Monday, June 10, 2013

Ants, you've let me down this time

A year ago some ants in our house helped me win a bedtime battle with Jacob. Since then I've racked my brain to figure out how I could apply this brilliant and effective strategy to other parenting challenges. Unfortunately, the ants must  have been a one-hit wonder because I haven't been able to replicate the results. And this time they really let me down.

So here's how it went last year: Jacob had gotten in the habit of having a bedtime snack in his room (translation, we had gotten into the habit of caving in and letting him). Usually a bowl of Goldfish or Cheerios or something. It was pretty harmless, but it got his sheets messy, it was one more step to do before he would go to bed, and of course I was worried about his teeth rotting in his sleep.

Then one day the ants came. They were all over the goldfish Jacob had accidentally spilled on his floor. I saw the opportunity and I seized it.

"Uh oh, Jacob," I said. "We can't ever have food in your room again."
"Because look at all these ants. Do you see them?"
"Uh huh."
"If we have food in your room, the ants are going to come. They're going to come in your room and they're going to eat all your snack and climb on you while you're sleeping..."

Okay, so maybe I got a bit carried away with it. But the thing is, it worked! No more snack in the room. No more ants in the room. We did have to deal with a temporary fixation on the ants at bedtime ("Are the ants going to eat my pillow? Are they going to eat my toys?") but that was short-lived, and we were snack-free and happy from then on.

Well, the ants are back in Jacob's room this year. The problem now? They're all over the library books. And I have a few theories about why:

Maybe it's because dozens of grubby little hands have handled those library books and deposited microscopic bits of peanut butter, juice, Lucky Charms, and who knows what all over them.

Maybe the ants know the library books will have to go back to the library, and they're hoping for a trip in the car where they can most certainly find a wealth of goldfish and Cheerios all over the floor.

Maybe the ants just like to read.

But here's what I really think: I think the ants want to have the last
laugh. I think they're just waiting for me to say, "Uh oh, Jacob. We can't ever have library books in your room ever again."

Well, ants, you may have let me down this time, but you haven't fooled me. I have a simpler solution. Check out the ant traps under Jacob's bed and just try to resist. Rest in peace, little buggers.

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