“This isn’t even a scary bug,” my son says cheerfully, as he carefully pushes into the bathroom. I’m scrubbing my face, getting ready for bed. He comes alongside me and proudly displays the specimen on one of his long, beautiful hands. It is a hideously large, creepy-crawly moth with burly legs and massive febrile antennae. And my son is brandishing it about four inches from my face.

“Oh wow,” I say, neutrally. I am waiting for it to flutter it’s deathly dusty wings in my face. Any moment. Incredibly, it is quite at home crawling about sluggishly on my son, who is pleased as punch.

“… Can I put it on you?”┬áhe asks me politely, after a moment.

“Oh, no thank you. Hey – I am getting ready for bed. I’ll be out in a minute,” I tel him, now. We are both so polite. So civil. I am wearing a top hat and monocle.

“He’s looking at me with those big black eyes,” Nels says fondly, as he leaves.

I shudder. Look in the mirror.

I’ve been raising my kids to be gentle, to be kind. So, there it is.

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