On Children and Pillbugs

My family left Jordan a couple of weeks ago. I stayed behind to work an extra couple weeks and to complete the lengthy embassy check-out process. It's been pretty lonely without my kids around. I'll be honest: kids are the best part of being alive.

Not long after they left I made a commitment to myself that I'd stop making "kid jokes." You know how people with kids are always making jokes about how miserable it is having children? Waaah. They cry at night and keep me awake. Waaah. They spit their food out all over the table. Waaah. They rub their dirty faces all over my clothes. Waaah. They're unreasonable, like DMV employees. Waaah. They melt down at the grocery store and embarrass me in front of dozens of strangers in the frozen foods isle.

But you know what? I only say those things because it's kind of the socially-accepted way to talk about children. But you know what else? Even though those things might be true, having kids is still overwhelmingly freaking awesome. How come we never say that in social situations? Dude -- it's no wonder people without kids don't want them. Those of us who do have kids make sure those without them know how much sleep we lost last night due to so-and-so yakking her dinner all over the carpet, or how many times so-and-so whizzed all over the kitchen while we potty train him, but we frequently fail to insert the real bottom line: yeah, so I lost a bunch of sleep and I smell like puke -- munchkins are absolutely and unequivocally worth it. Way better than dogs. Kids generally don't lick you. Or lick up their own vomit.

So I'm done with emphasizing the woes of parenthood in social banter. The woes aren't what we remember as the years roll by anyhow.

Because I miss my little ones so much, I've had to adopt other forms of company. So now I've got about a half dozen pet pillbugs. They crawl in from outside and, because I'm lonely, I've just kind of been letting them putter around the house instead of smushing them like I'd normally do. There's Chuck and Willy and Matilda and Ed and Patty and some others too. I can't really tell them apart. I mean, in reality pillbugs pretty much all look alike. I'm not even really sure there are a half dozen. Maybe there's just two and they're really speedy so it looks like they're all over the house.

A couple of them died. I guess they were hungry, and there's not much to eat around the house. I draw the line at feeding bugs though, even if they are my pets. I think it's enough that I'm not stepping on them. Still, it was pretty sad to see Ed go bottoms up. He was a good guy. Or girl. I'm not really sure.

Yesterday morning I found a baby cricket in the bathroom. I can tell I'm pretty lonely without my family, because I was actually pretty excited about this. I named him Opie and brushed my teeth while he watched. I told him he could live as long as he didn't make any noise when I'm sleeping.

Well, when I was doing laundry last night, I think I accidentally washed Opie with the colors. He sort of hopped under the pile of clothes as I approached (we hadn't really built much of a relationship of trust at that point), so I went ahead and grabbed the pile thinking he'd hop out like a normal baby cricket. But he didn't hop out, and I wasn't about to set the clothes back down and pull each clothing article out one by one to locate Opie -- I mean, really, he's a bug. So I just threw the clothes in the washer, and I have to assume Opie drowned. Sad day.