Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Bug

At 7:00 pm last night, I said to the kids "Hey, why don't you guys go play upstairs for a little while?"

And they all said, "Okay." And then they went.

This was a shocking development. My children normally have an unrelenting desire to be within a three-foot radius of myself at all times. Unless of course I am sitting down, in which case they must be sitting directly on top of me.

So I watched them go, quite befuddledly. I wasn't quite sure what to do with myself. I looked at the dishes still sitting on the dinner table, and thought "Well, I could wash those, I guess." And then I picked up the remote and curled up on the couch instead.

Good Lord! Was I about to turn on the television to something other than Nick Jr. while the children were actually still awake? Would I finally be able to catch up on my tivo'd episodes of So You Think You Can Dance? Was no one actually sitting on me? I couldn't believe my good fortune.

So when Ashley called down from the top of the stairs and said:

"Mommy!!! There's a bug on your door!!!"

I pretended I didn't hear her. So she yelled it again:

"MOMMY! There's a bug on your door!!"

I realized I wouldn't be able to enjoy my moment of television solitude with her hollering at me the whole time, so I yelled back:

Me: Well, how big is it??

Ashley: TWO INCHES!!

Hmmm, well that's pretty big. But I don't think Sesame Street teaches inches (or centimeters, for you crazy metric system-users), so I made her come downstairs and show me with her fingers how big it was. Surprisingly, she held her fingers apart about two inches. Huh.

Me: Well, what kind of a bug is it?

Ashley: It's a...it's a...it's a BEETLE!!

Me: Ohhhhh....like a lady bug?

Ashley: No, mommy (as she rolls her eyes). It's a BIG BEETLE!

Well, there you go. A big beetle was on my door. I looked at the television. I looked at Ashley, who had now been joined by her two cronies (i.e., Aidan and Owen). I looked back at the tv.

Me: Well, what do you want me to do about it?

Ashley: Mommy (as she rolls her eyes some more), I want you to SQUISH it.

Me: I don't squish bugs, Ashley. Daddy squishes the bugs.

This is true. I am not a bug squisher. I am a bug corraler. Meaning that, if I happen to spot a bug in the house, and it is crawling on a flat surface, I will place a glass over it. Thus trapping it to be squished later by my husband, who luckily doesn't mind being married to a lady who would rather slowly suffocate a bug via glass enclosure then squish it quickly with a tissue.

But you can't put a glass over a bug that's crawling vertically on a door. So there was really nothing I could do for Miss Ashley and her two fellow entomologists. Nevertheless, she remained undeterred:

Ashley: Mommy, you need to call Daddy and tell him to come home and squish this bug.

I considered it. After all, he was just next door watching football with the neighbors. But the Nebraska game had just started, and I was feeling particularly generous at the moment.

Me: Ashley, Daddy is busy. Why don't you just squish it yourself?

Ashley: Me squish it?!

I was a little taken aback at myself. Was this a questionable parenting move? Was it appropriate to ask my barely 4 year old daughter to inflict death on another living being, big beetle notwithstanding? What is an appropriate age to kill your first bug? Or put a glass over your first bug, depending on your preference?

I didn't know the answer. But it was too late to turn back now, because Ashley was already marching towards the bathroom to gather up the instrument of death (i.e., toilet paper). I called out, "Grab a little extra!" because I didn't know if she knew that her typical square or two wouldn't be sufficient for a bug squishing expedition.

Aidan, the brave soldier out of the two, quickly followed Ashley up the stairs. Owen stayed behind, staring at me with a concerned look in his eyes. I then heard Ashley and Aidan quietly discussing in their toddler language the best route of attack.

And then it was quiet. For a moment.

All of a sudden, I heard the loudest and most terrified chorus of screams and cries that I've ever heard during my parenting career. I jumped off the couch, yelling "What happened??!!" and ran towards the stairs at full-speed, fearing the worst....was the "big beetle" really a black widow spider? Or a brown recluse? Or a tarantula?????

As I rounded the bend on our staircase, I saw it. A little black beetle...with wings, apparently...floating/flying down the stairwell, away from my two screaming children. By this point, Ashley had already taken cover inside a hamper, her arms over her head, waving and screaming as if she were Tippi Hedren herself. Aidan was pressed against the back wall of the hallway, his head turned and his eyes squeezed shut, yelling something in his toddler language that I roughly translated as "Oh, the humanity!!!!!"

I ran past the floaty beetle and tried to reassure my children that they were in fact, overreacting, only to hear the death cry of Owen, who I'd abandoned behind me on the stairs, as he realized the beetle was headed straight for him. Luckily, it made a last-minute detour and landed on the wall of the stairwell, where I then proceeded to squish it before he could pass out from fear, using scraps of toilet paper that Ashley had gingerly tossed over the side of the hamper.

Then we all hugged. And I realized that I had learned a valuable parenting lesson: Never send three children under the age of four to squish a bug by themselves...unless you've ascertained whether or not it has wings first.

24 comments:

Melanie said...

As a fellow non-smasher of bugs, I was reading with a bit of a cringe on my face. Though the toddler translation made me laugh. :)
I have had to suck it up and take care of creepy-crawlers a few times, which requires shoes that completely cover my feet just in case the bug decides to make a run for it. I'm not sure what I would do if one flew at my head, but it would probably involve screaming.

Sadia said...

Fantastic!

