It was 2 a.m. In a cloudless sky, a white moon was rising over my concrete house. The city power was turned off here, but the hills to the south were lit up. And for once in Haiti, it was quiet. Except…for my six-month-old son. His familiar cries woke me and I stumbled from my room to his, avoiding the loose tiles in the hallway. I lifted the white mosquito net that enveloped his crib and lifted him out. We sat in a padded rocking chair, nursing, sweating. He was almost back to sleep as I sang softly to him…
And then I saw it. In the dim glimmer of the flickering nightlight, I saw something small and dark move. Something small and dark moving in my direction. Something not-so-small and dark running toward me…and it had to be a cockroach. Like any mother would, not wanting to rouse Peter any more than necessary, I quickly calculated in my head: If I screamed, he would wake up, and I knew it wouldn’t deter the cockroach one bit. I was not wearing shoes, so stomping on this not-so-small creature was definitely out of the question with bare feet…but maybe I could kick it away?
It was approaching fast, and my worst nightmare was that it would run under the chair or up my leg…or both. Out of time to think, I smoothly (and desperately) kicked my foot out as I rocked forward and managed to fling it across the room. It lay still. Peter snoozed. I began to breathe again.
These are the kind of moments that parenting classes just don’t prepare you for!