Who Needs Pet Rocks . . .
I know, you may need to zoom on these pictures. Trust me, though, the ants are there. Our house is overrun with them during this heat wave. Like the rest of intelligent life in San Diego, they want to be inside, not out.
I find it wonderful and totally natural that the boys are interested in small creatures such as their ants. They fall to their knees during walks just to examine beetles scurrying by. They swing their hats in the air trying to catch moths. They crawl through the bushes in search of Rolly-Pollies and worms. And always, they give the creatures names. For example, June Bugs are collectively called Beatrice, and butterflies are always either Susie, Buttercup, or Chlorophyll. Does it surprise you to learn that Daddy is a biology teacher? In light of that fact, their insect obsession makes total sense. As does the name Chlorophyll.
Clearly, kids pick up on their parents’ passions. One set of 3-year-old triplets I know can already work computers better than I can. Their father is a computer expert by profession and passion. Another set of triplets will show you the most beautiful rocks when you hang out with them. Their parents are both geologists. That kind of thing fascinates me. Nature or nurture? You decide.
I recently shared the news of my boys’ unusual, but in my opinion very practical, new pets with our friend Colleen. She came back with the most thought-provoking questions:
1. How can the boys tell whose ant is whose? Do you have to paint little numbers on the ants’ backs?
2. What happens if you come home and find that one of the ants has passed away? I guess you could always replace it quickly with another ant from the backyard. (My commentary: My husband keeps pressing for a dog. But see how much easier pet ants are? I don’t even want to think what would happen with a dog in this scenario…)
3. Do the ants get to hang out with each other like a little play date? (Me: Ant playdates are even bigger than our triplet playdates—they include millions of ants. Believe me . . . they’re having a big barn dance on the tank on the back of the toilet right now, dang it…)
4. Do the boys ever loose their ants somewhere in the house? I can picture you on the floor with a magnifying glass in your hand looking for the ant in the carpet. (Me: See #2 above for the solution to this dilemma. Resourceful, eh?)
6. Are the boys going to graduate to larger pets next? Maybe snails . . . or better yet those crabs you can get at the mall with the painted shells!
Uh, oh. Colleen started getting dangerous at this point. Why, if the boys heard her plans for their next pets . . . well, can you imagine where they’d take that? Pretty soon they’d be begging for octopuses, or camels, or goodness knows what! So Colleen has been banned from the house. She is an evil influence, and had to be stopped. The boys are quite content with their pet ants, thank you very much.
But most importantly, I am content with their pets: Ants are much easier to clean up after than camels.