Home > Family, Parenting > Walking on ants

Walking on ants

It started with a simple request.

“Sweetie, please put on your shoes and socks. It’s almost time to go.”

I tended to a few other odds and ends before returning to my older son, Li’l D. He was busy painting Transformers in a coloring book. His feet? Totally bare.

“Sweetie. Stop your painting and get on your socks and shoes. Now!” He appeared to be gravitating toward his nearby socks, so I ran to take care of another almost forgotten errand in the kitchen.

His feet were still bare when I returned a minute or two later. “I’m going to have to take away your coloring book,” I warned. The warning spurred him into action. Victory! I knelt to put his baby brother in his car seat.

When I rose, Li’l D was still sockless. He’d turned his socks into puppets.

I appreciated his imagination, but it wouldn’t get me to work on time. “Okay, kiddo. Get outside in your bare feet! You can get those on in the car,” I barked.

Li’l D laced up and raced out the door faster than I could gather my bags. My normally stoic boy spent most the car ride crying over my cruelty. (I encourage this. Stoicism is overrated.)

“This is the worst you have ever hurt my feelings!” he sobbed. I refrained from telling him he should’ve seen myย childhood, and instead asked what part hurt.

“You were going to make me walk on ants,” he sniffled.

I was speechless.

I’d expected a very different answer.

“Do you know I used to go everywhere barefoot as a kid?” I asked him after recovering my words. “I must’ve stepped on so many ants! Probably crickets and other stuff, too.”

2010

Not only as a kid!

Usually he would’ve said “yuck” and snickered, but he was still too aggrieved. I asked him to please just put on his socks and shoes with the rest of his clothing in the morning, explaining that will give him so much more nagging-free play time. I then let him be to feel all his feelings.

While not wanting to make light of those feelings, I couldn’t help but smile. My Grampa G hated my love of running about shoeless, and was fond of reminding me nearly daily. I think he’d give Li’l D a few dollars to reward his sensible stance on outdoors shoelessness.

“That’s right, you’ll step on ants!” I can hear him instructing Li’l D. “And maybe even spiders!” The horror!

He’s not here to instruct my son on cultivated living, but heck. I might just give Li’l D a fiver on his behalf.

(I haven’t learned yet, Grampa G, but there might still be hope for my son!)

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  1. October 21, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    Such a cute story! I love when their answers aren’t what we expect, and it sounds like he’s learned a good lesson!

  2. October 21, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Liโ€™l D is the destroyer of worlds. Ant worlds. And it’s all your fault. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • October 21, 2014 at 7:56 pm

      It’s all my fault! I’d better start preparing for that onslaught soon, I think. ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. October 21, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    Awe, such a sweet child!

    • October 21, 2014 at 7:57 pm

      Agreed! I do think there’s something to his more recent tears. I think he’s missing out on the snuggling he’s lost since his brother came along. Good thing so many more snuggles are imminent!

  4. October 21, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Hahaha, so cute. I’ve counseled on the importance of proper footwear in the past along with being careful about going barefoot, but I never thought to include walking on ants as one of the reasons to wear shoes. Very insightful boy you’ve got there!

    • October 21, 2014 at 7:58 pm

      I’m better now than I was before and do tend to wear shoes outside of the house. This is in large part for having spent a bunch of time rummaging up shoes that come really close to being barefoot. If only I’d have thought of that a couple dozen years ago, eh? (But then I’d have lost out on this nagging I so fondly remember …)

      • October 21, 2014 at 8:02 pm

        Think of those tribes in faraway lands that never wear shoes. The bottoms of their feet become like leather. That would take some major exfoliation!

        • October 21, 2014 at 8:08 pm

          See, now this is one of those comments I’m going to have to share with Anthony, who’ll snicker, shake his head, and sneak over to his keyboard to type something in response. He talked me into one pedicure a couple months back, but … there’s some work to be done. Just a teensy, eensy bit. Ahem.

  5. October 21, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    Great story Deborah. It’s lovely to combine the busy lives of an adult and a child, both of which have important goals.
    Character does develop but mostly we are born with our own, personal ways. So much fun to have when two worlds collide.B

    • October 21, 2014 at 8:00 pm

      They really are important goals! I tried to explain it to Li’l D that in the mornings, we’re going to have to be a little more driven and focus more on being timely. In the evenings, we’ll have more time to lounge and not worry so much about clocks and the like. I’m not convinced it hit mark tonight, but we’ll work on it over time … me on gently driving the results I want to see in the morning (and him assisting), then letting it hang loose in the evening!

      It really is fun when two worlds collide. Sometimes challenging, but the kind of challenge that makes life invigorating.

  6. cardamone5
    October 21, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    Sweet story. I appreciate you giving your son freedom to express his feelings, and be with them. So important.

    Fondly,
    Elizabeth

    • October 21, 2014 at 8:11 pm

      It’s one of the things that binds me so tightly to my mom even a few years after her death; how OK she was with anything I felt, and anything I said (save “I wish I’d never been born,” which might’ve passed my lips a few times as a teen).

