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A True Chipmunk Story

By Jodie Lynn

Chipmunk Caper

Why is it that after answering the door, kids have to stand in the doorway while discussing the possibilities of games they can play with their friends? First, what happened to the "do not open the door right away" rule? Why is it that when they do open it, it's just enough to let the pets out?

The doorbell rings, the kids race to the door - as if it's going to be Oprah's producers who have suddenly decided to do the show four friends and I pitched.

BAM! You guessed it, the dog gets out! Sometimes her hunting instincts get the best of her. Today she's chasing her dreaded furry friend the chipmunk. He taunts her all day by running up to the glass pane on the door shaking his little stumped tail as if to say, "LOSER!" It drives my nutty dog - well - nutty!

Poor thing, now he's scared to death! He jumps from his protective two-paned glass safety area to inside our domain. (Yes, I mean in the house!) Around and around all of us go - kids yelling, dog barking and me screaming! I couldn't help it. Each time it ran out from under the couch, chair, or table, I ran the opposite direction screaming, with broom in hand of course. WAIT! I am the mom here. I am the boss. I am the adult. So - what's up with all of the panic? I don't know but I'm not willing to take the time to analyze these "self-esteem or parent-take-control" talks for this specific scenario at this particular moment.

With all of us at our wits end and standing on the furniture, I knew I had to act fast to fix the problem. "Stay where you are!" I yelled to the kids. They yelled back, "MOM, do something!"

"OK, OK, on the count of three everyone get off the furniture and run to the kitchen door and open it just enough to get out and get into the car. One, two, three - run!" Just as we took off towards the kitchen, the chipmunk decides to come out of hiding and we all scream and jump back onto the furniture. How can this 4-inch midget rule our home?

The dog is frantic by now. As I glance at the clock - the kids are due at a practice in 15 minutes - just what I need as we were already running late. The dog suddenly chases the chipmunk down the stairs into the basement. I call her up and slam the door behind her! What is it about a furry creature that instills such fright in humans? I know what you are thinking and it's not true. If a furry creature was in your home running around like the speed of light, you'd be screaming and jumping on the furniture too...wouldn't you?

The kids beg me to let them stay home - if nothing else, to see just how high I could jump - but I convinced them their team needs them and it was their responsibility to support and be there.

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I drooped them off and on the way home, I think of the horror stories I've heard from my neighbors - where some creature dies inside the wall and an expert has to be called in to get it out, and boy was it expensive! One quick question: How did it get in the wall to begin with?

Anyway, I have a plan for my chipmunk: throw a blanket over it as it runs by, put it in a bucket and set it free. I try this for 45 minutes and still no luck. Any neighbor looking through a window watching me run from one side of the room to the other, screaming all the while might be tempted to call 911 to report a crazy woman! I was trying to do my best to capture this whirlwind of a creature, but he was too quick, or I was too slow. Yes, that's it, I was too slow.

Despite my best efforts, the dog catches the chipmunk. Unfortunately, for the chipmunk, the dog's teeth are a little too strong. As the dog mocks former memories, I see in her eyes she is now assuming the winner stance thinking, "Who is the loser now?"

I hate sad endings, because I am a big animal lover. Nevertheless, from now on, we'll open all doors slowly - and with great caution. By the way - the kids at the baseball fields couldn't stop laughing (not to mention the coaches).

© Jodie Lynn
Jodie Lynn is an award-winning internationally syndicated family/health columnist and radio personality. Her syndicated column Parent to Parent has been successful for over 10 years and appears in newspapers, magazines, newsletters and throughout the Internet. She is a regular contributor to several sites including,,,,, and Lynn has written four books and contributed to three others, one of which was on Oprah and has appeared on NBC in a three month parenting segment. Her latest books are "Mom CEO (Chief Everything Officer) - Having, Doing and Surviving It All!" (June 2006) and "Syndication Secrets - What No One Will Tell You!" (March 2006).
Please visit for details on her new radio talk show, Inside Parenting Success.


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