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November 1st, 1999


Bwaaaaaah ha ha ha.  Twas a good Halloween for the trick-or-treaters in my house. Tonight (it's still Oct 31st as I type this) we packed up the littlest of our broodsters and toted them about the neighborhood.  In keeping with her yearly mood-theme, Allison was a witch.  This was hard to tell , of course, because the hat was pinching her ears and the broom was too hard to carry so we left all that at home.  If it were not for the fact she announced to everyone she was a witch I imagine I would have gotten alot of looks for dressing one of my children but being too horrible a mother to dress the other.  Bless her though, she selected a theme costume.  She just got to finally dress for her mood.  We probably could have saved a bundle and not dressed them both as she also advised everyone too senile or blind to see that her brother was a mouse this     year.  I imagine the ears, suit and whiskers just weren't enough of a giveaway. It was an interesting jaunt about the neighborhood.  At one home Allison shrieked in terror and ran from a costumed candy giver.  This would have been sweet if it were not for the fact she had worn the very same mask in my home just an hour before and frightened her brother to tears.  For that reason, it was just funny.  But who can understand kids.  Now, in keeping with the - BOO - scary Halloween theme, I present the following.

I am trying to define when I developed my fear of small creatures. I don't recall any terrible incidents in childhood that might have left me this way, so I am beginning to think it's inherent with being a female. Of course, I may have been chased by a swarm of locusts as a child, but I don't clearly remember it.

I've been known to hunt down bees with containers of Scrubbing Bubbles. They may never fly again, but they'll be shiny and streak free. I even, at one point, dumped an entire bottle of Suave on an unsuspecting spider in the tub. He liquefied over night and I rinsed him down the drain, untangled roots and all. My husband once came home to find Tupperware bowls on the floor with an entire set of dictionaries on top of them from A-Z

"What the heck is that?"

"There's a cricket under there."

And then I had boys. Now, boys have no fear of anything small, scaly or fuzzy. My son once brought in a container of Rolly polys and the half-dozen or so that managed to escape could be found trying to pass themselves off as raisins in our breakfast cereal.

Last weekend, after I got out of bed and set my two-year-old in front of the television to watch cartoons, I hopped into the shower to enjoy some relaxation.

Twenty minutes later, as I exited the bathroom, my toddler came down the hallway bearing gifts in his meaty palm.

"Aw, Mommy. Look! Cute."

A malnourished dead field mouse.

After I shook the dead critter from his hand and rushed him off for a complete Cloraxing, my mind ran wild. What had he done in that half an hour he was along with this hideous prize? Pushed it around in his Fisher Price bus? Attempted to dress it in Prom Barbie's tiara?

I don't understand how these things happen. I really don't. Are mice that unhappy with their living conditions that they need to make concerted efforts to get indoors? I have four kids. I'd be happier rutting about in a field somewhere

One early morning out on our porch, looking for a pot to set some flowers in, I was astonished to find a little tiny mouse lying in the bottom of one of my planters. Aw, poor thing. Look at him. He must be terrified and cold and hungry. Putting on a gardening glove, I scooped him into my hand and carried him to the kitchen after assuring myself with a gentle poke he was indeed quite comatose and that he would not run up my arm and try to nest in my hair.

Setting him on the counter I gathered some water and cheese and set about trying to feed him. I gingerly picked him back up and attempted to open his mouth. No luck. Maybe if I took off the glove I'd get a better grip. After all, I could wash later.

I gently tried to shake him off the glove and back onto the counter. Stuck. Must be hanging on with his little claws. I shook harder. Nothing. At this point he opened his eyes and I began to coo and prattle at him like he was a newborn.

"Aw, poor little mousy. Is ums hungry??"

Shake, shake.

"Let go of Mommy now so she can feed you."

Shake, shake.

It was at this point my little mouse spread a set of yet unseen wings and began to squeak and chatter like a plaything straight from Hell.

As I ran in a panic around the house with this creature clinging to my hand I tried to vainly remember when it all went wrong.

Running back out on the patio I flung out my arm as hard as I could and, glove and all, my mouse flew off into our apple tree still clinging for his life.

Later that night my husband came into the house,

"Honey. Why is my gardening glove hanging from the tree in the yard?"

"I was trying to polish some apples!" I screamed back "Do you have a problem with that!



Unless otherwise specified, all material
Copyright 1999 by
Marijke Hildreth



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