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.