Ants In Your Pants

iStock_000007904791_ExtraSmallIsn’t it funny how, if you are a writer, thinking about things always prompts some kind of rendering; novel, short story, poem or in this case a blog post. I guess I had ants on my mind as I sat with hands folded, avoiding my chores. It could have also been because of the onslaught of ant attacks on my desk at work, lately. But, these thoughts all went to how these creatures are always busy working – preparing for whatever. That, of course, took me right to my five-year old daughter who, back in the day, had a run in with these hard-working little bodies. As life has a habit of doing, we needed some serious R & R, and decided to take a jaunt to the tropics. Since my mother, like all other grandmothers believed the sun rose and set in her only granddaughter, she jumped at the chance to take care of her for the week. Late spring worked out better for our wallets, and allowed my daughter to spend lots of time outside playing with the other neighborhood children. Thinking back I realize time really does fly. Anyway, we dropped the little girl, visited with my mother for the evening, and the next morning we were off to Kennedy airport for our flight.

I checked in from time to time during the week, and closer to the end of that time she informed me she had some funny news to report when we returned.  First, let me explain my daughter. She has always been, and is still petrified of anything that flies or crawls. But, no one knew until this particular incident that she held homage for one group of insects.

On a bright, and sunny day, my daughter spent most of mid-day in the front yard, and on the porch with the other children – playing in the dirt. Sometime in the early afternoon a family friend stopped by and asked my mother if she wanted to take a ride with him to Brooklyn. My mother let a couple of the other mothers know she would take the children with her, gathered them all up, including my daughter, and ushered them in to the back of the car.

Now, as she’s telling me the story, I interrupted, and asked, “In her dirty clothes?”

“Sure,” she replied. “We were just riding there and back. We weren’t getting out of the car. So, halfway there, I could tell Jim was watching the children in the rear view mirror. And, Erica is fidgeting more than the others. But, we kept talking, and yes, she kept squirming. He finally laughed, and jokingly said to Erica in the mirror, ‘What’s the matter with you? You have ants in your pants or something?’ Then, we all just laughed it off.”

As they returned to the house, everyone crawled out of the car. My mother took Erica in the house, and asked, “Come over here, do you have something in your pants? What’s the matter?”

Needless to say – yes, she did have a problem. Only a truck load of ants; crawling up and down the inside of her pants, on her skin, in her underwear; everywhere on the bottom portion of her body. She had evidently sat on an ant hill or picked them up from somewhere in the yard. My mother, clearly disgusted, rushed her outside where the pants stayed, and from there this child hit the tub for a thorough scrubbing.

In asking her why she didn’t say anything, she simply replied, “Nana, they’re just ants.”

Go, try to figure children, and especially one who while terrified of everything else in the insect world – wouldn’t lift a finger to harm one of these little guys. So many years later, and we still have to laugh about that.

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The Price of A Bullet

When I thought to write of this latest school shooting, I said to myself – do I really want to take on this topic?  But, the brain would not go another route.  So, here I am, out here in the dark, possibly headed in a bad direction.  But, here goes.  Another traumatic and sorrowful event in the halls of learning outside of Cleveland, Ohio has grabbed our attention.  Yet the latest fatalities to plague our already fragile children.  We are well aware, this is not the first such incident as this, however, I certainly hope it is the last.  My only child is done with her years of education, but I cannot imagine having this type of news given me, and I then, had to rush off, praying each mile I drove that all remained well with her.  If you are an older person reading this post, think back if you will.  It’s the ’60s or ’70s, and you have some type of run in with another student.  Maybe it’s something where a young woman/young man, someone you already disliked, talked to your boyfriend/girlfriend or some uninvited person took your seat at the cool table.  There may have been some inappropriate pushing and shoving, but the worst of it would have involved a promise to meet after, where one or the other would certainly have his or her butt kicked around a bit.  And, the most dreaded of this would surely mean it all would take place in front of a host of other students.  Excuse me, but what happened to those days?  Is it not fashionable to go home any longer with a black eye or a bleeding lip.  Can I simply ask, when it went to carrying guns.  I don’t know about you, but it outrages me to think of metal detectors in these corridors – what has happened to society?  Let me also add, I’m not condoning violence of any kind, I would simply have my child come home with a bloody nose, than not come home at all.  Am I right?

I remember my husband and I having a conversation about Hip Hop/Rap music.  We both came to the conclusion that in order to put us in the category of our parents, moving us into old age, times had to become drastically different.  But, I’m left asking, does that also include the sanctity of school.  We all know it’s already difficult being a teenager – so many changes going on, but shouldn’t this be a happy place.  And, yes I understand this is not happening because some deranged person came in from the street to inflict harm on our children – these occurrences have been due to students, someone already in attendance.  My next question would have to be, have times become so drastically changed that we’ve also lost touch with our young people?  I recognize in this age, things are certainly difficult with all the social networking, which has led to more out-and-out open assaults – one child to another, but would it seriously make you a bad parent or an old-fashioned one to tighten the screws. And who cares as long as it got the job done.  Yes, I also understand that’s not always the case.  Also, we cannot attach ourselves to our offspring ever hour they are awake.  But when, where and how did things get to this point?  When did the meaning of life become the same as the price of a bullet?  I guess my question is, what is the correct answer?

As adults we are aware how mean children are to each other – this is something a child won’t recognize.  But, are we not supposed to pass down the same learning we received from our parents?  Have we become so caught up in problems outside the home that we cannot catch sight of a predicament happening right under our nose?  I think morals has a lot to do with it; the ones going down the drain, taking our families with it, as well as this country.  Just imagine for a minute – how horrible would it be to have a belief system set in place for that son or daughter?  Okay, here and again, one of them slips under that wire as well.  But, for the most part, I think that is still the better way to go.  Last week, a sister writer, Jenn Nixon, wrote her blog on bullying, probably for the same reason I’m writing this.  She mentioned how she had been harassed in her young years.  For a short time, I myself came under this intimidation.  Bullying has been around since the stone ages.  In fact, I had tons of photos to search through on the topic, and I must say just perusing them caused me to become nauseous. Jenn, and I both understand now, the problem did not lie with us.  However, how does a young mind accept that the attacker has difficulty with jealousy or self-esteem, while in the throes of a provocation, even if it has been explained to the attackee over and over.

There have been groups formed to combat this problem, “No Bullying” signs put up, as well as other measures, I am sure.  But I must say these troubles begin at home.  Unfortunately, school is becoming, more and more, the place where these dysfunctions are exploding.  It is an awful thing for a stable child to suffer, and have to deal with the wrath of another person’s malfunction  – with their life or simply by coping with the mental stress on them, and their friends.  I’m leaving the floor open – what do you think the answer should be? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Picture courtesy of iStockPhoto