When the snow storm hit we realized that we would be in for a few days. It was wonderful. We were housebound – all together as a family. Our last couple of days had been filled with hot breakfasts, board games, reading, movies and snow ball fights and snow fort building. The snow plow had finally made it past our house sometime after three in the afternoon and while we watched it past we knew that our family time in a snowbound house was coming to an end. Dad and Abbey would leave for work the next morning, mail would be delivered after they left for work and our normal would start again. We said goodbye to the snow days by letting the kids stay up just a little later.
|Zak finds out who is in charge when he throws a snowball down Dad's back!|
We still were able to crawl into our king sized bed at a decent hour – 10:30. We held hands and talked about how wonderful the past couple days had been. How good *that* day had been. Then, as is our routine – the one that sums up each day (snow day, sunshine day, sick day) – we prayed together. We thanked God for the past couple of days, the memories we had made the fun we had had – and for our daughter overseas we prayed for her as she was getting ready to start her day. We said ‘amen’ together as we finished praying and we laid there in the darkness holding hands and taking in how blessed we are. I made the comment of how much I enjoy our children. Rob agreed. Then, we heard one at the door of our bedroom.
“Dad?” His voice was hushed; but in no way was whispered. (That would have been the first mistake of the evening… hind sight has a way of being able to notice those things.)
“Yes, Son”, Rob answered as we continue to hold hands.
“Just thought you would want to know that there is a mouse in our room. It was sitting in the middle of the floor and looking at me and then it ran under Zak’s bed.”
Our hands separated and Rob went to the boys’ room to take a look. The bed was pulled out – and the sleeping son aroused at the movement. The mouse ran – fast. They lost track of it –but in the process the girls’ room came to life.
In a shriek scream, only a girl can make, the oldest daughter in the house made a statement, “I cannot sleep in a room with a mouse!” I was still in our king sized bed surrounded by the warmth of my heating blanket . I wondered if Rob’s eyes rolled when he heard the proclamation. I smiled and prayed that they would get the mouse – because I know my daughter and she is right. She cannot sleep in a room with a mouse – or a house with a mouse - and she will make sure that no one else can sleep in a house that she cannot sleep in because of a mouse. I prayed silently that God would help them find the mouse – and then wondered if I was praying a prayer to consume it upon my own lusts – the lust to be able to go to sleep and sleep through the whole night.
The rooms are connected by a door – that is unusable due to a dresser that keeps the door closed and the rooms private, however, there is a crack at the bottom of that door. I am pretty sure at that moment the crack looked like a huge hole to my daughter in her bed and she made sure to point that out to her Dad. “That thing can get in here under THERE!” She pointed at the crack.
He assured her that he was sure the mouse was hidden in the boys’ closet and that it would not come into their room. The fact that he chose to take Anna out of her playhouse and put her in her bed was not real reassuring to the oldest girl in the room. “You’re putting Anna in her bed because you know that mouse can get in here!”
Now, it is important to note here that Anna normally does not sleep on the floor in her play house – it had been a snow day camp out accommodation. She had loved it and had begged to be able to sleep on the make shift bed in her cardboard playhouse. We had consented. She had asked if she could stay in her tutu and ballerina tights for the night too. (Our snow days had been filled with 30 minute programs of Angelina Ballerina movies and Fancy Nancy story books. We had even watched Anna cut out strips and strips of paper glue them together and pretend it was ribbon wand that ballerinas use for flare during their performances.). I had made the decision to let her sleep in the ballerina outfit. Rob had made the decision to let her sleep in her play house.
The sleeping ballerina princess awoke as Daddy put her into her big day bed. “I want to sleep in my play house, Daddy,” she said in a sleepy voice.
“No, you need to sleep in your bed tonight.” Rob pulled the covers up around her and tucked her into bed.
“But Daddy, you had said I could sleep in my play house as a ballerina!”
“I know, but I want you to sleep in your big bed…”
He was interrupted as the oldest sister informed her little sister of the peril they were facing, “You can’t sleep in your house, Anna. James saw a mouse in his room and we think it might run in here! You don’t want to be sleeping on the floor with a mouse running around in our room!”
I started laughing as I was snuggled in our warm bed. It was going to be a long night and I was sure that Rob must have rolled his eyes at Abbey as she informed her little sister about the mouse. I laughed some more. Rob gave assurance that the mouse was hidden and would stay hidden the rest of the night. Reaching for the light he heard the little voice of the ballerina. “Daddy, I’m afraid of mice!”
