My son just came in from taking the dog for a walk. He (the son) walks into my room and sits on the bed to talk to me as I am writing on the computer. I have no memory of the conversation until I hear, "Eww! What's in my hair? Ewww! It's a slug!"
The next thing I see is my son batting something out of his hair and then getting up to leave.
"STOP!" I say in The Voice.
He stopped. Sometimes The Voice works, and sometimes it doesn't. I think it all depends on whether the child can't get past me to get away before I catch him. I was between him and the door. He was stuck.
"A slug? You flicked a slug into my room and now you're leaving?"
He was looking at me as if I were daft. "It was just a little slug, Mom!"
Oh, well then. That makes it all right.
The established rule for letting a slug stay in my room is that it must be less than 2 inches in length and fake!
This one was disturbingly real and now residing somewhere in the box of socks and clothes on the floor by my bed.
I tell him, again using The Voice, to find that slug and find him now.
The 'act'-ive search for the slug
After a few minutes of rooting around and saying he couldn't find it, and it was little, and it probably wouldn't hurt me, he got up with an old envelope in his hand.
"Got it," he said as he tried to get past me.
"Not so fast, bubba. Let me see it."
He tossed the envelope down and said, "Oh, all right!"
There was, of course, no slimy slug on the envelope. He said he'd found it and was trying to get out of my room by pretending to cart the thing away, when in fact he hadn't even located it yet. I fear he was learning too much from our politicians.
I was not a happy mommy at that point.
"Find it, Mister! I don't want to step on a slug in my bare feet in my own house in the middle of the night! And how on earth did you get a slug in your hair?"
As he lifted clothing and socks to look for Mr. Slug, he told me that he'd taken the dog through the park, and some of the trees and bushes had brushed by his head.
"It must have fallen into my hair, Mom."
Oh, great! Now we have tree-dwelling slugs. That's all we need.
Meet 'The Face'
Finally, after several minutes of digging, success! The interloper was discovered hiding under a teddy bear and some mismatched socks.
"I can't pick it up, Mom! It's disgusting!"
He had a point there.
However, I used The Voice again, and he knew that the use of The Voice for the third time in a row was akin to the Third Horseman of the Apocalypse arriving at his door. So he stopped whining and just picked it up.
"Can I keep it, Mom? Can I?"
How a child can go from "It's disgusting!" to "Can I keep it?" in under 2.4 seconds is beyond me.
He knew the answer to that one as soon as he saw The Face. It's right up there with The Voice, and when the two are combined, the kid ain't makin' it out alive.
Freelance columnist Pamela Troeppl Kinnaird can be reached at email@example.com.