My husband likes to say that our youngest, Leelou, can speak parseltongue, like in the Harry Potter books, because in her ongoing effort to learn to talk, she sometimes grins mischievously (like Jack Nicholson in The Shining, if I tell the truth), and produces a series of noises that sound kind of like, “spspsp…adohomin…spspsp.”
It’s Sunday afternoon, I’m sitting on the couch waiting for the Cowboys game to start (which sucked, by the way), and Annie, our 2 1/2 year old, comes running up to me with a look that I can only describe as pure joy, as though Christmas morning had dawned with her much-wished-for bike under the tree and a heaping plate of chocolate chip cookies next to it.
“nake! nake!” is what she was yelling at me. Or at least near as I could tell. Sometimes, it’s still hard to understand what word she is trying to say to me. But with a huge smile on her face, bouncing up and down on her tiptoes, she kept saying it over and over and pointing at her room. Finally, I said, “Snake?” And she said, “Yeah, yeah!”
I dutifully followed her into her room, thinking, “Nah, it’s not a snake. Maybe she found a toy that looks like a snake.” There’s nothing on the floor, and I say, “Where’s the snake?” She points at her bed, “Under there! Right there! Snake!”
Umm…..if she’s right, there’s no way on God’s green earth that I’m about to look. So, what do I do? “Thomas!” I yell across the house. “Annie says there’s a snake under her bed!” He comes in the room, pretty quickly, I might add, and says, “What?” We have great communication skills in our house, have I mentioned that before?
Annie is still jumping up and down, pointing at the bottom of the bed. In fact, she walks over to the bed and leans down to lift the little bed skirt. “Ah…let daddy do that, okay?” So Thomas goes to the floor and starts looking. “I’m going to get a flashlight,” he says.
By now, of course, Leelou has joined us and with her sister keeps trying to look under the bed, as I try to keep them with me on the other side of the room. In case this snake decides to lunge at us from under the bed. It could happen.
When Thomas returns, he hits the floor and after about 10 seconds, stands straight up and says, “Holy crap, there’s a snake under the bed!” Um, what the what? Seriously? Fer real? I know, why would he lie about that? Annie is now ecstatic because daddy has seen the snake, too. He shoos us out of the room and shuts the door. In case the snake tries to follow us. It could happen.
Thomas decides to use Annie’s little bug/lizard catching net, along with a piece of cardboard, to try and catch it. He goes in the room, alone. Leelou runs off to play, while Annie and I sit in the living room, having this conversation:
Her: My snake! My snake!
Me: Honey, it’s not your snake. It needs to be outside. It can’t stay in your room.
Her: My snake, my snake!
Me: Baby, daddy is going to get the snake and put it outside, so it can go back to its family. It can’t live with us.
Her: Yeah. My snake, my snake!
Me: It’s not like the lizards. Snakes can’t live under your dresser. They have to go outside.
Her: Yeah. My snake, my snake!
Me: I know you like the snake, and I know he was in your room, but we can’t keep a snake as a pet, okay? It has to go outside.
Her: commence crying
My daughter, the reptile lover.
After listening to some banging and rustling, Thomas emerges, and says, “It’s too strong for the net.” Um….what? “It’s too big and strong for the net. It just pulled it along. So I’m going to put on some pants and figure something else out.” Fer real?
He puts on jeans, shoes, long sleeve shirt, big gloves and gets the pillow case. Oh, come on, we’ve all seen The Cosby Show episode. He goes back in, where again I hear rustling, thumping and bumping. Is he having to wrestle this snake? How big is this thing??? And just then, he comes out of the room, carrying the pillow case with a very visible snake outline. And walks straight out the patio door, but not before telling Annie, “Snakes are BAD! It is not staying in this house!”
Commence more crying. “Oh, honey, snakes aren’t bad, they just can’t live with us in the house. They need to go outside so they can eat and be with their families. Okay?” Annie, of course, can see her daddy walking away through the window, so she gets excited and says, “Outside! Outside!” Um, no. “We’re going to let daddy take care of it and maybe later we’ll go outside and visit the snake.” For whatever reason the clouds aligned, and she accepted this answer.
I told Thomas not to say the word d-i-e, and he didn’t. He just told her that the snake made its way back to its family. In case you’re worried, uh…the snake had a parting of the ways with its head and likely provided a tasty treat for some critter in our bushes.
When I finally got to ask my husband, the snake moved from under the bed to under the bookshelf, hence the banging. He turned the pillow case inside out and grabbed it and scooped it up. It was a rat snake, about 2 feet long. “Small for a rat snake,” he tells me. “Big for any other snake.” Um…great?
And the $64,000 question: how the hell did it get in our house???? “Probably came in the front door and followed the baseboard to Annie’s room.” So calm. So matter-of-fact. I think I’m going to need to lie down now.
There you have it. Snakes. I’ll always believe our kids when they tell us they’ve seen something, especially critters.
And you? Ever found an unwanted animal guest in your home? What was it? How did you catch it? Tell me the tale in the comment section, so I know we aren’t the only ones with two-headed, fire-breathing snakes around!
And just for fun, here’s that Cosby Show clip, in case you’ve forgotten it.