Scooter had trouble falling asleep last night. At one point, he had Trillian close his window because of a ghost. She complied, along with a gentle promise that there were no ghosts and that he was safe.
We were in and out of his room for other things, some of them the usual sort of little-boy-who-doesn't-want-to-sleep ploys. We continued with the firm "it's time to go to sleep" reminders and limited even those to when we were passing by his room.
But then he screamed. Trillian got there first. He told her that there was a scary monster in the bathroom. When I got there, Trillian was making a move to turn on the bathroom light and Scooter informed me that he was scared of the 'slithering snake.' Trillian flicked on the light and jumped back. I was half expecting a snake* when she said, "There's a huge centipede." No discussion was required--I went into our room and slipped on my new sneakers (although new, they seemed the better choice than my Crocs) while Trillian assured Scooter that I would take care of it.
I returned to find Trillian sitting on the bed with Scooter and gesturing to the door; the centipede had come back into the bedroom and was hiding there. It really was huge, at least 8 inches long. No need for gory details. It took several stomps, multiple paper towels and a plastic bag.
Here's the thing: I don't like killing anything. But for whatever reason centipedes, even more than spiders, really freak me out. I knew that I could not simply shepherd this thing out of the house. And I knew that it was pretty much up to me to make the situation better. So I was my son's hero, even if my heart was beating a mile a minute.
*I should have realized immediately that it wasn't a snake since Trillian merely jumped back and did not run screaming from the room. If it had been a snake, no amount of motherly concern would have kept her there. Anecdotal evidence: we went to a children's museum recently. There was an outdoor area with all sorts of activities. Near the sand pit was a bunch of seating made up of tree stumps. Trillian passing where my mother-in-law and I were sitting said, "I'm going to sit in the shade." I thought that was a pretty good idea, so I headed over towards a stump just past where Trillian had settled. Looking down, I realized I was looking at a couple of snakes. As they slithered away, I let out a sort of puzzled, "Huh." Trillian asked suspiciously, "What?" "Snakes," I replied. To her credit, she did not scream, but she did leap up and run out of the area faster than one would think is possible. Leaving me there with Scooter a few steps away. I, on the other hand? Sat down, a few stumps away from where I had seen the snakes. But they weren't there any more, were they? And I was pretty sure they were either hognose or garter snakes.