Catwoman, take a knee

Our bedtime routine frequently involves a period of time best described as “waiting for Arlo” during which Summerly, finished with her pajamas and teeth, usually hangs out in my room while Arlo finally goes upstairs to his bathroom. I often occupy those long minutes by hauling laundry from one stage to another, but on this particular night I’d already started the washing machine so I sat on the edge of the bed and picked up my phone, only to get distracted by a speck of dirt on the carpet. I leaned over to pick it up, during which process I discovered another tiny piece of detritus nearby. And then another. And another. Obviously it had been too long since the last time we’d vacuumed, but I wasn’t about to haul out the machine at that moment; however, no way could I relax until those little pieces of whatever had been removed from sight. So there I was, crawling around the master bedroom, eyes laser-focused on the floor, nitpicking minuscule tidbits of god-only-knows-what from the white pile of the wall-to-wall I’d chosen specifically so it would show dirt in order for us to know when it was time to remove it. Summerly looked at me over the book she was reading and commented in that dry way she has, “Mommy, you’re acting like a bunny.”

I sat back on my haunches and tried to match her deadpan tone. “I’m not a bunny. I’m a Tiger Mom, and these are hunting grounds. I’m a cutthroat predator, and my prey is the dirt on the floor.” She stared expressionlessly for probably six full seconds while I pawed at the carpet, snarling and clawing at the air in front of me, then exhalingly half-laughed, shook her head, and said, “Wow, Mommy.”

That’s right, little girl. There shall be no particle of detritus left behind. They say nature abhors a vacuum, but don’t be fooled; although Tiger Mom has mastered the art of manual dirt predation at bedtime, she really, really loves her Hoover.

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