After dinner, I manage to persuade both kids to go for a walk with me. I precede our walk with the lecture on, "Remember how you whined about how far it was last time? If you don't want to go, that's fine. But I don't want whining."
Bizarrely it worked. Noodle didn't complain about the distance even once.
About half way through our walk, there is a lovely little waterfall with a bridge. It's been dry lately, so the waterfall is just hypothetical, but the kids like to teeter on the guardrail like the illustrations from Madeline's Rescue from my childhood. (Right before Madeline plunges into the Siene and is saved by a pregnant golden retriever.)
This is the same idyllic scene where I asked Q to kindly walk more quickly so Noodle wouldn't fall, evoking his hubris, causing him to run, in flip flops, and naturally slip and scrape the inside of his thigh in a manner which brought to mind road rash. Not even chocolate could comfort him. Although for reasons beyond me, Q doesn't like chocolate and the melty pieces from my back pocket that I'd saved as a treat for the kids was apparently less than motivating, much less a treat. It tasted just fine. I don't know what his problem is.
So this is where I am walking, yet again, with my children.
I try to not watch to carefully because it just invites disaster. I'm afraid of heights and nothing makes a kid wobble like someone saying, "Be careful!" They might fall the 18 inches to the ground and require carrying the half mile home up hill.
I glance back at Noodle. There is a large ant walking on the rail toward her.
I suspect that large ant has a mother on the ground covering her eyes and muttering something about 'Don't come crying to me when you fall 18 inches to the ground,' which in the ant world must be 18 stories.
Noodle has no perspective. She sees the ant scampering toward her pink sandal and screams, "Mom!"
I watch her wobble and try to decide if telling her just to stamp on the darn thing is heartless or practical.
Noodle decides this is the perfect time to panic. She lets out a scream so loud and shrill the neighbors are going to flood their yards expecting to see a coyote attacking a small child. I scoop her off the guard rail and deposit her on the ground. She examines her sandal suspiciously, then walks down the side walk unphased by her near death experience.
I look around to explain the situation to the neighbors, but not a single person is on their lawn.
And that is what is wrong with America. Coyotes can attack small children, ants are dying, and no one even pulls up a lawn chair to watch.
Also we saw a small bunny.