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! A purple one in the watering can!” 
Kids pretend to act polite but the elbows are out. There’s a flurry of feet and a shortness of breath in the quest to collect Easter eggs.
A similar scene plays out most nights 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!
“Nice job!”
The live ones are more valuable than the bugs resting motionless on their backs.
Cayden cups the stink bugs in his hand and hustles them to the official depository: the toilet in the hall bathroom.
I don’t count them, but with a quick glance in the bowl, I estimate about 25. Some are 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, throwing open the door with a flourish.
She sucks in her breath. “Your closet?” 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 window moldings.
Eventually, there’s quite a waterlogged pile awaiting their fate.
The kids look up at me expectantly. There’s no tally 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.”