When I was four or five I was given the game Ants In The Pants, I recall playing it, mostly with a lot of frustration because it was quite difficult to get those crazy ants inside those crazy pants! I remember, for the few years I went to a private school before being homeschooled, the cafeteria had the game too & it often came out along with Spill the Beans to be played.

Why this memory hit me so strongly over the past month I’ve really no idea at all. I think it started when our very wiggly child was, well.. wiggling all over. I told him he was acting like he had ants in his pants. Which made me chuckle as I thought about the game.

Our child, on the other hand sat up & said, “Ants? In my pants? I hope they are bull ants or jack jumpers. That’d be really painful.” Ahh, the joys of living in a country with inch-long ants that hurt like the dickens when they bite! And our poor boy has some first hand experience on that front too.

I then had to explain exactly what the game was, & how you played it. I went on & on about the little pair of blue pants you tried to get the ants to jump into, but I’m afraid the more I described this game the more confused my kids got. Maybe it was the concept, who knows.

Last Friday we ducked into our local library to return some books & then made a quick dash for the grocery shop. I was trying to be quick & efficient, both due to time & because I’ve been fighting some nasty chest infection for the past 5 weeks & I really didn’t want to be out longer than I had to be.

As I’m dashing hither & yon trying to avoid crashing into all the other crazy Friday shoppers eager to get home from a long week of work & settle in for a cold night to watch football finals, I nearly crashed into a promotional display in the produce department.

Yes, the produce department. See our produce department & deli are side by side  & it’s not abnormal for our deli to back up so long that people react like they’ve won the lottery when their number is called & they are served. So much so we still giggle about the man who screamed, “BINGO!” when his number was called. Needless to say, it’s a great place for all sorts of promotional displays & the powers that be use it to their advantage.

The promotional display that I happened to run into was a display for old board games made new, & right there smack in the front was Ants In The Pants. Not in the tall slightly cubist slightly rectangular style box I remember, but in a flat pack box. I was slightly doubtful that it could be the real deal available for $10, but the box claimed it was & had the Hasbro logo on it so I snatched it up, much to my children’s confusion, & dashed through the store to finish collecting our meat pies, melon, & milk.

When we got home I whipped out the game with as much flourish as is possible when you’re hacking between every word & said, “Let me introduce you to— Ants In The Pants!” They laughed. I dont’ mean they giggled, I mean they laughed so hard I completely lost them for a few minutes there.

So I did the only sensible thing available, I pulled out the dairy free chocolate & bribed them to play a round with me. We put our pants together, that’s right they now have to be assembled thus the flat packing, & sorted out colours. There were many gripes that these “bugs” didn’t look anything like ants but more like grasshoppers, true true.. Mr S walked in & we waited for him to join us.

And while our dinner cooked we shot ants all over the kitchen. It may be the first time in al the years we’ve lived in Australia there was not one complaint or shout of horror at finding ants all over the kitchen. To be honest, the game is still as crazy as ever & I’m still absolutely horrible at getting those ants consistently into the pants, but it sure elicited a lot of laughter around our kitchen.

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