6.03.2008

mice mice mice



We are having all kinds of mice problems around our house. The actual kind - yes, opening up the closet door early in the morning and seeing a silent flash of brown-grey shooting across the sweaters - as well as the pretend. The four year old's best friend these days is a very subversive, power-hungry imaginary mouse. Mousie encourages all kinds of bad behavior and tries several times a day (unsuccessfully, thank goodness!) to put me in time-out for doing motherly things like prohibiting evil plots against the elder brother or the baby, asking the four year old to clean up her work, brush teeth, etc. Mousie generally disapproves of all authority beyond his own, and as the four year old reports, he is VERY powerful. But I shouldn't blame poor Mousie, solely. He has had a very, very, very sad and tragic life, as ALL of his friends/family back in Mouseland have met horrible and painful deaths which the four year old describes in detail. Often. To us and strangers alike. Should we be contacting a therapist, or is Mouseland a natural compartmentalization of all of the scary things she's trying to process as her little realm of exposure to the world increases? There are a lot of dangers we warn the kids about - I didn't realize until I heard them translated back to me through the mouse-death filter how these warnings were affecting her: mice getting into the medicine, mice getting hit by cars, mice getting carried away by black eagles (well, we don't talk about that last danger very much). I didn't think we were that negative! So, ANYWAY, for better or for worse we've decided to embrace Mousie, bad attitude, sordid past and all, along with the whole extended family of the imaginary mice-world. Here are two of my favorite rodents, the Country Mouse and the City Mouse, painted during a lengthy discussion about which mouse had it better - the sophisticated opera-going City Mouse or the whole-grain, wholesomely fed and entertained Country friend. What do you think? Now that I'm somewhat of a Country Mouse myself I wish for a little more glamour in my day-to-day existence, you know, maybe just a little bite of fancy cheese now and again, and a strain of Offenbach...

27 comments:

Barbara Brown said...

i completely agree. i am a city mouse at heart but long to be in a country mouse environment. or is it the other way around. after much contemplation on the subject (we recently moved from the city to a more country atmosphere) i have come to realize i am a city mouse who needs a country house for the summer. best of both worlds, don't ya think? by the way i recently came accross your blog. i love the creativeness of your sewing. i also really enjoy sewing for my children.

Hello, I'm Sally. said...

I love the imagination that your 4 year old has! I had a similar experience with my son when he was drawing monsters, there was this hurt eye theme, either the monster had one or didn't. I started to worry after it went on for so long, but then decided it must be how he's processing something.

I'm a city mouse, but I like to live in the country sometimes.

Cute paintings!

heather said...

I'm a bit of both, city and country. I'm a charming cottage in the country within a short commute distance to the big city mouse!

melissa said...

The whole mouse obsession is hilarious! I love your description and your sweet paintings. Maybe you should create your own mouse and introduce her as Mousie's mom. Then she can legitimately give Mousie orders without getting in trouble.

ellie said...

Country mousie sure has a pretty green dress - even if no special city cheese. We live in the city now, but are planning a country move soon - though I know we'll have lots of city visiting to keep up in cheese and such.
I know what you mean about wanting to tell kids about all the "bad" things, without sugar coating things; yet the flip-side of them being taken too over-the-top. I hope your little one works through some of her fears with her powerful Mousie. I do think, though, that telling things as they are is much better for kids in the long-run, rather than babytalking about everything.
Good luck with keeping Mousie under control!

Joslyn said...

i'm partial to country mouse too...love the paintings. Yes, four must be the age for elaborate and morbid tales, as audrey is all about that right now.

Donna said...

My daughter went through a similar phase probably around four (along with a mouse/rat obsession inspired by The Great Mouse Detective). She'd introduce me to a stuffed animal, and then say in a hushed voice you know what's really sad? All his family died. They got eaten by a cat (or some other calamity). It didn't seem to really upset her, so I think it just was some sort of processing with regards to bad things happening.

Deborah W said...

