Applesauce, sucked through a straw from a plastic, 3-ounce package, seems to be the choice food of 18-month old boys.

                    Bruce Wallace

That was my most astute observation of the Christmas holidays. As a professional journalist, trained to see the “big picture” of life…..nah – who am I kidding?

Being a weekly newspaper editor has a way of reminding you that you’re not looking at too many issues on a global perspective. And spending the Christmas break with my grandson reminds me that the “global perspective” – or, even the local issues – aren’t considered much. Holidays are for family time, as the saying goes and I got a full dose this past week.

Six adults, one toddler, two Labrador retrievers and one irate Boston terrier closed into one four-bedroom house made for some real close family time, it seemed. Still, during most of that time, we found a way to laugh:

• When you’re the toddler who gets spoiled by grandma and your aunt, it can mean too much attention (is that possible?) at times. Grandson Luke seemed quite content for extended periods – and an “extended period” for an 18-month old is 15 minutes – to play with a few new toys on his own. Discovering that walking meant he could run from adults, Luke seemed to never lose his curiosity or his independence.

• When the grandson was down for a nap, it meant prime time for bowl watching, with no more than two adults ever pulling for the same team. The household was, at times, as loud as the stadium.

• When the grandson went to bed, it was time for fun and games….board games. Mexican Train dominoes was a new game for me, with the same result as any other domino game – the wife nearly always wins. RummiQube was another new game that became quite spirited. I must have thought that having the most numbered chips was the winner – I once got to the fourth round before I could make a play. When we got totally serious, the game of “world domination” hit the table and we played “Risk.” This year’s “Risk” game was complete with references to our current Commander in Chief, the “rocket man” of North Korea and various references and quotes from movies, Seinfeld and even the Flintstones. What should have been a two-hour game became twice as long due to long stoppages for laughter that brought us to tears.

• When it’s too cold to take the grandson outside to play, you have to think indoors so we went to the Southern Boone Library and generally made a mess of things with the Legos, the water fountain and a half-dozen books that were returned to the wrong shelves. Thanks to children’s librarian Pam Verduin for your patience. Then we all went to LT’s Barbershop – six adults and the toddler, none of the dogs tagged along – to get Luke his second hair cut. It was, of course, a struggle punctuated by a meltdown. Even though Luke’s dad sat him on his lap and bear hugged him, barber Lance Taggart was nearly forced to stand on his head to give Luke a haircut – and he did a great job. Luke’s mom says Lance should market himself as the “Best Barber for Toddlers” but I don’t know what Lance would think about that.

• Having six adults, a toddler and three dogs in a house with three showers finally caught up to us on Saturday. And, somehow, it was the grandson who got the cold water. While he generally enjoys bath time, Luke let everyone know that a cold bath wasn’t much fun. By that I mean, he let everyone who lives on our block know that a cold bath was no fun. The screaming could be heard far and wide and I was certain that there would be a red alert (or, blue alert? This kiddo was that cold!) as his mother scrubbed him down. While grandma boiled water and I alternated taking pictures while attempting to warm towels for Luke’s post-bath escape, Luke’s mom didn’t seem appropriately concerned: “This is how you get them ready for summer camp and college dorms – a little cold shower never hurt anyone,” she said. That’s some tough love. It wasn’t all bad, grandma and I snuck Luke a little chocolate ice cream just before bedtime, because that’s what grandparents do for their crying grandchildren.

• When it was all over and the one set of kids left to fly back to New York City, the other daughter and grandson flew to Atlanta and the son-in-law drove the Labradors back to South Carolina, our house seemed much bigger. No train cars on the floor, no wrapping paper waiting to go into the trash, no games on the kitchen table. Just a Christmas tree waiting to go to the curb, a big empty space and a lot of leftovers in the refrigerator. And one Boston terrier who seems to be a lot less freaked out than he was a few days ago.

If the Christmas holiday is for family, then I’m wondering – what will my excuse be for all the other holidays I want to spend with my grandson? He needs to be chased around the house by me and hugged by grandma.

While I thought more about 3-ounce packages of applesauce for a snack this past week, the new year is here and it is time to move forward into 2018