I have chipmunks, in my house. They, like me, live here. I want them to die. Back when they lived in the backyard, we were at peace. Even when they occasionally made appearances in the sunroom, but bolted back into their secret hellholes, I basically ignored them. Now they've started chilling in the real house, where I live. Today, I saw one run through my kitchen and disappear into the house. Where did it go? I wondered, panicked. Is it in my bed?
I called Richy to panic, which is something I never, ever do. If I took a kid to the ER, I'd text Richy. If I ran into another car at Walmart, I'd text Richy. If I overdrew the bank account, I'd lay low. But I called him, like a weenie. "I can't do this," I whined. "I'm hiring an exterminator on our credit card... I'm buying a cat. Today."
An alarm went off that only children can hear. "Your mom is panicking on the phone!" it said. "CLIMB ON HER AND WHINE!" They complied immediately. I rose, tossing Brynn to the floor, where she sat, offended and humiliated, while I took myself into the office to finish complaining in peace. And then it happened.
The chipmunk darted out from under the office couch, kind of darted around in a dither, and then ran back under the couch. During that time, I jumped up on another chair, screamed like I was being murdered, and burst into tears. On the phone. "I CAN'T DO THIS!" I squealed and sobbed, like a reality show mom on a camping trip.
There's this objective part of my brain, always observing myself, that was telling me I was acting totally insane about a harmless little rodent who was scared of me. The thing is, there is little room for objectivity when you are totally and completely losing your stuff. Richy, calmly, like a psychologist, told me to call an exterminator, do whatever I needed to do. Brynn and Toby were shocked into silence by my screaming and tears, but not for long. "But why is it scary, Mommy? Why you scared of a chipmunk?"
Mercy chased it into the basement, and a friend is bringing traps tonight. I'm trying to be a grownup here, but if one shows up upstairs, I might escape in my van and leave all these kids alone, to be raised by chipmunks. I've found my limits.