We recently watched one of the TEDx Talks about Logan LaPlante, a then 13-year-old boy who does “hackschooling” and how that makes him happy. It led to an interesting discussion about how we want our baby daughter to grow up.
One other thing mentioned in the video, though, was Logan’s interaction with nature. He spends “one day a week outside all day.” In today’s supercharged, super-connected world, isn’t that interesting to think about?
Both my husband and I have lived in city-like surroundings for much of our lives. Drastically different surroundings, for sure – one was in Africa and the other in America – but it’s been a long time since we spent a day a week outside all day. Maybe a few minutes on a walk … maybe several hours in a car … but not often just alone, by ourselves, with nothing between us and the great outdoors.
So we’ve begun trying to introduce our daughter more to nature. It could be a morning walk, an afternoon look at flowers and trees, etc.
One afternoon my husband came in from the garage all excited. “Come with me!” he cried, scooping our baby into his arms. “You have to see these baby rabbits!”
Our baby was apparently less than thrilled with the excursion, because she started to wail. (It was near her naptime, which also didn’t help.)
I heard them come back inside while I finished up some housework, but my husband sounded a little dubious. “There’s a baby rabbit inside our garage,” he said.
“A baby rabbit! Where?” I said, going to the garage door.
“It’s pretending it’s not there,” he said. “I have to get it out.”
Hastily I took the baby from him and retreated into the house, shutting the door. I didn’t want the rabbit coming into the living room.
Soon my husband came into the house. “Stupid animal!” he fumed. “It’s gone inside a hole, and now I can’t see it.”
“Oh no!” Baby rabbits were all very nice outside, but having one inside the house – and not sure whereabouts it had taken up residence – gave me the heebie jeebies.
Thus began the saga of Alfred, our unwelcome guest. My husband swept the garage out with a broom, overturned every flower pot, whacked at the basement walls, everything he could think of to drive the critter from its hiding place. He wondered whether it had managed to get through a hole in our insulation to fall into our basement from the garage.
We called some friends to come over and help us hunt for it that evening. When they came up empty-handed, we all decided to hope that little Alfred had sneaked out of the garage at some point and was now cavorting through a field of flowers with his other rabbit friends.
One evening two days later, my husband asked me whether I had moved the strawberry.
“Strawberry? What strawberry?” I finally asked.
“I put a strawberry in the garage by your car,” he said. “Now it’s gone.”
We both stared at each other. It must have been Alfred!
The next morning, my husband greeted me with haunted eyes. “Alfred lives,” he proclaimed in a tone of deep foreboding. “I saw him in the basement last night.”
“Eek!” Instantly my every trip to the nether regions of our abode would be fraught with danger at every step, lest Alfred come rushing out.
My husband began laying out traps for Alfred. Homemade ones, like an empty cookie box with stalks of celery and carrot in it. The thought was that he would come for the food and get stuck.
But things didn’t come to a climax until the next morning, when my husband went down to the basement to empty the dehumidifier.
Then I heard my husband calling my name. I picked up the baby and opened the door leading to the basement. “What is it?”
“I’ve got him!”
He had clapped a box over Alfred, who had reappeared. He was weak and sluggish from starvation. With a little patience, my husband was able to sweep the lid onto the box, then carry the little critter out the front door and open the box.
I saw an inert heap of fur tumble out of the box and into our flowerbed. “Is he dead?” I asked.
“No, he’s alive.” But even my husband sounded concerned for the baby rabbit’s well-being. After all, he had been stuck in our house for four days and was very weak.
We all came back into the house, but my husband couldn’t rest. He was too worried about Alfred.
“I’ll get him some water,” he announced. He filled up a glass and went back out, then came back in.
Then he decided to get Alfred a little pick-me-up with some grass.
Then he went back out again … “apparently they like apples,” he told me. So he cut a sliver from one of our own apples to lay beside Alfred.
“They make a noise!” he said wonderingly to me. “Peep, peep, peep.” He gave a lovely imitation of a baby rabbit squealing.
Minutes passed, and still Alfred showed no signs of healthy animation. Minutes stretched into hours, with my husband checking on him in the flowerbed periodically.
“Alfred, don’t die!” he murmured mournfully.
Then my husband had to go out for an appointment, and when he returned he went immediately to check on the baby rabbit.
“Well, he’s gone,” he said. “But I’ll probably dream about him tonight.”
He was right! The next day he told me that he had dreamed of Alfred reappearing again in our basement, this time with another rabbit friend in tow. No doubt it was a lady friend, and they were on a quest to populate our home with a second animal kingdom…
What I learned
Well, it was a harrowing experience for us all to have Alfred stay with us – we are not nature people by any stretch of the imagination! – but it reminded me how much I love my husband. 😉
After all, it’s not every man who would go to such lengths to save a baby rabbit!