My neighbor would have been mortified to see all the bare feet in my back yard yesterday. The woman is afraid of nothing other than copperheads. We have a LOT of copperhead snakes in our neighborhood. People tell stories of year-long recoveries from snake bites the way those people who get Lyme disease talk about recovery.
You go to the local zoo and there is the CAUTION: POISONOUS sign overhead. Ethan says, "Enough with the poisonous copperheads already. We KNOW they are poisonous." Nathan pipes up with "I KNOW they are red. Stop telling me that."
The neighbor graciously reminds us that the huge pile of sticks over there? Great place for baby copperheads to hide out. She's right. And she's not even trying to tell me in a way that know-it-all-ish. She just doesn't want to have to do babysitting duty for the ER visit that is related to a snake bite in lieu of the usual stitches run. She's not exaggerating either. Last year I killed two copperheads on the front walk. Nate called out to warn me about the one but then he lost it because he saw a daddy long legger.
He was freaking out. Losing it.
K: Nate, what's wrong? Are you okay?
Nathan: MOM!!! I was telling yout there is a copperhead but then I saw a 'PIDER. A 'PIDER!!!!
K: Nathan, please move away from that snake.
Nathan: I CAN'T (wailing and pointing to the harmless spider between him and the door).
I snatched him up and put him in the house. There was no use trying to reason with the child about a poisonous snake at his feet when clearly the harmless spider had emotionally crippled him. I went back outside and beheaded the snake with a shovel (which is as fun as it sounds). Nate jumped over the spider and came to stand beside the writhing body of the now headless snake.
Nathan: MOM!!! You have to kill the spider.
I didn't. I have a LOT of atoning to do in my lifetime for the amount of legs I have pulled off of spiders in my childhood so I'm just going to leave well enough alone. We have snakes to cause concern. They are far more interesting.
I know that other than cleaning out my entire back yard of all yard debris, the next best way to stay safe is for everyone to wear shoes. But the wearing of shoes is a losing battle in my house. I started to chew everyone out today about safety since 4 out of 5 family members had shoes strewn across the lawn rather than on their feet when someone brought it to my attention that I wasn't wearing shoes. It's kind of awkward to be the parent who tries to pitch the "parents are allowed to do things kids aren't allowed to do" when really you are just a big fat hypocrite.
My children don't buy the hypocrisy. It was worth a try though.
You would think from this picture that I could also take a little time to be worried about the wooden stakes, the leftover piece of sharp gutter cover, the potting soil around his mouth or even the plastic cup that is most likely a #3. But I don't want to get ahead of myself...