“Oh mom, I changed my profile picture on my Facebook page. But you might not want to look at it,” our youngest child said, from the other end of the phone a few thousand miles away in Spain. Just a few words of explanation before I get good and cranked up … a person’s profile picture is the one all your friends see pretty much first when they open your Facebook page. If you don’t have one, there is nothin’ in that large spot but a big question mark with your name underneath. Since Ricky has been away, supposedly studying, I’ve noticed he has changed his photo several times, depending on his latest European adventure. Of course, a proclamation like “you might not want to look at it” caused my motherly eyebrows to slowly lift skyward. So naturally after we hung up the phone, look I most certainly did. Oh, but I wasn’t surprised at what I saw. Ricky has been marching to the tap, tap of his own big bass drum since he was a wee tater tot. It was always a major challenge keeping him out of the tippy tops of trees, off of rooftops and from climbing over the neighbor’s fence. Yep, Ricky ripped several layers of skin right off one whole side of his neck one day, trying to climb Mr. Mac’s fence to see what was going on next door. Oh, and did I mention a nearly 3-year-old Ricky nearly electrocuted the air conditioning guy in our back yard? Severely frustrated at those kinds of frequent moments, I’ve been known to remark to anyone who would listen that if Ricky had been born first, I might not have had any more children. Now that he is approaching at warp speed the age of 21 big ones, I have to admit the child has mellowed. Yep, now I wouldn’t trade him for a Nolan Ryan rookie baseball card, but way back then, it is hard to say. Yep, staring at Ricky’s Facebook page certainly sparked vivid memories of a complex little tyke. Ricky had to be 3 at the time of a rather embarrassing encounter at the bakery counter of our local grocery store. The bakery department back then used to keep a ginormous amount of free cookies in a bunch of neat vertical rows all behind glass. They offered a couple different kinds. There were sugar, chocolate chip, and I think, even oatmeal, with one free cookie per pint-sized customer. During our grocery adventures, our special needs child, Mimi, rode in the basket of the shopping cart while Ricky walked, or rather, ran the aisles. Sugar cookies were Mimi’s favorite. I have many pleasant memories of feeding bites of her cookie to her as we prowled the aisles looking for her brother. “Which cookie would you like, young man?” the smiling lady behind the counter cheerfully asked, probably for the 100th time that day. “I want that one,” said a drooling Ricky pointing to a chocolate chip version located in the very middle row at the extreme front of the counter. The nice lady grabbed a particularly perfect one from the back, wrapped it in a pristine white paper napkin, and expertly handed it to the little guy. That was the moment my wee boy lost it. There were no thank-you-very-much pleasantries exchanged … just a little kid quite out of control. “I said I want THAT one,” Ricky screamed as he pointed. “Ricky, you got your cookie, now say thank you to the nice lady,” I freaked. If you’ve ever been in the presence of a tyke’s temper tantrum, you know one of the likely solutions is to quickly exit and live to fight another day. It was hubby that explained to me Ricky’s expectations when we got home. “Obviously, the boy thought that if you say I can have a free cookie, you better give me the particular cookie I picked out,” Hubby said. But let’s fast forward to the new Facebook picture before we run out of newspaper space. I have learned that every now and then, the toddler Ricky, peeks out from behind the mustache and goatee grown since he’s been in Spain. I remember peering at the photo for several seconds declaring, why am I not surprised? The background was dark. It musta been cold ‘cause he was wearing a dark jacket with a stripped, collared shirt peeking from underneath. And between his teeth was the source of my un-surprise … it was lit … with lots of shooting sparks resembling something between a sparkler and a small Roman candle. To my dismay, the dude was holding lit fireworks in his mouth. My eyes narrowed as I closed his Facebook page. The lad flies home in mid-May from studying abroad. I’m considering corporal punishment, or at the very least, a very, very long time-out. Dixie Frantz is a Kingwood resident and newspaper columnist for the past 12 years. E-mail Dixie with your comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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