Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Dec. 24, 2001

Christmas shopping with Mr. Blabbermouths


Both my kids have loose lips, being 5 and 10 years old. It comes with the age, I think.

I sometimes call my daughter the fountain of truth - but my son takes the cake as Mr. Blabbermouths.

He sings like Beverly Sills, and at least to him, there's no secret that can't be blabbed fast enough. Loose lips all the way.

Of course, take a wild guess who I had to take Christmas shopping.

Just so you know how much he blabs, he found a checkers game two weeks ago in the back seat of the car that I intended to wrap for both of them. I forgot to wrap it, since I forgot it was there.

"MOM, IT'S A PRESENT!" he said.

I said "Shhh! It's a secret." I made him swear the sailor's promise that he'd never, ever tell anyone what it was.

Sheesh. After about three of my very best "stern" warnings, you'd think the kid would be moved. Not one tiny bit. I think I'm losing my touch.

The "secret" lasted about 20 minutes, and that's only because he temporarily forgot about it.

In fact, he rubbed it in for two weeks. He kept asked if "we could open the checkers game now" or if he could "play with checkers."

So, there I was pushing a cart with Mr. Blabbermouths. I was hiding gifts behind my back, in the cart, and under my coat.

I made up distractions that were unbelievable. Thankfully, he jumped after every one.

I managed to get several gifts without his knowledge, and we made it home just fine.

Speaking of gifts, I also bought a gift for my 88-year-old grandma.

I spent three weeks trying to think of a good gift for her.

Grandmas are tricky, because you don't want to buy them candy or knick-knacky stuff, since they have truckloads of knick knacks and besides, my grandma has diabetes.

I finally settled on new bathroom rugs (OK, that's boring, but at least it's functional), and some expensive placemats. I was trying to go for something she uses every day.

Well, I had to run back to the store twice - once to change the color of the rugs, and the second time to return the placemats (they were too big for her little table).

As an after thought, I bought her some flowers and a pack of light bulbs. I thought I'd check her apartment for burned bulbs. She was thrilled.

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