I need to tell you about the batpocolypse that happened in our home the other night. It was the boys’ first experience with a bat in close quarters (whereas it was, like, my 5th) and it told me a lot about my survival style – AKA every man for himself – AKA Abbott’s scarred for life.
It was the night before Valentine’s day. We had been doing valentines for the boys’ classmates which had ended in Seth accidentally ripping five of them in half, me cursing a sheet of sticker hearts that ironically weren’t sticky at all and somehow intended for sealing our Troll Hunter valentines and the boys jittery with excitement (add this to the list of family activities that sound fun but aren’t – at all). It was about ten minutes before bedtime. Seth left the living room to do something in the kitchen, Matty followed closely behind (probably hoping to get some sort of snack out of the deal) and Abbott and I sat on the couch talking about stickers. At one point, I happened to look over, down the long hallway and into the kitchen, I could see Seth standing at the countertop frustratingly putting together some papers. Curious as to what he was doing, I kept watching. Seth was showing Matty something when suddenly, from out of my eyesight, a bird flew across and down the hallway toward the kitchen and then around the corner out of sight. It was one of those moments where you see something weird but you’re so caught off guard that it take a moment for the panic to set in. In my head I was like, ‘oh, weird, there’s a bird flying around the hallway’ and then suddenly without another thought I started yelling frantically.
“BAT! BAT! BAT! BAT! BAT! BAT! BAT!” Seth looked down the hallway with a confused look. “BAT! BAT! BAT! BAAAAAAT!”
“Jesus. What?! What are you yelling?”
“THERE IS A BAT!”
I was pointing frantically toward the bathroom and Seth just stared at me.
“Shut up, Megan.”
“NO, I’M SERIOUS! THERE IS A BAT.”
Just then the bat swooped past the kitchen door. I watched Seth jump.
“DID YOU SEE IT?!”
“YES. I fucking saw it.”
“WHAT SHOULD WE DO?”
“What do you mean?!”
“Abbott doesn’t have any clothes on!”
My gut reaction was to flee but I didn’t know how I was going to do that.
Abbott was sitting next me on the couch in his diaper, his eyes wide. I stood up and started to panic. I couldn’t take him out of the back door behind the couch because he didn’t have clothes on and I couldn’t get anywhere to grab clothes because there was a bat on the loose. At a loss for better ideas, I picked Bot up and hurriedly tried to explain to him what was happening while I wrapped him loosely in a blanket. Then I realized I didn’t have shoes on. I put Abbott back on the couch in the blanket and weighed my options, looking around the room without any real purpose.
Seth screamed my name from the kitchen and I turned around to see the bat flying at full speed into the living room, right at my face. Now, I have the thickest hair and the idea of a bat getting stuck in my hair is, I swear to Jesus, one of my top-five fears. Ugh, my skin crawls just thinking about it. So, without thinking I dove over the couch and onto the floor. As soon as I landed with a loud thud, I realized I’d left Abbott alone on the couch. No one wants to be the mom who left her baby to fend for itself in the midst of a bat attack, so I sucked up my fears and popped my head over the couch to grab him. The bat was no where in sight. Bot’s head snapped around to look at me, his eyes wide with ‘what the fuck, mom?!’ and his skin pale.
“Bot, come with me!”
He nodded furiously and basically leapt into my arms. I grabbed him and we dove back behind the couch.
Crouched behind the couch, Bot just kept whispering, ‘bat sceery?’ and I kept shushing him (as if the bat was going to hear us and eat us alive). Suddenly there was a loud bang and an inaudible holler from Seth as Matty came screaming into the living room, his feet slamming against the floor as fast as they’d carry him.
Abbott and I climbed out from behind the couch to meet him. He all but climbed up my body. As I stood there sweating, holding the two of them – easily weighing 50 pounds and wondering what to do next, Seth joined us.
“I shut him in the bathroom, so you guys can go into the boys’ room. I’m going to try to get him to fly out of the back door.”
This idea seemed like a nearly impossible task but as long as it wasn’t mine, I didn’t care. I carried the boys into their room and prepared them for bed. The next hour consisted of me answering 743985 questions about bats and, of course, Batman. Matty particularly wanted to know when Batman was coming to get the bad bat and what could possibly be taking him so long; Abbott particularly wanted clarification every 15 seconds about just how ‘sceery’ the bat was. After we read our bedtime stories and shut the light out, the three of us laid in Matty’s bed snuggled together. The boys whispered to each other about the bat.
“Manny, bat’s sceery?”
“No, Abbott. The bat is NOT scary. The bat just lost his family. Batman is coming to get him!”
“Batman come get him? Mom, bat sceery?”
“A little scary, bud, but it’s okay.”
“Mom? What’s Dad doing? Is he gonna see Batman? Will the bat come back?”
“I doubt it. He’s trying to help the bat find his family.”
“Well, he needs Batman to take him back to the zoo because that’s where the bat lives. At the zoo. In the jungle.”
We spent a half an hour lying in the dark whispering back and forth, Abbott gripped my shirt tightly as he fell asleep. Anytime there was any noise from the other side of the door he would whisper, ‘bat sceery’.
When Seth finally entered to say he had returned the bat to his family (AKA the one in heaven) the boys were half asleep and delirious. Abbott screamed, cried and kicked when we put him into his own bed and every day since whenever there’s been a loud, unexpected noise, his eyes squint and he in a low voice he says, ‘bat sceery’. It looks hilariously identical to the face he makes when he’s being Batman.
I can’t wait until the next time we go to the jungle and see our friend, Mr. Bat. Only time will tell if it will be terrible for Bot’s bat PTSD, or a step in healing.