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January 24, 2012

For the Love of...Rats???

Before the holidays, a family friend stopped by. She was telling me about someone she knew whose Christmas decorations were mouse-themed. I’m picturing little mice in Santa hats, I guess, but our friend said, “It just creeps me out. I hate rats!

Sponge A and Sponge B, hearing everything, of course, have been asking about rats ever since.

It is almost a daily discussion at our house…

Mommy, why does Nana Audrey hate rats?

Well, some people don’t like rats very much. And let's not use the word 'hate'.

Are rats bad?

Well, maybe some are, but I don’t think all rats are bad.

Do you hate rats?

No, remember, we don’t ‘hate’ anything. And generalizations like that aren’t nice. Remember the little mice we saw at the pet store? They were sweet.

Some rats are sweet, but others are not.”

Well, that could probably be said of many things. We haven’t met all the rats in the world, so we don’t know.

And on…and on…and on.

The girls started with Daddy last night. He did his best to answer their questions…although he was not as “protective” of the rat species’ reputation as I have been.

I finally heard him tell the girls, “That’s enough talk about rats. We’ll talk more about them when you’re older.” And they moved on to dissect another rousing subject.

After the girls were in bed, Hubby asked me what was up with the rat convo. I told him the background, and – clearly creeped out himself – he said, “You know that rats are not mice, right? Rats are disgusting. They carry diseases.

I know, I know. And I have no affinity for mice or rats, I can assure you.

But I want to encourage the girls to form their own opinions about things, based on their own experiences, and not just adopt what they’ve heard in some random context.

It just so happens that rats are the girls’ subject du jour.

And while Hubby agrees with me in theory, I think he would say we could just go ahead and pass judgment on “disease-laden sewer scoundrels”.

Hmmm…another parental quandary, for sure.


Julia said...

Wow! All that conversation!

So, I was a biology major in college.

One of our projects was to perform surgery and take out the rat's ovaries, and then give them hormone replacement therapy. When I was in surgery, I discovered my rat was pregnant (with just one baby instead of many like they usually have), and my instructor told me I need to to abort the pregnancy, b/c she'd die if I sewed her back up and let her try to give birth.

I sobbed through the entire procedure. Sobbed! It's embarrassing to think about now. My instructor was beside herself at how to handle me. :)

Let me be clear---I don't like rats. At.all. But apprently somewhere deep inside me I have a soft spot for them :)

Johanna said...

I had a pet rat as a child. Yes, RAT. You can buy hooded fancy rats at pet stores. I think most people buy them as food for snakes. My little rat was smart enough to come when called, and I loved it.

I have to agree that sewer rats are disease carrying and I would scream if I saw one scampering across an alley, but there's an example of how even rats can't be generalized. :)

Charlene said...

Ackkkk....I am NOT a fan! I once saw a mouse at work (in a nursing home). I actually jumped onto the bed and screamed "rat"

Of course they all laughed at me...especially when they saw that the "rat" was actually a baby mouse. LOL! A couple of nurses caught and released it back outside.

I was so freaked out by that..that I wouldn't go in that room for weeks and then when I did venture in there, I was still freaked out!

I came home and told the kids...they all laughed at me jumping and standing on the bed.

I am so freaked out by anything like that. Even when one of the kids had a pet dwarf hamster...I couldn't stand that thing!

Anonymous said...

so. B's sister had a pet rat. who won the rat olympics. and was on the today show. no joke.

i think they're gross. but that might be because i saw too many of them when we lived in DC!! ;)

Marcia (123 blog) said...

Okay, I'm with Nana Audrey and J - rats are gross and I hate them! :)

Although Julia's story is very cute.

Julia, do you know I went into full-blown panic in my Zoology tutorials at university? Ughhh the worst thing ever cutting into animals.

Marcia (123 blog) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
championm2000 said...

Okay, you handled the rat obsessio so much better than I would have.

I'm with your hubby--rats are gross!

But I agree...we don't use the hate word here either :-)