There were a lot of Crocodiles in our house today.
They sat on the couch and hid under the pillows on the bed. There was one in the pot cupboard before lunch and Mabel claimed to have one up her jumper at one point; though on investigation it appeared to be her own arm – but we took it off and jumped on it, just to be safe. Her jumper, not her arm. That would be silly.
Naturally, this infestation was keenly discussed at bedtime; where it is common for me to make up a story with whatever prompts the children provide. They weren’t interested in a fanciful tale this evening, oh no. They just wanted to know how I was going to deal with all these bloody Crocodiles.
“First!” I told them, “I will sneak up on them, very slowly, like this”( – Exhausted, unwashed Mother sneaks across Lego strewn bedroom.)
“Then! I will look them right in the eye, and tell them firmly BE STILL CROCODILE!” ( – Exhausted, unwashed Mother does best Crouching Tiger.)
“Then! I will leap upon its back and tie a bright red ribbon around and around its snappy jaws! I will tie it in a bow, nice and tight.” ( – E.U.M demonstrates much wild yet determined miming of clutching and winding, ending in an elaborate bow tying flourish.)
“And I will kiss its Crocodile lips, like this!” (- E.U.M furiously kisses squealing children.)
“Then! While the Crocodile is dazed from my kisses, I will slip a collar and leash on to its neck and walk it to the bathroom” ( – Pretty straight forward, really. Leash over head, strut across Lego strewn floor. Not my best work, but it was solid. I stand by it.)
“Where! I will throw it in the bathtub and gurgle him down the plug-hole!” (- E.U.M snatches up Crocodile before flinging him into the bathtub, throws arms in to the air, triumphant big finish.)
“But…what if the Crocodile eats you?” Theo asks.
“He wouldn’t dare! Look how tough I am!” (Exhausted unwashed Mother flexes arm muscles.)
“BUT! What if he eats Otto?! Otto would be sad!” He remains unconvinced.
“I would have that Crocodile down the plug-hole before he even got the chance. Remember?” (More arm flexing. Both arms this time. Draw up sleeves of my ever-present shrouds for effect.)
“Mama?” He sighs. “That’s not a very good idea.” Jeeze, kid. Don’t let me go on or anything.
“We should just take the Crocodile outside and lock the doors and shut the windows.”
“Well, sure, Bubba.” (E.U.M scrambles to regain some credibility.)
“That’s a great idea too. But we don’t really have to worry; there are no Crocodiles in New Zealand. That’s the country we live in.”
“…What about pretend Crocodiles?” Mabel chimes in.
“Well…yes. There are pretend Crocodiles in New Zealand, I suppose. But-…”
“THE CROCODILES ARE GOING TO GET ME!”
It’s going to be a long night.