  7. October 21, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Cute, cute, cuuuuuuuuuutie pie! Maycee runs out the door sockless and shoeless many a day. I’ve given up making sure she is fully clothed before leaving for school/work, and somehow she manages to get it all together by the time we pull up to the schoolyard. ๐Ÿ™‚ XOXO-Kasey

    • October 21, 2014 at 8:12 pm

      This makes me smile and feel better about the recurrent nature of this situation. With time, patience and a smile, all will be A-OK. *ginormous hug*

  8. October 21, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    Priceless ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. October 21, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Ha! Not the response I would have expected. I guess that’s the wonderful and surprising thing about kids ๐Ÿ™‚

    • October 21, 2014 at 8:18 pm

      Whenever I get an answer like that, I think of how I used to dislike kids and wonder what the heck I was thinking. Such sweet, amusing honesty!

  10. October 21, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Haha. The things kids come up with. Reminds me of when I was a substitute teacher. Told the class (sixth graders I think) they had to create a short quiz and give it to a classmate. One boy let out a big old sigh and said “Man, life is hard!” It was really, really hard not to laugh.

    • October 21, 2014 at 8:19 pm

      Oooooh, yeah. Li’l D will sometimes complain dramatically about some small thing or another and I’ll say, “If that’s the worst thing that happens to you today, you’ve got it made!” Unfortunately, I think we’re ill equipped to recognize such things in our own lives until … oh, mid to late 20s? D’oh!

      • October 21, 2014 at 9:45 pm

        haha well the prefrontal cortex (seat of rational thinking) doesn’t fully develop until around age 24. So, I would agree. But I also I think of it this way. Maybe it IS the hardest thing they’ve experienced so far. We have a few more years of suffering under our belt than those younger than us, and that can make it hard to remember how we might have felt at their age. It’s like comparing a gym newbie to a professional bodybuilder: a pro might think a 100lb bench press is not even a warm up, but to a newbie it might be unliftable!

  11. October 21, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    Your blog is really fun and I especially like your “please weigh in — KINDLY! I’m new to this whole blogging scene and was reading an excellent post today by a very talented young man and read a couple of “comments” that were totally unkind and totally mean and I began to wonder if this “blogging thing” was the way to go for me. I TOTALLY have no problems with disagreeing with me, but totally appreciate it done in a “kindly manner”, so thanks for your talents and your “kind blog”! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • October 21, 2014 at 8:22 pm

      Thank you, both for visiting and for the kind words! I’ve only received a couple of the brutal comments here, fortunately, but I’ve witnessed some terrible stuff being flung at blogging friends. I’m good for an even keel disagreement, but not so keen on the part where it gets personal or cruel. I’ve gotten a little too close for comfort myself a few times, but each has taught me (again!) where I do and don’t want to be. Welcome to the blogosphere!!!

      • October 21, 2014 at 8:33 pm

        Thanks for your kind reply. I’m a lover of kids, animals and life and especially like to look at life “thru a humorous lense” – really don’t have the time or the energy to deal with “angry people” (or “crusty people” as my friend says). And thanks, again, for your WELCOME!!

  12. October 21, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    Bahaha! Oh my goodness! Kids are so funny. I remember telling my oldest that I was going to drag her to the car if she didn’t hurry about about two years ago and she immediately started crying and said “But you will scrape all my skin off!” I learned in that moment that she is a very literal person lol!

    • October 23, 2014 at 5:13 am

      Hee! I don’t even realize how funny some of our expressions are until Li’l D expresses worry over them. I do so enjoy the process of illuminating non-literal meanings, though some are pretty darn hard to explain.

  13. October 21, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    Yay, Lil’D!! Him and my son are two peas in a pod. Like you, I never want to minimize my child’s feelings. Or, crush their spirit. It’s a delicate balance.
    My son always tells me: “Bugs have mommies and daddies, too. I want them to go home and be with their family.”
    Love the photo of you barefoot in the rain!! I was always afraid to go barefoot. My mom told me I’d get ringworm.

    • November 3, 2014 at 6:30 am

      Oh, but that statement is sweet! Li’l D and your son really do sound like two peas in a pod.

      I wish I had more photos of me barefoot in the rain, but I’m happy to have any. I’m glad my youngest sister (running a little behind us) had a camera to snap a few shots like that. It was such a beautiful thing for all of us to be out there running in the rain in Mom’s memory …

  14. October 22, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    What a good mom you are, Deborah–patient, honest, loving, real. Thank you for sharing the delight of your son and self, my friend. Xo

  15. October 22, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Well you are a terrible human being (as I laugh out loud at this). How could you be so mean (as tears roll from my hysteria).

    Really? He was going to walk on ants? Bring him to Texas, boy do I have some things for him to walk on.

    This was great, he will learn. In the meantime, cherish these times.

  16. October 23, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    This made me laugh! Peeper, on the opposite side of the spectrum, has recently decided she hates socks, footie jammies and shoes. She tries to pull them offโ€”especially the footie PJs I love so much. Doesn’t she know they’re adorable?

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