Posted by Duff

I thought becoming a mother would make me braver. I guess in some ways, it has. I handle blood drawings better, face various bodily fluids regularly, and have dared to tangle with The Dervish at her most violent displeased.

Because The Dervish has no fear of creepy crawlies and I must clear her way, I’ve become skilled at cat-prey cleanup (which usually means a broom, a dustpan, and a hasty flinging out the door and  into the bushes while saying “ewww. ewww. ewww!”) after a rainstorm has brought field mice home to roost.

I never thought I could do that.

In general, I’m ok with small spiders, even those on my bedroom ceiling (though my husband swears they hang out up there just waiting to drop into your mouth while you sleep). As long as it’s one spider with body smaller than a dime (not including leg span), live and let live.

At most, I offer up the corner of a magazine and set them free outdoors. It’s not due to an enlightened Eastern philosophy about the circle of life, it’s that I don’t have the stomach for squishing, especially when no harm was meant. And I can’t handle the texture of the squish, even muffled by a tissue.

I don’t even like to know that anyone else is squishing a bug. Or so I thought.

About a week ago, my husband was helping The Dervish into her pajamas while I cleaned the bathroom sink. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw movement. Like Terminix -caliber movement. In the NEXT. ROOM.

“What the (expletive) was that?” asked my husband (it wasn’t the worst expletive).

“I want to say it was a spider,” I replied. Images of the Brady Bunch trip to Hawaii flashed through my mind.

We turned on the light to investigate, but it was gone. Who knows how, based on the sheer size of the thing, it managed to fit behind our china cabinet.

The next evening, I found our cat lying in the doorway of the bathroom with Spidey between his paws. Just watching. Patient. Knowing his track record, I figured this was Wild Kingdom, and my role was to let it be. I wished Spidey safe passage to his next incarnation, and moved on.

But the next night, when I went to brush my teeth, Spidey crawled out of the drain, a master of contortion, and started ascending the sink basin. And then he saw me. And I saw his eyes.

Note: if a spider is so big that this so-nearsighted-her-vision-can’t-quite-be-corrected-with-lenses Mother of A Dervish can make eye contact with fuzzy, perusing orbs, that spider is too big.

I backed away from the sink. But then went back to rescue my toothbrush before going to get my husband.

“Hon,” I said, “You have to come see this spider.”

He clearly didn’t want to get up from the couch. “How big could it be, really?”

“Um.” I swallowed, and channeled Paula Poundstone: “It’s got a dog in it’s mouth.”

Under protest, he stamped to the bathroom, muttering. Followed by:


Spidey got a Viking funeral. Which tells me he’ll be back. I Imagine he’ll give me a scathing look before he drops into my mouth while I sleep.

The Dervish handed his much smaller and much less vibrant cousin to her father the very next day: Here, Daddy. Spider. I throw in the trash.

She puts me to shame.