Last night my daughter was in the bathtub while my son was brushing his teeth. I leaned down and picked a wet towel up off the floor and a little creature bolted from underneath it.
My first instinct was to assume that it was a roach and I dropped the towel back on top of it. I surreptitiously tried to squish it without alerting the kids to the problem because my daughter has been known to freak out in such situations.
I, of course, was freaking out. But I was freaking out on the inside, so it was okay.
I slowly lifted the towel to see if I had managed to squash the vile insect but instead I found a little lizard.
Now, you know how I feel about lizards, but this thing was tiny. We get those here when it is really hot. And we always find them in the bathrooms. It's fascinating to me. How the hell do they get into my second-floor bathrooms? (Please don't answer that. I'm not sure I want to know.)
But I still can't just let a little lizard live in my bathroom. What if he finds a way to slip out under the door, slip under my bedroom door, climb up my bed, and get in my slack-jawed and drooling mouth. Or something.
I should mention that at this point, I was standing in the hall, as far from the little monster as I could get trying to figure out what the hell I should do. And that's when the kids noticed our little friend.
"Oh look! How cute!" they said.
What? Are these kids even mine?
"Awwwww. He's crying because he's sad and misses his family," my son said.
"Yeah, Mom," added my daughter. "He needs some love."
Not from me, he doesn't.
But now squashing the thing is clearly out of the picture.
I looked my bathing six-year-old in the eye and asked her in desperation, "What am I going to do?"
"Pick it up and put it outside so it can find it's family," was how she advised me.
"Are you crazy? I'm not touching that thing," was my reply.
"Well, use a paper towel or something, Mom. Jeesh!"
I think the kids were starting to take note of my panicked eyes and ready-to-flee position in the hallway outside of the bathroom.
"Let me finish washing my hair and I'll do it," said my six-year-old savior.
Now this is a kid who screamed and cried last year when she found the same type of lizard in my bathroom. And I honestly didn't think she was capable of completing the catch and release. And I wasn't thrilled with the idea of my baby girl getting within ten feet of the thing.
But I was too embarrassed to call the exterminator for the emergency removal of a lizard smaller than a quarter. And I couldn't stand sentry at the bathroom door all night.
So I made her put her nightgown on. And then I handed her a paper cup in which to corral the creature. Yes. I was arming my own child to do something I was too afraid to do myself.
She bent down and put the cup on the floor. "Come on, little guy. In the cup," she said sweetly.
And the little guy trotted right on in.
Then she held it up to me. "Look, Mom. How cute!"
"Ack! Honey! Go put it outside. Quick!"
As I got my son ready for bed, my four-foot-tall savior released her little friend into the wild.
"I put him on the steps, Mom, because that is where his family is," she told me.
What? She put it on our front steps? Does she have no concept of how close that still is to my sleeping mouth?
"Thank you, Honey. But next time take him all the way to the edge of our yard! Okay?"
When I told my husband this story, between his gasps of laughter he said, "Next time. Next time! Is she going to be your in-house exterminator now?"
Well. Hell yeah. I knew we had these kids for a reason. I knew they'd come in handy one day.