When I was in middle school, I found a newborn mouse in my gym locker. The school had a mouse problem, and had brought in professionals to solve it. Clearly I could not alert the school leaders to the presence of the baby mouse. So, of course, I gently picked him up and put him in my pencil case and went outside to wait for carpool.
On the way home, I showed my friends Sue and Jenny the baby mouse. I did not show the driver, knowing she would not be as excited as I was (Sorry Mrs. Newhouse for bringing a live mouse into your car!)
At home, I told Mom that a newborn mouse was going to DIE and I SAVED him!
This may have been a turning point for Mom. Or maybe Mom had already seen where this path was taking us. Mom had said my brothers and I could have any pet but a spider, snake or rodent, and no dogs.
Mom took a deep breath and looked into my pencil bag for a while - I hardly noticed the pause as a kid, but I so appreciate Mom now for what she said next, "Well, let's get started."
Mom found a ten gallon aquarium, and we placed a soft towel in the bottom. We put a bunch of tissues in and placed the little pink bean on top of them.
I was smiling lovingly at him. Mom said, "you know he might not make it. He is very young."
"I know," I said. But truly I was already so excited to raise him that I hardly heard.
Mom heated a baked potato and wrapped it in a washcloth. We did that every few hours to keep him warm. Mom made some genius baby mouse milk supplement with yogurt and vitamins and I don't know what else. This was in the days before kitten milk replacer and the internet, so Mom was relying completely on her awesome Momness, to create a product she probably never dreamed she would need in her role as Greatest Mom in the World.
We named him Tater. I played Rick Astley's "Never Going to Give You Up" to him to encourage him.
He did live. As soon as he had open ears and eyes and could run and jump and eat hamster food on his own, Mom reminded me that he was a wild mouse, and needed to live in the wild to be truly happy. Again with the awesome Momness and life lessons when I thought we were just raising a baby mouse together.
We brought him to the field together and set him gently next to a large pile of hamster food we had put out. He grabbed a piece of corn and ran off into the field and, I am pretty sure, lived happily ever after.
Our family went on to have several hamsters, gerbils and rats. Mom and Dad did of course get a tiny poodle, Ernie Dog. They now have two wonderful Poodle dogs, Felix and Oscar. And I bet, if a grandchild was just desperate enough for help, and asked really sweetly, Grandma would help you save a baby field mouse too.
THANK YOU Mom for all you have done to raise and encourage me and nurture my love of animals. I am who I am today and where I am today because of you and Dad. You are the best, and I love you so much!
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!
Post from one year ago today...
May 14, 2016