Saturday, February 5, 2011

Groundhogs Versus Mothers: A Field Guide

In honor of the recent holiday, I awoke this morning with groundhogs on the brain. Or maybe it was Henry on my pillow. I'm not sure.  An interrupted night of sleep makes my memory suffer.  But I digress.  
I was thinking about groundhogs and fantasizing about how nice it would be to hibernate all winter long-or just sleep for seven hours straight.  Although there are many differences between moms and groundhogs, there are quite a few similarities that I found interesting to note.
The groundhogs' scientific name is  Marmota Monax .
The Mother's common name is "Mommy." Usually said loudly or repeatedly...or both.

Both groundhogs and mothers have shadows.  Groundhogs have a dark shadow that is a result of their bodies blocking out the sunlight.  Groundhogs' shadows will disappear when they go underground into their burrows or anywhere else that light does not shine.  Mothers have shadows that are made of little people (otherwise known as "children") that follow them around everywhere they go.  Mothers cannot escape their shadows at all.  They will be followed constantly throughout life.  Especially into the bathroom.  A mother's shadow is even more prominent after the lights go out (a time known in most families as "bedtime.")

Groundhogs sleep throughout the winter, surviving on large amounts of food eaten in the fall.  Being herbivores, groundhogs eat grass, seeds, roots and other plants.
Mothers sleep in short bursts, often while trying to talk to a friend on the phone or while reading bedtime stories to their children (referred to previously as "shadows"). Mothers also acquire large amounts of fat, however this is a result of picking leftovers off their children's plates so as not to waste food.

Near the end of winter, groundhogs wake up and come out of their burrows.  They look around and if they see their shadows they will scamper, frightened, back into their burrows to sleep for six more weeks.  If they do not see their shadows, they emerge fully and spring is said to be right around the corner.
In the wee hours of the night, mothers are often awakened by small sounds in their burrows beds. If a mother should open her eyes and see her shadow, she knows that this is the end of her hopes of sleeping anymore that night.  She may be permitted to stay in the bed, but it is very unlikely that she will have enough space to spread out or even be allowed the use of what was previously  known as her pillow.
Should a slight sound awaken the mother, but no shadow is present, the mother will be so giddy with excitement that she will be unable to go back to sleep despite the copious amount of space allotted to her in the bed.

Groundhogs have excellent eyesight and sensitive hearing.  Mothers also have excellent eyesight and hearing. Most mothers can see things behind themselves as well as in other rooms of the house.  Mothers can stand in the kitchen and know that her children's rooms are messy, that their shoes are under the table in the dining room and that Susie did not wash her hands after using the bathroom.  Mothers can hear babies crying on a different level of the house as well as being able to hear tiny feet hitting the floor next to their bed in the middle of the night. Mothers can interpret a wide variety of inflections in the human voice (as in "don't take that tone with me!")  and can hear thoughts not yet voiced from the minds of their children.

Groundhogs are small furry rodents slightly larger than a house cat. They make whistling sounds when frightened, angry or while mating.  They waddle when they walk or run and only care for their young until they are about six months old.
Mothers come in all shapes and sizes. Some are hairier than others, but I hear that Bic has a solution for that. Mothers make yelling sounds when frightened or angry and umm...nevermind.  Some mothers waddle near the end of their pregnancies, but this should not EVER be pointed out to them as it is not funny and pregnant mothers do not have a sense of humor.  Mothers care for their children for MUCH longer than six months. 
In fact, mothers care for their children even after their children have children of their own.  

In the grand scheme of things mothers really do love their little shadows, or nighttime visitors, or children, or whatever you would like to call them.  
In summary, mothers are much more amazing than groundhogs in every way imaginable.  But we still wouldn't mind sleeping through the night on occasion.


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