So what do you do when your tween comes downstairs on full spider alert, bottom lip wobbling and bedtime chores clearly forgotten? Well, in our house, to achieve the recognition of spider slayer extraordinaire, events go something like this:
1. Keep you eyes firmly trained on the eye candy that is the delectable doctors from Greys Anatomy. Politely enquire where the Spider was last seen (scuttling up the wall and disappearing behind a picture of Darth Vader) and how big it was (fudging massive!)
2. Brightly say “Your sister will come find it for you” and promptly send your brave and caring daughter upstairs, with a quaking tween trailing behind.
3. Resume C.P.R (Covert Physician Rubbernecking) and briefly forget spider crisis.
4. Acknowledge the ever so suspicious and speedy return of your brave and caring daughter and ask if the spider mission was accomplished.
5. Sigh heavily upon hearing the unsurprising news “Couldn’t find it… must have gone.”
6. Quickly realise that upon hearing the news of a rogue spider missing in action is not going to cut it with a quivering, arachnophobic tween and if you don’t act pronto to prove the spider has actually gone for good; if left to his own devices, your tween will brain himself on the Darth Vader picture frame and refuse to go to fudging sleep ever.
7. Stupidly decide to enter the spider zone. Psych yourself up with a healthy dose of extreme profanity, some encouraging words and a feeling of bravado that never has, and never will exist.
8. Remember to focus on your breathing and pelvic floor muscles while you check behind picture frames and all other places a rogue spider missing in action is likely to hide.
9. Keep the conversation light with phrases such as “It’s not here!” “Nothing there!” “Can’t see anything!” “Aha! I think your spider was actually a bit of fluff…”
10. After a stupendous non-discovery, thank your lucky, magic chocolate stars for somehow managing not to wee yourself and give the odd smelly sock on the floor a victorious flick.
11. Scream and leap sky high as the fudging massive rogue spider sprints over your hand and does another disappearing act.
12. Hysterically note how your tween’s emotional state has now also reached a woefully incoherent level of bawling and retching, and vow to persevere with a dismantling process similar to moving house but without the careful packing, until you find that damn, rogue spider.
13. Rogue spider finally located, grab a cup and some paper, swallow your fear and pledge (with fingers crossed), that what you are about to do (ugh!) will be as humane as possible.
14. Slam the cup over the spider and slide the paper underneath to imprison it.
15. Congratulate yourself upon realising that not one of the spider’s legs was dismembered throughout the entire, terrifying cack-handed process.
16. Guiltily shot-put the spider down the loo and flush.
17. Watch with shock horror as you comprehend that evolution of the eight legged arthropod has gone way too far this time - HOLY FUDGE!! Spiders can now swim??
18. Frantically discourage your tween from trying to suffocate the death defying spider with a twix load of loo roll. Explain that a blocked toilet would be disgustingly bad news, because like trying to catch a spider, unblocking the toilet is just another quest that only a brave and caring, nutty cluster fudge would contemplate doing. Oh and who would that brave and caring, nutty cluster fudge be? You of course.
19. Flush, flush and flush some more. Fudging hell! You did it! You have slain the spider. Now you know how Buffy feels!
20. Return downstairs and begrudgingly accept that the final episode of season 16 starring McGinger and McWidow, like McDreamy and McSteamy flat lined ages ago.
21. Find your emergency bottle of wine and secret stash of chocolate for (ahem…) the trick or treaters and proceed to console and commend yourself in equal measures.
22. Ignore all pleas from family members that sharing is caring. Remember that the only thing worth sharing right now is on social media where fellow mumbies can empathise and like your newly crowned parental status as the most dedicated, heroic and somewhat hysterical spider slayer ever known to womankind.