Friday, 4 July 2014

A Mouse Tale, Or: Vincent Learns About Death. Sort of.

So today was an interesting day. Here's what happened.

The boys and I drove all day yesterday and through the night from south Florida to Illinois. Instead of taking a nap once we got here we thought To Hell With Sleep, it's time to spend time with family. So my littlest brother Corben found a little nest of three mice in his four-wheeler, and instead of feeding them to the chickens or freeing them into the wild, he gets an old Folgers coffee can and puts the mice in there, because they are tiny and cute.

Vincent loved them. He carried those mice in the coffee can with him everywhere for hours, giving them corn to eat, picking them up by their tiny tails and petting them, cuddling them, and making elaborate plans for their future together. As he is not one to waste a good name, he named them all after his guinea pig Wilbert (who was named after the guinea pig at his daycare). So he had Wilberts 1, 2, and 3. And he was happy.

So once my niece and nephews showed up, there was much made over the Wilberts, and as is wont to happen when several children have mice to play with, there were a couple escapees. But Vincent was still content, because he still had Wilbert 3.

For a little while.

Because somehow during the fun and games with The Final Wilbert, he got drowned.

No one is quite exactly sure how it happened.

But, Wilbert 3 was dead, and let me tell you, my youngest baby was DISTRAUGHT. The other kids were all OOPS and poor Vincent was like NOOOO NOT WILBERT, NOT MY BABY.  So Vlad and my niece and my nephews decided that there had to be a mouse funeral, and the best place to have this was in Grandma's garden. Over Vincent's strenuous objections everyone traipsed out to the garden, a hole was dug, and I sat by my youngest as he wept and kept saying "he's not dead! Don't do this!" So all the other kids go back inside and I continued to sit with Vincent and try to explain what happened. And he doesn't understand. He is in tears, and thinks if he could just cuddle him and sleep with him Wilbert 3 will wake up and be okay.

So Vincent tells me we have to take him out of the ground and give him "one more chance." And against my better judgment (because who WOULDN'T be making sound decisions after going on about 36 hours with no sleep) I go along with it because guys, Vincent is distraught and I am damn near in tears myself.

Over a drowned mouse.

So we turn around and walk back to the garden and we exhume Wilbert 3. And it is just as gruesome as you can imagine, and at this point now I am starting to worry that maybe he WAS buried alive or maybe Grandma's garden is an ancient Indian burial ground and fucking Wilbert 3 is going to come back all Pet Semataried because when I don't get enough sleep this is just where my head goes.

At any rate Wilbert 3 is back out of the ground and thankfully his eyes are still closed. But he is damp and matted and dirty and Vincent still picks him up and tenderly cuddles him and pets him.

And I am crying.

Guys it was AWFUL.

So when Wilbert 3 doesn't wake up Vincent hands him to me and insists that I try to resuscitate him and guys when your tearful four-year old begs you to try to save his pet you can fucking bet that you will.

So I start chest compressions.

On a dead drowned mouse.

It doesn't work.

So Vincent carefully takes him back and tries to brush the dirt from his eyes which now gives him the creepy half-open eyes of a dead mouse.  Vincent refuses to recommit the body to the garden, so I talk him into walking over to the woods and we will "give" Wilbert 3 back to his mommy, which means we say a few more nice words about him, call out "Wilbert's mommy, come get your baby!" and toss this drowned mouse into the trees.

So on the way back to the house we talk about how dead means you close your eyes forever and you're really gone and there's no going back, and it's okay to be sad and miss him. And poor Vincent is crying again, and says he doesn't ever want anyone to die, not Bart, not me, not daddy, and not his brother.

And guys I'm crying too because THIS IS HARD.

But he seems like he's understanding what happened, and he's going to be okay. So we go inside and wash up and then Vincent goes back outside to play with his brother and cousins. And after a little while they all start shrieking, and I race back outside because my nerves are just shot.

And guess what guys.

They found one of the escaped Wilberts.

Except Vincent thinks it's Wilbert 3.

The one we tossed into the woods.

The one I did CPR on.

And he is thrilled.

So now I am in the basement and can't sleep again and Vincent is snoring next to me. And all I can think is that He Who Walks Behind the Rows did a Pet Sematary on Wilbert 3 and now there is a zombie mouse outside and yes I realize I am getting my Stephen King mixed up but it is almost 3am here and I still cannot sleep and now I am waiting for Wilbert 3 to come downstairs with a scalpel like a deadly Stuart Little and say HE WANTS YOU TOO ALEAH HE WANTS YOU TOO!

So happy Independence Day people.