A giant 4 foot tall stuffed bear comes flying out of the bedroom with my 8 year old running behind it.
"What are you doing? I said go to bed" I say for the third time in 15 minutes.
"I know but it's just that I don't want this bear in the bed because it scares me, but then I saw a cockroach right there so I threw the bear on top of it so it wouldn't get away. Now theres a giant scary cockroach under that giant scary bear. But don't kill it!"
"Neither of them"
"Ok, well what am I supposed to do with it then?"
"Which, the bear or the cockroach?"
"Either. Both. I mean I can find a place for the bear, but what do you expect me to do with the cockroach? We can't keep it as a pet or anything, and they can't be left to roam around our house in and out of the sinks and over the food. They're dirty and we can't just let them all move in and make a nice home here, now can we."
"Well I don't know, but it never did anything wrong to you"
"You just threw a giant bear on top of it and now you want me to treat it kindly? Are you going to take care of it and feed it? I don't think so. I'm getting the spray" I get the spray and lift the bear. The cockroach does a runner, and Phoebe jumps up on the couch. I spray it and it runs into the kitchen and out to the patio where I soak it.
"DON'T KILL IT!"
"I'm not going to kill it, I'm just going to spray it a bit, it'll get the picture"
"Mum, that's cruel" And she goes back to bed.
It's one of those moments where all your Treat Others as You Want to be Treateds, your Live and Let Lives, and your We're in Their House mantras are contradicted in the name of yuck. It's so insignificant in the moment, sort of, but then immediately afterward you feel like a huge hipocrate. I want my kids to be better than me, to do stuff like free bugs and befriend them even. But maybe I need an asterix and an appendix to all that. A cockroach clause. A scorpion clause. An I'm-On-My-Way-To-Work-And-I-Can't-Be-Late clause. I'm horribly flawed, and one day soon I'm going to do something horrible and blow my cover in a spectacular way and they're going to see that there is more in that aeresol can than just a yucky smell. I can't think too much about that day, because today I'm still, if only just, their trustworthy, go-to person who can be counted on once the lights are out to hide the giant scary stuffed bear. And I take that job very seriously.