If ya got kids, ya know they can do some pretty funny stuff sometimes, but I never seen anything like Brad and Betty’s son, Nick. He’s pushin’ three now, so ya can’t blame him, I guess. Seems like each kid got their own thing that only they do and nobody really knows why they do it.
When Rosie was really little, she used to fall asleep twirlin’ Minnie’s hair around and round in her fist. Then when she was a toddler, she had this pink blanket she named Lucy that had a silky fringe, and she’d take the blanket everywheres we’d let her. And ya could always tell if she was feelin’ sad about somethin’ because she’d go sit by herself and rub Lucy’s silky end against her cheek and not say anything. And right around when she started goin’ to school, she got right into butterflies. She’d spend hours chasin’ them around the backyard in the summertime just to get a better look at them, and her first little backpack for school had a butterfly on it.
Little Bill had his own things he did when he was a kid, and they were all different. When he was really little, ya could always tell when he was about to fill his diaper because he’d get this terrified look on his face, and sometimes even start cryin’ as it was happenin’, but the minute it was over, he’d be all laughy and smiley again. Holy cripes, I used to say to Minnie, I never seen a kid so happy to be walkin’ around full of you-know-what.
Then when he was a toddler, Little Bill used to love to put stuff in the VCR. I’d come home from the video store with a good cop movie or somethin’, try to slip it in after the kids went to bed, and it’d get stuck halfway because of whatever he put in there. Sometimes it was half a peanut butter sandwich, or the last bite of a hot dog. We figured he musta thought the slot on the VCR was a mouth, so we started callin’ it Victor. Oh, looks like Little Bill was feedin’ Victor again, we’d say.
One night we found half a black crayon in there, and we said – hmm, he musta moved on from food if he’s puttin’ other stuff in there now. Half an hour later, Little Bill burped and threw up, and right there on the kitchen floor was the other half of the black crayon. Looks like him and Victor had a snack, Minnie says. Needless to say, for about five years there, one of my main hobbies was takin’ apart the VCR every night, cleanin’ it out, and puttin’ it back together.
Then right around when he started goin’ to school, Little Bill took up mountain climbing. Of course, it wasn’t really mountain climbing, that’s just what he called it when he climbed up the fridge door. He’d stand in front of the closed fridge, reach on his tip toes until he could get his fingers in between the fridge and freezer doors, and then he’d hang on and start walkin’ his feet up the door. After he did it a few times, he figured out how to climb his feet all the way up and then flip them back through his arms again, to basically do a somersault and land back on the floor. You’d walk out in the kitchen, and the little jeezer’d be halfway up the fridge.
Anyways, all this don’t got nothin’ on Brad and Betty’s son Nick. He’s about three now, and he discovered his favourite toy is actually attached to himself, if ya know what I mean. He’s forever flickin and pullin’ and scratchin’, and the poor little fella, the way he’s most comfortable doin’ it is if he strips down to his bare arse. And now he’s just old enough that he figured out how to get snaps undone and that, and Betty figures it’s only a matter of time before he gets arrested for public indecency.
Betty went with Minnie went for groceries there a few weeks ago. Nick was sittin’ in the cart, playin’ with a stuffed animal or somethin’. Minnie said they were down in the bakery and they seen pies were on sale. She said they spent no more than 10 or 15 seconds lookin’ at the pies, and when they turned back, all his clothes were on the floor and there he was in all his glory, naked as a jaybird, holdin’ onto himself for dear life with one hand and reachin’ for a molasses cookie with the other.
Oh my God! Betty screamed at the top of her lungs, which is what made everybody in the store turn and look.
Last week, Brad and Betty took little Nick into one of the portrait studios to get a nice family picture. Of course, every time they tried to pry his hand out of his pants long enough to sit still for a picture, he’d start ballin’ his face off. So after a while Betty just said to hell with it, and let him sit there like that. So now, if ya walk into Brad and Betty’s house, right above the couch in their livin’ room, there’s a picture of the happy family – Brad smilin’ through his big walrus moustache, Betty smilin’ with her head tilted to the side, and Nick with his hand down his pants grabbin’ himself and – needless to say – a giant smile on his face.
What if he don’t grow out of it? Betty asked Minnie the other day. I keep picturin’ him growin’ up like that. High school graduation, hand down his pants. His wedding day, hand down his pants. He goes for his first job interview, hand down his pants.
Well, I said, if ya can teach him how to put his hand in other people’s pants, maybe he’ll grow up to be a politician.