This may be hard to believe, but I didn’t always used to be clever. In fact, as a small child, I was quite the opposite. Case in point, one day I was pestering my Mom for a banana. My mother, in her infinite wisdom, knew I probably wasn’t going to eat the whole thing, but in an attempt to keep me quiet (I assume) for 10 minutes, she allowed me to sit on our front steps one summer morning and eat a banana. Several days past, and my Mom was returning from a walk with my infant sister in the stroller and with me in toe, when she noticed a line of ants crawling under the welcome mat. As she lifted the mat she was met with a brownish, sticky mush covered in ants. In her surprise and disgust my mother exclaimed in a completely rhetorical manner, “What the hell is that!?”
I, as a totally brilliant three year old, nonchalantly looked at the bug covered mess and calmly replied, “I don’t think it’s a banana, Mom.”
Imagine my surprise when my Mom was able to deduce, with great ease no less, that I had in fact not finished my banana on the steps just days before, and not wanting to get an “I told you so” from my Mom, had quietly discarded the remaining banana under the front mat. At the time I thought my mother must be a genius, in retrospect, I was not as smart as I thought I was.
Now, what’s that
saying curse Mothers casually throw around to their kids? I hope you have three just like you? Well, if I had a nickle every time my Mother cast that spell upon me, I’d surely have a ton of nickles. Plus, it worked. I’ve got three…and they seem a lot like me.
My kids want a pet. They bother me constantly about getting a dog, a cat, a bird, a dolphin, a pterodactyl, a hippo, the list goes on and on. At this point I have no interest in cleaning up after another animal. We have not potty trained Cecilia yet (fml), and I don’t care to pick up something else’s shit everyday. Besides that, my Dad is allergic to dogs (as is my husband just not as severely as my Dad), so he wouldn’t be able to come here and we couldn’t take our dog to his beach house on weekends. I know some dog’s are considered “hypoallergenic” but there’s no dog that’s 100% and it depends on the person. Anyway, they consider just about anything they can capture a pet. So moths, butterflies, fireflies, potato bugs, slugs, and caterpillars and toads are the most frequently captured and beloved pets. I almost caved and got Joey a dog one day after he cried (this was a few weeks ago) after he collected a half dozen slugs and cried when i made him release them. I held my ground though, and I continue to have to do it daily.
My kids, who are all turning a year older in July, are perhaps slightly more clever than I was at their age. Remember last summer when Joey released a bucket full of crickets, caterpillars and fire flies in his room one night? Yeah, this was much worse.
We have what most would call an ant problem. They kept coming in through the front and back doors, and I kept cleaning like mad around those areas (both inside and out) and using “home remedies” to keep the persistent pests at bay. It seemed to work for a few days and then they would return. We took a few weekend trips too and they’d be back with a vengeance. My Dad even stopped by and sprayed around the house while we were gone. The ants keep returning.
So yesterday I was sweeping around the back door and I found five goldfish crackers which appeared to have been positioned in the track of my sliding glass door. Even more peculiar was a small sticky puddle between each goldfish. Joey, was sitting behind me at the kitchen table, when I rhetorically echoed my own mother’s exclamation from nearly thirty years before, “What the hell is this?!”
Joey looks up from his juice cup and says, “Oh, that’s for the pet ants.”
“The pet ants?” I repeated.
“Yeah, I keep feeding them little pieces of crackers or bread…oh, and they like juice and chocolate milk.” he explained.
Now the sticky substance made sense; it was juice. But I was still a little perplexed. “Joey, how long have you been feeding the ants? Which might I quickly add, are not pets.”
“I dunno. For awhile. I put down little crumbs that you can’t get with your broom after snack time….oh, and I leave big stuff that they eat all gone when we go to the beach” he reported.
“Like these goldfish?” I pointed and closed my eyes.
“Yeah, I put that there before we left for the beach weekend” he said as he stood up and left the room.
Like I said, they’re smart, but no clue how to be clever. He should have stuck with a nonchalant, “I dunno, but it’s probably not ant food.”