#3 lay on our bed, text book opened before her, chewing on the end of her pencil. At the edge of the bed Wife sat, waiting to see if #3 understood the lesson. #3 carefully wrote out the equation, working through the problem with more deliberation than most juries. Then she jumped up like a startled cat, hackles raised.
“Ouch, ouch,” she cried.
It seemed the ants had again climbed into our bed. We had been fighting with them all summer. But every time Wife and I thought we had beaten them back, the ants invaded from another corner. I did not know we had so many corners our bedroom.
In a magnificent attempt to escape becoming ant-dinner, #3 bounded from the bed. She leapt like a deer, all graceful legs and arms, with the terror of pursuit in her eyes.
Unfortunately, this latest ant colony produces ants with sticky feet and strong jaws. They were not so easily shaken off.
“OUCH! OUCH! OUCH!”
She jumped onto a chair. A wildness to her movements.
All this happened before Wife could do more than take it in. Feeling the motherly urge to grab her daughter and slap the ants off her leg, she was too far away to do so. All she could do was call out to #3.
“Stop, brush the ants off. On your leg. STOP! You can’t run away from them.”
It was good that she shouted out when she did. #3 appeared ready to bolt from the house.
She smacked the ants gnawing on her ankle with enough force to stun a bull walrus. Once she was certain that there were no more unwanted commuters gorging on her, she stepped off the chair.
“Did you get them all?” Wife asked.
#3 nodded, rubbing the red bites and eyeing the bed like a bear trap.
Wife shook off the coverlet and replaced it on the bed. She then patted the textbook with one hand. “Come on now, let’s finish your homework. You can’t run away from this either.”
#3 crawled beside her mother, brushing away any black specks along the way that resembled ants. Snuggling close to Wife, she seemed to hope her mother’s presence would guard her from future forays. She buckled down to her homework, jumping at phantom crawlies until she finished.