A Little Bear

A couple of days ago, the littlest kids and I were heading to a park. I was buckling Norah in her car seat while Ronan walked over to the side of the car near some bushes that separate our yard from our neighbor’s. I kind of glanced over my shoulder and said “Okay, buddy, let’s go” and went over and stood by his door. After about 5 seconds I said “Let’s go Ronan- time to go to the park” but he still didn’t come. I heard his tiny voice from the other side of the car say “Look, Mommy, a little bear.” We don’t have little bears so I was curious as to what he’d found. When I rounded the corner of the car, his back was to me and he was holding something the way one holds a newborn baby. “What do you have there?” I asked. He turned to me with the sweetest smile and huge, glossy, cartoon eyes (I swear his pupils had been replaced with hearts) and showed me a very dead, very decapitated squirrel.

“Oh my God! Ronan! No! Oh my God! Ugh! Put that down! Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Ronan, buddy, you have to…we can’t…you have to put him down. He’s dead. Can you please put him right over there…in the neighbor’s yard?” I said, but Ronan was having none of it. He said “Awwww, he’s so cute” and stroked his belly with the back of his finger…and then began rocking him back and forth. “Yeah but, see, he’s dead buddy. We can’t keep him. Will you please put him down? Like, anywhere. Just… let’s put him back where you found him. We’ll make him a little bed, okay? You can visit him later.” He looked at me suspiciously and then looked back down at the squirrel which until that moment he didn’t seem to notice was without a head. “Where him head? Where it go? We got to find it” he said and began looking in the bushes while the squirrel’s tail blew in the wind. I was already horrified and now he wanted me to help him canvas the yard for a squirrel head? Shit just got real, y’all. “No, no, he’ll find it later. Hey- you put down the squirrel and you can go take a bubble bath and eat some candy- lots of candy! How about that?!”

After a few more minutes of negotiations, he gently laid the squirrel body, with its delicate little spine sticking out of its neck hole, on a bed of pine straw. We covered him up with leaves and I asked if he wanted to sing the “little bear” a song. He chose “Happy Birthday to You” and we prayed an Our Father. I unbuckled Norah and led them both back into the house. Ronan had a nice, long soak in scalding hot bleach. I gave him about 5 pounds of Easter candy to eat while I went outside to bury the squirrel. While I’m delighted that he loves animals, I prefer them to be alive and fully intact. Fingers crossed he won’t soon find the head and pocket it.

Children are disgusting.

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