This morning, to my absolute horror and disgust, a teenage cockroach came traipsing across my kitchen floor, bold as brass. It thought it could hide under my electric kettle, but its miserable feelers gave itself away.

It’s been ages since I’ve  had to spray anything, but I knew exactly where that Mortein was. It’s one of those “new improved fragrance” ones that try and smell like a deodorised toilet, and apparently it’s a “multi-insect killer”. It also promises “fast knockdown”. Whatever. After removing Arddun far, faaar from what I thought would be the dead zone, I found that brazen cockroach and gave it a nuclear winter. I sprayed it so hard, I think it drowned.

I think I overreacted, mostly because I felt rather insulted. And guilty. Because the cockroach felt like some living testament that I was a dirty, dirty housewife. And therefore a bad, bad mother.

Now that Arddun is half-crawling and into semi-solid meals in a big way, I’m torn between building up her immunity and sanitising the hell out of anything and everything she comes into contact with. It actually takes a degree of self control NOT to blitz anything that has touched the floor and MIGHT go back into her mouth. The worst is food. Two-second rule – do you or don’t you apply? See, now that my immunity has worn off in her, she’s on her own and there’s the whole chicken-and-egg deal about her depleted immunity and yet the need to build it up through resistance to “dirty” things.

And in the midst of all that, I see a cockroach and want to give it – and myself – hell. Because it signifies. It whispers that I haven’t given Arddun a safe and clean environment. It’s silly because it’s the first of many lessons that I’ll have to learn: I won’t always be able to shield her from the icky. As much as I’d like to Martha Stewart the house into respectability, I don’t always have the time or – let’s admit it – the care factor.

And Arddun will be fine. Because the fact is that the little bugger (pun intended) says only one thing: that it’s summer. That all the creepy crawlies are up and about and alive because it’s finally warm enough for them to get their kicks. That said creepy crawlies have probably lived in my ducted-heating vents and in my shadow for months but only had the temerity today – in 35ºC weather – to poke their little heads out and say hello. And maybe it also says it’s time I wet-vacuumed my floor again. But Arddun and I will live.

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