Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Power: "The Old Switcharoo"

Spotty and Brownie were two very special mice and have earned a sacred place in our family lore.

When a "quirky" kid has an interest, all of us exhausted parents will go to the ends of the earth to try and accommodate that interest.  Who knows where it will lead, right?

RS-D has always loved animals and as I have previously mentioned, our house has been home to a manegerie of pets.

When RS-D was five, she fell in love with two "adorable" mice that we had walked bye in the pet store as we got a bag of crickets for her frog.  How could I say no when I figured they were going to be fed to a snake anyway.  So, we got her a clear plastic mouse cage complete with the spinning wheel, places to hide, tubes for water and food and lots of wood shavings.  Chez Spotty and Brownie was a mouse paradise!

We kept the mouse cage up on our counter in the kitchen so that RS-D could care for them and watch them play all day.  She could even carry the cage around to her friend's houses and to school because the cage had a convenient handle on top and it was pretty lightweight.  That is the operative word here...lightweight.

While RS-D was in school one day, I came home to find that our cats, Alvin and Simon, had also enjoyed watching Spotty and Brownie play all day, too.  So much that during all the excitement, they knocked the cage onto the kitchen floor.  I can only imagine the scenario because I found poor Brownie shuttering among the wood shavings.  Spotty's remains were left under the piano.  I was horrified!  What a terrible ending to Spotty's life!

But, I had to do something, and something fast.  RS-D couldn't see the carnage!!  I jumped in my car and drove as fast as I could to the pet store and quickly found a feeder mouse who was white and had spots similar to Spotty.  It didn't occur to me at the time but I am sure the pet store left the feeder mice to themselves and I suspect there must have been a lot of inbreeding.

I plopped the new Spotty back into the cage and RS-D thankfully didn't notice any genetic differences.  Good thing the pet store had a supply of these genetically related mice because my cats did this repeatedly over the span of a couple of months.  In fact, in a sort of Sisyphus-like twist, those poor mice must have really had a junky karma and a crummy destiny.  We got to Brownie #5 and Spotty #3 and she didn't ever notice the difference...until Spotty #4.

One day, RS-D came home from school and remarked that Spotty had part of his ear missing...it looked like Brownie #5 had taken a bite right out of his ear.  So, RS-D put Spotty in our "travelling mouse cage" and we headed for the vet with her best friend, Maria. They were both dressed as Belle, RS-D wore gold lame version of the rescued Belle while Maria wore the pink wedding Belle dress.

As the girls took off holding hands looking at all the poor injured animals waiting for the vet's tender care, I told the vet the whole story of Brownie #5 and the now, Spotty #4's ear debacle.

I swear this is a true story.

The vet took Spotty #4 out of the cage and wrapped he/she in a towel with her/his head sticking out and facing me.  I watched Spotty#4's face as the vet took a really long Q-Tip to try and clean out the affected ear.  It was then I remarked at how amazing it was that Spotty wasn't squirming around like he/she always did.  The vet looked at me quizzically.  "Really" she said.

It was then that I gulped and watched the vet lay the towel on the exam table, unfold the ends to reveal Spotty#4's limp body.

I looked over at the girls who were engrossed in the caged animals and didn't notice the drama the vet had just unfolded.

The vet looked at me and then at Spotty's limp body.  She took her two fingers and gently gave Spotty a couple of firm chest compressions and waited.  Nothing.  She tried it again.  Nothing.  And then she took her stethoscope from around her neck, placed the pieces in her ears, held the end to Spotty's chest and listened.

I swear to God...I held my breath willing Spotty to be just unconscience.

The vet slowly shook her head, removed the stethoscope and said "I'm afraid we've lost Spotty."

To this day I don't know if I almost burst into tears or into hysterics!!  It was a line right out of Ben Casey.  I had been holding my breath for what seemed like an eternity that I had trouble catching my breath as I looked over to make sure that RS-D and Maria didn't hear me.

I felt so badly for Spotty especially since he/she was looking right at me...I was the last person in this world that he/she had seen.  Geez....

I glared at the vet as I grabbed the girls.  I told them that Spotty was going to have surgery that evening and that we would be back right after school tomorrow to bring him/her home.

The next day I paid yet another visit to the pet store, picked up Spotty #5, brought him/her to the vet and back into the portable mouse cage. And when RS-D got home from school, we promptly went to the vet to pick up the surgically enhanced Spotty. She was very impressed with the vet's incredible skill..."you could hardly tell Spotty had surgery" she remarked.  I never did pay that vet bill, by the way.

When we got back home, RS-D was so relieved to bring Spotty home and gently place him/her back into Chez Spotty and Brownie.  But as Spotty got used to his/her "new surroundings" RS-D was shocked that Brownie hid behind the spinning wheel.  "It's as if Brownie doesn't recognize Spotty, Mommy."

It was then I realized that the jig was up.  I didn't recognize Spotty or Brownie or myself but I sure did recognized my daughter and her clarity.  I had exhausted myself and compromised the lives of a few poor sweet mice to keep my kid's attention and allow her to nurture her interest.

So, I adjusted my crown, hopped in the car and got Spotty and Brownie a new, sturdy cage where they could live together in peace and harmony (and safety) with all our other animals and still hang out in the kitchen.

Sometimes Supervision is in hindsight but as we know, it's 20/20!

Scepters up!!

Queen Beach


  1. laureen,
    I LOVE your blog !! it's fabulous. poignant, funny, real, truthfull, honest. fabulous!
    Lets spread the word !

  2. You are my first "comment" and I am so thrilled you like it. xo Carol!!