Toddler Update

By Vic Fleming

A recent weekend found Uncle Vic traversing the road between Little Rock and the South Mississippi hometown of great-nephew R.P. The subject of an I Swear column in January of last year, R.P. will soon be 18 months old.

U.V. learned the hard way that R.P. has developed the cutest little habit. Smiling and laughing out loud, he kicks hard three times with both legs right in the middle of a diaper change. (Ouch! He only got U.V. the first time.)

U.V. volunteered for early morning duty. The hope was that this would let niece, N.C., sleep in. The plan seemed to be working on day one, as R.P. and U.V. did fine at breakfast. But once R.P.’s stomach was full, he became a 17-month-old on a mission. That mission was to go to the room where he knew his mother was sleeping and yell “Hi Mama” at the top of his lungs.

R.P. has a little red plastic car that, like “The Flintstones” vehicles, allows his feet to touch the pavement. Thus was R.P. enabled to propel this much-loved toy on his own power. Backward, forward, and in circles.

R.P.’s preferred activity, though, was to get out of the little red car and push it from behind. And push it. And push it. For, like, hours. Up and down the driveway. Through the yard. Along the street.

After the little red car got out from under R.P. the first time, causing an unexpected tumble (the only time all weekend that he stopped smiling), U.V. felt that he himself should hold on to the car, to control its destiny, so to speak. To say nothing of traveling every mile that it traveled.

It helped U.V. sleep well at night.

In a column back in December of 2012, it was announced that “Pop Pop” would be the official name that R.P.’s second cousin, A.C., would use to address and refer to U.V., her maternal grandfather. Well, it didn’t turn out that way.

Instead, U.V. is proudly responding to the not-so-common grandfatherly name … “Vic.” Pretty clever, huh? A friend of A.C.’s granddad heard this, pretended to think it over, and then said, “You know, you look like a Vic.”

As of this moment, the only person to whom this applies is A.C., who lives in N.C. and whose birth was the topic of an I Swear column last year in March. A.C., who has just turned 16 months old, has learned that she is going to become a big sister around the end of this year.

A.C. and grandparents Vic and Susu visit regularly via Facetime on wireless devices. Usually, A.C.’s conversational topics are about cuisine. Such as “mac,” “cado,” “a-POOL,” and “bunnies.”

Some might chalk this up to the time of day that these calls occur, seeing as how A.C. is usually in the middle of her dinner. Which often consists of macaroni and cheese, avocado, apples, and these delicious little rabbit-shaped cookies. Whatever.

Congratulations and best wishes are hereby extended to A.C., her parents, and her other grandparents.

Vic Fleming is a district court judge in Little Rock, Ark., where he also teaches at the William H. Bowen School of Law. Contact him at