Eden is nursing a baby mouse back to health, at least that’s what she thinks. In truth she’s probably keeping vigil over, even hastening, its death, but do you have to be so judgey?
Per her direction I called our local nature center. I subtlely made it clear that the Young Naturalist was at my elbow and that I was merely her mouthpiece. She had been gunning for giving the mouse a bath because it had rolled into its urine. I discouraged this, but she was concerned about hygeine. I mentioned this to the woman at the nature center who confirmed that it was better off staying as dry as possible.
“What can we do?” I asked. “We REALLY want to do SOMETHING.”
The woman laughed, “I was the same way when I was a kid.”
And then she said we could try to give it a little food and water and place it in a sheltered spot to protect from predators.
Christopher had picked it up off the pavement and put it in one of gardens. He came inside to wash his hands.
“Poor little thing, it’s probably going to die.” His voice broke at the last and tears sprung into his eyes. “Nature can be so cruel.”
The three kids gathered around it and tried to feed it a bit of warmed milk. Earlier it had opened its little mouth, but now the milk just dripped down its face. When I came out to check on them they had given up.
“We decided to stop because we were concerned that the milk would block its nasal passages.” Lydia informed me.
Eden has tucked the mouse into the nest they made with some clean rags in a box. The box is safely closed in her playhouse.
Earlier today I was in the poolshed and took note of the liberal covering of mouse poop over the shelves I purchased and organized last summer. My thoughts were murderous and there is always a mousetrap set with peanut butter under our sink and yet I find myself wanting to dash out to the playhouse to check on our little patient, hoping to find its tiny heart still beating.