Touch of Spice

Don't let the bed bugs bite

"Look, mom, a bug," Katie said.

"Hello bug," she said crouching down.

Katie says that often enough that it's etched in my memory forever -- not only because she's so cute all bent over and talking to an ant or something like that, but because it's one request that I have no desire to fulfill.

None whatsoever.

Where Katie came on to this infatuation with bugs, I'll never know, but parents, because they're parents, are on a journey of discovery right along side their children and have to pretend it's all new and amazing despite the fact that they've been there, done it and have a fair amount of knowledge they've gained through experience.

Take me for example. I know a few things about bugs, all of which are overshadowed by one fact: Bugs are yucky.

But, I signed on for the journey, which means crouching down next to Katie to admire whatever creepy crawly has caught her attention and bury the urge to squish it flat.

I'm getting good at it and have even used the infatuation to my advantage. I once got Katie's attention at the park (something that's fairly difficult to do in the face of the distraction provided by the swings and a slide) by letting an ant crawl up and down my arm. A couple of minutes of that had her fully entranced and in awe of mama. She didn't even notice we were easing our way toward the car.

Yeah, but ... ick!

"Goo-bye bug," she says as she walks away.

That's pretty cute, too.

Her stance on bugs seems to be changing, though, and I'm not sure why. My guess would be that it's mosquito season and she seems to be highly sought after sweetness.

There seems to be a pattern that on the nights I'm up past midnight working, the minute I drag my foggy brain to bed, get comfortable and enter that alpha phase of neither awake nor asleep, one of the girls will wake up.

This happened the other night.

I was in that nice, floaty phase when I heard Katie calling me.

Now, I really was flattered that it was me she wanted. I just wish it was me she wanted, say ... like six hours later.

Nevertheless, I staggered to her room to see her swatting at her bed saying "bugs, bugs," and not in the "look Mom!" way.

My careful inspection didn't note any thing winging away or scurrying into a dark fold, so I'm not sure whether she was upset in real life or in her dreams.

So I gave her a cuddle and sat with her until I rocked myself to sleep.

The next morning I woke scratching my arms beating at the fire ants that had crawled into my dreams, still feeling the thousands that had been gnawing on my limbs.

I'm not sure if Katie was transmitting a dream or if her mention of bugs slithered into my subconscious, but really, it wasn't pleasant.

As I'm not in the habit of thinking about bugs much, I'm forced to blame Katie for two rude awakenings in one night.

On the other hand, there's a good chance it was my fault. It was on or near that night that I whispered "Night, night, don't let the bed bugs bite."

I swore I'd never say that, and I'm not even sure why I did. In what comes around goes around fashion, I was truly made to regret it.

No matter whose fault, I still wish she'd hurry along to a fascination with bunnies or fairies or something cute, cuddly and furry.

I'm ready to be done with the interest that bugs me out.

Although, I do suppose it's a good thing that she's just conversing with them and not eating them.

I'm sure that will be a less pleasant stage, but a requirement for those who want the full experience

of parenthood.

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