Spunk: Membership Has Its Privileges

Several weeks ago I stopped at the grocery before picking up our son from mothers’ day out.  Now, because I normally can’t remember what happened yesterday, the fact that I remember this is a big deal,  y’all.


After dropping Tater Tot off that morning I returned home and got to work on the list of things that are much easier to do when a nearly-two-year-old hasn’t attached himself to one or both of your legs.  I worked myself silly for several hours straight.  Needless to say, by the time I got to the grocery that afternoon, even though I’d taken a shower and all, I was pooped and the only child I desired to have any contact with was the one who lived under our roof.


You can see it coming, can’t you?


Ready to check out and anxious to pick up the little fella, I grabbed a Diet Coke for the road and got in line behind an elderly lady and waited.  Let me just tell you that she was THE CUTEST little old lady I think I’ve ever seen, and I decided this even before I ever heard her speak.  Some little old ladies just reek of the cuteness.


Now, I have to tell you that I just LOVES me some little old ladies, and I have always said that I can’t wait to become one because I have great plans for myself once I get there, Lord willin’ and all.  I’m always telling Tater Daddy, “When I’m a little old blue hair, I’m gonna…”  He swears I’m searching for the fountain of old.


My mind was wandering and I was thinking that this particular little old lady reminded me of the character, Aunt Rae, in “Something to Talk About,” when I was jerked back to the real world by a little girl and her mother who were standing in the line next to ours.  I suppose the little girl was about four, and let me tell you, she was a confident little ray of sunshine, don’t ya know.  So, that’s what I’ll call her.  Sunshine.  You know, just for hoots and hollers and such.


Sunshine was holding a bottle of water and declaring loudly to her mother and anyone else within a five-mile radius, “I am drinking WATER, Mommy.  I like WATER, Mommy.”  And Mommy was nodding in approval and adoration of Sunshine, who continued, “WATER is healthy, Mommy.  I am very HEALTHY.”  Mommy kept nodding and saying things like, “Yes, you are,” and, “Mommy is very proud.”


Now, I’m all for giving children a healthy sense of self and praising them for making good choices.  But there comes a time when you’ve crossed over into Obnoxiousville.  These people kept on going until they got to Grate-On-Everyone’s-Last-Nerve City and took up root.  I’m just sayin’ that a little can go a long way.


Every so often, the cute little old lady would turn and look their way, smile politely, glance at me and cut her eyes ever so slightly.  You know the look I’m talking about.


Well, that was more than enough for me to think that she was simply as cute as a button!  Just wait.  It gets better.


Sunshine suddenly turned her attention to the Diet Coke I was pouring down my throat and pointed. Yes, she did. She POINTED.  (Now, I don’t know that this is limited to Southerners — and I certainly hope that it isn’t — but from a very young age we’re taught that it isn’t polite to point.  Unless someone specifically says, “Point,” it’s just rude.  And even then, we usually say, “Are you sure you want me to point?”  And if the answer is, indeed, that pointing is desired, we’ll almost always wave our whole hand around in the general direction.  Unless, of course, we’re pointing out spiders, snakes, mice, or which batch of potato salad to stay away from at the family picnic because Aunt LooLoo made it and you know she never checks the expiration date on eggs and mayonnaise.  In that case, you’d better point that polished fingernail, sister, because lives may depend on it!)


But, I digress.


So there little Sunshine is, pointing.  Then she said, in what I’m sure is her stage voice, “SHE is drinking a POP, Mommy!”  SHE, of course, being yours truly.


Side note:  If you’re in the South and you call a soft drink a “pop,” you’ve just told everyone that you’re from the north.  That’s perfectly fine…unless you’ve been rude.  In that case, you’re a Yankee, and not too many folks will cut you much slack.  I’m not saying it’s right.  I’m just administering some helpful advice.


“Pops are NOT healthy, Mommy.  SHE is not healthy, Mommy.  Why is she drinking that?  She should be like ME.”  Mommy just stook there nodding while Sunshine stared at me and continued to talk nonstop about the same thing I’ve been rambling on about for what must be nine years now.


I took a big drink of my unhealthy Diet Coke and grinned.  I may have winked, too.  I can’t be sure.  I probably didn’t, but I’m quite sure I wanted to.


Evidently the little old lady had had enough of Sunshine and her mother, and in the way that ONLY little old Southern ladies can get away with, she turned to the mother and Sunshine and said, “Tell me, dear, just exactly where DO you all call home?  I mean, of course, you all moved here from where?”


After the mother answered her, the little old lady smiled a little and said, “Oh, that sounds lovely.  Will you return soon?”


As it sunk in and Sunshine’s mother realized why the three or four people within earshot were biting our lips, she glared at the lady and I’m pretty sure she was about to reply.  That is, until the gentleman behind her said, in a very heavy southern accent, “Not. One. Word.”


The next thing I knew, my heroine had paid for her few items and was on her way.


She had SPUNK.  And she wasn’t afraid to use it.


Those Three Little Words

About a month ago, Tater Tot and I spent the entire day with my mother, whom he calls Poopsie.  Well, right now it comes out more like Pootzie, which is much, much better than what it was up until a few months ago.  Until then she was PooPoo.  Don’t you know we dined out on that one!


Tater Tot, as usual, had a wonderful time with Poopsie.  They played outside, got stinking hot and dirty, ate Oreos, read books, watched Animal Planet, made all kinds of silly noises, drank water from Poopsie’s big styrofoam cup WITHOUT a lid — which his mean old mama never lets him do at home — stomped around the house, blew bubbles in their drinks with straws, drew all over each other with pens, and the list just goes on and on.  They laughed and giggled and hugged and snuggled and played like having fun was the only option.


Wouldn’t YOU have fun if you had a Poopsie?  Of course you would.  I strongly believe that grandparents get to do what grandparents want to do because they have more than paid their dues!  It’s their turn to be the fun ones.  And my mother and Tater Tot have this special bond that the rest of us can’t really “touch,” and they’ve had it ever since they first locked eyes.  As Poopsie puts it, “We sort of come from the same place and understand each other,” and I suppose that must be it, because they look at each other like no two people I’ve ever seen.  They are two peas in a pod, let me tell you.


When the event I’m writing about took place, Tater Tot wasn’t two yet, and we were trying to teach him some new sentences and phrases, such as, “Night-night.”  When I would take him to his room for bed, I would say, “Can you tell Daddy, ‘Night-night?'” and he would repeat it, and he eventually began saying it on his own. The same is true with “I’m sorry,” “Excuse me,” etc.  Of course, we have been telling him, “I love you,” since forever, but he hadn’t  said it on his own.  He might repeat it back to us, but he hadn’t just come on out with it, and that was fine with us.  He was full of hugs and kisses and we knew he was affectionate and loving.


That having been said, as we were leaving Poopsie’s house that afternoon, she got in the backseat with Tater Tot as I buckled him into his car seat and they were carrying on a bunch of foolishness as they tend to do.  I got in the car and Poopsie leaned in to kiss him goodbye.


As she was getting out of the car, Tater Tot said, “Bye-bye, see you soon,” and he waved his little hand and smiled at her so big that his eyes just disappeared.


She got back in the car and patted his leg and said, “My precious one, come back and see Poopsie.  I love you.”


He reached out his chubby little hand, rubbed her arm and softly said, “I love you, Pootzie.”


As far as I know, her feet didn’t touch the ground for several weeks.  Because you know how it is when a girl hears those three little words for the first time from a fellow she’s just crazy about.