little critters and teachable moments

We have this thing for wildlife around here. And by ‘thing for wildlife’ I mean wildlife has a thing for entering our very clearly defined territory. Never mind that we live in a rather urban neighborhood, we’ve had:

a bird in our living room

a squirrel in our basement

a stray cat in our kitchen

a deer across the street

and now a vole on our front steps.

Friends and readers (who are friends I just haven’t met yet)? Meet Mousey, the vole (as christened by OBoy):


Mousey says “O haaaaai friends and readers!”

Probably because I had spent a good portion of last week reading the handful of books I checked out from the library about homeschooling, we took this learning opportunity with OBoy and ran with it. We looked up pictures, listed characteristics of different species of voles and had OBoy check to see if Mousey had them (hairy tail? Check! It’s a prairie vole!). We learned that voles like nuts and seeds so we put some of each in with him, but the ordeal of being plunked down into an orange 5 gallon bucket seemed to have spoiled Mousey’s appetite.

Or maybe it was the 3 year old who inadvertently kept making his entire world shake.


Mousey didn’t take to our offerings, but the whole experience was a fun, educational one for our family. Maybe God keeps dropping these creatures in our laps (but not literally in our laps because O MERCY wouldn’t that be awful?) as a way of saying ‘Hey, if you want to homeschool, I am all up in that with provision of teachable moments.’* 

Despite DanO’s inclination, we did right by Mousey the vole and took him over to a lake to let him go. Why a lake, you ask? Well, a kind man with animal control once taught me (over the phone when I asked what the crap to do with the squirrel in a dog crate in my living room) that the best way to release a land-dwelling wild animal that has nested where it ought not is to bring it to the other side of a body of water. That way it is unlikely that the animal will be able to track its way home.

See? Isn’t all of life just a grand learning adventure?


*An official statement regarding our schooling decision: We haven’t made one. I am exploring all of my options and being that OBoy is a little over 3 years old, I feel like I have the time to do so. That said, homeschooling is absolutely one of our options and private school ($$$) is absolutely not. So.

:: :: :: :: :: ::

Welcome to this week’s Parent ‘Hood link up! Please read these guidelines before linking your post:

1. Today’s link-up will run from this morning through the Sunday night. A new link-up will start next Monday morning.

2. Link the unique URL of your parenting post, not the homepage of your blog or your parenting post will get buried under new content on your homepage and be hard to find when readers click through on your link later in the week.

3.  We ask that you please include a text link to The Parent ‘Hood (on any of the hosting blogs) in your linked post.

4.  Share your own posts and read and comment on other blogs. Any good ‘hood is all about community, right? Read, comment and enjoy as you have time.


8 Responses to “little critters and teachable moments”

  1. Katie

    A possum got into our kitchen once (okay, more than once, but they were different possums). Strangely, it was the rabbit who alerted us to the intruder’s presence. She would not. stop. stamping. STAMP STAMP STAMP. Because apparently that’s how rabbits sound the alarm in the wild. The stamping vibrates through the earth and can be heard down in their warrens as well as felt by the other rabbits in the vicinity aboveground. What the what, nature!

    Anyway, I just thought the rabbit was being weird and annoying until the dog wouldn’t come to bed and was just standing in the corner, staring at the trash can. I went over to grab him and was hissed at most ferociously by a baby possum.

    Yay animals!

  2. Karie

    We started homeschooling our 4.5 year old ‘officially’ this year. So far so good and I will say watching your figure stuff out that YOU explained is super fun. That said I think every stay-at-home mom is a homeschool mom in so many ways. Even with my 2 year old we are learning stuff everyday and I’m the one teaching him so … :-)

  3. Sarah


    Sorry to shout, but I was excited. My family (5 kids) were all homeschooled and I can’t say enough good things about it.

  4. Sarah H

    We homeschool our two oldest, this is our second year. I had given up on school for this morning — they had a birthday party yesterday and have been happily occupied with gifts, why mess that up?! While eating lunch I told them a story about riding a bike down Pikes Peak and we discussed gravity and friction — so, we did school!

    As for critters, when we moved into our current home we had to evict 16 SKUNKS from under the garage. Fun Times! Two weeks of trapping, and oh. the. smell. I was in the hospital having a c-section for our 4th child (4th in five years!) right in the middle of those two weeks:)

  5. Megan at SortaCrunchy

    “See? Isn’t all of life just a grand learning adventure?”

    YES! Yes it is. And no matter what decision y’all come to, when you bear this in mind, your children will be so wonderfully and fully prepared for life!


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>