Saturday, April 23, 2011

two-inch furry things--not for the skittish

The other night as I sat down to dinner with the children, Peter was at the window, again, watching his bird friends.  Only rarely is Peter not at the window.  He doesn't want to miss a single bird!

A few mourning doves were ground feeding, and out of the corner of his eye, Peter spied something small, fast, furry, and jet black.  A closer look revealed an extremely tiny mole!  He was smaller than the palm of my two-year-old's hand!  The cute little guy was dragging a long piece of meat fat--put out for the birds--back to his home.  Oh, the giggles!  He kept dropping it and having to go back for it.  My children found this the funniest, cutest, most endearing thing ever!  Suddenly the dinner they were so hungry for, didn't matter.  They only had eyes for that mole--who was, after all, wildly entertaining, I have to admit.

After fifteen minutes of observation, broken up with my pleas to take some bites of food, Mary announces:

"When I grow up I'm going to have my very own pet mole."

She said it in a voice conveying deep longing.  Oh, it made me smile wide!

She must have known we'd say no to a mole friend right now.  We're kill-joys that way.  A pet praying mantis?  A pet beetle?  A pet frog?  Be my guest.  But a mole?  Notta chance.

The next day I told my husband about our sweet little Mary's love and longing for two-inch long furry things.  He chuckled in spite of himself.  It's so like Mary to say such a thing.

Today, husband looked far and wide for his long lost drill bits.  Following a thirty-minute house search, he went out to the shed, hoping to find them there.

He ran into an old, hardly-used tool box.  He'd left it open about an inch, last time he used it, apparently.  Right away he noticed some soft, insulation-type material on the left side.

A nest!

Now, my husband is all boy!  Truly.  He loves all things creepy crawly, furry, feathered.  Except starlings and cowbirds, mind you.  I'm afraid there are no kind words for them.  And no kind deeds, either.

He moved the nesting material around a little, searching for whatever might have been there.  With his bare hands!  Oh, my.  That's something we gals just wouldn't do!   Not most of us, anyway.

My dear husband loves his children and wants to give them good gifts, as all fathers do.  He remembered what Mary had said about that cute little mole.

Mother Mouse scurried out of the toolbox so fast at this point, that husband wasn't even sure what he'd seen.

Next, he saw two tiny little babies, scared senseless in the corner.

He closed the toolbox and brought it into the house.

We heard the door open, then husband say:  "Oh, Mary!  I have a little surprise for you!"

Mary needs a new bike but we can't spend the money right now.  I bought her one at a thrift store last summer and it's quickly wearing out--the chain keeps falling off, or locking.  I expected to see a brand new bike, as we all went running to see what husband was up to.  The sheer joy, the glee, in his voice, made me sure of it.

But, no.  Not this time.  It was the little boy in my husband--that's where the glee came from--the joy!  He was aching to show his sweet little girl some precious baby mice.  He knew it would make her happy, as well as Peter.

And, oh yes!  They were both smitten.  Paul thought they were cute enough, but he's not a nature buff.  He's the odd man out around here--loves all things numbers and letters.  My mathematician can take or leave all things creepy crawly, furry, or feathered--though he laughs with the rest of us at the mole and squirrel antics.

When husband told us about the mother scurrying away, all I could think of was the horror she must feel at having her babies taken from her!  They weren't pinkies by any means, but they might still be nurslings.

In this photo you can see the nest on the left, and a tiny baby in the top right corner, grayish in color.

Instead of clearing out the nest and reclaiming his toolbox, husband carefully carried it back to the appointed spot in the shed, leaving it open about an inch, so Momma Mouse could make her way back to her babies.

I love that man!  He's a wonderful Daddy, a wonderful soul!  

Am I the only wife who feels the greatest love for my husband when he's at his fathering best?  Is that universal, Ladies?

I won't be retrieving anything from the shed any more, needless to say.  I didn't know there were mice in there!  Peter tells me he'd be glad to go in there, any time.  He plans on checking up on Mrs. Mouse and family, as often as possible.

Now we have a new research project to work on!  All things mice.  If there's some disease or danger involved in playing around wild mice, we'd better learn about it now.  My Mary might decide to catch one of these babies, soon enough.  I don't worry about Peter.  His germ-phobic OCD side would prevent him from picking up a mouse.  But my Mary?  She's oblivious of such things!  Germs? What are those?  That sweet girl is a free soul--one part Tom Boy, one part dress-and-frill-loving princess.

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