I’m continually amazed by the ingenuity of little kids. Thank goodness, they’re often not very good at ‘covering their tracks.’ Here are two examples:

About 10 years ago, my oldest Janesville granddaughter was celebrating her birthday with her then one sister [she now has three] and a group of friends. (My daughter is an excellent party-thrower, who makes highly creative cakes and decorations.)

All the attendees had an awesome time and were sent home with the usual complimentary ‘goodies’ and gift bags.

A few days later, my daughter noticed that her younger child was acting strangely. (To spare that now teenage granddaughter any embarrassment, I’ll refer to her as “Little J.”)

So, Little J was acting weird; or, at least, weirder than usual. She kept dipping her right index finger into the pocket of her shorts, then putting that finger into her mouth. She repeated this motion over and over.

Finally, my curious daughter checked Little J’s pocket. It was full of Pixy Stix powdered candy. For those unfamiliar with that treat, it’s a multi-flavored, multi-colored, sweet-sour candy that’s housed in wrappers that look like paper or plastic straws. The candy doesn’t contain fat or sodium. However, it also doesn’t contain fiber, protein, vitamins, or minerals. But Little J was able to imbibe of the “Four Food Groups” for children: dextrose [simple sugar], artificial flavors, citric acid, and natural flavors.

After the birthday party, my daughter placed the leftover Pixy Stix treats on top of the refrigerator. Little J, showing signs of being a future mountaineer, piled pillows on a chair to climb onto the kitchen countertop and ‘borrow’ (a.k.a. steal) the straws hiding on the top of the fridge. That was ingenious; however, she wouldn’t have been ‘busted’ if she was smarter about secreting away her ‘sweet loot.’

For years afterward, family members referred to Little J as the ‘Suga Girl.’

Last week, my step-granddaughter (“Little K”) managed to devour a leftover chocolate marshmallow bunny vacationing on our kitchen counter. I solved that crime when I noticed the out-of-place chair by the counter and the chocolate residue on her lips and chin.

I still don’t know when she did it, but Little K also managed to kidnap a five-pound, glass jar of chocolate chips and carried it to our upstairs guest bedroom.

Thankfully, she ‘hid’ the jar next to the couch, where even a blind person could find it. I still have no idea how she managed that, which is frightening. What if she tries to carry off our refrigerator to get at all that string cheese she loves?

On top of everything else, I discovered she ‘borrowed’ two containers of candy sprinkles and spread them across the guest bedroom floor, like she was decorating one humongous cupcake.

Instead of burning all of our chairs or wrapping Little K in a straitjacket, I decided on a different strategy. I’ll simply hide all the candy and chocolate in our house where even I can’t find it. At least, until Little K turns 30.

Leanne Lippincott-Wuerthele, a native Miltonian who has lived in Minnesota and Iowa, has been writing Sunny Side Up for about 40 years.

A graduate of Milton Union High School and Milton College, she has written four books. She has two children, three stepchildren, and a blended family of 11 grandkids.

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