Country Mouse Or City Mouse?

Once upon a time…oh no wait…this is a true story.

My husband Peter and I spent the past week in Southampton, babysitting our grand daughter Agnes, who is almost 9, at her cottage. We have spent a lot of time with Agnes ever since she was born and we know her pretty well. But the Agnes we were with last week has grown up a lot in the last few months. Her world is getting bigger and her mothering instincts are kicking in.

The first hint we had of her new maturity was a message form her mom telling us that Agnes has a new friend and they are allowed to wander into town by themselves, all the way to the ice cream store. Agghh… how were we to handle this new freedom? Could we dress up in camouflage and follow her from a safe distance behind? We trembled with fear as she set out the first time, and we waited near the door until she came home again.

On the third day of this new life Agnes returned home with a surprise…a tiny mouse. She and her friend had found it lying on the sidewalk looking sickly. Their nurturing instincts took over and they spent the afternoon nursing the mouse back to health. They found a temporary plastic container for it while they outfitted a cardboard box with an upstairs bedroom and a ramp. Then they upgraded to a bucket which they filled with dirt, a small drinking station/bathtub, a bedroom, and a food court. Pretty fancy digs for a tiny mouse. Worth several thousand on the Toronto Real Estate market.

Next they googled what to feed the mouse. They discovered that lettuce is not healthy for mice, but cheese and peanut butter would be perfect. They also fed they little guy some crumbs of banana muffins that we had baked the previous day. Then the mouse was shivering so they needed a blanket for his little bed. Seeing no material handy, Agnes took off her socks and cut them into little blanket squares. Ooops…mothering gone too far!

The girls wanted Mousie to join us inside the cottage for the night but, since Peter has spent hours setting traps to keep mice Out of houses, we suggested that the garden shed might be a better idea. We tucked him in and said good night. Then Agnes face-timed her parents to see about bringing Mousie home to the city. For sure he would love city life as much as we do. The parents were not thrilled. They were probably considering firing the babysitters, (us). Finally Agnes went to sleep, exhausted. Mothering is a lot of stress.

The next morning we went to wake up the mouse. He was not under his little sock blanket. He was not in the food court eating breakfast. He was not having a bath in the drinking station. It seemed that Mousie had escaped! We searched high and low in the garden shed and then discovered a pretty big gap under the door to the outside. Mousie had likely made a quick exit into the woods.

Agnes called her dad in tears. This was a tragedy! What could be done? Dad consoled her in the best way possible. “The mouse was happy to have found such caring nurses, but now that he was healthy he wanted to go back to nature. He was not a big city kind of guy.” Agnes would not be consoled. Finally, in desperation, Dad muttered quietly “Maybe we could get you a mouse when you get back to the city.”

Agnes’s face lit up. “A store-bought mouse? For Me? With a cage and a water bottle? And little toys?” She set to work figuring out a name and planning the decorating scheme for the new cage. Poor Country Mousie was instantly forgotten – doomed to a future in the forest. No city living for him!

As for Peter and me, having made the choice to move from the country a couple of years ago – we are rooting for the city mouse.


Country mouse in his little bed

6 thoughts on “Country Mouse Or City Mouse?

  1. Oh! what a lovely family story and my Susan brought a mouse home from her Lab at university and I swear
    it lived in her hair at night….after about six months it bit the dust much to my happiness. Such fun!


  2. Life can be interesting as a grandparent. I think that you two are doing a great job. Will they invite you back to babysit?


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