The Mouse Who Lived at Myrtle Street

Myrtle Mouse lived on the top floor of a long tall house on Myrtle Street.  Was she called Myrtle because of the street she lived on, or was the street she lived on named after her? Nobody knew the answer to that question but Myrtle and she wasn’t telling, she just got on with her business and left people guessing.

Myrtle Mouse was a little mouse.  She was neat as a pin and liked to keep everything tidy. In the daytime when the humans were moving about she was tucked up in her bed, but at night when the humans were sleeping, Mrtyle Mouse went about the house humming quietly and doing her work.  ‘This goes here‘ she would sing to herself and ‘that goes there‘ and quick as a flash all the little pieces of bread and the tiny bits of cheese which were dropped by the grown ups and the children in the day, were tidied away.  Some were nibbled up daintily and some put away in the cupboards for later. Myrtle kept a clean and tidy house and a well stocked cupboard and her friends and her family all knew that visiting Myrtle was always a pleasure.

One night as Myrtle Mouse tied up her apron and picked up her broom, she heard a snuffling noise from upstairs.  ‘Mmmm’ thought Myrtle Mouse, the little ones must be here.  The little ones, was her name for the children who lived in the house for part of the time.  Myrtle knew that when the little ones were here, the routines were slightly different and her work was always a little bit harder.  This was because for part of the time the humans in the house were just the grown ups and they didn’t drop so much food.  When the little ones were here at Myrtle Street however, there was always so much to do.  Myrtle Mouse knew that her cupboards would never groan with so much food,, as when the little ones were here.

The snuffling noise got louder and Myrtle Mouse heard a little whimper coming down the stairs.  The rest of the house was quiet and so Myrtle Mouse decided to check on the little one to make sure he or she, (she didn’t know which it would be), was ok.  Up the stairs she went in her little red checked apron and under the door frame and into the room.

The little whimpering one was Betty, the little girl who lived at Myrtle Street for some of the time.  ‘Hello Betty‘, said Myrtle Mouse, ‘I heard you whimpering and came to see if you are ok.’  Betty the little one looked at Myrtle but not in surprise because she knew that Myrtle Mouse lived in the house all of the time and sometimes, when the grown ups were not looking, Myrtle and Betty would wave to each other.  ‘Oh Myrtle Mouse‘ said Betty,  ‘I am sorry if I disturbed you.’   ‘You didn’t disturb me Betty‘ said Myrtle Mouse, ‘now tell me, what is the problem?’

Betty gazed at Myrtle Mouse.  ‘Don’t tell daddy will you‘, she sobbed in her bed.  ‘Of course I won’t, if you don’t want me to ‘ said Myrtle Mouse, ‘but what can it be that you can’t tell your daddy?’

I miss my mommy‘ said Betty and howled a little louder.  ‘Sometimes in the night I just miss her.  I know that my daddy loves me and I don’t want to make him sad by telling him that I miss mommy, but I do, sometimes I do just miss her.’

Myrtle Mouse hopped up onto the bed and patted Betty’s arm. ‘Of course you miss your mommy’ she said, ‘all children miss their mommy sometimes.’  Betty stopped crying and looked at Myrtle Mouse who smiled at her kindly.  ‘And you don’t need to worry that your daddy will be upset if you miss your mommy you know’, daddy knows that you miss mommy and mommy knows that you will miss your daddy sometimes too.

Betty looked at Myrtle Mouse, ‘do you really think he knows‘ she said.  ‘And do you think he really doesn’t mind if I miss mommy?

Of course he doesn’t mind’ said Myrtle Mouse, ‘he is your daddy and the job of being a mommy or a daddy is to know how little children feel and to not mind at all but to help you to feel better.’  Myrtle Mouse patted Betty’s arm again and hopped onto the floor, ‘wait there,’ she said, ‘I’ve got something that will make you feel better.’

Myrtle Mouse came back with a big chunk of chocolate which she had been saving for a special occasion.  Although the chunk of chocolate was nearly as big as Myrtle, she managed to heave it onto the bed for Betty.  ‘There‘ said Myrtle Mouse, ‘chocolate always cheers up little ones’.  

Betty giggled, because although it was naughty to eat chocolate in the middle of the night, somehow Myrtle Mouse made it seem alright.  ‘Thank you Myrtle Mouse‘ said Betty, ‘I feel better now.’   ‘I’m glad’ said Myrtle Mouse, ‘there is no need to be sad.  In the morning you must tell daddy that you sometimes miss mommy and everything will be alright.  Little ones need to be looked after by the grown ups and not the other way around.  And sometimes when grown ups are not there to listen, Myrtle Mouse will be able to hear you.  Snuggle down now and sleep little one, morning will come soon and all will be well.’

Betty wriggled down into her bed and closed her eyes and Myrtle Mouse tidied up the duvet and turned off the light.  ‘Goodnight little one‘ she whispered and tied her apron a little bit tighter, slipped under the door and went off to tidy the house.

 

Following on from the Dandlebear Stories which will shortly be available to buy for children (see below for a sample of the books, which are illustrated by my daughter,  Myrtle Mouse is another series of stories inspired by our stay on Myrtle Street in Boston MA, this week, where a tiny little mouse kept us company during our stay!  All children who live in two homes need their parents to understand their emotional and psychological experiences, telling children stories which name their feelings, helps to deepen children’s sense of safety and enables them to express the whole range of feelings which come with the experience of moving back and forth between parents. One of my enduring interests is helping children to make transitions safely between their parents. Myrtle Mouse will be another series to help parents to help their children.

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7 comments

  1. daveyone1 · 24 Days Ago

    Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..

