and become Big Squirrel!
When I produced the larger sized toy rodent, there were many celebratory squeaks and squeals of joy – and I knew I had dodged a major bullet there.
A few weeks later, though, we actually did find the original Little Squirrel, but the girls took it in stride and proclaimed it to be Big Squirrel’s baby named Oscar.
And somewhere in there is a Beanie Baby fox, that the girls also call Oscar”s Mama, so I guess it’s a mixed-species family, since Big Squirrel is male, so I’m told.
And I can’t believe I just devoted my time and energy to writing about squirrels. Sometimes it’s just so easy to get pulled into the girls’ little world where it’s perfectly normal for squirrels to have tea parties.
It’s a nice world, though. Maybe if more of us lived in that world, there’d be fewer wars.