By: Martianne Stanger
“Mommy, a mouse!” my oldest son Luke called. I thought he was kidding. We’d been talking earlier in the day about how Grampy and his friends once had a running prank with each other that revolved around mice.
Then, I saw it.
My son was not kidding. As I looked at where Luke pointed, I saw the tiny varmint hurry towards the heater.
While I groaned in dismay, my daughter Nina enthused, “I did not know they were so small, Mommy.”
There I was debating how best to purge the small, gray disease-spreader from our house, while my daughter cooed over it. Yes, Nina immediately became endeared by the little critter as it padded its way right across our kitchen floor, and now, she no longer wants to believe that mice can be “dangerous,” germy creatures that belong outside. And, of course, Nina’s siblings have followed suit.
In fact, later during the “mouse day,” when I called my husband’s cell phone and left a message saying that he might want to stop for some mouse repellent or traps on his way home, my daughter pleaded, “Don’t kill it. It’s one of God’s creatures.” The words were barely out of her mouth, when her little brother Jack chimed in, “Don’t hurt it. I doh wan Mum hurt da mouse.” Then, together, Jack and Nina decided that I should put gloves on, catch the cute creature that God made and put it outside where its home should be.
Of course, I immediately shot down my youngest children’s suggestion with the gentle, yet firm, explanation that if we put Mr. Mouse outside in the yard, he would just find his way back inside looking for food or warmth.
Just as quickly, my oldest son Luke began to retort. He came up with grandiose plans about trapping our new house guest (and any of its friends that might be congregating in our walls, basement or attic!) and relocating them to faraway places where no houses are. Nina and Jack got in on the planning, and, as things turned out, roped Daddy into it.
Yes, indeed, Daddy never got my phone message and, then, a day later, when he did go to secure mouse traps, our children persuaded him to get live catch ones.
That’s right. Live. Catch. Traps. For quick-breeding varmint!
When my happy children and duped husband came home to present the traps, it was all I could do to smile at the fact that we’ve taught our children to respect life so much that they extend this respect to mice.
I did not relish the prospect of beginning the Stanger Household’s Mr. Mouse Catch, Carry, and Release Relocation Project. I just wanted the varmint out of my house– and the sooner the better! So, I let my husband know in no uncertain terms that while I would willingly bait and set the traps, he would have to deal with them once they began shaking with the “cute little creatures.” The children were not to touch the traps or the mice, but they could accompany Daddy to some unpopulated reaches where Daddy could release our “little friends” while the children waved farewell to them.
Oddly, since then, there has been yet a mouse to be seen. There were some to be heard, in the walls, a night later. But there were none in the traps and there was no evidence. Dare I hope that since we respected their lives, they decided to respect our home and moved outside on their own? Doubt it.
Am I glad that I still have to deal with a trap shaking with a scared little mouse while my husband is at work? You bet!
Am I also thinking on how to reclaim our home as OURS – not ours and the rodents -without upsetting my children? Yes. So, please, dear readers, let me know your best mouse advice.
I would think Mr. Mouse has a Mrs. and, even as I type this, Mr. and Mrs. are together somewhere in our walls, attic, or basement, rapidly reproducing. The thought makes me cringe.
Do share your mouse-tales and tips. Thanks.