I’ve taken the stowed-away things from our garage and laid them out on the driveway for reckoning. One pile gets donated, the other we get to keep. There’s a laundry basket full of plush toys, the unwanted/extra dolls and stuffed animals that get kicked to the corner.
Charlotte (7) holds them up one at a time, as a kind of test to pretend-play with each, to decide, a final interview of sorts.
The ones with the freaky eyes (the Bratz dolls) get the ax but the rest can stay and I’m surprisingly OK with that; she wants to play with them some more, has some kid in her still. Later shares with me that she’d feel bad for them, letting them go.
And as I am scurrying about the garage still, one of the cats brings in a baby bunny and lets it loose there by the steps, where it goes to hide in a crack, and the kids gather around with Dawn, and they’re all trying to manage it with the neighbor boy Dylan (10) assuming some male-role of leadership, asking if we have carrots or something else we can use to lure it out.
They now have flashlights and a metal spatula and I leave them to it, a good hour’s worth of the day sucked into that crack.
If cats could laugh mine would as they run across the grass with something dead or dying in their grip then toss it beneath the brush overhang and leave it there for dead on its side. We’re conditioned now to go for a plastic grocery bag and use it like a mitt to carry the creatures to the compost bin and drop them there with the yard waste.
And as I am going in and out of the house I catch Ruby with a rabbit pinned-down on the carpet in the family room, and I take it by the hind legs but she grabs hold of it by the neck and yanks it right out of my hand like a doll and I have to grab it back and actually pull to get it out of her mouth, and the weight of it is like a water balloon as I carry it around the front, to the compost bin. I’m reminded of it each time I go back there to deposit something, I can’t help but look to see if it’s really dead, I hope.
But the kids have formed an unlikely gang now: three girls, two boys, aged 6-10, roaming our dead end gravel road where there are no fences between the houses, and there’s a lot of trees to climb and rope-swings installed like 20 years ago, still good for swinging.
The two boys are on our sports court using the badminton rackets as swords, and the younger boy Jude (6) is quite good, actually goes to fencing class, and he’s kind of kicking Dylan’s ass, light on his feet and bouncing around like a boxer, baiting Dylan, beating him down mentally.
There is the pitter patter of little girl voices beneath the sound of jets overhead and lawnmower blades sawing the air from nearby places. I find out later they actually got the baby rabbit out from the steps, and it’s probably the same one I dropped in the compost bin, so we agree to not mention that to the kids. The mom will make more, Dawn says.