Family life

Unexpected guest: Wildlife at school

What’s the most unusual visitor to come your child’s school? Jennifer Pinarski bets you can’t top this.

Untitled Photo: Jennifer Pinarski

Follow along as Jennifer Pinarski shares her experiences about giving up her big city job and lifestyle to live in rural Ontario with her husband, while staying home to raise their two young children.

At any given time I have at least a dozen different ideas for blog posts in my head. While this may not seem like a problem since I blog for Today’s Parent twice a week, it actually is—even with my poor math skills, I know that this works out to a month’s worth of posts.

I worry about things like SEO (search engine optimization), making sure that my blog content is evergreen, newsworthy and, hopefully, fun to read after the business part of blogging is said and done. I also carefully consider what would happen if and when my children read my blog posts down the road. At seven years old, Isaac knows how to use Google and I’m sure Googling his own name will happen soon. He also asks a lot of questions about blogging and I ask him if it’s OK that I share his stories publicly. For example, when he knocked out several teeth in January, Isaac was sensitive about his new smile, but agreed to let me blog about the experience because I wanted to share a few tips for surviving a dental emergency.

Read more: Be kind: Raising kids in an online world >

And then there’s the annoying problem of when the words that are in your head don’t come out the way that you want them to—and I know my writer friends can back me up on this one.

Then things happen that defy all the typical blogging rules and are impossible to weave news headlines into. Like this past Friday. While washing the dishes after the school's morning breakfast club, a gigantic beaver walked across the play area. Our tiny school is rural, but it's still at least a kilometre away from anywhere a beaver could call home. Therefore, having a beaver show up like that was bizarre (unlike the bear and deer that have visited the school before, which made much more sense given our forested school grounds).


I abandoned the dishes and collected a few staff members to come and see the beaver. We quietly followed him as he walked across the yard—staying at a safe distance because he seemed pretty angry about winding up on a paved playground. We watched him slip underneath a fence to—presumably—find a home.

So my apologies for all the blogging rules this post breaks, but there was a beaver at my son’s school, and you just can’t pass up an opportunity to share this kind of story.

Have any fun critters visited your kids' school? If you’re curious about the beaver’s visit to my son's school, find me on Instagram at @JenPinarski.

This article was originally published on Apr 28, 2014

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