In just a few days, excited children and adults around the globe will be ripping and tearing through colorful gift bags and wrappings to finally discover what exactly is beneath it all. That is … unless you are a certain delightful 2-year-old who frequently visits our house. Let’s just say last weekend Ben had a bit of a head start.

As Ben bolted through the front door, it was his first peek into the grandparent’s house all dolled-up for Christmas. His eyes were like flying saucers from outer space as he expertly located the Christmas tree covered in decades of sparkly glass and homemade decorations. After making a skillful lunar landing in the fake tree’s direction, Ben ripped off a low-hanging ornament and told me what it was. While the little guy is still in “vocabulary training,” he has all the usual Christmas suspects down like … Santa, reindeer and snowman … you get my snow drift.

It was about 30 minutes later while working in the kitchen, I heard a sudden rustling of paper coming from the direction of the Christmas tree. I was willing to bet $9 our little guy with the saucer-sized eyeballs had something to do with the ripping and tearing. Five giant steps later, I caught Ben red-handed ripping partway through one of the presents. How do you explain to a 2-year-old he would have to wait for a few more days? What exactly is a day in the life of a toddler? And the present he had just mutilated was actually for his brother. It was my fault for allowing wrapped presents to assemble like moon rocks on the surface of the Christmas tree skirt so close to the big day.

Did I mention, my favorite word in Ben’s current repertoire has nothing to do with Christmas, or even spaceships? Nope. I would be the first to admit “toddler speak” often sounds like something that would come out of a Martian’s orifice. There is something drippy sweet about the way a toddler talks before their enunciation kicks in like a snowball hurled at 55-miles-per-hour. It is adorable … and sadly isn’t meant to last forever. Blink twice and those cute words become a faraway galaxy memory … which kinda reminds me of ginger snaps in July. Does anyone remember what ginger snaps taste like in July?

Our daughter was balancing Ben on the kitchen island as the adults prepared dinner plates first for the little boys. Katie was asking Ben if he wanted a “tickle” with his dinner. My ears perked up to see what happened next. Was tickling some kind of new mother/son pre-dinner ritual? I had to admit it sounded like fun. And Ben seemed VERY excited about the thought of a “tickle.” I wondered if grandmas could play. I generously applied the obligatory “dipping sauce,” also known as ketchup, to Jacob’s plate but kept my ears on alert to see what happened next. Grandmas are like that … oh the anticipation.

“Hey mom, Ben wants a ‘pickle’ with his dinner. He calls ‘pickles’ … ‘tickles.’” Katie said, noting the initial bewildered look on my face.

So glad Katie was around to translate. I quickly raced over to the fridge and planted a couple of bread and butter “tickles” on Ben’s plate. Our cute little Martian let out a sigh.

May your Christmas be merry and bright and … just like Ben … contain lots of tickles and pickles.

Dixie Frantz
Author: Dixie FrantzWebsite: http://www.lifesloosethreads.comEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist
I am a long-time Houstonian in love with writing, blogging, travel, quilting and reading. I have written “You Gotta Laugh,” a humorous newspaper column, for the past 21 years. The columns showcase the funny, amusing and sometimes touching slices of life from the suburbs. My writing credentials include more than 430 humorous columns, features and travel stories for The Tribune Newspaper.

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