It was bath night.

We had been to the playground, we had eaten popsicles and let them drip down our entire being, we had handled with our bare hands an opossum jawbone found in the wild (another story for another time), and, most compellingly, it was technically our twice a week appointed bath night.

Kids at the Park

There was no escaping it. There was only pushing through it as quickly as possible.

I threw Noah in the tub and started scrubbing his head before he even had a chance to sit down. He wasn’t exactly joyful about my aggressive approach, but complied with my wishes anyway.

Ali came in to prepare for her own bath, when she gave a tiny shriek and said, “A roach!”

There are certain triggers in life to which I cannot be responsible for my feedback. Cockroaches are chief among them. As I’ve mentioned before, Chris knows that if he ever hears me scream like I’m being murdered slowly by butter knife, he simply comes running with a cup.

It didn’t help that the roach was running quite actively down the wall right next to the bathtub, of which my son was in and I was directly on the other side. I jumped out of the way as I let out my sound of fright.

And that’s what did it.

You see, roaches usually like coming out late at night, so Noah rarely hears my war cry, which meant that he didn’t remember ever seeing me truly frightened since roaches are my only nightmare.

Apparently, being three and a half and seeing your mother scared is quite the traumatic experience.

And so, he responded in a completely new-to-him way.

He Mariah’ed the neighborhood.

Seriously. I had no idea he had that note in him. I don’t know what it was but I’m positive it was actually higher than the beginning of any Mariah Carey song and louder than the monthly tornado siren test. And he didn’t stop at just one shriek – he gave five in a row – long, loud, sharp, and exquisitely painful.

My ears. They bled. They rang. They ached. The windows quivered in fear. The judges from America’s Got Talent heard him from their respective corners of the earth and all called at once to beg him to audition.

Then Noah started crying. From overexertion, I’m sure.

Meanwhile, the roach had scampered off of the wall and was on the floor out of eyesight, right behind the Bath Stuff Basket.

Chris heard all the commotion from downstairs and, since I was joined by two other screamers this time, he wasn’t positive of the cause. He came loudly sprinting to see who was throwing us out the window one by one. I pushed through the ringing of my ears to greet him with, “It’s a roach!”, the main purpose in being him not freaking out over us freaking out over nothing.

He told Noah to calm down, told me to move, and then he pushed the basket out of the way.

And there he was.

The villain that had upset the entire balance of our family.


Dead as a doorknob dead.

Flipped over on his back dead.

Just twenty seconds ago, that very same roach had been defying gravity, running up and down the wall at Roadrunner speeds, clearly ready and able to participate in a Couch to 5k. And now he was as dead as dead could get.

There was only one explanation, only one possibility as to the cause of death.

My son had killed him with his screech.

And now he’s my favorite forever.

19 thoughts on “When Death Is Stranger than Fiction.

  1. Wow, imagine Noah’s future as an environmentally-friendly exterminator. He shows up at the house, passes out noise-canceling headphones to the human residents, then proceeds to scream all the insects to death–without harsh chemicals or lung-searing odors.

  2. That’s hilarious! And you don’t have to worry with that horrible Raid smell afterward!

    My middle child can apparently smell roaches. He and Noah should go into the bug-exterminating business together. David sniffs them out, and Noah screams them to death. No harsh chemicals in your home!

    I also recently discovered Amy Beth has ear-splitting notes that she can reach, and that she can run faster than lightning. All because a small “mosquito-eater” bug flew up in front of her face.

  3. Oh my goodness! Seriously laughing my head off the whole time I was reading this!! We don’t get too many roaches here, but I feel the same way about them – and even worse about spiders. I have a “spider” scream that everyone in my house recognizes. Fortunately, God blessed me with three sons so there is nearly always someone here to slay they spider for me.

  4. Oh my word, that was fantastic! I’m currently living in Australia and have had my own run-ins with cockroaches (my family loves to read my blog posts about those encounters since they’re aware of my fears). Sadly, I don’t have someone to kill them for me (or come running with a cup). Keep on writing, I love your posts!

  5. I won’t give you more nightmares by mentioning the possibility that the bath began with two roaches in the room, one living and one dead. Because there is no way that happened.

    Of bigger concern is the fact that according to your playground pictures, your daughter is in danger of turning into a cyberman. It’s important to nip that in the bud whenever possible. It never ends well.

    1. I’m telling you, it happened. The dead roach was the exact same color (a unique light brown instead of the usual inky black) and size as the live roach previously seen. Plus, there’s no way he could have escaped from under the basket with mine and my kid’s eagle eyes watching the basket for potential future scream events. It’s strange but true. Maybe the screaming gave him a little cockroach heart attack?

      ….And ha! I had to Google Image Cyberman, but you are completely correct.

  6. I’ve never seen a cockroach! We don’t get them where I live, but we do get Gigantic House Spiders (yes, that is their real name). They are always on the move in fall, looking for a mate. This means we actually see them in our living space instead of just the basement where they usually hang out.. My daughter let out a shriek yesterday that made my ears bleed. At first I thought one of her older brothers succeeded in an epic prank and was about to offer my congratulations, but no. There was a Gigantic House Spider on the wall in the hallway right at face level. Shiver! We called Daddy to do the honours….

  7. You should record his sound and then create an app of just that sound so that we can all benefit from his roach killing scream.

  8. We had a Giant House Spider episode this week. (Spiders are my nemesis. Roaches are gross, but spiders are the soul-sucking spawns of Satan.) This one was huge, and the worst thing is, my husband tried to kill it and For 3 days it lingered in our house, watching us, until it revealed itself to my five year old while he was sitting on the toilet (great timing). I used wasp spray and covered the bathroom in nasty fumy residue, but that sucker was dead.

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