Thursday, June 18, 2009

the ants are marching one by one

we have ants. so does everyone in southern california. but the ants are happiest in my home because of some of the family members who can't manage to keep the food on their plate, in their mouth or on the table (at least the table). it is all over the floor. and i am always missing it when i try to clean up at night. maybe i miss it because i am so gash-darn tired and this evening time is the ONLY time i have to get ANYTHING done now that ava is a non-napping ever-present side-kick, so i want to do other things. i am sweeping while exhausted and preoccupied. of course i miss those little cheerios (oh, the cheerios! we might as well live in a house made of them!) and piecs of cheese.

so this morning the three of us emerged from the back end of the house. some of us were clothed, some of us weren't. and of course, there are ants all over the floor. it doesn't help that i bring the chickens in at night because i'm afraid it's too cold for them. plus, they want me to bring them in. when the sun starts to set they stand at our back door and look in at us. the chickens scratch around in their cage before i let me out and sometimes some of their food gets on the floor.

anyway, there were ants on the floor. so i started breakfast and began sweeping, carefully making sure i was gathering all the ants in to one little pile so i could sweep them in to the dust pan, poison them with windex and dump them in the trash. ava watched with interest.

"what are you doing?" she asked.

"i'm getting the ants."


"because i don't want them in the house."


"they belong outside."

"you're getting them?"


"what is that?" i ignore her because i don't want to tell her what i am going to do. besides, after that exchange, and the effort i am putting in to "getting" the ants means that i don't want to talk anymore. i don't know why i haven't figured out that ava just gets more irritating the longer i ignore her. She begins, "what is that? what is that? what is that?" pause "what is that, mommy?" again, "mommy, what is that? mommy? mommy? mommy? what is that?"

i can't take it anymore. "i'm getting the ants so i can kill them."

ava freaks out. "WHAT??? the ants are going to DIE???" this is followed by a lot of howling. i regret my hasty choice of words. but what does she know of death? NOTHING! no one she knows has died, so what's her problem? how is she even comprehending this word death? i continue to sweep them and ava continues her crusade. "don't kill the ants! they're shy! the ants are shy! they want to crawl on the floor! SSSSSSSSSTTTTTTTTTTOOOOOOOOOOOOOPPPPPPPP!!!"

"FINE!" I sweep the ants into the dustpan and move to dump them outside.

ava by now has hopped down from her seat and with a very serious milk mustache and her cereal spoon in her hand, watches me with great interest. i start dumping. ava bends down to watch the ants regain their footing and wonder where they are. suddenly she stands and begins stamping on them.

"get the ants! get the ants! they're yucky! they're gross! ants are dead!" she looks slightly hysterical, but then a mob of one with only a cereal spoon for a weapon could only look hysterical.

she is just so weird. i have no idea what made her change her mind. i feel completely exhausted by these wild mood swings when they directly affect me, but when i am not the victim and am only shaking confused ants out of my dustpan, i rather enjoy them.

i rather enjoy her, really.


Hernan said...

I remember killing and by the hundreds! I was like the worse ant's ant terrorist!

Later though I felt guilty... They are mean too... if you are in their way they bite cha.

redstarmama said...

We have ants, too! Seriously, we live mirror lives! I hate ants and have absolutely no compunction in taking their measly little lives!

Anonymous said...

I live in Laguna Beach, in Orange County. I am not an unusually clean person, actually my house is quite unkempt. We used to have many ants, all over the kitchen, in the dog/cat food areas. But suddenly, there are no more ants! For years, no ants... Its scary since I don't use any insecticides, or any bacterial products, and I am not a great housekeeper (Martha Stuart is not my mentor). If you have the same experience, let me know.