Last night when I was getting dinner ready, Ting Ting kept telling me she saw a spider.
"SPIDER, Mommy. There's a spider! It's a SPIDER," she said (and repeated it, oh, a hundred times).
"Yes, honey," I kept saying.
"I'm scarey, Mama," she would say (meaning that SHE was afraid of the spider).
"He won't hurt you," I said, a bit distracted, "You're bigger than he is."
When that failed to calm her, I went over to try to find it.
"He's right DERE," she kept insisting.
I never saw the spider.
Lance came to the table, and she repeated the story for him.
"SPIDER, Daddy. Over dere. I'm scarey of him."
But once we started eating she seemed to forget all about it. We chatted about other things for a few minutes, then Lance casually said, "Oh, there's the spider."
It was teeny tiny. Itty bitty. Scrambling cutely across the floor.
Ting Ting shrieked. She ran over to me and jumped into my lap, attaching herself to my body with all her might.
"THE SPIDER!" she yelled. "I'm scarey."
So Lance slew the spider. Ground him up under his foot until there was nothing much left but a teeny tiny damp spot.
"Spider's gone!" he announced with some satisfaction, proud of how he had protected his little girl.
We resumed our pre-massacre conversation. A couple of minutes went by.
Then, out of the blue, Ting Ting said, quite calmly, "Mommy, I want my spider back."
Lance and I shot each other terrified looks.
"You want your spider back?" I repeated, trying to stall while I figured out what to say.
Finally, I punted.
"Daddy," I said, struggling to keep a straight face, "Ting Ting wants her spider back."
Lance had one of those deer-in-the-headlights looks.
"You want your spider back?" he said in a weak voice.
"Oh, he's my little baby!" Ting Ting cooed. "I want to make a bed for him."
By this time my stomach is hurting from suppressing my laughter. Of course, I had a right to laugh -- I was the parent who recently spent 10 minutes trapping a wasp in our kitchen with a cup and a paper plate so I could open the door and let him go, "to be with all his friends." (Oh, yes, I did.)
Lance, the parent who had killed Ting Ting's "little baby" on the kitchen floor, began to tear up.
So Mama moved into Operation Distraction.
"That's so nice, Ting Ting," I said. "You're good to all your friends. Did you show Daddy how you arranged the chairs so your bear could sit by you while you watched Dora?"
She happily went on to other things, forgetting all about how she wanted to make a bed for her "little baby."
But I don't think Lance is over it yet.