Ants and frogs and more

By Mir
June 8, 2005

I am a person who is serious about promises. I don’t make promises idly, and once I make them I do everything I can to keep them. Which is why this morning was such a disaster. When I break a promise, the kids know that Something Is Wrong.

And yeah, Something IS Wrong, but this was my first slip with the kids in this particular episode, and I felt horrible about it. A promise is a promise, and I broke it, and there was nothing to do but apologize and wish I was a better, more together mother.

And curse the &*#%@! ants, which aren’t even ants, they’re raisins, which probably wouldn’t be the source of so much trauma if they would just stay dessicated grapes instead of disguising themselves as insects.

Backing up: Remember the 20 Days of Virtue? The diet with no refined sugar and limited carbs, no white flour, blah blah blah blah? I’m actually still on it and doing fine. (Remarkably easy to stick to a diet when you don’t want to eat anything.) So the last time we went for groceries, I was buying all kinds of veggies, and the kids begged me to buy celery. Personally, I am not a huge fan of celery. In my mind, celery is just a particularly fibrous form of water. Whatever. But they asked, and it costs something like twenty-seven cents for a whole bunch of it, so into the cart it went.

Tuesday morning, Chickadee begged for “ants on a log” for her school snack. But we were running late, so I made her pick something else. She came home talking about it NON-STOP and to MAKE IT STOP I told her she could have ants on a log the next day (today).

“Do you PROMISE?” She knows a brush-off when she hears one, that girl does.

“I PROMISE. I’ll wash and cut up the celery tonight. Okay?” She was satisfied.

And I completely forgot to deal with the celery, of course.

Then this morning we all overslept. The kids overslept because they’re kids, and that’s what they do when I don’t wake them up on a school day (on a weekend, they’re up at the crack of dawn). I overslept because I’ve decided that the only time it’s really worth sleeping is, say, between 3:00 and 6:00. I mean, sure, I could get a good night’s sleep, but why would I do that when I could toss and turn and fret all night long? I like to be on the cutting edge of these things, you know.

So: no time for ants on a log. Many tears. Many wailed choruses of “But you PROMISED!” Many admissions that yes, I promised, and no, I wasn’t keeping my promise, and yes, I’m a bad mama. And a bag of raisins (ants) instead? Puhleaze. You’d think I’d offered a baggie full of live maggots.

Remind me to cut up the celery after this, mkay? If I don’t deliver tomorrow I think they might hurt me.

* * * * *

I spent a portion of my day today chatting with Ben, who had this gem to offer at one point:

I think it’s kinda like boiling a frog. You put the frog in a pot of
cool water, and turn up the heat so gradually he never tries to hop

And I–jumping to the obvious conclusion that Ben not only had some really good drugs but had been holding out on me–jokingly responded that he was referencing boiling a frog as if that was something everyone was familiar with, and was this a custom where he comes from? Ben then proceeded to share directions, some debunking, and what might be a secret cult.

I accused Ben of having too much time on his hands, but really, apparently there’s a whole world of amphibian-poaching out there just waiting to be discovered.

* * * * *

Excellent example of why you should not play “I Spy” with your children when you are taking ativan even if you’re pleased to be feeling well enough to actually just play:

I spy with my little eye… something that starts with S!

[after much incorrect guessing and clue-begging]

Okay okay… here’s a hint… it comes out of your nose!

[I’m really glad that was just a hypothetical example, even if it did make the hypothetical kids in the not-at-all-real example laugh hysterically for ten whole minutes.]

* * * * *

In the continuing saga of the DVR that I barely know how to use but seems to be enriching our lives (“Better living through television!”) nonetheless, I allowed the children to watch an episode of Teen Titans tonight. I tried fast-forwarding through the commercials for them, but unlike Little House on the Prairie–which airs on the Hallmark Channel and therefore carries commercials for motorized scooter wheelchairs and life insurance and old lady skin care products–Teen Titans air on the Cartoon Channel and therefore has commercials for gooey snacks and marshmallow cereals and Star Wars Legos where the light sabers actually light up.

If I try to zip through the commercials, they holler at me. So, fine. It’s half an hour; they want to watch the commercials, I don’t care.