Rob has a quick thinking brain (and it *was* late so he was desperately grabbing at anything he could to get the little girl back to bed and back to sleep). “Fievel Mousekewitz is a mouse. You aren’t afraid of him are you?” She indeed is NOT afraid of Fievel! She loves American Tale and watches it half as much as Angelina Ballerina.
“That’s right he *is* a mouse!”
“See, you have nothing to be afraid of! It’s just like a little Fievel running around and he would not hurt you and neither will this mouse. Just think of it as Fievel.” I was applauding his ingenuity in thinking of this; but looking back I realize that was the second big mistake of the evening. (Hind sight – you know.)
While Anna was taking in the new found personification of the visiting mouse Abbey again voiced her concern to Dad that she was afraid of mice and could not sleep with the mouse in the house. Rob told her to try and reached turned the light switch off. As he was leaving the room a little voice was heard, “And Angelina Ballerina is a mouse too, Daddy! I love Angelina!”
I was laughing when Rob climbed into bed. He started laughing too. We laid there for a few minutes and then Rob jumped up. “I am going to do something that will insure that we have a goodnight’s sleep!” With that he darted out of the room and I heard him opening the linen drawer.
A towel was placed in front of the door that separates the two room and Rob assured them that the mouse would NOT come into their room. Anna said, “Thanks Daddy; but I am not afraid of Angelina or Fievel.” Abbey’s comment was not as positive. “Dad, mice can chew through towels…”
Rob assured her that the mouse would not chew through the towel and that she needed to get to sleep.
He climbed back into bed and told me good night. Rolled over and we were dozing off. Just as my thoughts were starting to turn from reality to fiction a shrill cry was heard, “Daaaadddd! The mouse is in our room! It is IN OUR ROOM! I saw it…”
Rob leapt from the bed and bolted from the room. As he was darting out I heard him call, “I’m coming, Abbey!”
I stayed in bed and listened as dressers were moved, closet was cleared out, beds were moved and toy boxes under the bed were shoved to the center of the room. I was laughing. Then I heard Rob’s voice turn from frustration to a calm command, “Girls you need to leave the room and go get in my bed.”
As soon as that was said, the door to the boy’s room bolted open and an over energetic boy ran into the girls’ room. (The teen boy who started this whole thing slept on…) “Did you find the mouse Dad?” There was excitement in every syllable of the question he had just asked.
“Yes, Zak, “Go get the broom. You think you can smash the mouse if it comes out?” Zak was running through the laundry room and into the kitchen yelling back at Dad. “Yep Dad! I can smash it. No problem. I am NOT afraid of a mouse.”
Mice are quick. Zak is quick. Mice are faster than Zak.
They missed the mouse.
Anna and Abbey and I were snuggled comfortably in the kind sized bed. Dad came into the room. “Alright everyone in their beds. The mouse is long gone. We did not get it; but we scared it. He will stay hidden until morning and then we will get traps and get the mouse tomorrow.” He ALMOST sounded convincing; but not so much.
Anna told Daddy he could sleep in her bed. Abbey volunteered her bed. Then the begging and pleading sounds that children make so eloquently came from their mouths. “Please Daddy, can we sleep with Mommy in your bed? Pleeeeease?”
In the next 20 minutes children were rearranged into the front room. Thor lost his place on the couch – his blanket was moved to the floor – by the front door. Zak slept on the couch, Anna in the chair and Abbey on the other couch. Covers were tucked in around them, assurances given that the mouse was gone and the lights were turned out. (The kitchen light was left on as a night light – a request made by the children.) The teen boy slept on in his bed.
Rob climbed into bed and pulled the covers up around him. I was laughing when he climbed into bed. The night was late and we rolled over to go to sleep. Just as we were starting to doze off Rob opened his eyes sensing that something or someone was staring at him. He was met by the gaze of two eyes. They were not the eyes of children; but rather a dog. Thor was protesting that his sleeping spot had been taken over by a child… He stood by our bed and cried and cried.
The door was opened for him to go outside. Rob thought perhaps he needed to go out to go to the bathroom. The dog looked at him as if he was the dumbest human on the face of the earth. Rob stood there with the door opened and Thor walked over to the couch where Zak was laying and started crying.
