Four little peppers make a fun story

Erma Bombeck said, “Never have more children than you have car windows.”
How about, “Never take more small grandchildren with you to a restaurant than you have arms.”
Recently, during a mid-week lull in my calendar of events, I put the question to four of my grandchildren, who range in age from four-seven, if they would like to go to the local hamburger place with Granny.
I knew the answer would be unanimous before I finished asking the question. I’d like to think their response was based solely on being with the world’s greatest Granny, but I think fries and kids’ meal toys had more to do with the quartet happily saying, “Yes!”
Nonetheless, I was thrilled watching them all pile into the car with such enthusiasm. There wasn’t much else I wanted in that moment, except that as I got closer to the restaurant, I decided I needed a body harness to keep them from exploding from the car in the parking lot like the break shot after the eight ball.
However, we made it safely into the restaurant, at which point there was a 360-degree shift away from what they wanted to eat and straight to the prize that came with the food.
They flitted about the toy showcase like bees in search of honey and I just stood there in awe of all that energy.
A bunch of older gentlemen seated at a table nearby expressed their amusement in loud and healthy guffaws. I’m sure I heard one guy say, “It’s like nailing J-ello to a tree.” Uh-huh.
Another man chuckled out something that included the words, “slinky,” “monkey,” “chipmunk,” and “slingshot.” Uh-huh, that’s my brood, too.
I finally nailed down the J-ello long enough to get a food list out of each of them and headed to the counter to make an order.
With my back turned, the four sprites made a dash for the soda fountain machine. When I turned around, three of the little critters were giggling and watching as the buttons they were pushing allowed soda pop to run freely from the spouts.
I lassoed them in while pondering the quote by Gene Perret: “My grandkids believe I’m the oldest thing in the world. And after two or three hours with them, I believe it, too.”
I managed to keep them seated for about 10 minutes so they could eat their supper. In the meantime, I asked one of my granddaughters if she had learned any new words in school that day.
“Sphinx,” I heard her say.
“Really?” I said, rather impressed that Egyptian history was on a five-year-old’s education plate. “Sphinx?” I repeated.
“No Granny, ‘Spanx.’”
“Spanx!” I blurted out, my eyeballs huge as melons as I became aware that I still had mine on at the end of the workday.
“You are learning about Spanx in school?!” I added, stunned.
“No Granny, space! We learned about space,” she replied in an adamant tone.
I burst out laughing when I realized she’d said the same word three times. Perhaps it’s time Granny got an audiogram.
One little pepper needed my help in the bathroom and I left the seven-year-old in charge for two minutes. I came back into the room and my five-year-old grandson was making the leap from one table top to the other.
When he saw the dark cloud of displease forming over my head, he cleared the table and did a two-foot dismount, ran, and sat down like nothing had happened.
I was getting older by the second.
I wanted to feed all of them loads of chocolate and then send them home to their mothers. Instead, we drove to Pither’s Point and watched from the car as the pelicans, geese, seagulls, and ducks took baths in the icy cold lake water.
There are no words that do justice to the high-pitched glee that tumbled out of those little children when they were all piled up at the car windows saying “Hello” to the birds of spring.
Wonderment and joy. That is what little children are made of.