Of course this had to happen now. Babyboy’s newly diagnosed with autism and we’re absorbing that, sorting out how to work in more intensive behavioral therapy, including setting up Applied Behavioral Analysis, with a new therapist, aiming at 10 hours per week(!) additional therapy time to the five sessions/ weekly he already has… Babygirl is still not sleeping through the night, though she teases us with the occasional 6-hour stretch… Hubby was away all long weekend, working… And there was a snowstorm.

Good thing I wasn’t on call.

I was home alone with the kids Sunday morning, during the snowstorm. I was trying to figure out how I was going to entertain a homebound preschooler and toddler… and not go crazy myself. I was going to try to do it on my own… for at least most of the day. I felt bad as I’d had a babysitter most of Saturday, and then Nana (my saintly mom) came over at night to help with the kids’ bedtime (as she always does when hubby is traveling).

So Sunday morning I had the kids in my room, and they were “helping” me get dressed. Even though we weren’t leaving the house, I figured, better to at least change clothes from one set of sweats to another. It just feels gross to stay in pajamas all day. So anyways I had them both in my room, was just starting to find clean clothes to put on, when Babygirl toddled over to the attic stairs.

We had all kinds of crap piled on the stairs, waiting to be organized. One thing was this stuffed bear. I think I was holding it back as they got so many presents at Christmastime. She was looking at it, up above her on the stairs, so I pulled it down to hand to her…

And this plump brown furry ball streaked out from behind it, hit me in the leg, landed on the floor, and zapped under my bed, before I could even think.

Of course as soon as I realized what it was, I screamed. Babygirl got scared and started crying. Babyboy was curious about all of this and tried to take the bear. I wasn’t sure if there were more brown furry creatures in there, so I grabbed it away, and then he started crying too. I scooped them both up and made my way downstairs.

Who do you call when there is a brown furry creature under your bed?

So I called my mother. I was pretty much shaking with the shock of it. I’m not a mouse-phobic person, but I never expected one to be IN MY ROOM UNDER MY BED. And it was pretty darned big for a house mouse. She offered to come over and help me deal.

So she drove over, in a snowstorm, in her ancient Toyota Camry, and we formed a plan. No way were we going to set out poison or mousetraps with these two kiddos around. We would find it, flush it out, capture it in a box, and set it free.

Keep in mind we have two HUGE cats. At this point I had roundly cursed them for their laziness. But I planned to utilize them in our plan.

Babygirl went down for her nap. The rest of us ventured upstairs: me, Nana, babyboy,and the two cats, with a shoebox and some cookie crumbs. Nana and I pulled back our bed and found Mr. Mouse hiding behind the heater. She whapped at him and he ran… across my feet. I screamed. He zig-zagged right past our cats. Raffy, our fat cat, seemed bewildered. Leo, our athletic cat, gave chase. But Mr. Mouse skittered out of the room, down the hall, and into Babyboy’s closet.

We again ventured in, cats very interested this time. But Mr. Mouse was gone. There was a small crack in the wall, and he must have scrunched through.

Great. The only upside was that my mom confirmed that it wasn’t my imagination, it actually was a pretty large mouse.

Now, I have lived in some really infested places. I swear I once saw a rat the size of a Pekingese dog in an alley in Fell’s Point, Baltimore. I’ve even lived in houses with mice: you’d see some mouse poop in the basement storage boxes or in the kitchen drawers sometimes. Mice are common in old houses, that’s a given. I’ve traveled abroad and stayed in places infested with alot more than mice: roaches, spiders, rats… I got to leave, so I didn’t care much.

But this healthy specimen was in our BEDROOMS. And if you see one, you can assume you have many. That is just not acceptable.

I was reluctant to tell Hubby, who IS significantly mouse-phobic. But I did. He also roundly cursed out our lazy cats.

We’re not sure how to proceed. Starve the cats and hope they start earning their keep? Wait until the weather warms up and hope they go outside?