A few nights before Christmas Randy saw a mouse run behind the Christmas tree. We were not terribly surprised, since our exterminator has been telling us for years that he’s seen mice droppings outside in our utility closet and under our stove and we’ve hired people to plug the holes that the mouse is getting through. Apparently these efforts have not worked. So the exterminator came out and put several traps between our book cases near where the mouse was spotted. On the one hand, I feel no particular ill will toward a little mouse, except I didn’t want him (or her) leaving toxic poop around our house, or eating our Christmas presents. So the traps were set and smeared with peanut butter. Yesterday when her friends were over, Zoe showed them the traps and told them to be careful and not touch them, and explained, “They have peanut butter on them because mice are attracted to peanut butter.”

Tonight while I was serving Zoe her dinner I spotted a mouse by one of the traps. I wasn’t sure if it was in the trap or just approaching it, so I asked Randy to investigate. Of course, when Randy went to investigate, so did Zoe. Randy determined that the mouse, was, in fact, deceased. He decided he wanted to eat dinner before dealing with the body. I found a plastic container big enough for the mouse and the trap.

After dinner Zoe asked if she could watch while Randy collected the mouse and the trap. I wanted to be as far away as possible. But Zoe observed it all very calmly. When I put her to bed she asked a few questions–why it was ok to throw away a plastic container. She’s very into recycling these days. She said she’d never seen a real live mouse before. I didn’t point out that she actually still hadn’t. She didn’t seem excited or upset, just dispassionately interested. I was feeling kind of guilty and creeped out and concerned that she was going to ask a lot of probing questions about life and death. But she didn’t. Yet.