Not A Frickin’ Ant Sphere!!


Don’t get me wrong, I love being a Toys R Us toyologist. I absolutely love it!!! It was just great knowing that we came back from holiday there was going to be a Pandora’s Box of toy magic waiting for us. In fact, when we got home we couldn’t find it, and so, I assumed it hadn’t arrived, until my neighbour revealed that it had been squatting in her garage – hurrah! The Grenade was beside himself. He is still, gleefully enthusiastic about the prospect of new toys. There, thankfully, is no nonchalence on his part regarding the whole honour of his noble Toys R Us selection. (Despite the fact that I have clearly already ruined him by spoiling him beyond belief. I can’t help it. I am addicted to making him happy. In a Victorian, rule him with a rod of steel, kind of happy way, of course!)

Obviously, like all good product whores there’s a price to pay. Toys R Us need a 100,000 people to Like their page before Christmas. If you have kids there will be tons of competitions and giveaways on it, so click here and Like it – please say AMMM sent you. Pimp. Pimp. Pimpity. Pimp.

As you can see from the slideshow the box opening was scrambled through with great excitement. Twister – great! I shall be filming my masked vigilantes trampoline Twister review on Friday, and posting on Sunday, so watch this space. Iggle Piggle – tick. The Menace, who will watch only five programmes on the tellybox – Peppa Pig, Ben and Holly’s Magic Kingdom, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Tigger and Pooh and In The Night Garden absolutely loves her Iggle Piggle. She is snuggled down with him/her/it as I type so it is definitely an absolute winner.

But Pandora’s Box indeed because as The Grenade leapt around the room, screaming “ANT SPHERE, ANT SPHERE!! Woo Hoo!”, my heart sank.

“Oh no – not a frickin’ Ant Sphere!!”


(Dagnamit, I need a geek. If you have just watched the vlog you will note that I am not the technical genius. However, I am so amused by the outcome that I don’t want to delete it and I when I tried to upload it again it was rejected as a duplicate video so I shall just have to write instead what I just spoke.)

Ant Sphere should have a huge neon sign saying ‘ANTS NOT INCLUDED!’ Science was never my strongest subject. Patience was not a gift I was blessed with. I have been in ant farming hell before. When The Grenade was younger, I bought a similar toy under the misguided, naive, Utopian belief that I was combining play, knowledge and science. Little did I know that it would serve to bite me firmly in the bum. In order to populate said farm, you need to go forth and collect the little critters. No easy task, I might add.

Having spent an entire life trying to avoid ants, I found myself trying to find a mass of them and then working out how I was going to coax them into my plastic Chinese take away recepticle, with lid. The Grenade and I identified a nest of ants on the pavement and then set to work trying to capture them. The ants were very keen to avoid capture so began to undertake evasive manoeuvres. After about 20 minutes of not a single ant in our captivity, I decided that we were going to have to try and out flank them with a new tactic so I went inside and got a pencil. The purpose of the pencil was to try and push them by the bottom into the plastic box. This was not very successful as they just walked up the pencil and buggered off. The Grenade at the point had managed to get one on his finger and we put that in the box. The lone ant. Hardly the beginning of a great colony.

After a few more minutes I gave up on the pencil and thought I would try a different tack so went inside the house and collected a straw. This proved to be a more successful capture device as I could poke them with the pencil into the centre of the straw and then blow them into the box. As I opened the box and blew in the ant, the original lone ant then immediately escaped. Eventually, after an hour and half, I had managed to capture and contain around 10 ants.

The ants were then released into the ant farm. Excellent, now educate my child in your ant colony behaviour patterns, you little beasticles, I thought! (Look I am not an antist – I respect their rights really.) However, what I hadn’t realised is that it is imperative that you don’t mix your ant colonies because if they are not from the same town they kill each other. Ah yes, I hear you say, ‘excellent, a fine battle for the child to watch and gain from.’

But no, it’s not like the Ant Chronicles of Narnia! What happens is you go to bed, and in the morning when you wake up, all the little varmits that you spent the best part of two hours shoving up a straw with a pencil and blowing into a box have gone and killed each other. I think we had one hero ant marching through the gel – the lone survivor. It is safe to assume that unless somebody tells me where I can buy me a bag of ants I have to say that I am not loving the Ant Sphere!!!



  1. Arabella September 22, 2010 Reply

    Love it. Love it. Love it. I should have had an ant sphere in India, there were hundreds of the buggers and I could have set them all onto each other to distract them from finding, invading and consuming my scant stock of bananas.

    • amodernmilitarymother September 23, 2010 Reply

      Hmmm – I know a magical place where you can get one……maybe I need a banana trap!!

  2. Heather - Notes From Lapland September 23, 2010 Reply

    ha ha ha ha! brilliant! I’ve always wanted one of these ant farms, not sure why really, i just did…but yeah, never really thought about the whole ant catching thing before…

  3. Steve September 23, 2010 Reply

    I guess wormeries have the same problem? Either way I don’t want garden creep[y crawlies creeping and crawling inside my house! I don’t envy you at all!

    • amodernmilitarymother September 23, 2010 Reply

      I also have wormmery full of dead worms and decomposing vegetables – however you can buy worms by the bag. And it’s in the garden not the bedroom!

  4. Auld-Yin September 23, 2010 Reply

    David Attenborough you ain’t 🙂 But just think of the joy you will have chasing all those likle ants when they escape.


    p.s. I am a Victor Meldrew and HATE Toys R Us 🙂

  5. backawaydonut September 23, 2010 Reply

    Can you hear me laughing all the way over here in Suffolk?

  6. Very Bored in Catalunya September 24, 2010 Reply

    OK now I am itching, badly! What a terrible toy.

  7. Vegemitevix September 24, 2010 Reply

    Hilarious! Can’t say we ever needed an ant farm – there were too many lifestyle-ants living in our kitchen in NZ for us to seek them – but we did try a wormery. That worked well for about two days, until the Englishman left it out in the sun and they baked alive! Yummy! Free toys sounds like a good gig though. Very funny and well written. I can just imagine the horror of trying to capture the ants!

  8. Misssy M September 24, 2010 Reply

    Oh my son Indy got given an ant farm and my daughter let them all free one day.

  9. Sparx September 25, 2010 Reply

    I had an ant farm as a kid and I don’t remember ever successfully filling it with ants! I’m not laughing at you, I promise I’m laughing with you!

  10. Hilarious! Around here we are terrified of ants because there is a certain variety called FIRE ANTS that bite you and leave big welts. Also, my son Diego is terribly allergic to them we found out last year when he was bitten 15 times under my moms watch and almost died. For real. We had to call the paramedics and everything. He went into shock and his throat started closing up. So suffice to say, we won’t be having any ant collection parties around here.

  11. Maranda September 27, 2010 Reply

    LMFAO!!!! I’m sorry to laugh seeing as how you will be in Ant Hell yet again very soon…but damn that was a funny story! Poor thing. I can just imagine that lone ant walking through the tunnels with a little swagger and bravado saying “what now??”

    Good luck with the ant sphere!

    • amodernmilitarymother September 27, 2010 Reply

      He was marching around the tunnels chanting ‘c’mon if you think you are hard enough!!’ I need a professional ant catcher!

  12. Anti Vigilante September 27, 2010 Reply

    What you really need is little tiny solar powered digging robots with colored LEDs. I don’t have the foggiest where to find them. But maybe there’s some place in the bowels of some ABCDEFG agency basement.

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