I had just walked in on little sister Lena in Cara’s room looking for candy. She was rifling through Cara’s Easter basket — FYI, Easter happened three Sundays ago, but Cara still had a stash left. Anyhow, I was also craving something sugary, specifically chocolate, so I also sneaked in to snoop what Cara hoarded. Lena found a package of M&M’s that we could share. Then, beneath the plastic grass, I pulled out a box of bite size milk chocolate, peanut butter stuffed bunnies and chicks, Sarris Candy Brand. I took out a bunny and plopped it in my mouth, just like that. “Mmm,” I euphorically sighed. “Lena, these are better than those M&M’s. Here.” She took the box and dumped some out. “Don’t take all of them,” I warned. “Save some for Cara.”
“Okay, I just took a bunny and chick. I can’t believe she still has these. They’re the best!”
“I know. Let me have one more.” I know I was weak, but who do you think filled those baskets? The Easter Bunny?
“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” Lena screamed.
“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” I screamed just because Lena screamed, even though I didn’t know why.
“There are ants! There are ants on these bunnies!” and she dropped the chocolates like she got caught stealing candy from an Easter basket.
“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh! I probably ate some! I’m dying! I cannot believe this!” Lena bolted from the room (with the M&M’s). “CARA!!!” I screamed.
“What, Mom?” she asked.
“I’m busy though. I’m playing Skip-Bo with my friend right now.” Her boyfriend was over for a day date, and they were playing cards. Although I’m a fan of board games and cards, this could not wait.
She begrudgingly showed up to her room and said, “What is it?”
“Ants! You have ants in your room,” I revealed.
“Oh yeah. I forgot about those,” she claimed.
“You knew about these ants?!”
“Yeah, I saw some, but didn’t know what to do about them. They really weren’t hurting anything, so I forgot about them. There were just a few.”
“Well, now there is an army!” I moved the trunk on her floor to prove their omnipresence. They partied on her name brand chocolate, danced together, dined some more, mated, and multiplied in her bedroom.
“Wow! How’d that happen?” She seriously looked dumbfounded.
“Go tell your friend that you have to exterminate your room a bit and you’ll be back when I give the ‘All Clear!'”
“Okay, I’m sorry, but they’re really harmless, sorta like the mockingbird in that book you keep telling me I must read or you will go to my teachers and try to improve their circus.”
“Improve their curriculum,” I corrected. I was momentarily distracted that she even listened to what I told her about Harper Lee’s masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird. It didn’t excuse her and the unapproved picnic she was hosting in her room though. She sleeps in a loft bed, so what does she care about her floor? “I’m pretty sure I ate some of your ants. I guess you’ll have less to sweep and suck up with the vacuum.”
She laughed and swept. Why does this kid laugh at everything? If I were more positive I could’ve looked at this as a business venture, but I’m so damn itchy I can’t even. Do you know that ants are sold online for ant farm kits? I think we could’ve collected enough to crawl through at least ten kits. Maybe I’m old fashioned and don’t want chocolate covered ants and would prefer my kid to earn money by babysitting or baking or anything besides bug breeding.
How do I stay sunny and sane (albeit part-time) while mothering teenagers and ants for another 70,000 years? How are you surviving? Are you eating ants too?