I, too, am a bug-corraller. One of my first questions on getting hitched was, "So, now that we're married, and I won't have roommates any more, what do I do about bugs the next time you deploy?"

Hubby got me a cat. It's worked out very well. I corral the bug under a cup and leave the house. When I get home from work, the cup is tipped over, the bug vanished, and my cat deliriously happy.

Brandi said...

I am snort-laughing quietly to myself at my desk :) YOU ARE SUCH A BRILLIANT WRITER!! And you always brighten my day :) YOU ROCK!

Kim said...

Thanks for the giggle-fest!
I'm a bug squasher when no one else is around (the idea of it crawling on me freaks me out more than the crunching sound), but I do NOT clean it up. Once had a dead cockroach squished on my bedroom wall for 3 years. Then I moved, so not sure what became of the little coarps. I like to think of it as a warning to other bugs.

In my mind, it works.

Megan said...

Melanie: Oh, you're braver than me!!! I'm deathly afraid of stomping them. I'm always worried they'll find a crevice in my shoe or crawl up my leg. *shudder*

Sadia: Ha!! Hmmm, we have been talking about getting a pet lately... Maybe bug disposal should into the pro's column...

Brandi: I hope I didn't get you in trouble snorting at work! lol

Kim: Hee hee!! Love your thinking that the bug corpse was a warning to other bugs...that's genius!

Early said...

Totally laughed all the way through that one....hilarious!!! Thanks for the smiles today! Anna

Megan said...

Thanks Anna! :-)

Valerie said...

Thank you for the cute story! I think I'm going to train my boyfriend's daughter early (she's 2) that bugs are not meant to be squished - they're meant to be pointed out to the two cats. At least, this is what I usually do until I feel bad that they've been harassed to an inch of their life (the cats never kill them, just bat them around) and nudge them outside.

LivingInspired said...

Tooo funny! You're a brave soul and a great mother for telling Ashley to squish it herself. How were you to know it had wings?

Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

This is great! You are a good story teller! I could just picture this whole scenario playing out. Thanks for the laugh. I give your kids credit though for trying and congrats to you too for actually squishing a bug! Was it your first?

Congrats on your SITS day! I'm adding you to my blogroll and am a new follower.

Lindsay @ Just My Blog said...

Oh the tears! I am crying from laughing so hard! I think our children must be connected via ESP or something. That is EXACTLY what my kids do when they spot a bug. LOL

chele said...

Hilarious!

Marie said...

You are a GREAT writer, I loved the story!

gringationcancun said...

I hate squishing bugs! Luckily I live in Mexico. The geckos eat most of them :)

Chelsea said...

Oh my goodness, I'm picturing the whole thing in my head as I'm reading and it's just too funny! I can totally identify though, at least with the part about the bug under the glass!

Heather said...

ROFL That is classic! I'm a non-bug squisher too. I flush. I grab half the roll of toilet paper in an effort to keep any part of the bug from touching me and grab it and throw it in the toilet, slam the lid down, and flush. My kids think it's hilarious when I see a bug. There was a huge moth that flew in the other day, I mean huge and thick. And I'm flipping out begging my 11 year old son to kill it please. He thinks it is hilarious. He's cruel I tell you, cruel. He wouldn't do it. I had to do it myself. It was horrible.

Meanbean said...

BAHAHAHAHa this is hysterical!!! I can totally see this entire scene unfold...and the winged insects? Those are the ones that scare me the most. I'd be in the hamper with Ashley :)

♥ Becky ♥ said...

I have tears in my eyes this is so dang funny!!!!! I think my son would be right next to her in the hamper!!!

Everyday Kathy said...

This was a total riot. I am a bug escorter. I trap them in a cup, slide a piece of paper under to seal them in and then fling the whole thing outside. Once I went out, picked up the cup and came back inside only to notice the damn thing was STILL in the cup. Re-escort commenced.

Kathy over at Everyday Bliss

Jackie at 3littleones said...

I also cover all bugs (lizards & baby toads too when we lived in Florida) w/ a glass jar until my hubby comes home - one time it sat there for a week while he was away on business!!!!!!!!!!

MrsJenB said...

Oh my god, I love this. You're a fantastic writer. I'm still laughing.

Poor kiddos, though. Takes me back to my days when every insect I saw was immediately a bee. Regardless of whether it was a fly or a beetle or a ladybug. To 4 year old me, wings = bee. And I would FUH-REAK out. Like, stand in the corner of the room with my hands over my head and my eyes closed while shrieking at the top of my lungs freak out. And I remember mom saying "It's okay, it's okay, it's not a freaking bee" in a tired voice. I'm surprised she didn't give me to a neighbor.

Honey said...

If the bug is in MY HOUSE then I squish is. LOL. Your post was hilarious. I have five children, but it is the 6 year old who loves to squish or collect them in a bucket (without a lid) and then wonder where they disappeared to (in the house!).

Blessings
Honey
Honey

Carissa Mason said...

That was so hilarious! I could just envision the whole scenario by the way you described it! "Oh the Humanity!!!!" Priceless.
I was just stopping by from the SITSta-hood to congrats on being the FB today!!
Oh, and I TiVo SYTYCD, too! It's the one and only TV show I MUST watch. Gotta love Mary!
Holla!

Clare and Gary said...

Ha.. I loved that post and I love how your blog stretches to my huge screen ;-)
I myself are a squisher.. I hate all bugs, but I think they are learning that by coming in to my house they are sort of commiting suicide :-)