A couple of weeks ago, I got a tip from a friend on Facebook that there were owl pellets to be found at a local park. As a homeschool Mom, I got all excited about the cool everyday opportunities to educate our children. I then proceeded to the park to collect the specimens.
We found them exactly where she said we would, and then spent some time reading a book about fairy houses and collecting a bunch of stuff to make a fairy house of our own in the backyard. We headed home to dissect our gross, yet fascinating, treasure.
All fun and good right?
Except, did you notice the kids didn’t have any gloves on or anything? They began to use their hands directly due to the fact that it was easier than the tweezers. I did too.
When we were finished and the photo op complete, I came inside to check email and Facebook, otherwise known as ‘waste precious life moments with a ridiculously bad habit’.
I started to wonder about us using our bare hands to feel our way through owl vomit. And so began the 24 hours of utter fear and panic. Of course I Googled. That is what I do when I have any sort of question. I Google. And of course what did I find?
Endless articles about how owl pellets carry Salmonella and Campylobacter an more lovely things like that. You know, all kinds of things that could make me and my babies very sick. Articles about school kids getting sick after the same experiment we had just completed.
Oh God. Oh God. Oh God. What did I do?
(I’ll have you know I am getting many of the same feelings in this moment as I write about it, that is what anxiety can do for you)
So, I did what any crazy, high anxiety, worry wort about her children’s safety, of a Mom would do. I bathed the children, washing their entire bodies with soap and even finished the bath with a nice hand dousing in All-Terrain anti-bacterial hand gel. I went out to the back porch and threw EVERYTHING in the trash, including all of the fairy house things we had gotten at the park after we had collected our vomit, and the bag they were in.
I showered too and doused multiple times in the anti-bacterial hand goo. Then told my husband to go get dinner out, so I wasn’t making food with said hands, and added that while he was out he should stop at the store and pick up some Clorox anti-bacterial wipes, cause lord knows we don’t have that kind of stuff in our house.
He returned with dinner and as everyone else ate, I backtracked through the house with wipes in hand. I wiped down door handles, faucet handles, doors and door knobs, tables and chairs, light switches, and the table we did the grand experiment with our lives on. I got crazy. And then I wiped the kids hands with more hand slime. And mine too. I even painstakingly wiped every page of the fairy house book we had read.
I couldn’t sleep that night. I kept thinking to myself over and over how I wanted to be the cool homeschooling Mom who took her kids and did awesome things with them but didn’t take the time to research first. My ego was too big. I would never forgive myself if anything happened to my babies due to my insatiable need for approval.
At 3 AM I climbed out of bed to go watch TV. I knew that if I didn’t distract myself I it was going to be a very long day. A dear friend popped up on Facebook, when I attempted to waste more life energy there, and reminded me about perspective. After all, she was up at 3 AM for her own reasons too.
We never got sick. But I may just pass over the next owl pellet I have the opportunity to see, unless we are protected with gloves, masks, and/or bubble suits.
So that is my ode to science. And ego. And the need for dear friends.
Spill it: Have you ever done anything to or with your kids, or let your kids do, that you were just sick over later?