Stay Curious.
Dig Deeper.
Nurture What Matters.
Be BoldHeart.
Enjoy Your Life.

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The BoldHeartMama desires to enjoy living out the choices that she’s made for herself and for her family. She is a relentless learner: curious, inquisitive, and open to the possibilities of her life and of the human condition. She understands that there isn't one right way—she asks questions that dig deeper to make sense of it all and to find her own path.

She pays attention to and nurtures whatever it is she really cares about, letting go of the rest (for now) knowing she can't do and be everything all at once. She embraces her imperfections in favor of "good enough"—her imperfect self, her imperfect home, her imperfect mothering, her imperfect desires—and she never stops evolving as a woman and mother. She is a BoldHeart, authentic and true to herself.

The BoldHeartMama knows there is only this one life and she's all in. She is present and engaged and making things happen. Her intuition is her guide. She seeks to be inspired and relies on her creativity and her resourcefulness to solve the big and little challenges that she and her family face together as they navigate their relationships and their world.

The BoldHeartMama is willing to take calculated risks to make her biggest dreams come true. She is living out her BoldHeart in the moment, making small moves and taking little steps that add up, and she's cultivating a good life for herself and her family in the process. Read More!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Lessons from nature on bats and rabies

Last Friday, Roscoe found a dead bat by the river.

It was a tiny bat that fit so sweetly cupped in the palm of his hand. We guessed it was only recently dead, it's brown fur too soft to resist, with velvety wings that fanned out.

My little expert on the natural world—well-versed in all things Kratt brothers and Jeff Corwin—Roscoe was incredulous at this chance sighting of a real bat. He couldn't contain his joy and reached out with bare hands before I could properly devise my approach.

I told him at first, "Only with this stick," and demonstrated how he could gently lift up a wing, or even flip the bat over entirely to get a better view, and then I offered it to him to give a try.

It crossed my mind to follow the lead of a friend who was sharing the trail with us that day, she firmly made it clear to her own children that in their family they do not touch dead animals. I vacillated but Roscoe's contagious energy swayed me. The way his fingertips danced across the bats belly, gliding up over its face and caressing those fuzzy ears. By my own omission he claimed the bat as his own, the newest member of our crew—4 kids deep and two mamas trailing behind.

Roscoe hung the bat by its claws from the side of his outstretched finger, "This is what a bat looks like when he sleeps. See, his wings fold up like this. Isn't she a beauty?" He was using a familiarly proper and most scientific tone to narrate the bats characteristic features.

He walked on to the beach and buried the bat in the sand, then picked up the corners of its wings like a little napkin, heavy with a sandy load, and carried it over to the river's edge where he slowly dribbled the granules into the water's murky depths.

He washed it next, meticulously dipping its wings and then submerging the furry corpse before wringing it out like a washcloth and darting back up into the treeline for more batty adventures.

By now I was thinking it was time to let the bat go.

One called out to give it a watery grave. Yes, I agreed. "Throw it into the river!"

In hindsight, in just this one case, I'm so grateful for my four year old's insistence to not listen to a word I say.

"Bury it in the sand!" another said.

"Hang it by its toes on the bark of this tree?" I pleaded.

Get rid of it, we encouraged. "It's time."

But he was adamant that when he finds bats in nature it is easy for him to get attached and next he insisted that he would much prefer to bury it in our backyard at home.

No. That was going a little too far. "I'm sorry, but that's not happening," I empathized. "I know it's hard, but you must."

I wrestled him for the bat and dropped it into the nearest dark space that I could find, just off the trail where the weeds grew tall.

What came next: 

Back at home as the day was winding down, a nagging little feeling hung with me, and so while the kids made believe they were pirates in the backyard, I pulled up the CDC website to settle my mind about rabies.

Any contact with a bat—dead or alive apparently—warrants a call to the pediatrician. The triage nurse insisted and we complied: call the police to dispatch animal control, retrieve the bat's body from the trail and arrange for it to be tested, head to the emergency room to begin the rabies vaccination series.

I couldn't believe it. Really? No one had been bitten, the bat had been found dead. In fact, Roscoe, Merritt and I had all been "exposed" having touched the bat to various extents and so we were all candidates for vaccination. (They were very confident on this point.) I was told the boys could only receive their doses at the Emergency Room, a potentially exorbitant cost for a series of 4 vaccines each, but Rabies is 100% fatal and so there wasn't room for skepticism.

Roscoe and I stayed at the pediatric emergency room for more than three hours. The nurses fawned over him coaxing him to repeat his version of the story to any newcomers.

"Now tell her. What did you find by the river?" They would say with anticipation. "And where did you touch it?!" Everyone was hysterical at his telling, nodding somberly and stifling their amusement as they waited for the best parts.

Roscoe would articulate from the beginning and then point to his nose and mouth with a smart grin. He did touch the bats teeth, but not the tips, he only rubbed them across the front he would say, demonstrating with his finger on his own teeth. "I didn't touch the canines," he assured us. The details were becoming clearer to him with every telling.

When we were alone though, I could tell he was a little frightened, alarmed and bummed that his play-date with the bat had come to this. He made me promise to go first when it was time to get our shots.

Around midnight, after consulting with the state epidemiologist and other infectious disease experts we learned that because the bat was in custody we could go home and wait for the test results to come in on Wednesday.

If the bat had been rabid and if any of us had even truly been exposed, the statistical odds felt so far-fetched that we doubted it was true and so we were not surprised, though terribly relieved, when we learned that the test results came back negative.

How do you balance your children's curiosity in nature?

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