Learning to Deal With Stress Without Freaking Out (And How to Not Catch a Mouse)

This morning was one of THOSE mornings. You know when you have a sweater and one piece of thread gets pulled, and the next thing you know the entire thing is unraveling? That was how my morning went.

First, we have a mouse. A very smart mouse. This past year our house seems to be The Place for mice. I hate it. I wish we weren’t allergic to cats so we could get one (you know it’s bad when someone as allergic as I am – I sneeze upon seeing a cat – seriously considers borrowing one to take care of our mouse problem). This mouse has figured out how to crawl up the back of our stove and onto our counters, which meant I was cleaning out a cabinet last night so there was nothing left to tempt him. While I was doing this he actually ran across the kitchen floor and under the stove. He scared me so bad I did a perfect imitation of a woman who has seen a mouse. My husband thought it was hilarious. Me, I was shaking. From the other side of the room.

So we put sticky traps in front of the stove and also on the counter at the back of the stove. We LOVE sticky traps because they work, plus the worst that happens if the kids step on them is I have to peal it off their socks. So we went to bed pretty confident that this mouse was toast. That mouse must have been laughing at us the whole time because when we woke up, there was a furry sticky trap on the counter and one missing. Yeah, MISSING. That little rat got caught on the one on the counter, somehow managed to peal himself off, leaving us some fur, THEN got caught in one on the floor and TOOK IT WITH HIM. Now, I saw this mouse, he wasn’t THAT big.

So the hubby and I searched the house looking for this missing trap that hopefully had a mouse on it. We found the trap under the fridge, no mouse. That sneaky rodent got out of two traps. We set up about 20 traps this morning and hopefully we’ll get him today. But I swear, if I come home and they’re all either missing or put in our bed or something, I’m calling in a pro. I’m seriously wondering if this mouse escaped from some kind of government experiment making super smart mice (I always did love The Rats of NIHM). Maybe that’s how they found Osama?

Anyway, that took too long this morning.Then my daughter didn’t have any undies, so I had to search through the 2 baskets of clean laundry that I haven’t put away yet, only to find zero little girl undies. I ran to the laundry room to dig through yet another load of clean-yet-not-put-away-laundry and – huzzah – found a pair. I dashed back upstairs and got us both dressed. At this point I had 10 minutes before we needed to leave the house. This is when I go into time-saver mode. I partially dried my hair and grabbed my make-up bag. When I’m in a super rush I do it at work, and this day qualified.

I got everyone in the car only 5 minutes late (I do leave in some wiggle room for mornings like this), had to run back into the house for something Buddy forgot, then we were on our way. I thanked the kids for their help this morning, foolishly thinking we were doing pretty good. That was the second big joke of the day because as we were walking up the stairs to Sass’ day care I noticed Buddy was wearing black pants. He has to wear navy pants to school. Navy, not black. I asked him why he wore those, and he thought they were navy when he put them on. He said they looked navy is his dark-ish room. Just as I was about to rebuttal, I remembered that he actually held up a pair of shorts and those pants at some point when I was running around this morning and asked me which he should wear, and I instructed him to wear the pants because it was too cold for shorts. So I have no one to blame here except for myself since I also mistook the black pants for navy (I really tried to blame my husband for not noticing he was wearing black, not navy pants, then I remembers that A. he’s a guy and even if I had asked him to make sure Buddy’s pants were navy, let’s face it, he probably would have thought there were, and B. he was trying to catch Super Smart Mouse).

I dropped Sass off with super-human speed, Buddy and I ran back to the car, and I turned around to go get him the correct pants. After throwing them at him (well, more towards him than at him) and telling him to change at school (and making sure he actually put them in his backpack) I started the trek to his bus stop, which is a 20 minute drive from my house. We had 18 minutes until his bus arrives.

This is when I usually start freaking out. I’m talking panic attack-zone. Yet, today, I didn’t. I am known for calling my husband in a sheer panic, as though he can magically do something while driving into work. Today, however, I just didn’t. I knew we were running late and my stress level was up, but it wasn’t overwhelming. I called my husband to tell him we were running late, but it was a calm conversation. When I realized we might make the bus, but will probably just miss it, I decided to take Buddy to the next bus stop. No problem. He got out, 2 minutes later the bus came, and I drove to work.

I came into my office without being in a frantic state. I did have to go and do my make-up, but otherwise, it was business as usual. I’m quite pleased with myself for dealing with this so well. It was a good example for my kids too. I see them freak out over little things, as kids often do (QUIT TOUCHING ME!!!! as my daughter is known to shriek) and I wonder how often they see ME doing the same thing. I like that I did a better job modeling good behavior for them. We all remember that ’80’s PSA “I learned it by watching YOU, Dad.” When my kids say that to me, I want it to be positive. I want them to grow up and say “I learned how to be a good volunteer by watching you,” or “I learned how to be a good reader by watching you,” or “I learned what a good marriage looks like by watching you.” I want to give hem good lessons and a solid foundation to build on, which is what I think all parents want.

Now, back to the mouse, anyone have any good suggestions for a super-smart-government-experiment rodent?

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