Wednesday, April 18, 2012
So, there's been this mouse living in my car for a week or so, it pops out at inopportune moments and scares the life out of me, I've been plotting to trap it before it gnaws apart my seats or makes me crash into a telephone pole when it runs across my foot. But see, yesterday I found out it was a MAMA mouse when I decided to sort through the trunk and get rid of any spare Cheese Doodles that might be floating around, keeping her interested in this particular home. Lifting up an extra pair of sweat pants I store in the back for Ira, I found a whole nest of baby mice. The mama quickly dragged a couple away up into the wheel well somewhere, and then, inches from me, came back for another and lugged it off. Thinking quickly, I ran to get the styrofoam cooler that was sitting on my parent's porch, moved the nest into it, then stood poised with the lid, ready to spring and capture the mama when she returned for the three remaining mice. She kept poking her head out and almost falling for my trap, but not quite...after a while, my back started to hurt from crouching in the hot sun with a cooler lid tensely gripped in my white knuckled hands, so I went up to the driver's seat to clean out the handful of string cheese wrappers that tend to accumulate in my door pocket. OF COURSE, in the 45 seconds I was gone, two more babies had disappeared. I went back to my crouching. I did this for a long time. Dad pulled in, laughed at my situation, and was decidedly unhelpful as he abandoned me and went into the house. I stood guard for another half hour. Eventually, I tried moving the cooler to a better angle for the mama to attempt her rescue, and the tiny mouse fell out of the nest. I figured human scent couldn't do anything too terrible to it since it was already living in Ira's sweat pants, and after some rapid calculations, I also reasoned it probably didn't have a fatal disease, it was still mostly hairless and without teeth, plus it was just wicked cute, so I picked it up to return it and Ira begged to hold it for a minute. I placed it in his hands and he was so fascinated by it's tiny paws, wee tail and unopened eyes, that I ran for my camera and took a couple shots. Then we put it back and waited, and waited, and waited. Finally I had to go to work, so we decided to just leave it in the trunk and hope that the mama would either come for it, or return all the babies to the nest. I checked many times over the day. Still one shivery baby. Ira got very upset, saying the mama HAD to come for it. He worried about it all day and at one point, when he said he was going to get his bike, he snuck to the car, opened the trunk, which he knows he doesn't have permission to do, and the lid came down and beaned him on the head. Not good, the poor thing. Now he was all sad, AND had a big bump on the noggin too.
I knew the mouse wouldn't last long if the mama didn't come back, and when I found it cold and dead this morning, I slipped it off into the woods, then I lied to Ira, saying it was gone, and the mama must have come back for him in the night. I probably shouldn't have, and after talking to a friend yesterday, he advised it would be best to explain that animals and humans are different, and sometimes animal mothers don't act the way human mothers do, and occasionally things die. Initially, I agreed with him, the truth is always best, no matter what...but then it seemed so personal to Ira, that the mama HAD to come for her baby, I simply couldn't do it. The poor kid has enough to worry about without thinking mothers ditch their babies. And he had such a look on his face every time we'd pop the trunk to check and STILL see that dratted mouse...I prayed it would have been taken in the night, I woke up several times thinking of it. Trying to will that danged mother to drag her baby off into my frigging wheel well with the rest of her litter. How crazy that our life can be dictated by such small symbolic things! I also felt ridiculous, because here I was, practically INVITING seven mice to tear apart my car, when before, I had been about to set a trap for that one stupid mouse, and then I wake up in the night, wondering if I could possibly syringe-feed it's infant? Good grief.
Nothing is ever black or white. More and more I realize this lately. There is often no such thing as right or wrong, things can slide in either direction at any given time, dependant on the tiniest details, the most insignificant move, and you never know what the proper choice may be, you just go with your gut. And you'll never really know for SURE if it was the best decision, you just hope. And I hope those rodents don't move into my heater next.
Posted by Emily at 7:31 AM