The Hunt Is On

We’ve all seen it before: giddy kids clutching wicker baskets, just waiting. Dancing in place like they can’t hold it a moment longer. Desperate to hear that the hunt is on.
“Look, I found one under the porch!”
“I found two by the tree! And a purple one in the watering can!” 

The kids put on airs of politeness but the elbows are out. There’s a flurry of feet, a shortness of breath in that quest to amass the biggest pile of Easter eggs.

This scene plays out nightly in our house.

Only the bounty isn’t hard-boiled eggs and jelly beans.

The spoils at stake?

Stink bugs, of course.

“Okay guys,” I sing out. “Let’s check out my bathroom!”

Two pairs of feet thunder across hardwood. Cayden beats out Hadley, shouldering her through the corridor and sliding to his knees when he hits the bathroom tiles. “Look Mom! There’s three by the bathtub…. And they’re alive!

“Hey, nice job!”

Those living are more valuable than the ones resting motionless on their backs.

Cayden cups the bugs in his hand and hustles them to the depository: the toilet in the hall bathroom.

I don’t count each one, but with a quick glance into the bowl, I estimate about 25 — some, still swimming.

Hadley is holding it together but she looks defeated. “Don’t worry Had,” I whisper in a conspiratorial tone. “Why don’t you look…. in my closet!” I announce with a flourish.

She sucks in her breath. “Your closet?” she says with wonder. As if I’ve revealed a pot of gold. “Okay!”

In the end it’s a team effort: the kids squat down, scooping stinkbugs from the floor and cornering them under my dresser and bed. I scrape a few loners off the blinds and the ones hiding in the stack of books by my bed.

Eventually, there’s quite a waterlogged pile awaiting their fate.

The kids look up expectantly at me. I haven’t tallied a score but I have to choose a victor.

I think it’s Cayden tonight,” I announce.

“Yes!!” Cayden yells, pumping his fist in the air and sprinting to the bathroom.

Hadley frowns, staring darkly at her brother.

“Don’t worry kiddo,” I say, crouching to meet her at face level. “You did great tonight. Tomorrow, it’ll be your turn to pee on them.”