The other night I was curled up on the couch as the Girl and I binge watched a whole season of Total Drama Island. (I appreciate the animated snark fest, and find it far more entertaining that any "real" reality show.) Anyway I had fallen asleep on about the 7th episode, only to be awakened shortly after by a semi hysterical daughter: "Mom...Mom...MOM!!!" I of course jump up, having never lost my panic at 2 AM instinct that all mothers acquire, to be confronted by a girl standing and pointing at her laptop like she had just discovered Pod People in the neighborhood. (Never seen Invasion of the Body Snatchers? Do so as soon as possible. I prefer the 50's version with Kevin McCarthy but the 70's version with Donald Sutherland is good too. Anyway I digress.) I followed my daughter's pointing finger to my laptop where I was confronted with the spider ambling across the top, minding his own business. He was mostly legs, about the size of a nickel although to the Girl just then he looked more like Aragog or Shelob. I attended to the spider (admittedly if the Boy hadn't been out at camp I would have let him attend to the spider), and then turned to laugh at the girl, who can camp outdoors for two weeks with no complaints, but freaks out over a daddy long legs on the computer,. Admittedly though she's been having a hard time lately with the wild life in the urban jungle.
Last week, she went to take out the trash. We have city supplied dumpsters on wheels, with lids that aren't supposed to be lifted by non humans. No one told the raccoon that she found inside the dumpster when she opened it, of this fact however. I'm not sure how he lifted the weighted lid, but they are intrepid little @#%s, so anything is possible.She shrieked, scaring the raccoon and anything else in a 10 mile radius, and now requests an escort when dumping the trash. The raccoon, meanwhile, having had his tail caught in the lid while escaping, hasn't been sen since.
We have been having quite the heatwave lately, and have been leaving the bathroom window open, as its several floors up and not accessible to burglars. Unfortunately, it turns out the window is accessible to bushy tail urban rats otherwise known as squirrels, one of whom was admiring himself in the mirror when the Girl went in the bathroom one night. (Still not sure how he did this. There are no trees or electric lines on that side of the house. Maybe he learned to teleport.) She raced downstairs screaming. I asked her if she had shut the door. She said she hadn't and I told her to do so, before he decided to curl up in her bed when he was done with his shower. We then waited about 15 minutes, and went back to check the room, the squirrel of course was long gone. Naturally the window stayed closed and the light on all night.
So her reaction the the spider was quite understandable under the circumstances, but it does leave me to wonder why we are so spooked by animals in the city that we wouldn't even look at in the country? I frequently take calls at work about deer in the city. (The deer population is booming in the area, due to the absence of hunting and natural habitat.) They usually want the animal warden to come fetch said deer and take them somewhere "safer". First of all, there is no where is in the city "safer" as they will continue to wander no matter where you leave them. Secondly, your development is built in their old woods, so what do you expect. Third how do you expect us to persuade them, they are as big as us and have hooves and sometimes? (My husband thinks such persuasion should be done with a crossbow, as he and the girl are fond of venison jerky, but then he grew up on a farm and really isn't spooked by wildlife.)
There is, the Girl pointed out to me, as certain shock in the discovery of this wildlife where we don't expect it to be (especially in a garbage can they aren't supposed to be able to get into.)
So things have mostly returned to normal now. The wildlife is staying outdoors for the time being (with the exception of the ones we have invited in, bird, snakes, and fish, and they are all in their appointed containment units.) And I know when we go camping again she won't have any issues at all (except maybe for the spiders). There, after all, we are the invaders.
Update: Last night the raccoon was back in the garbage can again. The girl swears she is never taking the trash out again. Score now reads: Girl-0, Wildlife-6.