All points bulletin: an escaped Moose

February 9, 2011

Preface:  Before the arrival of the little Beans, I had preconceived ideas about parenting.  My children, a boy and a girl, would be beautiful, precocious, obedient, witty and charming.  Their rooms would be immaculate; their behavior, beyond reproach; and their manners, an example for all.  We would not have tantrums, black eyes, or finicky eating habits.  The little Beans would be worldly and well rounded.

I was so convinced of my superior parenting skills that I presumed to pass judgment on other people, who, in fact, were already parenting.

“Such-and-such is a bad parent,” I once told my friend Heather.

“Don’t ever say that,” she told me.  “You haven’t walked in her shoes.”

Heather is wise beyond her years.

With the arrival of Bean 1 came colic, temper tantrums, snotty noses, defiance, and chaos.  My initiation was fast and furious.  And crazy me, I thought, what the hell is one more?  I’ll have a girl the second time and life will be harmonious.

I swear to you, gentle reader, I was NOT smoking crack.  And then came Bean 2.  Moose is a posterboy for baby straight jackets…. I bought a leash, baby proofed for a tasmanian devil, and still life unraveled at the seams. 

All of my fairytale ideas about children and parenting dissolved in the chaos, and I began every day on a wing and a prayer, which leads me to my current story.

It was Saturday afternoon, and Wendy called to brag that she’d beaten me at Scrabble.  I hadn’t been beaten at Scrabble by anyone in a long time, and I wasn’t too happy about it. 

Beans are sore losers, which is why Papa refuses to take part in any games in which I am competing.

Bean 1 and Bean 2 were playing together sweetly, and my talk with Wendy migrated from Scrabble to her shock when dear Uncle Paulie bent under the kitchen sink to fix a leak. 

“What’s a little plumber’s butt in the family?” I asked.

“No, no, no.  That’s not it.  He was wearing women’s underwear.”

Uncle Paulie is a 78-year-old widower.

“Are you sure?”

“It was gold and black lace.”

Holy shit!

The black cloud of the lost Scrabble game lifted. A 78-year-old man wearing gold and black lace panties was too funny not to laugh, and I had vicariously witnessed it.

When I got off the phone, it was past nap time, and I went to Jax’s room to find Moose.

“Where’s Moose,” I asked.

“I don’t know.”

“I thought he was in here playing with you.”

“No.”

So then I went into my room.  No Moose.  I went into my bathroom.  No Moose.  I went into Moose’s room.  No Moose.  I went into the room Papa calls his office.  No Moose.  Then I went upstairs to Papa’s man cave with the beyond ugly recliner.  No Moose.  I looked under the bed.  No Moose.  I looked in the closet.  No Moose.  I looked behind the beyond-ugly recliner.  No Moose.  I searched the attic.  No Moose.

I ran back down to Jax’s room.  “Are you sure you haven’t seen Moose.”

“No, Mommy.”

I looked outside in the backyard.  No Moose.  I looked outside in the front yard.  No Moose.  I wondered if maybe he’d fallen asleep somewhere.  And then I went through the whole route again, screaming his name, this time with Jax following me and calling his name too.

No Moose.

Then I grabbed the phone and called Papa.

“You need to come home right now.  I can’t find Moose.”

“What do you mean you can’t find him?”

Leave it to Papa to ask a dumbass question like that when there’s an emergency.

“I. CAN’T. FIND. HIM.”

It must have been my tone because this time he got it, and he was on his way, leaving behind him an untouched lunch and $30.  Then I thought about it­—Papa was downtown on his bicycle.  He was at least half an hour away.  I needed someone immediately.  I called the police.

“My little boy is missing,” I told the dispatcher.

“How old is he?”

“I don’t know—20 months, 21 months, 22 months.” 

“You don’t know how old your son is?”  She sounded a little suspicious.

An escaped Moose.“It changes every month.  I can’t keep up.  I’m hanging on by a frayed thread here, lady.”

“What’s his name?”

“Moose Bean.”

What?!”

She was starting to get on my nerves.

“MOOSE. BEAN. Just like it sounds.  Would you like me to spell it?”

In the meantime, Jax and I were unsuccessfully going through the same route that I’d been through two times before.  Outside, Jax screamed, “MOOOOOOOOOOOOOSE, MOOOOOOOOOOOOOSE, MOOOOOOOOOOOOOSE!” And I described to the dispatcher what Moose had been wearing.

Then we heard the neighbor’s dog barking.  And then the faint sound of crying.  I couldn’t see him.  I dropped the dispatcher on the ground and ran to the back of the yard.  There was Moose crying behind the garage.  He had somehow managed to get behind the fence and was trapped behind in a narrow opening between the garage and the neighbor’s back fence.

I lifted up my Baby Bean and held him tight.  He’d scared the life out of me.  Then I yelled to Jax to pick up the phone and tell the dispatcher that we had found Moose.  He tried to but he had the phone upside down.  Then I called Papa and told him that he didn’t have to rush.  Papa didn’t even complain about the wasted lunch—he was just relieved that Moose had been found.

Back inside I sat down in the rocking chair with my baby and covered him with his blanket and rocked him to sleep.  Afterward I turned off the phone, exhaled and said a prayer of thanks.  Moose was safe.  Jax was safe.  Maison Bean was quiet.  Jax and I were going to take a nap on my bed. 

That’s when the doorbell started ringing.  Hyacinth and Rooster raised enough hell to wake the dead.  I ran to the door, wrenched it open furiously and ran outside to find out who on earth would have the audacity to ring the Bean doorbell on a Saturday afternoon.

I must have looked pretty scary.

“Have you been drinking, Mrs. Bean?”

