There are two things in life that do not frighten me.
I’m not afraid of bugs, and I’m not afraid of blood — but only when the two don’t meet.
The other day they came together with a creepy crawly vengeance. Holy freaked-out mother of Rex.
I was up in the bathroom fixing my hair when Rex (5) came in.
“Mommy?” he said, “There’s something in my hair.”
I casually looked at his head and saw a little burr, so I tried to grab it.
It stuck. Like, screwed into his scalp stuck. In one horrible split second, I realized that my son was the victim of the world’s most-terrifying, disease-carrying, killer insect.
“AAHHH!!!” I said, “JASON!!! HELP, HE’S GOT A TICK! A TICK A TICK A TICK! SOMEBODY, HELP US!!! HE’S GOING TO GET A DISEASE AND DIE!”
OK, maybe I watch too much television.
I swooped him up and took the stairs two at a time. Rex started to scream.
The moment I laid eyes on that nasty little bug I became instantly unaware of Rex. I am a mother. A deadly predator had entered my world and latched itself onto one of my offspring. I was determined to kill it, and no screaming child was going to stand in my way.
Now my little Rexy has some very real anxiety issues about the world in general. Perhaps this wasn’t the best response for a child who already would like to live in his bedroom for the next 17 years.
Amid the poor child’s screaming terror, I dumped him in Jason’s lap and grabbed the computer. “We’ve got to get this thing out NOW!”
“No Mommy!” Rex sobbed, “I’m OK! I just need a Band-Aid! Daddy, help me!!!”
I pulled up YouTube and clicked on the “How To Remove a Tick” demonstration. “OK,” I said, “it says here to grab it by the neck and try not to break off its head...”
“No!” he yelled, “Daddy, please don’t let Mommy break my head off!!!”
“Honey,” Jason said, “Just take a deep breath—”
“Lyme disease!” I yelled, “We have to make sure he doesn’t have Lyme disease! Someone, I need to call the hospital, give me the phone …”
“No Daddy!” he cried, “Don’t let Mommy take me to the hospital! I just need a Band-Aid and I can go watch a movie! Please don’t let her take me!”
Finishing my tick-killing tutorial, I quickly rifled through a nearby drawer and found the appropriate tweezers. Turning to Rex, I slowly approached him with a crazy, bug killing gleam in my eye.
“OK,” I said with way too much control, “I’ve just got to pinch the neck and pull slowly until it lets go without snapping the head off the body—”
“Daddy, HELP ME! Please don’t let her pinch my head off, please! Somebody, help me!!”
“I need people to hold him down!” I said, looming over his head with the tweezers.
“ARGH!” he yelled, “Don’t let her do it, Daddy! Don’t let her get me!”
Seven seconds later, he was tick-free.
In all honesty, nothing, and I mean nothing, has ever freaked me out like that disgusting little bug did. It had screwed itself into my 5-year-old’s head and was hanging on for dear life. When I finally pried it out, it took a little chunk of Rex with it.
The moment the bug had been disarmed I re-engaged as Loving Mother and threw my arms around my sweet boy.
“You were so brave!” I said, hugging him.
“No I wasn’t!” he sobbed, “I was very scared! You almost broke my head off, Mommy! Why did you do that to me?”
“Broke your head off?” I looked at my husband who was trying not to laugh. “What is he talking about?”
In the future, I shall try to remember that semantics are everything when dealing with the destruction of deadly insects.
Annie Valentine is a wife, mother and columnist. Readers can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her blog at regardingannie.wordpress.com.