“What have you been doing this morning, Micah?”

“Oh, I was jus’ watchin’ the mouse.”

“The mouse?!?”

“Yeah, it ran under Reece’s bed, and under the dresser, and then over to the closet.”

Micah relayed this information to us early one morning as if it were the most mundane thing in the world. A mouse. Boring. When was breakfast? That was the big issue on his mind this morning. Micah has to have his cereal first thing in the morning. Apparently this morning he’d been waiting a while.

“Did he really see a mouse?!”

Ily did not want to believe this tale. I pondered carefully as the morning haze lifted. I definitely didn’t want to be believe it. Surely he’d have been much more excited if he’d seen an actual mouse running around Reece’s room. Yet, he was so matter of fact about it. Maybe he just didn’t know the gravity of the situation.

“Nah.” I reassured.

This was a couple of days before we left for Utah. We spent the time packing and getting ready, and trying not to think much of it. We told the story to Grandma and Grandpa while we were there, “Can you believe he told us he saw a mouse? As if it was nothing?” We asked, hoping to get confirmation that, oh yeah, three year-olds make up stories like that all the time.

“Well do you have a mouse?”

Hmm. It wasn’t the first day back from the trip, or the second that we noticed. I think it was Thursday before Ily called me at work to say she’d found droppings in our pantry. At first I refused to believe, which only enabled Ily to shut out the thought as well. I resorted to my idle comfort, researching the situation on the web. There was a matching picture of the very miniature black pellets that littered our cans of food. Warnings of their speedy reproduction, craftiness in hiding, and heedings of Hantavirus filled my glowing monitor. Clean with bleach, the CDA recommends. Pros and cons of traps, live traps, and poison filled my view. Oh, Internet, why must thou provide so much information?

And so, in sweat and tears (Ily’s) and strong odor of Clorox, we wiped every can, examined every bag, and purged our kitchen of any trace of the critter. Or critters? We even found the bag of chocolate chips on the third shelf up that was the favorite snack of our little nemesis. Nemesis? Oh yes, it was down to that.

We bought traps. Not live traps. The Internet says that mice are definitely not endangered. The mouse (mice?) proved adept at licking the peanut butter off of the trap without springing it the first night. I spread it thinly, over and under and all over the second night. The next morning, victory! But it was too early in the morning. I hadn’t even had breakfast yet. I couldn’t look at it, but Isaac and Micah sure could.

“Wow, we got it!” Isaac exclaimed, “It looks like it got cut in half!”

“It’s not cut in half.” Ugh.

I confess. I made Ily, who regularly heats up leftover dinner for breakfast while I get sick at at the smell, take care of it. The only sight or smell I can handle in the mornings is my cereal and milk. Ily said, “I can handle a dead mouse, it’s the live ones that I can’t deal with.”

We decided to leave out another trap, just in case the Internet was right and there were more. Over the next few days no more droppings appeared, but much peanut butter disappeared. It had to be something else, I reasoned. Ants, maybe, but there was no way a mouse could be that good at getting the bait without springing the trap. Then a few droppings showed up. And then Ily and Isaac saw it. They were cooking and it peeked its nose up through the hole in the gas burners of our stove top, and looked at them. I wasn’t there, but Ily later described the pandemonium that erupted. I even received a simple but pleading message at work, typed into google chat by Isaac, “kom hom we ned a mous trap.”

It took a few more nights, but we finally caught it. I switched from peanut butter to cheese. Less lickable, I figured, and it did the trick. We placed cotton balls with peppermint extract all over the pantry and around the stove. The Internet says that keeps them away. No more bait has disappeared, and we haven’t seen any more droppings. I explored our crawl space as best I could and couldn’t see any obvious entry points, but I couldn’t get all the way under the kitchen. I guess we’ll just have to keep a vigilant eye out from now on, our innocent mouse-free days never to return. One thing for sure, we definitely try not to think about whether they really did make it all way up to Reece’s room that morning.


Aaron March 19, 2007 at 7:34 a.m.

Excellent post. You really made the adventure come alive. I read somewhere online that those little critters have a vertical jump capability of 13-15 inches (lovely thought). Thanks for the peppermint tip. Keep an eye out for potential openings. Mice can squeeze through a 1/4 inch opening, and will likely be back if you haven't patched the hole. Word seems to spread among mice somehow. At least that's been my experience. Good luck!

Melinda March 19, 2007 at 9:03 a.m.

You should write a book! Your funny!

Julie March 19, 2007 at 8:17 p.m.

So I read that while sitting in the library and couldn't help but laugh out loud! That really is unfortunate! I hope you guys dont have any more mice! That would be fun if you had a cute little kitty though! I'm sure Bryan would love that! haha.

Mindy Henry March 24, 2007 at 8:51 p.m.

Oh, mice! I can't stand them dead or alive. Last summer, a cat in the neighborhood left dead ones all the time in our backyard. Having them in the house is worse! I hope you've gotten them out for good! That is so funny that Micah was so non-chalant about seeing one in the house. What a great story!

Steffenie March 29, 2007 at 12:29 p.m.

There was a story on CNN yesterday about a guy trying to catch a mouse in his house. The mouse stole his dentures while he was sleeping. He found them in a hole behind the heating unit. He did catch them and now has them as pets in a cage.
Anyway, it reminded me of your story. Watch out, they might take revenge!