It was the police.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather February 9, 2011 at 8:12 am

Aww Jenny, This made my heart race and smile at the same time. I love all your stories even when I relive some of them with this blog. Never a dull moment with you, with children or BK (before kids.) Not only are you a great friend, but an awesome mama!

Irene February 9, 2011 at 9:15 am

You can laugh now, but at the moment it’s pretty scary! I had a similar incident happen when I was pregnant with my second. Took a nap, told the 3yo to stay in my room and play. Woke up, no where to be seen was the 3 yo. Did the whole thing you did, called the police etc…..went back into the house and there was my 3 year old, asleep on my bed NEXT TO ME THE WHOLE TIME!!!

Pregnancy is a bitch.

Papa February 9, 2011 at 9:31 am

About the time Jenny discovered Moose was on the loose Big Nick and I were having a beer at the Pub and Grub. The topic of conversation was, as usual, all over the place with added emphasis on the gay guy who keeps pinching me on the ass down at the Ladies Club.

“Big, you need to have that guy arrested. That jerk squeezes my ass more that Mr. Whipple squeezes Charmin.”

“Yeah right,” he said. “Officer, there’s a 130-pound wimp patting that 200-pound guy in the tights over there on the fanny, and you need to spend the next two hours doing paperwork to book him.”

“I can’t see that gaining much traction,” Nick continued. “Plus there’s always Big Bertha.”

“What the hell does Big Bertha have to do with this?”

“Papa, if the cops are going to make a case for ass molesting, Bertha has to be head of the line.”

“Whoa, whoa there, Nicholas. I love Big Bertha. She got a little drunk last week and stuck a twenty in my string. And don’t forget who put us onto that bootleg beer deal.”

“I just saying Papa, if you start messing with fanny fondlers, sooner or later Bertha will have to be controlled.”

“Jeez, Big Nick, let’s just drop the whole thing. Okay?”

Then just as our food arrived Jenny called and reported the missing Moose. I threw 30 bucks on the bar and knocked Big Nick off his stool in my rush to get out. Nick caught up with me down the block and demanded to know what was going on. We kept jogging along, and I gave Nick the lowdown. I figured it must’ve scared the hell out of him because he fell to his knees. Turns out he was just out of breath. The delay was long enough for my brain to get off auto pilot and think a little. I’m 5 miles from home on a bicycle, and BIG NICK HAS A TRUCK.

In what seemed like a half an hour later, but probably closer to five minutes, Nick and I were speeding toward Maison Bean when Jenny called back with the news that Loose Moose was in custody.

This whole thing got me thinking about what’s important in life. The upshot is I’ll never complain again about someone copping an ass feel.

Pamela February 9, 2011 at 9:44 am

We lost Clark at Sea World once. It’s the most terrifying thing EVER. I agree with Papa that is puts what is important into perspective, and I am immensely relieved he won’t be complaining about someone copping an ass feel. I think he should work that into his profile on match.com.

So glad you found Moose and he was only slightly worse for the wear. Sometimes as a parent I have hoped that something in my kids’ near misses would scare them straight, but it has never turned out that way. Methinks the Moose may stop your heart a few more times, Jenny.

Jenn February 9, 2011 at 10:43 am

Heather: you are a dear, dear friend, and even though you are seven years my junior, you’ve set me straight about a whole lot of shit. Thank you!

Irene: I just snorted coffee. Thank you. Pregnancy *is* a bitch.

Papa: I don’t know what to say….

Pamela: Methinks that Moose will stop my heart a few more times too, and I no longer feel like the biggest loser mom now that I know you and Irene have been there too! :o)

Irene February 9, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Papa! You mean to tell us that you let a guy pinch your ass and get away with it???

Whoop some Irish on that sorry ass of his!

Jenn February 9, 2011 at 4:27 pm

I love the shape of this narrative–funny delusions of parenting, men in panties, terrifying child disappearances, happy ending, relaxation, and adrenaline rush!

Do you play online Scrabble? I used to have a Literati addiction (online speed Scrabble), but performed a self-intervention when I learned that I’d played over 10,000 games.

I have a feeling Papa wants his own blog. That would be pretty cool. Or maybe you guys could have parallel narratives on the same event but seen through your own eyes.

Jenn February 9, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Jenn, I’m addicted to Facebook Scrabble, but I haven’t played 10,000 games yet!

Parallel narratives is a great idea. Maybe I’ll give him a page. Maybe.

My Wednesday blog post kills me as it is, and Papa’s stuff has to be heavily edited.

On another note: did anybody notice that that cop called me *Mrs.* Bean?!

XOXO, Jenny

Irene February 10, 2011 at 2:40 pm

I, too, love Scrabble on Facebook, when it’s played with someone who’s not a sore loser and who feels they HAVE to be the one to start the game.

Yes, Papa needs his own blog. It’ll keep him busy and out of trouble! Besides, let’s hear HIS side of the story! Oh, this could be hilarious!

Irene February 10, 2011 at 2:42 pm

No, I didn’t notice the cop addressing you as “Mrs.” Bean. Better than Mr. Bean.

S.I.F. February 11, 2011 at 3:13 am

So glad you found him and that everything turned out OK! You are seriously a hilarious storyteller though my friend!

Shannon February 12, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Jenny, I am so glad you found my blog and commented, because if you hadn’t, I would have missed this (and countless other) wonderful, hilarious posts! And Papa’s commentary – just priceless.

sheila February 13, 2011 at 7:36 am

I’ve had that scare once with my daughter. She decided she was going to play hide and seek – but not tell anyone. Ughhhhh. And I’ll just add that girls do not make for harmony – lol.

This was such a cute post. 🙂

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