Sunday, November 8, 2009

Boys Will Be Boys, Part I



And I've got three of 'em.

And although I did not blog much during the summer (oh, you know, kinda busy changing diapers, nursing, cooking, doing laundry, all on about 2 hours worth of sleep) I tucked away some summer memories to share with you when I could think straight (i.e., getting regular sleep).

My boys. Ages 4 & 6. They were pretty much left to their own devices this summer. We didn't make it to the pool once; we didn't have many playdates; we didn't even venture out of the house unless it was into the yard. What's a boy to do? Well it turns out that a little bit of benign neglect is a good thing. (Check back for Part II on when benign neglect is a bad thing. But for now we will focus on the positive.)

My boys pretty much entertained themselves this summer. I don't think they minded being homebound. Afterall, they have a plethora of toys; a trampoline, a treehouse, bikes, baseballs, etc. Enough to keep them busy.

As busy as little ants.

They became fascinated with ants. My 6 year old spent lots of time examining anthills using a magnifying glass (and also just watching, sans magnifying glass.) He thought it would be great to have his own anthill so he attempted to gather ants and place them in his bellybutton so that he could have his own ant farm, 24/7. He was pretty successful at gathering but not-so-successful at getting the ants to stay in his bellybutton. He kept at it though, trying for about 20 minutes but those darn ants would just march right out of his bellybutton. So he came to me for help. I then had to explain to him that although his bellybutton seemed like a good home, the ants would prefer their anthill. He's very much interested in animal "habitats" so I explained that ants have their own habitat and they do not live inside bellybuttons and I explained that they need to gather food and store it in the anthill, etc.

(Tangent. Speaking of habitats. We went to the Baltimore Aquarium one day in August. [I know I just said we didn't go anywhere but this was the ONE day that we ventured out of the house.] My 6 year old was fascinated with the electric eel but was concerned that the habitat was too small for such a big eel. He was so concerned that it was keeping him awake at night. He kept trying to figure out if maybe the aquarium workers could move the eel to a different tank. So then he was worried that maybe the fish in the new tank would be enemies of the eel so I had to google eels and sharks and puffer fish to find out if they would be compatible and could possibly share a habitat. This went on for a couple weeks and then he seemed to lose interest. However, he asked me about the eel again YESTERDAY and wants to write a letter the aquarium about it! Except he asked me to write it since he is still learning his letters.)

Tangent over.

So after discovering that ants preferred anthills and not bellybuttons, my boys decided they would experiment with ant habitats. (I had no idea that they were doing this until afterwards.) They took some ants from the anthill in the front of house and deposited them into the anthill in the back of the house. And vice versa. They came to me later and told me this and I (probably) overreacted. I freaked out a little bit (sleep deprivation will make you do strange things) and told them that they can't move ants from one anthill to another, and that the original ants would attack the new ants, and how could they do this, and what if you separated a momma ant from her baby ants, and those poor baby ants looking for their momma who is probably dead now! They were looking at each other with raised eyebrows, as if they both knew I was crazy but maybe I didn't know myself.

It did cross my mind (at the time) that maybe I shouldn't worry about ants getting dumped into foreign anthills. There are far greater injustices in this world and the boys didn't realize that they were doing anything wrong by messing with mother nature. I'm gonna blame my reaction on hormones and lack of sleep. A new mom can get weepy over just about anything, including defenseless ants.

P.S. The picture of my 4 year old dressed as a hula dancer has nothing to do with this blog posting. I put it there because postings are always more interesting when accompanied by a photo.

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