Joey Ant was a great concept while it lasted.
Like all parents, we have values which we want to instill into our children. Appreciate the earth. Respect nature. Be kind to living creatures. And don't be afraid of bugs. And don't become the type of kid that steps on bugs for fun.
When Wolfie was a toddler, he noticed a large black ant crawling across our carpet. Seizing the opportunity to teach all those values at once, I scooped up the ant and brought it outside. Somehow, throughout the process, Wolfie named the ant Joey and so from then on whenever he saw an ant he would talk to it as if it were Joey Ant, his old friend.
This went on for years.
Then one day a relative gave us a small basket of dried fruit and I left it on the counter while we went out for the day. When we returned, there was a whole happy colony of ants crawling all over that basket.
I smashed a bunch of ants. And I'm pretty sure my kids saw. And then I dropped the act because, really, I'd rather smash those crappy ants for crawling around inside my house than to pretend that I scoop up every one of them to bring outside.
Well, my children pretty much appreciate the earth, respect nature, and are kind to living creatures. They don't scream at the sight of bugs like some children do. And they don't smash bugs for fun like some children do. They alert me to the sight of ants in our house and I do the smashing.
Today the girls were helping me in the garden and we searched for bugs. We found some grubs, worms, saw two spiders with huge egg sacs, and found tons of roly polys. Everyone was fascinated.
Tulip then says to me, "Mama, sometimes when I see an ant in our house and there is no grown up around, I find something hard and I smash it and then to be sure I smash it's head again to destroy its brains." My sweet darling nature-loving flower girl said this.
"Oh," was just about all I could say.