Children are charming. Need I say more? Yes, by golly, I shall.
How charming? Well, even when things go awry in very, let us say, less-than-tasteful circumstances, they retain their cuteness.
Take Friday for example. We had a writer's group meeting in the home of a good friend. To protect her innocence (and she truly was innocent here), I shall call her Sally.
Well, Sally has an unbelievably cute son who is almost two. He’s beautiful and round and has these huge eyes. He also has enough energy to power the city of Los Angeles for the next century. Let’s call him Adam, shall we?
As we critiqued our writing, Adam toddled from one person to the next, leaning on our knees and jabbering in a language only his mother could understand. For the most part, he was entirely happy making the rounds as we boring adults talked about such things as pace, flow, and characterization.
What we didn’t realize was we had the perfect story unfolding right in front of us. We'd all enjoyed Adam’s brief attentions to us, and we’d all stroked his unbelievably soft hair . . . and we’d all hid our pens from his too-quick hands.
We were vested.
When Adam crossed the floor holding a tiny flower bud from his mom’s beautiful arrangement, we didn’t think anything of it.
Until he stuck it up his nose.
Then we noticed. In slow motion we saw it hit his right nostril opening, then get shoved up by a very chubby index finger.
I think a few of us hollered – you know that motherly instinct that has you reaching out a second too late, with guttural grunts of “No!” and “Stop!” and “Oh my –.” I don’t remember the particulars, only Adam’s proud grin as he came sauntering up, giving the bud an extra shove for good measure.
It was gone. As in gone gone. Not even a trace of it – at all.
His good mother went into action, grabbing her son and a tissue, saying, “Blow for Mommy.”
He snuffed up hard instead, and our guttural grunts began again – this time with a few giggles. (Sorry, Sally, we really couldn’t help it - because Adam was grinning again - and he's just so cute!)
Not bothered at all by everyone’s concern (in fact, he really seemed to be enjoying it), he pointed to his nose, saying something. My best guess is: “Note to self: this is how to bring the house down. Must do this again.”
Sally tried several times to get him to blow, with no success.
So, since the object in queston was organic in nature and tiny in size, his poor mother had to give up – for the moment – and let her wiggling son down.
The critiques continued. Adam toddled around some more, with everyone poised should he sneeze.
Which he did.
The bud appeared for just a second. While his mother madly scrambled to grab him, he deftly snuffed in up and ran the other way.
We all groaned. And giggled. There might have been a gag in there, but no one’s admitting it.
The critiquing carried on. Adam’s circles grew slower. He started yawning and rubbing his eyes. Soon, he gravitated to his mother’s lap. After sitting there a minute, he sneezed.
Some rather interesting things appeared, including the bud. (Since I doubt you want details, I won’t add any.)
We all shouted. Adam’s eyes flew wide. You could tell he was gathering breath for a really good snuff.
But his mom’s lightning-quick reflexes soon had the offending item on a tissue, which she proudly held up.
And we cheered. And Adam grinned.
Funny thing, that. If anyone told me this morning that I’d be cheering after looking at a boogery tissue, I’d have said they were crazy.
But that’s the beauty of a great story . . .