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This 3-year-old is brutally honest, and that's good


I was leaning over the vacuum, changing the odious bag when this 3-year-old said, "Gran, come here, I want to whisper you something." He had just learned to whisper and cup his hands around his mouth. He also had been listening to me use a few un-whispered cuss words because things weren't going right with the old vacuum.

I leaned into him, hoping he'd know the secret to the vacuum's hiccups, but he said, "Your neck is pretty wrinkled, and I don't want you to get any older."

Well, if he'd told me I'd won the lottery I couldn't have been more surprised. How astute! I guess he'd been looking at his "Beauty and the Beast" tape and was worried I was on real downhill course toward "beast-face."

How sweet that he was so concerned with my age. But then all he sees are pretty young mothers and his Disney tapes. Wrinkles to him probably mean wicked witches.

I ran to the nearest mirror and realized those neck wrinkles do shimmer and shake.

I ran upstairs and put on a turtleneck, and he told me "That's better."

Because I love him so much and he loves me and he'd just spent a cozy night with me, I felt obligated to do something constructive right away.

That's what I like about 3-year-olds, they tell it like it is. They are frank and truthful and have yet not become devious.

Now about my wrinkles. I am worried, they seem to be multiplying on my neck.

So naturally, when he went home, I started trawling the malls for the latest in wrinkle creams and potions.

Yes, all women know that women aren't allowed to wrinkle -- it's called "old." But Walter Cronkite and Mike Wallace can wrinkle and it's called wisdom and character.

So here I am looking at choices. One name brand claims it has "time complex capsules" that you rub on your neck and face and follow with their cream. All for just $100. Gee, what is a face lift nowadays?

A few famous lines have "defoliating" creams which they recommend to take off the old damaged layer of skin.

These run from $27 to $50 and claim a 60 percent improvement.

Yet another designer label has a fruit peel. It smells fruity and it tastes good and it will take off wrinkles for $42.50. Just be sure your cat doesn't lick your face in the night. Most of these salves and creams promise de-flaking, lubrication, facial energizing, multi-action and time-released substances for around $75.

A few potions have the directions in French, which lures your average American sucker, with long, medical-sounding words listed in the ingredients.

The designer tube I bought has a lot of long words, like propyleneglycol and alfa-hydroxy. But when I got home I happened to pick up a baby's moisturizer I had on hand, and I saw that there are lots of the same ingredients in my expensive new purchase. The baby stuff was $2.95.

I will just use one on my neck and the other on my face and see which area improves the fastest.

Perhaps my grandson will see a change, and meantime I will tell him that each wrinkle stands for a worry I have added to my list, that wrinkles are kind of "earned runs."

I will show him a picture of me when I was young, when I probably didn't have as much character and wisdom.

Two weeks later: I showed him my wrinkle chasers, and he candidly said, "Did you get some new turtlenecks too, Gran?"

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