LESSON, EXPECTATIONS EDITION
Sometimes, when a cat looks interested in a certain corner, and her caretakers move some things from that corner, all hell breaks loose. Did not expect all hell to break loose over breakfast.
That cat is fast: less than ten seconds after the Very Interesting Corner was opened up enough for a paw to reach, a mouse finds itself snagged on the Claws of Doom. Prey, plaything. Thunder doesn’t know whether to celebrate the find with her beloved cat or save the tormented mouse…and we’re eating breakfast.
Cat, mouse, zoom-zoom-zoom. Thunder, with bowl, giving chase and giving up, round and round. Me, on a chair not because I want to avoid a mouse, but because I don’t want to get caught between cat, mouse, and Thunder bearing mouse-rescue bowl which sometimes seemed more like mouse-smashing bowl. Oh, yes, that was briefly an option.
Let’s just smash it, she suggested. My look of horror led to her explanation: mouse might be injured, and she would just END IT. Pragmatic to her core, my Thundergirl; fortunately, she chose the saving over the smashing.
Problem: mouse had run under the stove. Out comes the storage drawer. No mouse. Cat enters freshly opened under-stove territory and proves us wrong. Two of the four beings in the kitchen leap onto the same chair to avoid having our toes mistaken for a mouse.
“Why are you afraid of a mouse, Mommy?” I’m not, I explain, still perched on one chair, inches from her face. I’m afraid of the cat chasing the mouse. She is relieved that her mother is not a mouse-fearing wimp.
“It didn’t seem like the kind of thing that would make you freak out, actually. It’s not like we have a coyote in the kitchen.” I suggest we move to separate chairs. They’re sturdy chairs, but anything over a hundred years old has to have its limits. This makes her laugh, not at me this time but with me, a relief.
More zooming, and then…plop. The bowl lands over the mouse. Girl beat her cat to it. We slide a baking tray under the bowl, and she escorts the terrified little rodent to the far reaches of the back yard. I peek through the curtain. Her face has lost its adrenaline-rush maniacal grin, and she frowns, talking to herself on the long walk back.
The mouse just sat there in the grass after all. It had expected to die, she tells me. If it still expects to die, it’s definitely going to die now.
Thank you, child, for learning this in your own way.