After we pulled up the long sweep of dirt driveway and parked that first night in Maine, Forest ran off with the unbounded glee of a two-year-old released from hours in a car seat. I smiled broadly. This was a sight I had been waiting to see: the freedom of a child in the country. It lasted all of 30 seconds, then he was rooted to the spot, hunched forward, and shrieking. I ran to him and found four mosquitoes latched onto his face. That night Forest sang the blues for the first time. He loves to strum his little guitar and make up songs. Until then they had all been devoid of emotional content with titles like "The Train," "The Backhoe," "The Firetruck," and so on. His new song included the following lyrics: "I felt a little bit sad in the car. Keetoes go away." "Keetoes" being two-year-old for mosquitoes.
Although he has gotten much calmer about the mosquitoes, we are all having a hard time adjusting to the ticks. Apparently, it is an especially bad year for them, but still. The end of our first full day there, I stopped counting after we had picked ten ticks off of Aaron and Forest (only two had attached). It's a bit better since we ran out and got a lawn mower, but despite full tick checks twice a day and quick clothes check anytime anyone comes in from the yard, I still am routinely finding ticks around the house, on the trash can, on the compost pail by the sink, on an egg, in Forest's hair as I'm reading him his bedtime story. One day at breakfast, as Forest was telling me why he hates Maine (mosquitoes, ticks, and dragon flies), I looked down and saw two ticks, one on top of the other, on the leg of the table. Ticks mating? On the plus side, we are very grateful they all have been dog ticks since Lyme's is in the area.
And we have a wasp's nest somewhere in our eves. If it weren't for the kids, I wouldn't mind that so much, but whenever there is a wasp buzzing around in our house, I can't relax for fear one of them might get stung.
So Forest isn't the only one who is down on Maine thanks to the bugs. I thought I'd be fine since I don't really mind mosquitoes or black flies and am fine with all the spider prowling our premises. But here I am like Dorothy and her friends going faster and faster through the dark woods. I spook at the sight of a lint ball, feel things crawling on me that aren't there, and resent all the time spent on tick checks. Basically, I'm more of a city gal than I thought I was.