We’d been through several rounds of “Will you buy us–” “NO.” when a commercial came on for the Sylvan Learning Center. Monkey asked me to fast-forward it, and ever the pinnacle of maturity, I responded, “Oh NOOOOOO, you wanted the commercials, you’ll HAVE the COMMERCIALS!” and went about my business. I went to the kitchen for a minute and when I came back, the commerical (which I’d missed, but I’ve seen them before, those commercials where the parents get the kid’s good report card and they hug and kiss and praise Sylvan) was just ending.

I sat down at my desk and Chickadee turned to me in earnest.

“Mama! I’m not being challenged enough in my classroom curriculum.” I managed not to laugh, but I think I blew out several small blood vessels in my left eyeball. “You should call Sylvan,” she went on, “because they can help even with advanced students such as myself.”

Yes, I’m sure they have a special place at Sylvan for advanced students such as her who weep bitterly when they are denied silly celery snacks.

I’m gonna go have some more ativan and cut up some celery and look for frogs.


  1. Mamacita

    In my old rural middle school, kids used to bring me french-fried frogs’ legs, jerkied frogs’ legs, and deer jerky. And they would stand there and watch me, smiling with pride, as I took a token nibble. And yes, I HAD to take a token nibble or it would have really hurt their feelings.

    As for the frogs being boiled alive and not even knowing it, not only is that an analogy that’s been around for a long time: it’s also absolutely true. Cold-blooded animals are all that way.

    You can also order frog legs in almost any local restaurant here. And crawdads.

  2. ben

    Too bad I didn’t have time to send my extensive list of links on Little Bunny Foo Foo (and apparently it is spelled Foo, not Fu or Pfough or Phooey)

    We tried the ants on a log just last weekend (oddly enough) and when we said “here, have some ants on a log” the kids looked at us like we had just emerged from the Bog of Eternal Stench. When my wife said “it’s raisins and peanut butter” they sorta sighed collectively and gobbled them down (but luckily enough the doctors were able to save my wife’s hand, next time she’ll just put them on the table, ring a bell and jump out of the way)


  3. barbara

    oh girl…i love you. now go to sleep! :)

  4. Cori

    We’ve just made ants on a log for my son’s kindy class on Monday and they did NOT go over well. Is it my fault that I’m not allowed to bring in cupcakes and Kool-Aid drink pouches? Oh the other parents didn’t listen to the rules? Not my problem!

    My kids think they need a Sleep Number mattress because they don’t sleep well and their back hurts. And they need a double boiler to melt chocolate in so that we can dip fruit and cookies and I can make custom lollipops in the candy molds that are included if you order now! Ah, the wonder that is children’s cable television.

  5. Jules

    You know…they probably boil frogs in the same part of the world where they have owl butter ;)

    I’m ok…you ok? (((hugs))) we’re all ok-ish

  6. Marissa

    Why is it that kids only remember when you mess up? I can promise my 4 yr old something and actually do it 19 out of 20 times, but the one time–the one time in TWO YEARS–that I forget that it is show and tell day at preschool and he doesn’t bring anything, he freaks out and reminds me of my mistake every day for the next two weeks. Jeez.

    Ants on a log are fantastic. My son has been asking me to bake the “Golf Course Cake” he saw in the Kraft Foods book of ads–I mean recipe magazine. Green jello on top of a cake just sounds sooooooooo gross to me. But I promised–and this will surely come back to haunt me–that we can make it for Father’s Day.

  7. Kestralyn

    We just refer to it as “frogwater” and everyone knows what we mean. I’m currently eyeball deep in said water, myself ;-)

  8. Zuska

    Your hypothetical game of I Spy sounds like it had the same reaction as our, um, also hypothetical game of Ants in the Pants. One went down the front of my shirt, which prompted me to remind everyone that the objective was NOT “ants in mommy’s bra” which OF COURSE meant that’s where everyone aimed…

    Being a frog-loving vegetarian, I won’t even TOUCH the frog boiling topic. Nope.

  9. Shiz

    You crack me up! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  10. Michele

    I spy with my little eye the sudden urge to have raisins…yes, I blame you.

  11. Suzanne

    I’m babysitting my son’s frog Ribbit while he’s visiting with his father for the summer. I could let you borrow him? No really…gak!

  12. JenBen

    Did you remember to cut the celery?

  13. Amy

    My kids want the “Betty Crocker Bake-n-Fill” they keep seeing on tv…just what I need.

    And if you are going to boil cold blooded creatures, dear, at LEAST make it crabs, or possibly shrimp. Much better for eating! And I think the virtue diet is getting to you. Best have some chocolate and sleep well!

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