When our boy was 9 weeks old, we took our first family-of-3 trip from our home in Cornwall, to the Netherlands. My husband needed to work at the Dutch office and myself and the baby tagged along. I was thrilled at the thought of hanging out in a fancy hotel with our teeny guy (Room service! Cleaners! No cooking!) and envisaged us strolling through the Vondel park, with Mr Small crashed out in his pram.
The first night in our quaint, wonky hotel in Amsterdam, I thought that I heard a squeaky scurrying sound as I was sitting feeding my boy in the still of the night. I decided that it was tiredness induced hallucinations, coupled with a healthy dose of mama paranoia. I ignored my suspicions.
The second night the mouse had a rave in our room. He invited all his friends and flew in a local DJ, Deadmau5.
It was horrific.
I sat on the bed, next to my peacefully slumbering husband, a boob shoved in the baby’s mouth, watching Mice T and his rat pack doing the Harlem Shake along the skirting board. They chowed down the muesli bar from my bag and acrobatted into the base of the buggy.
My vigilant mama brain saw danger and I freakedthefeckout. Cue a great deal of religious swearing and a fair bit of lizard brain activity. I pounded down to the reception. Tit out, baby howling. I demanded that we get moved promptly to a rodent free zone.
The night receptionist, bless him, calmly handled my deranged ranting about the Hantavirus, Bubonic plague & Salmonellosis. He nodded sympathetically at my caterwauling about putting my young child at risk. He regretfully informed me he didn’t have a cat he could loan me. He gently tried to point out that the hotel was ancient and that in Amsterdam, mice were pretty much unavoidable.
Sleep deprived hysteria ensued. The baby pooped up his back with the stress of my shouting and my bleary eyed, banjaxed husband rescued the escalating situation.
We were moved to a room where we were guaranteed that there were no mice.
We checked out in the morning. I was convinced the baby was showing signs of sprouting whiskers and sharp little teeth.
We checked into the most modern hotel we could find.
Too much? Oh OK then.
It was a concrete high-rise palace as far as I was concerned. The po-faced receptionist assured me and my leaky boobs that there were absolutely no mice.
Fast forward 6 years, another child, a relocation and a purchase of a house deep in the Dutch suburbs.
In all that time I haven’t seen a single mouse. My neighbour unearthed a mouse nest, when she moved the dishwasher. She showed it to me. The cosy nest was made up of shredded family photographs and Barbie paraphernalia. It was all shades freaky. In one part there was a picture of the daughter’s face woven into a pink Barbie stripper shoe.
But aside from the nest, I haven’t personally seen a single rodent. Not a squeak. That is until today.
Today I got a text from a good friend saying,
“OMFG just saw a mouse in my house”.
She’d seen the mouse and chased it out the door. She was sitting in her living room with the Pikachu trapped in her hallway, waiting for it to leave. But it wouldn’t go.
She then messaged to say she’d seen it flatten itself out and slide back under the door. She tried to encourage her dog to flush the mouse out of her house. The dog is a bit dumb and didn’t really get what it was supposed to do.
We were back-and-forth texting funny gifs and she was sending me pictures of, ‘Operation Mousefestation’. At some point in all the hilarity, it dawned on me. This wasn’t something my friend was finding funny. She was actually fucking terrified.
Now, I don’t like mice. But I hold them with the same regard I do spiders. They need to get scooped up and deposited outside. I’m a lot braver when not sitting with boobs out, trying to breastfeed a tiny baby in the dead of night. I drove over to her house and what went down for the following hour was nothing but a ridiculous skit of a teeny mouse outwitting 2 dumb-ass-humans and a simple minded dog.
Firstly, we couldn’t find it. That didn’t help my friend’s paranoia. Part of the issue was that I was looking for a giant hairy rat. And actually the mouse was the size of a dust ball. A very sprightly and erratic *TINY* dust ball.
Secondly, it turns out that mice are smarter than me. Speedy Gonzales outwitted me at every turn. At one point I swear I saw it give me the finger. We eventually got the little fecker to leave…. By way of a complex swiffer mop strategy, a cup and a bit of cardboard. We deposited it in the park and took a picture of its departure.
It didn’t say, “Cheese”, but I could tell it was thinking about it.
When we got back to my friend’s home, we looked around in horror. Her living room had been fucking destroyed. We’d really done a Tom and Jerry on it. There wasn’t a bit of furniture that had been left in its original place. Tables had been overturned. Plant were scattered everywhere. Drapes had been dragged up because it’d tried to climb them. And her rug now needs to be boil-washed (or maybe be given a once over with a flamethrower), because of what the bad little mouse did on it as a parting gift to her.
Please don’t visit again, but hope you have a mice life, you titchy terror.