Claire has a history of being rather scared of ants. Sometimes we would sit on the white-painted wooden steps in front of the house, playing or just hanging out. On those bright white steps, a little tiny ant showed up easily, and Claire never seemed to miss one. She would yell, “annnnttt!” and frantically scramble up or down the steps, away from the minuscule intruder. Eventually her fear was moderated, and she would generally just avoid any ants she saw, gradually with less and less trepidation.

Now it is the ants who should be afraid.

Tonight Claire noticed a little ant crawling on the table during dinner. She said in a loud but not panicked voice, “ant!” Kit and I, out of habit, were reassuring her it was not going to hurt her, and there was nothing to be afraid of, as the ant crawled closer to her plate. Claire kept staring at it intensly, and then — whack! — she brought her hand up and down quickly and smashed the ant on the table. The fierce strike immediately stopped the ant, and Claire went back to eating her pizza.

I was a little horrified, actually. I don’t normally squash insects unless they are really being a nuisance. I am not sure where Claire even got the idea to smash it; from all the older boys she hangs out with, I guess. Nonetheless, I was also strangely impressed by her power and coordination. Claire normally sort of fumbles with soccer balls and runs around in circles giggling. But this toddler can take care of business if she needs to!

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