Sunday, May 13, 2007

They Get Their 'Cool Heads in a Crisis' From Me...

Understand: In many ways, the boys and I are brave, stoic, resourceful types. You want someone to stand up for what is right and good, beneficial to both mankind and mother earth? We will COME to your peace vigil. We will MARCH in your rally. We will make and carry concise, insightful signs that will bring the brotherhood of man to its collective knees in a glorious, communal EPIPHANIC understanding of JUST WHERE THINGS WENT HORRIBLY AWRY! We are also, to the last, very, very good at regaling peers and loved ones with well-constructed tales replete with credible story arc, fresh imagery and topically relevant soundtracks!

But bugs. We are not so good there. MmmmMMMmmm!

To illustrate my point, one of my all-time favorite fraternal exchanges:

James, aged 4: ISAWASPIDER! ABIGBLACKSPIDERWITHHAIRYLEGS! (scrambles up the couch)

Ben, a very sage 7: (dismissively) THAT is a daddy longlegs. You've been reading too many books about bugs. You are developing a phobia.

James: I DON'T have a phobia!!! I'm just scared!!! (author's note: pronounced 'sceh-wid')

Ben: You do have a phobia. A phobia is an irrational fear. Like my irrational fear of boat propellers.

James: Well, I don't have a phobia of BUGS. Just ARACHNIDS.

Although, for the record, both children AS WELL AS THEIR MOTHER have always gone certifiably berzerk in the face of anything with segmented leg-pairs or waving antennae. Personally? I like to think of this as PART OF OUR CHARM.

So, you can only imagine with what chagrin one nest-building hornet-ish looking thing in the southwest kitchen window was then greeted the other day. With the above-mentioned stoic resolve and speedy reflexes I closed (and locked!) the window, moved lessons out to the couch (just to be safe!), and announced that Dad would most certainly take care of the issue when he got home that evening.

Which he did. Dad dutifully waited until nightfall, carefully slipped off the screen and storm windows, and hosed our little friend and her papery starter-home into the winged hereafter.

"Wow, she was really BIG!" the husband noted, subsequently gazing at the soggy, lifeless VERY LARGE form on the ledge. "What should we do with her?"

And here is where I had...what in literary circles is oft referred to as a moment of 'tragic hubris'. I'd just that afternoon read a WONDERFUL article to the boys from the latest edition of Home Education Magazine about a home schooling mother who decided to end a unit on Egyptian history with an attempt to mummify an oven roaster--with, of course, disastrous and unexpected results. Logically, this made me say:

"Let's keep her. Maybe the boys would like to take a closer look at her tomorrow. Maybe they'd be more comfortable around bugs if they understood them a little better. We'll just put her in a resealable bag to keep everyone safe." (See, the mummifying chicken in the article ("king cluck") was stored in a resealable baggie...)

Well. Holy chitinous exoskeleton, Batman! Guess who was alive and doin' the Texas Two-Step next to my vase of Mother's Day flowers this morning?

I ALMOST DIDN'T SEAL THE BAGGIE!!!! Me! The woman who once spent six hours alone in a garden apartment bedroom in central Florida waiting for her spouse to return from his traditional sixteen-hour work day, because a palmetto bug had flown into my living room AND IF I'D LEFT THE BEDROOM...well, then, it could GET ME.

It goes without saying that the door was also locked with a towel from the laundry shoved into the crack beneath the door...

"What do you think, now?" the husband dubiously asked this morning.

And James and I, in unison, agreed: kill it, KILL IT, KILLLLLL ITTTT!!!


MeInUpstate said...

I would have saved it too. (You have to. It's "a teachable moment.") But I would have put it in a plastic jar with air holes. There are plastic jars containing various living things all over my house. It's what we have instead of pets.

But tell me, how is Ben going to become a great sharkologist if he has an irrational fear of boat propellers?

Andrea said...


Nobody said that dream achievement was easy! Ben says that while he's still a little afraid of propellers he thinks he can work with it...particularly if the boat is "research-sized."