Love the mousies! I'm a country mouse through and through. I like to visit the city but don't ever want to live there. I'm happy with plain ol' country cheese! Love your blog!

heather said...

as soon as your page came up, i thought these were paintings of two mice i made- one for each of my daughters! i have to tell you there is the sweetest free pattern on ottobredesigns.com for a mouse that looks identical to your paintings. you have to click the back button on the free patterns. it looks a little different in their picture, but i made mine from an old velvet jacket of mine that was a sort of mink color. i didn't add the face and ear patches and made up some cute patterned dresses. their names are marmalade and georgie and i think that they are probably country mice who avoid the pretense of shoes and enjoy the outdoors. maybe a "real" mouse would spoil the grand imaginings though.

Daria said...

Your story is so, so funny!

Rachel said...

Oh my gosh. That made me laugh so hard. My daughter has an imaginary bunny friend who, rather than tells her to do naughty things, just goes ahead and does them himself.

Kathryn said...

Little "L" must love having her mommy validate her mouse world. Your paintings are enchanting as usual.

Poshyarns said...

Those are gorgeous paintings and I am in fits of chuckles over those poor mice relatives.

Bethany Hissong said...

I just read Amanda Soule's "The Creative Family" and she stresses that imaginary friends are quite normal for young children and to let them have them. They will outgrow it and it is just another way to express themselves. I love your paintings! I'm a city girl who married a country boy and we live in the best of both worlds right now... a small town surrounded by big cities! Though I could easily be convinced to move to wine country!!!

Tammy said...

Mousie sounds like he could give Super Cow a run for her money!!! I love your 4 year old. I especially love to hear her tell her stories. Therapy is not necessary for her. Just you wait. Someday, she will be a world famous authoress with her books spread all over the world!!!

As for me, I agree. I am more like the country mouse. Unfortunately, this country mouse never seems to find time for anything glamorous.

melissa said...

Oh, I forgot to say, I love the pearl earrings!

Jen said...

This is so funny! The details of the deaths...ha ha ha!I am so sorry to hear about the real ones. I really, really think you should write and illustrate a book about this character. Maybe not one with so much violence...
What do you think I am City or Country?

Lauren said...

LOVE the paintings!! Such a classic story. I think it's pretty safe to say I am a city mouse - but married to a country mouse......

'A' is in a morbid phase right now too - she loves using the words blood and die. Catholic preschool is not helping with this.

I bet 'L' would really like going to a therapist - I would love to go sit in a quiet room for a couple of hours and have someone listen to me!!!

Your artwork and creativity is amazing!!! xo

ansis said...

Oh so much to look forward to! My almost-three year old has been a mousie for about a month now - I'm a mummy mouse and there's a daddy mouse and a pussy-mousie as well. She's not my sweetie or darling, or gorgeous or wonderful, she's a MOUSIE mummy! I guess externalising the mouse is just the next step in development but it's pretty obvious to me that the mousie is integral to us all in some deep and mysterious way. Love your painted ones too :)

kosenrufu mama said...

just to tell you that your blog is lovely, i read every post, and i like it so much!!! have a nice day;)

Cheryl said...

I Love the city/country mousie paintings! I can't wait to hear more mousie stories! You should post the map of mouseland, I LOVE how it turned out!

gracia said...

Ah, mice... and indeed all rodents. I have such a soft spot for these little loves.
yours, town mouse

Liesl said...

Oh, so funny! Your four-year-old and my three-year-old would get along marvelously. Particularly in the subversive, authority-defying realm.

Emily said...

How creative, both of you and L.! We haven't had any imaginary friends yet, but Bruce and Annabel love to pretend to be something/someone else. And they are often more obedient when they are little kittens or trains or bears. So yay!
I love the story of the country mouse and the town mouse. We read it quite often. I have to say I am a country mouse right through, but who doesn't enjoy a little trip to the city? All that excitement is great, but it's nice to just sit out on the deck or porch and watch the stars. Ahhh.

Beth's Blue Blog said...

I really like your mice paintings! and i laughed to hear about your daughter's powerful mouse friend!! you're all the therapy she needs. i dread teh day they start building in the empty fields near our house, because i'm afraid all the mice in the field will come running here for shelter. though, i would not mind a little more city-fying around here. like a grocery store, at least!

Jillian said...

An awesome book on letting kids imagine (and that the sordidness of it all is a good thing) is "The Case For Make Believe". I highly recommend it. Love the mice (paintings, not real ones).

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