“Papi, I wan’a… ta’… ta’…” The youngster did not get to finish his wants as he was some what distracted with something hopping in Tia T. garden. He walked away from his Papi’s side and squatted down next to the flower bed inspecting the movement.
Johnny was also distracted when he heard some ruckus down at the corral.
“Uh, stay here Juanito. Papi needs to go to the corral. Don’t move, ya’ hear!”
“Yup, I hears… He remained hunched down, waiting to see what would appear. Experience has taught him not to put his hands into unknown areas, so he patiently waited. “Ugh, this take too long.” He grabbed a branch and threw it to the flower bed. Sure enough, out jumped a huge frog. This caused him to fall back and land on his behind. “Whoa, wahs da’? He knelt down and looked at the frog. He placed his face up close to it. The frog greeted him with a loud, “Ribit.” He threw his head up laughing. “Hi Mr. fog.”
He picked it up and brought it up to his face. “Boy, you a big one. I name….uh… your name be…” Then he heard a loud, “Juanito, where are you?” It was his Papi.
“o’er here Papi. In Tia T carden. 'm ‘till here.” He slipped the frog into his pant pocket and laughed as it wiggled against his leg.
“Juanito, let’s get you cleaned up for dinner.” and his Papi swung him up on top his shoulders. “Get’ie up Papi, run… “ lifting one little hand and grabbing his Papi’s hair with the other. Papi did just that, he galloped, laughing at his child’s enjoyment. Pretty sure the frog was enjoying the ride as well.
Entering the kitchen, he put his son down and once again was distracted when his father called him from the Great Room. "Juanito, stay here and wait for me. Don't go anywhere. K?"
"K, Papi." and he climbed up on a chair looking innocent as the day he was born. Johnny turned and looked at him sitting there and had his suspicions that something was brewing with his little one.
Once his Papi walked out, Juanito quickly slid down and moved his chair over to the shelf, which held Maria's pots. He climbed up on the chair and tip-toed up to put his new pet into one of the pot. He figured the pot was a great home and he needed to take it up to his room. His newly found friend was now secure in one pot and he was now attempting to pull the pot off the shelf when he heard his Papi. "Juan, what do you think you are doing?"
"Aye, nada Papi." He started to loose his balance when Johnny managed to get to him and carry him off the chair.
"What were you doing Juanito?" He looked at him sternly still holding him in his arms.
Juanito just looked down. He refused to answer and was now upset because his friend was not within his reach.
Johnny put him down, stood back, crossed his arms, stared at him, "Well, young man?"
Juanito took the same stance as his father. He crossed his arms, stood back, and stared at his Papi. "I don't do NADA!"
"EXCUSE ME. Don't use that tone with me! Would you like to get a spanking, now?" Johnny started to grab at his belt buckle.
"No." The rebel lowered his vision.
"No sir." He looked up to see if his Papi had removed his hand from the belt buckle and the arms were once again crossed, so he too crossed his arms and the staring continued.
Murdoch entered the kitchen and caught the dueling pair just staring at each other. Clearing his throat announcing his presence, he said, "Ah, John, son… is everything OK?" He couldn't help but snicker at the sight. There stood a 27 year old having a dueling stand off with a 3 year old. 'God only knows what would happen if they had their guns.'
"Nah, Pa' we are just fine. Just fine!" He reached to pick up his son.
"Time for your bath Juan." Oh how little Juanito hated to be called Juan. That meant that there was trouble brewing and he was usually the cause of it. Even in his father's arms, the little one did not uncross his. He took it a little further and his frown became more pronounced. Murdoch just stepped out of the way as his youngest son walked by towards the stairs. "Good luck son." Johnny just glared as his father and huffed.
In the bath room, Johnny stared to remove his sons clothes. "You gonna tell me what you were doing in the kitchen?"
"Nah, wadn't doing noting."
"Didn't look like that to me son. You were up to something and I would really like it if you told me the truth."
Juanito just stared at him as he was lifted into the tub. He sat there and continued to frown.
"Oh well, guess some time off might be coming your way. Shame you'll have to sit in a corner until you decide to talk."
All he got was a sterner stare and crossed arms. Johnny wanted to laugh seeing how ornery his son could be. 'Damn, how did Murdoch put up with me?'
The two remained quiet as Juanito was being bathe. Finally the silence was broken. "Papi, what do frogs eat?"
"Frogs huh, well, I guess they eat flies or other kinds of bugs." He waited to see if more of an explanation was coming his way.
