Two nights ago, as I was drifting off to sleep, I heard a very distinctive noise in the ceiling. If you have ever had a problem with mice in your attic or walls, it is a noise you recognize immediately – the scratching and clawing of a live rodent. It has been cold, and we are surrounded by fields, so it was really no big surprise that one found its way into our rafters.
I totally forgot about it until I saw a pest control truck after I picked Samuel up from school yesterday. I immediately picked up the phone and called Brad to ask if he heard the noise too, or if it was just a bad dream. He was hoping it was only his bad dream, but since we both dreamed it, it must be real. I then called our pest control guy and scheduled him for Saturday. All with Samuel listening intently from the backseat.
After I finished my phone calls, I fielded the inevitable questions. “What pest control guy?” “What’s his name?” “What’s he gonna do? “How’s he gonna kill the mouse? Is he gonna shoot it?” I felt like I handled it pretty well, since we changed the subject and moved on without another mention of the mouse.
Then, last night, I was tired. Probably too tired to be parenting but Brad was at a late meeting. So we’re having our family devotions and I was caught off guard when the boys asked if I had any prayer requests. Without really stopping to think, I asked them to pray that the mouse in the attic wouldn’t keep me awake again tonight.
Oh boy. Just go ahead and paint an “S” for stupid on my forehead.
At first, he was kind of sweet about it. Samuel began by explaining how he was going to catch the mouse for me and carry it down (demonstrating how with his pudgy little hands cupped together) and let it go in the field behind our house. Sure, sure, whatever. I was going right along with it until he asked me to unlock the door to the attic!
At this point, the gears in my head shifted and I knew something wasn’t right. I explained that we don’t need to go into the attic, that he certainly doesn’t need to go into the attic, and that the pest control guy would handle it all just fine, thank you very much. But that did not dissuade him. He became obsessed with that mouse, even asking if he could sleep in our bed so that as soon as he heard it, he could go catch it! I started to worry that he might not be able to wind down and go to sleep. Or worse, he might go in search of the key to the attic. Which I keep carefully hidden in his closet. On a high shelf, where he has seen me reach up and grab it many times.
So I started a little campaign against mouse hunting. I told him he should not even think of going near that mouse because mice can be scary! And yucky! And we never touch a mouse, even if it’s dead! “But why, Mommy? How could a mouse hurt me?” Oh, it could scratch you or bite you! You could get a disease from a mouse! It could make you really sick!
I think you can guess how this tragic example of poor parenting ended. 11:00PM last night, here comes Samuel, crying from his bad dream about the scary mouse living in the attic. Brad and I both assure him that there is no scary mouse living in the attic. In fact, we tell him, the mouse is a nice mouse! And he went back to his little mouse family, living in their little house in the field!
Then, just as Brad led Samuel out of the bedroom, I heard the little troublemaker scratching and clawing above my head. Thankfully, Samuel was out of earshot by then as I may or may not have directed a few colorful words at the ceiling.
Man, I can’t wait for Saturday.