So then…I accidentally overhear my daughter and her pals talking about a school incident. Now I don’t mind freely admitting that I frequently and deliberately eavesdrop on my kids – (gots to make sure they’re not cookin’ meth or prank callin’ the Pentagon) – but in this particular case, it really is accidental.
I’m in the pantry, with the door closed, all the better to sneak a snack – but I can’t find the damn Double Stuf Oreos. (And BTdubs, Oreos brand manager, buy another “f” for God’s sake – that “Double Stuf” is just the white trash snack name equivalent of “Brandi with an i.”)
I could’ve sworn I hid them in the crockpot, but they’re not there.
Did I forget where I hid them – or did someone discover them and re-hide them from me? Between my poor memory and my crafty kids, this pantry’s like one big Where’s Waldo? of Sweet Treats.
Just as I’m peeking inside the rice cooker, I hear my daughter and her 8th grade friends tumble into the kitchen outside the pantry door:
Daughter: Did you see how mad Mr. Briggs got in class today?
Friend 1: Oh yes!
Friend 2: Wait, I was with my advisor so I missed class today — but let me guess – was it Danny?
Friend 1: Yes! It’s always Danny!
Friend 2: Danny drives Mr. Briggs crazy! He’s always talking and disrupting the class.
Daughter: Yeah, so you know how the teacher sends him out of the classroom for a few minutes to calm him down?
Friend 2: You mean to calm the teacher down?
They all laugh.
Daughter: Yes! So today, Mr. Briggs sent Danny outside the classroom and told him not to come back inside until he “finds a pregnant ant!”
Friend 2: WHAT!?
Friend 1: Seriously! We all heard it! “Don’t come back until you find a pregnant ant!”
Friend 2: Omigod, that’s hilarious!
Hilarious? That’s GENIUS!
The girls tumble on through the kitchen back up to my daughter’s bedroom.
I find the Oreos behind the pasta boxes and chow down on the tasty treats with a cool glass of milk.
I have a new-found respect for Mr. Briggs.
What a creative consequence for disruptive behavior!
What a daunting challenge to give a rambunctious 13-year-old boy!
So many things to think about:
1) Surely Danny could locate some ants on the blacktop sport court outside the classroom – but how would he know which are pregnant?
2) How could he even determine if the ants are female? (I can barely tell the gender of most pets or lizards, so I’d need a high-powered microscope and a high-res anatomical ant diagram to determine that li’l insect’s sexual category!)
3) Did Danny rush out of the room, shouting “CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!”
4) Or did he spend hours hunched over the blacktop picking up ant after ant, looking closely, then placing it back down? “Nope.” “Nope.” “Oh, MAAAAYbe? Aw, nope.”
5) More to the point, what if Danny walked back into class with an ant and CLAIMED that it was pregnant? How could Mr. Briggs disprove it?
(Would they have to wait the average gestational period of an ant to see if indeed it did give birth!? I picture all the students and Mr. Briggs gathered around the lab table, intently staring at the ant waiting for it to pop out baby ant eggs! Perhaps wagers would be placed – DID Danny find a pregnant ant? What’re the odds? Will she give birth before class gets out? Perhaps kids belt out guesses as crumpled dollar bills and candy bars change hands.)
I quickly Google “ant pregnancy,” almost spilling my milk in the process, cheeks still full of Double Stuf(f) goodness.
“Ants go through complete metamorphosis: egg, larva, pupa, adult. However, only the queen ant lays eggs.”
Holy Shizznit! Danny has to find the QUEEN ant!?
“The queen ant stays in the nest. The worker ants walking around are all sterile females.”
Oh for God’s sake, now Danny has to find the NEST where the ONE PREGNANT QUEEN ANT is hiding out, with her feet up, watching “Ellen,” eating Double Stuf(f) Oreos – while her sterile female servants are out doing all the work?
Does Danny know this? Of course not! They probably cover this in Science class, but he’s too busy being thrown out for talking!
I wish I could text Danny this info. This is critical intel for him to have if Mr. Briggs gives him this assignment again!
I’m so worried about Danny, I corner my daughter later and grill her about the situation. She assures me that Danny’s not being picked on, has no issues, and is only sent outside for a few minutes at a time to gain composure and quit goofing off in class. I’m relieved.
(If he’s tasked with this again, I hope Danny’s clever enough to ask all the pregnant teachers on campus, “Do you have nieces or nephews?” If yes, he can grab her by the hand and introduce her to Mr. Briggs as a “pregnant aunt.” He’d surely get points for creativity!)
Meanwhile, I am PRAYING someone is disruptive in our next staff meeting. I CANNOT WAIT to throw out a similar challenge to one of our employees! “Kevin, step outside this moment! And don’t return until you find a pregnant ant!”
“Don’t come back until you find a diabetic turtle!”
“Don’t return until you find a dyslexic squirrel!”
Oh, the look on his face would be PRICELESS!
— Darcy Perdu
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(What’s the most creative punishment you’ve heard from a teacher, parent, or babysitter? Any clever ones of your own? How would YOU find a pregnant ant?)