Although Lydia and I were the ones who spotted the mouse, hobbling around the pool area, it was Eden and then Christopher who rushed to his aid. Lydia and I were both seized by a mixture of empathy and fear. It was clear from the way he was moving that there was something not right with the little thing – that he was practically newborn didn’t occur to me. When I see something or someone hurt, my stomach hurts.
This sort of empathy is great, to a point. If you’re having a medical emergency and you need prayer; I’m you’re girl. And I will certainly be Johnny on the spot if you want a moving description of your pain. If it’s first aid you’re looking for then – sorry – I can’t help unless you’re one of my children and I’ll probably be gagging while I administer it.
Lydia seems to be cut out of a similar cloth.
When Eden found out about the mouse she rushed to his side, assessed the situation, got Christopher to help and then came to stir me into action. Armed with my kitchen gloves she was a pint-sized Florence Nightingale. Lydia eventually warmed up and helped try to feed him. Later she even held him a while. But it was Eden who set the therapy ball in motion.
At dinner when she suggested naming him Sparkie or Scout Lydia rolled her eyes. I told Eden she could name him whatever she wanted. Scout was one of the names I had proposed when naming Jack and Eden was my only ally. Since then it has been her go to for stuffed animals, toads and frogs.
Later she, Lydia and I were all on my bed and she called the naming committee to order.
“We’ll go around and each make a suggestion, then we’ll vote on it. You first Mama.”
“I vote for Sparkie.” I was researching something and maybe wasn’t totally investing in naming the mouse.
“No, you have to come up with your own name.”
“Oh. OK.” I had been reading the Economist earlier and trying to think of a male (we all sensed the mouse was a boy) name, Milton Friedman popped into my head.
Eden wrinkled her nose. “I don’t like that.”
Lydia sat up, “Milton, I kind of like that. He was a poet…who was blind. I like it.”
American economist, English metaphysical poet; it’s all good.
“Lydia, you need to make your own suggestion,” The Enforcer reminded.
“I don’t have one. I vote for Milton.”
“You can’t until we all make suggestions!”
“Eden, what do you want to name him.” I stepped in.
She thought for a minute, “I’m thinking about Winkie…”
“Ooooh, I like it.” I said.
Lydia snorted. “Winkie! You want to name him Winkie!”
“Is it time to vote, Eden?”
“Yes. If you want Milton say ‘aye'”.
Lydia raised her hand.
“Say ‘aye'”. Eden prompted.
“Aye!” Lydia obeyed and then noticed that I was silent. “You’re going to vote for Winkie!”
I raised an eyebrow but didn’t say anything.
“If you want Winkie say ‘aye'”.
Eden and I both raised our hands and said aye.
There was a protracted argument, but we finally settled (after some diversions: another round of forced suggestions and subsequent vote) on Winkie Milton H_______.
We think it has a certain ring.