Sunday, August 28, 2011


One of my friends called to tell me she was in a store the other day where there was a sign on the wall that said: “Unattended children will be given a cup of black coffee and a free kitten!”

Someone obviously has a sense of humor.

Her call made me think about a little boy about three years old I’d seen in a store a few days before. His mother was pushing a full shopping cart and he was walking behind her, dawdling. Every few seconds, the mother would turn around and tell him to walk faster, but he seemed to fall even farther behind.

Finally the mother shook her head, sighed, grabbed him by the hand and said, “You are the slowest person on earth today!”

To which the little boy replied, “Yeah, I’m getting to be just like Grandma.”

I couldn’t help it, I burst out laughing. The mother rolled her eyes and laughed, too.

Kids really do come out with some pretty cute stuff. When I was about three, I said something cute that my mother always referred to as her most embarrassing moment. Believe me, even 50 years later, she still never let me live it down.

She, my aunt and I had gone shopping in downtown Manchester and stopped in Woolworth’s for a snack at the lunch counter. The minute we set foot in the store, my mother said she had to go to the ladies’ room...urgently. My aunt and I stayed on the main floor while my mother ran to the back of the store and up the long staircase to the second-floor restrooms.

I, with my eyes riveted on the stairs, patiently waited for my mother to return. When I finally spotted her descending the stairs, I was so excited, I shouted as loud as I possibly could, “Mommy! Do you feel better now? Did you make a nice big pee-pee?”

My mother froze as all heads turned to look up at her. It was as if she were the guest of honor at a party and was making her grand entrance. My mother’s face turned a neon crimson color as she lowered her head and made her way to the bottom of the stairs. When she finally reached the main floor, everyone cheered and applauded.

I don’t think my mother ever went into Woolworth’s again.

But some of the things kids say are considered cute by some and not so cute by others.

Take, for example, the day my friend Linda and her little boy, Petey, came over to visit. Just before then, my husband had spent countless days building a model ship. Each mast, each line holding the sails, each tiny cannon, had relentlessly tested his patience until he’d been tempted to take the ship to Hampton Beach and fling it into the ocean to give it a burial at sea.

But after all of the torture, all of the colorful language, all of the backaches from leaning over the table, working on the model every night, he finally finished the ship. It truly was a masterpiece, worthy of a spot in a sailing museum. Carefully, my husband set it on the bookshelf in the guest bedroom. His chest swelled with pride as he admired it.

While Linda and I caught up on the local gossip, Petey ran rampant throughout the house. Suddenly a crash, followed by something that sounded like bubble wrap being stepped on, came from the guest room.

Linda, my husband and I dashed into the room. There stood Petey, looking down at the floor at a pile of rubble that once had been my husband’s precious ship.

Petey, his eyes wide, looked up at us and said, “Uh oh, I made a big boo-boo!”

Linda burst out laughing. “Isn’t that adorable?” she said, once she’d caught her breath.

I could tell by my husband’s expression that “adorable” wasn’t exactly the word he was thinking of at that particular moment.

“Pick up that mess and put it back on the shelf,” Linda told Petey. She then turned to me and said, “Now let’s go finish our tea before it gets cold!”

My husband’s mouth fell open and I braced myself for what I knew was about to happen. Sure enough, he was right on cue.

“Is that it?” he said to Linda. “No apology, no offer to replace my ship with another kit? You just let your son run around breaking things in people’s houses, and that’s fine with you?”

Linda shrugged. “He’s only a little kid. Accidents happen. That’s just the way life goes.”

Within seconds, Linda and Petey were holding their coats and my husband was pointing them in the direction of the front door. “This way out!” he said.

Some people just have no sense of humor when it comes to kids.

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