He had such a deep frown, thinking about how he was going to post his next statement. "I… sorry."
Johnny just reached for his head and gave him a gentle kiss on the forehead.
"I wan a' real pet."
"Yeah? What kind of real pet do you want?"
"A horse." He smiled and waited to see what his father would say.
"Only a horse?" Johnny smiled.
"A puppy too." His smile got wider.
"Horse and puppy? Anything else?"
"Nah." He returned to his floating toys.
"Papi, wan a' see me mitate a fountin?" With that he placed his face into the water and sipped up a mouthful, then he lend back, spurted the water out his puckered lips, shooting the stream straight up aiming at his fathers face.
Johnny felt the water hit his face. He closed his eyes and when he opened them, his little angel was laughing real hard while splashing the water with his hands.
"You think that's funny, huh?"
"Yup." He giggled more. Johnny couldn't help but smirk.
"Come on buddy, let's get you dressed for supper." He wiped his face with a towel and hiding his laugh.
Drying his baby boy, he followed their daily routine by tickling him as he dried him up. When he got to the stomach area, little Juanito release a loud fart. Both let out a huge laugh. "Malia's bean do that to me." He giggled some more.
"Yup, I know what you mean. They do the same to me. Just don’t do that in front of guest and especially not in front of a lady." He continued dressing him.
"Papi, is mami a lady?" Giving him the sweetest look waiting for an answer, he yawned.
"Yes sir, she is a wonderful lady." Suddenly, Juanito jumped off the bed and ran to his little desk, pulled out a paper and a pencil.
"Mijo, que haces?"
"Oh, Tio Cot tod me to wite a to-do list." He closed the desktop and placed the paper on top.
"And what are you writing on your to do list?" Johnny was curious, especially since his 3 year old did not know how to write words.
"Tings to do!" He looked at him and shook his head in disbelieve at the question.
"Oh, yeah, things to do." Johnny moved in a little closer. "Can I read your list?"
"Nah." He kept writing.
"Why not? Is your list a secret? I won't tell." He was even more curious.
"No seecuet, jus' ma' list. Look see." He held up the paper with scribble scrabble. "See, here it say, pologiz to mami for fa'ting. Der al-l-l-l done." He lifted the desk top then stopped. "Oh oh, fogot noder one."
He scribble some more. "der, now all done." Lifting the desktop, he placed his list and pencil back in their rightful spots.
"K, papi, less go eat. ' em hunnn-gooie!" He walked to the door.
Johnny just shook his head. 'So young and already keeping secrets from his old man, God help me.'
As they were walking to the Great Room, Juanito was becoming more concerned for his newly found friend. Johnny settled him into his chair at the dinner table next to his Grandpa. "Gampa'?"
"Yes, son?" He waited for the question.
"Wher' can I gets some bugs?" He tilted his head waiting for his answer.
"Bugs?" Murdoch looked at Johnny. "I guess in the garden, why son?"
"Cuz." He looked at his empty plate. "Maaaa…llliii-aaaa, donde e'ta la comia?" He looked at his father gleefully.
"Mijo, we don't shout at Maria." He looked at Murdoch squinting with guilt for he too shouts at Maria for the comida.
"Monkey see, monkey do!" Murdoch laughed.
Scott walked in and sat, "Hey who's doing all that shouting. You woke me from my beauty sleep little one." He rustled his nephew's hair.
"Aye Tio, you not sleepin'. I see you standing der." He smurked. "Hey Tio, I sho'd my Papi the fountin 'mitation." He busted out laughing. "Ha got… 'em… al-l-l wet." He laughed more.
"Good to know you are a fast learner." Scott smiled mischievously at his little brother.
Suddenly, they heard a loud screeching scream from the kitchen. All three men got up and rushed in. Little Juanito just sat there. 'Malia found my frog-gie.'
Johnny walked in holding the frog in his hands. "Juan Gabriel is this why you were on the chair?" He looked at him waiting.
Juanito leaned back a bit and saw Murdoch hugging Maria and Scott laughing, but his Papi looked very angry.
"Yup, found 'im in Tia T's carden. Can I keep 'em Papi?" His expression was hopeful.
"No you may not keep him! What would Mami say and you scared Maria to near death! I think you have another thing to add to your to do list, right Juan?"
He hesitated and gave his answer, "No." He crossed his arms and there it began, again, the duel between two Lancers.