Rob told him to lie down and informed the dog that he had to sleep on the floor that night. Finally the dog agreed to the arrangement and lay down. As he slumped to the ground I heard a sigh escape his lips and I wondered if dogs, like children, can huff and puff their protests.
We covered back up and were falling asleep when we heard the scream again. “Dad, I saw the mouse! I saw it Dad. Come quick!”
Rob ran into the front room and Abbey pointed out where the mouse had been and where it had ran – under the piano. I heard rustling from in the laundry room and decided to get out of bed and see how I could help. I walked into Rob on his knees, prostrate on the ground looking under the piano. Directly to the side of Rob was Anna doing the most graceful and beautiful pirouettes I had ever seen – ribbon wand in hand and paper ribbons gracefully blowing in the wind. Rob turned around and looked at her. With no expression in his face or his voice he asked, “What are you doing”
Anna responded matter of factly, “I’m dancing.”
“I can see that! Why are you dancing?”
“Because the mouse will say, ‘What is that little princess doing?’ And he will come out to see me dancing and you will be able to catch him.” With that, she pointed her toes to the ground and lifted one leg up behind her – ribbon wand held up over head. She stood in perfect position while Rob looked on in disbelief.
“Anna, go get in your bed. The mouse is not going to come out to watch you dance.”
“But Daddy,” her extended leg lowered to the ground and her ribbon wand fell to her side, “you said I could sleep in your chair tonight?”
“Then go and get in my chair,” Rob was still peering under the piano.
Rob slowly eased himself up from his kneeling position in front of the piano. Zak got up to see how he could help and as soon as he left the couch Thor ran up and jumped on the couch claiming his rightful bed. The mouse had somehow ran away from under the couch and Rob had not seen where he had gone. He decided to call it a night.
Walking into the front room, Rob pulled Thor off the couch – and tucked the kids back into bed.
Rob and I climbed back into bed and started going to sleep. The dog came in and stared us both down and stood by our bed crying. We told him to go lay down and finally the house was quiet. It was 2:30 in the morning.
Sleep started to come when the scream of Abbey ignited us awake and we both sprung up from the bed. I saw him again!! He is under the file cabinet! Dad, come quick! I saw him!”
Zak was up, Rob was up and the heavy file cabinet, the one that took three guys to move it into the house, was almost effortlessly pulled away from the wall by Rob.
There sitting looking at him was the mouse!
Zak saw him too and started yelling at the top of his lungs, “We’re going to get you! I am going to catch you with my bare hands. You better come out from there. I am going to get you!” The decibel of sound increased with each of his sentences and by the last, “I’m going to get you”, he was yelling at the top of his lungs -waking the sleeping teenager in his bed.
Anna ran into the laundry room and stood behind Rob who was again on his knees peering behind furniture.
“What color is his nose, Daddy?”
“ What color is his nose, Daddy?”
“ Dad, what color is his nose?”
Rob was too busy trying to figure out how to catch this mouse to hear the repeated question over and over again. However, Zak heard her question and after he stopped yelling said, “Hold on, I will check for you!” He peered behind the file cabinet to take a look at the mouse’s nose.
“It is gray, Anna.”
“It can’t be gray, Zak! Mouse’s noses are not gray! It has to be either red or pink. It cannot be gray. Check again.”
The roused teenager was now in the front room trying to get Thor to come in and get the mouse. The black lab would have none of it. The couch was cleared – he had reclaimed his spot on the couch and would NOT be moved from his rightful position.
Long story short, we did NOT get the mouse. We will be purchasing traps today; and even though it was a long night – and one we will not forget for a long time – it was not as traumatic as it could have been.
Anna is convinced that the mouse is a relative of her beloved Angelina Ballerina. When we do set traps and when we do catch it – Anna will be sent to go and see if the mail has come. That is my plan.
Despite the long night – we laughed so hard when we got up this morning. One thing is for sure, we are so blessed that God has given us the children He has. We will have memories and laughs for years to come because of the blessing they are to us! Someday, when the house is quiet and the children are all in their homes with their children making their own memories, we will go to bed at a decent hour, hold hands and pray for each of them (as will be our normal routine); and as we lay there in the darkness we will laugh again at all the wonderful memories we had had through the years.