Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Laura, over at Catholic Teacher Musings recently had a close brush with a renegade bat at her school, and it reminded me of our bat escapades.

Ewwwww... I get goose bumps just thinking about it! We've had more uninvited critters in this house than I care to remember, but bats top the list as freakiest!

Freakiest as in freaked. out. As in, jumbles of small children and full grown adults tripping over each other squealing like little girls, freaked out.

We've had a couple encounters, but the one that stands out in my memory is the one that happened first. It started out as a quiet, summer night, cicadas humming over the sound of whirring fans. We had six or seven kids at the time, the big boys were between 8 and 12 or so...


A sudden hollar from upstairs startles us first. Then loud bumping and thumping and stomping of feet. A stampede down the stairs, and all the children tumble into the living room, tripping over each other, all talking and screaming at once.

The little girls don't know what's going on; they're just upset because the brothers are upset. And the brothers are upset because:

"There's a bat in our room!"

"A BAT in your room? Did you say there's a BAT in your room? Are you sure it's a BAT?"

"It's a bat alright!"

I look at my husband and he looks at me. A silent exclamation point hovers in the air between us. We both know that this is definitely HIS territory, but he doesn't want to have to take care of it any more than I do. Nevertheless, he steels himself. A real Dad shows no fear in the face of difficulty, danger, and wild animals ~ including bats. So, he takes charge, with Dadlike authority, making a secret grimace in my direction before he leads the charge back upstairs.

"Paul, take the screen out of the window! You and Kevin grab a pillow and help me shoo it out! The rest of you, stay out of the way!"

Our oldest two, Paul and Kevin, manfully obey orders. Not a flinch. This is a great adventure for them! The rest of the children crouch on the stairs to watch the fun. I obediently stay out of the way. Way out of the way ~ like in the kitchen. Behind the door. Where I can hear the fun.

"Where is it?"

"There it is! Right there! Agh!"

Thump! Bump! Thump! Stomp! (Loud Scream.)

"Shoo it out the window! Out the window!"

Bump! Thump! Stomp! (More screaming.)

Then there are sounds on the landing overhead. Obviously they had succeeded in scaring the bat out the bedroom door instead of out the window. Lots of thumps. Girls squealing on the stairs. Thunder of footsteps herding down the stairs. Screams! Squeals!

"It's coming downstairs, Mommy! It's gonna get us!"

Mommy screams. "Where!? Where is it?!"

I know it must be down here, but I can't see it. Everyone's screaming and yelling and running around, tripping over furniture. Daddy and the boys are flailing around in the air with pillows. I peak around the kitchen door, dodging children, trying to figure out where the stupid bat is.

And suddenly, I know where it is! It's coming at me! A black blur with a 5' wingspan. (I swear ~ Big as an eagle!) I scream. Run for the living room. Dive into the couch and pull a pillow over my head. (I'd heard about bats going for your hair, and I had a lot of long hair I didn't want a bat tangled up in!)

Little girls are squealing. One dives into the couch next to me. Boys are running around , yelling, hitting things indiscriminately with pillows. I can hear it. Fwoomph! Crash! Fwoomph! Bam!

"Open the front door!" my husband yells.

"Got it, Dad!" I hear the door fling back and hit the wall.

Fwoomph! Fwoomph! (Right over my head!) I scream. Fwoomph! Fwoomph!

"Head it off, Kevin!"

Little girls' squealing. Boys hollaring. Daddy grunting, "Go, go, go, you danged bat..."

The front door slams!


It's over. The bat has exited via the front door. With a little help.

I pull my head out from under the pillow, extract a little girl from the crack between the couch cushions, and tentatively look around.

Oh, the devastation. Lamps askew, chairs knocked over, rug corners flipped, boys scattered about, breathing heavily ~ but with a triumphant gleam in their eyes.

They have ousted the beast.

Post Script: I've learned since, in bat unit studies with the children, that bats really are our friends. They serve an important and very useful service for us, eating insects like mosquitoes, for instance. They really present no danger to people and have no interest whatsoever in our hair. Nevertheless, I'm with Laura on this one. Reason cannot overcome instinct. I hate bats. I hate bats. I hate bats.


Teri in CO said...

Okay, I know this is horrible and I would have done exactly what you did... but I laughed my way through this! Thanks for sharing! I'm a new to your blog and enjoy reading it!

Teri in CO

Matilda said...

Oh my goodness! I can't even imagine the amount of chocolate that would have calmed me down from that experience!

GrandmaK said...

We had bats when we lived in OK. Now one night, after dark, we were outside and I said there's some birds. Well, Ron said they were bats. I said how do you know and little David said only bats fly at night...(wanted to ask him "what about owls?", but he was so proud of himself, I thought I'd wait for another time to broach that subject...like the next day we went to the library...

Great bat story. I have one about a raccoon in our attic, but that's for another day. Thanks so much you made me smile and remember the good times with the kids! Cathy

Laura said...

Anytime someone starts with the lecture about bats being MY friend, I want to bite them. (geez, relax, I'm kidding)

Bats can eat all the mosquitoes, help the ecosystem, and cure cancer for I care....I still
hate them..hate them ...hate them.

Really good story. Loved it.

Colleen said...

What a great story! Had me laughing out loud at the thought of you diving on the couch to protect yourself, leaving small children the fend for themselves. (Don't get me wrong - I don't blame you one bit...just made me laugh is all I'm sayin'. :O)

SuzyQ said...

Oooh creepy! But, I'm sorry to say... hillarious also heehee!

Soutenus said...

Great post - I laughed and cringed at the same time.

There is a theater in San Fransisco (that will remain nameless lest I be sued for slander) that I refuse to work in EVER. One time was too much. Why, you ask ?..... Bats, bats, bats! The smell was horrendous back stage and on stage. The curtains were full of bat excrement. I mean, to explain it any further would turn your stomach (even more).
It is a "protected building" and the bats are "protected" so no one can figure out how to get rid of them.

Kaila said...

My sister and I would have FREAKED! That's almost as bad as it was when we found a mouse running around while we were watching TV when we lived in military housing. I laughed the whole way though! I hope the bats steer clear of your house! :-D

Bia said...

Are you sure that bat wasn't big as a condor? (*wink, smile!)

Anyway, I am so sorry to hear that you guys have been fighting that very same bug (nasty thing that it is!) that has cousins here in Georgia. I hope everyone gets better soon.

God bless! Happy Father's Day to your husband.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow.

That is definately too much excitement.

teresa_anawim2 said...

popping on over from "view from the Pews", and 'hi' to cathy also!!!
We had a bat quite a while ago.
One evening we were sitting on the enclosed sun porch. As soon as the sun went down Va Voom...here it came swooping and diving. I was so scared.
But a broom and a blanket did the trick. I can still hear the thing screaming and screeching as it was battered to death.(don't tell the society for prevention to animal cruelty, though)The horror movies have it right. They ARE a royal nightmare!

Marie said...

Eewwwwwwww Lisa but LOL! Bats are like mice with wings!!!!! Ackkkkk!!!!We dont have bats here thank goodness or I'd be half demented! LOL!*Scratches head over what other excuse I can use* heehee!

Thanks for the giggle Lisa;)

Hope you are bat free now..Where is Batman when you need him?!?

LOL With laughs

Marie xoxooxo