That’s how Lysle summed up the day as I kissed him good-night.
Please think of rats such as these as you read the following.
“Yes,” I agreed with a sigh, “rat poop Sunday! Sorry we couldn’t do anything more fun.”
Artie and I had spent much of the day clearing out our basement storage area because of a rodent problem that the exterminator cannot address through the mountains of stuff accumulated over a decade by a dozen apartment dwellers. The smell of rat poop was so overpowering down there that even Lysle, our card-carrying rodent-o-phile, could barely stand it.
So Artie and I faced it alone: Our storage shelves are towers of our boys’ babyhood. I’ve weeded out bit by bit, finding it hard to let go of the things from those early years. But today our hands were forced, so crib sheets went to public collection bins, books and toys to the thrift store, car seats to the curb.
At bedtime I remembered: “Oh, Lysle, I still wanted to tell you something. Remember your infant car seat – the one both you and Micah came home in from the hospital?”
He shrugged, unsure.
How was he supposed to remember it really? It had held them both at their most new and most memoryless. He was only 2 when his fresh little brother rode in it.
“You know what happened, Lysle? The rats knew what it was for. They built a nest in it and had their babies in your infant car seat,” I told him and smiled. “Is that gross?”
Lysle smiled back over the railing of his top bunk. “No, that’s cute.”
Though at first the idea of rats in a place where my babies had slept seemed so repulsive, I had also shared Lysle’s little joy at more babies. We’d always meant to pass it on to another baby – and so we did – except these babies weren’t human. Please do not forget the pictures referred to above. And at the same time, please do forget the eventual fate of our infant rats.
I have to admit they left the car seat a bit – well – a bit of a sty.