Book Excerpt

Chapter Two
You Really Are Just a Rat in a Maze

Ok, I’ll stop comparing us to rodents shortly, but the research is fascinating. Picture this.

You have five minutes to get to ballet and your three‐year‐old daughter is looking for her lost ballet slipper. “Mom!” she shouts from her bedroom, “where is my ballet slipper?” you think to yourself – first, stop shouting at me from upstairs, it drives me crazy ‐ but you quickly move on because you know she is stressed out that she can’t find her favorite slipper and you are going to be late for ballet class. Having successfully talked yourself out of reprimanding her for shouting, you begin the hunt. You recall a flicker of pink somewhere in your brain and think it is with some other clothes. The laundry room … a quick scan and nothing… move on, then it’s up to the bedrooms to peek in and around the piles… again, nothing, the memory is not matching the results. You move quickly so you are not late, all the while glancing at your daughter who is starting to well up around the eyes and you want to avoid the meltdown at all costs. Finally it strikes you…the playroom dress up bin… you move swiftly, swoop in and “ta dah” there it is, the flash of pink leather nested in the dress up tu‐tus and scarves from the earlier game of princess.

You are just a rat in a maze. Don’t worry, I am too, and in this case, it’s a good thing. Mice and rat mommies move faster and more efficiently by almost three times the rate of non-mommy rats. They have young to protect. And if they don’t get out of nest and move quickly to locate, kill and return with food, their babies could be destroyed by predators, thus ending their gene pool and in the world of mice, that’s a big deal. No predators in my attic – at least not to my knowledge – but moving swiftly and accurately ensured no meltdown, a massive hug from my baby, the reward of: “I love you mommy, you’re the best” and a full hour of reading a magazine while she spun to her heart’s content in ballet class. Now that is success!

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