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  2. Frankie · 21 Days Ago

    Lovely story Karen, but for some children who want to see their mammy, their daddy gets very cross and threatens to never see them again if they do see their mammy!! For parents who are victims of PA, their children don’t have a little mouse, they have a big scary bear!! Sorry to be so cynical but I’d say most parents who visit your blog don’t have a sensible daddy or mammy who puts their needs first, just someone using children as a weapon!!
    My daughter has gone to daddy’s to participate in his partners daughter’s wedding!! I got her organised and bought a beautiful present for the couple! She was delighted! Daddy arrived to collect her and I asked her to send me a picture of her all dressed up on the day! She scowled at me and said daddy said I’m not to contact you while I’m away at the wedding! She’s gone for 5 days and I’ve texted her every day…….nothing!!

    There’s definitely no wee mouse living in daddy’s house!!

    Frankie x

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  3. Anonymous · 21 Days Ago

    Thankyou that is a lovely story that puts children first and helps parents understand where their focus needs to be. These stories are heart-warming.

    It was perhaps fortuitous that Myrtle Mouse was pocket sized because it made Betty feel much more comfortable to know that she was not alone on her fortnightly journey across transition bridge………………..

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  4. Anonymous · 18 Days Ago

    I have written a short piece. I hope you don’t find it offensive because it is written with the best intentions.
    In my personal struggle with alienation tendencies I found the concept of “third party techniques” and the use of “metaphor” invaluable tools in my efforts to regain some control despite contrary forces that would have me alienated and banished.

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  5. Anonymous · 18 Days Ago

    At the wedding, there were rich pickings for myrtle Mouse. It was one of those marquee affairs and the crumbs were special, almond and sugar. It wasn’t easy avoiding those pesky humans. Fortunately, most seemed to have other things on their minds. Liquor flowed and cheery voices shrieked and bellowed.
    Betty agreed a rendezvous point with myrtle and gently placed her in the long grass behind the outside portacabin loo.

    In the grand tent Betty’s Dad was being told, in no uncertain terms by his new partner that if he should as much as mention his former wife, she would never speak to him again. He might as well pack his bags and leave with his tail between his legs. Dad’s new partner went on; she said, what Betty needed was her Dad to be firm with Betty. If Betty couldn’t do what she was told she should be abandoned and go and live with that dreadful mother of hers. If she didn’t do as she was told father should disown her and never speak to her again; bad girl.
    Back at mum’s place she was beside herself with worry and despair. She couldn’t understand why her former husband was being so horrible to her and why he had turned their daughter, Betty, against her. She felt powerless, a victim of circumstance.
    Mum was yet to understand how she could help her daughter, Betty survive the moves between living with her and then living with her Dad, crossing the transition bridge with relative ease and surviving the negative influences of her former partner and his new beau. She remained in the doldrums preferring to complain about her former partners poor behaviour and being surprised at his callousness and uncooperative nature.
    Betty’s behaviour had changed, no longer the loving innocent child her mother had always known. She had become her father’s mouthpiece making threats and unreasonable demands.
    Betty’s Mum complained that her former partner hadn’t put Myrtle mouse in Bettys pocket, she questioned the expert advice, but it never occurred to her that putting myrtle mouse in her child’s pocket was her responsibility. She seemed to lack the self-confidence to believe that she was worthy of parenting in her own right, she seemed to be seeking someone else’s approval.

    ………………………sure enough, at close of play, Betty found her dearest friend and companion waiting patiently by the portacabin, which was by now giving off unpleasant aromas. Betty smiled, Myrtle was loaded with goodies.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Carl Garnham · 17 Days Ago

    X

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  7. Carl Garnham · 17 Days Ago

    His little face when he wakes up rubs his eyes then smiles…

    Made me think of Josh between 5 and 10yrs old…. Dad days.

    Before they destroyed everything.

    I, me and my dad, we got him in a big red white and black rocket we had him flying around the moon ready to slingshot into the Stars, he was making the best look ordinary and just like it was child’s play…. Always beaming, hardly believing the magic that was lifting him up, his dreams were coming true…. A light was illuminating him and his proximity, as he went higher the light of attention grew brighter upon him…. that light threatened those in the shadows who were trying to undermine him and destroy and sever our relationship when my dad, our rock was taken off the field of play with a terminal injury.

    At first it was Tuesday Thursday from school and Sunday mornings….. Off to dads.

    Then it was Tuesday and Friday from school until Saturday tea time once i got him stopping over after three years in court.

    He wrote in his school books how I was his best freind, i listened to him and was kind and i talked to him a lot.

    It was parents evening, his mum was there when the teacher showed us his books and that page… They’d been asked to describe their best freind. Tears filled my eyes, he rarely told me he loved me, probably told that would upset me. I told him I loved him all the time.

    He was the most beautiful natured boy, I was so proud of him.

    When he took himself onto the football field it was only a matter of time before his nature shone.

    He was shy, but wow could he play. Not too flash, no big time Charlie, a boy playing with love a game that meant something to him and me both… and my dad. It United us and protected us, gave us so much joy, memories of achievement like no others, vrry very special.

    He’s still got time even now, but to be blunt.. His mind is in his… Well, it is. He needs a kick up the south pole.

    By the time he was 10/11/12 he was the most beautiful player. Everyone knew he was something else.

    I remember going to his nursery on beet street in Sheffield, one of the windows faced onto the street, i was visiting a freind who had a flat nearby so on passing looked through the nursery window… He would have been up 2 and half yrs old…. I mouthed to one of the kids at the window to tell josh…. His face when he saw me and came running over to the window to see me, he was buzzing. At that point in time contact with him was infrequent due to his mother, ee hadn’t split up at that point but I was like a yo-yo at her whim which made it hard to get good time with him and rarely alone. I miss that boy so much, the bang bang video is beautiful and a bit painful at the same time. Xx

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