Home » Blog » Bats in the Belfry

Bats in the Belfry

Bats flying outside our window at dusk.

By Janel Schermerhorn.

Some nights ago, I was walking up to our bedroom and noticed small movements outside the second story window. I called my husband over for a closer look, and what we saw were tiny bats sweeping the space between our home and our neighbor’s home. Instead of slamming the window shut, we turned off the hall lights and perched in the sill to watch and listen.

Well into dusk, the trees between our homes were dark and backlit with rich blue. We could see the little beasties best when they flew between the trees and had only the sky behind them. We could hear them too, the soft humming of their wings, and tiny little pip sounds. I thought about all the moths and mosquitos those guys were gobbling up and I rooted for them.

The next day I told our daughter about our experience, and she begged me to show her. But bat showtime is long after her bed time, so I said she’d have to wait for the right night. Tonight was that night. When I saw that they were starting their routine, I brought her to the window and watched as she waited patiently for what I described. Once she caught on, she could barely contain the thrill of seeing real bats darting through the air.

Snuggling by the window, we talked about what they were eating and how they could see the bugs by listening. And how they could see us too, by listening. We wondered how many there were and where they were roosting (I had already confirmed it was not in our attic after the first sighting, whew!). And then it was time for bed.

My daughter is going through a phase right now where she wants me to watch everything she does. Every. Thing. In truth, this phase has been going on for at least seven years, but it seems like it’s really cranked up in the past couple of months. The constant, “Mom, watch this,” that interrupts my thoughts drives me crazy. To be fair, she is doing some pretty awesome things, like playing the recorder, doing flips on the trampoline, and growing out new clothes every five minutes. But it wasn’t long after lunch today when I started looking forward to her bedtime.

When she did go down, I had second thoughts about whether to wake her. I was feeling mommed out. I’m glad I rallied, because what I’ll remember about today is not that I wished for her bedtime to come early, but that I wished that we could sit in that window together until every last moth and mosquito was gone.

Please share!


  1. My-Linh says:

    We were sitting out on our rooftop terrace until after dark and experienced the bats up close and personal. I have to admit I was a bit freaked out. But I’m sure from inside the house, by a window, it would have been a beautiful experience. 🙂 thanks for sharing. I call the time after the kids go to bed my “Remains of the Day”, my son is almost 16, I realize every day that there are not that many “Remains of the Day” anymore with him … glad you woke her up.

    • Janel Schermerhorn says:

      “Remains of the Day” – I love that. This happened Sat night and she ended up going to bed at 10. Which meant I stayed up past midnight. No matter what time she goes down, I need two hours for the remains of the day =) I’ve never been a parent that wanted to freeze time or go back to an earlier age; I’ve always been looking forward to what’s next. But something happened with her 9th birthday. It’s such a great age (the “watch this”) aside. She’s fun and funny and interesting. I can really see the person she is becoming and suddenly feels like that person will grow up and move out too soon. Okay, going to find a tissue now.

  2. Suzy Nguyen says:

    Janel, what a moment in time captured in your bat watching. I was there with you. Your clear and simple prose kept me reading and wanting more. As for Remains of the Day. When they get to high school, their nights are longer for obvious reasons, doing homework, and you’re right there with them. It’s like “Mom, watch this” times 2! Got to love motherhood.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *