I’ve been helping take care of my grandkids.
My daughter is recovering from surgery, so I’ve been helping take care of my grandchildren, a girl, age 3, and her brother, age 2. My daughter can’t lift her toddlers, so she needs someone with her 24/7. I’m happy to help, of course. However, I am tired. In fact, at times I am exhausted.
These are the culprits, wearing the matching sweaters I knitted for them. When my daughter and I are texting about her childrens’ latest escapades, we refer to them by the initials of their first names — G for my granddaughter and E for my grandson.
Don’t be fooled because they are both standing still at the same time. This is a fluke. G and E are usually only still when they are sleeping. At other times they are running, shouting, fighting over toys, jumping on a backyard trampoline, arguing over which movie to watch, hugging each other, running some more, sliding and swinging, coloring, jumping, playing with toys, including the dreaded play-doh, and treating their dog like a horse or a fashion model. (Last week Luke was forced to wear a backpack, as G was beginning preschool and she wanted Luke to feel included. Luke didn’t feel included. He only felt annoyed, until G allowed the backpack to be removed).
The following is true. Do not doubt me. I have found out for myself this past week, since E has been out of sorts, due to his mommy’s illness and his sister beginning school. Unexpected outbursts have occurred. They are usually over quickly, for which my ears are eternally grateful.
First day of school.
The first day of school is sometimes iffy. There is always a chance that the child will refuse to go to go to sleep the night before, refuse to get dressed, or refuse to eat breakfast, but none of these applied to G. She departed for school with her parents, who said she ran inside the building and didn’t look back. I stayed with E until his mother returned. E decided he wanted to watch Frozen. E likes Frozen. He knows all the characters by name. He sings along, which is too cute for words, but for a grown-up raised on only Jungle Book and 101 Dalmatians, how much is too much of the following?
Please. Let it go.
(G loved school. Her favorite part was playing on the playground).
Whose turn is it to decide what to watch on TV?
This is always fun. G and E like to watch TV or movies other than Frozen, mostly early in the morning or right before bed. Most of the time they agree on a choice, but at times there are disputes. Sometimes there are screams that make Nonna and PopPop want to hide in the basement until a show is finally chosen. Thomas is usually a good choice, but sometimes G and E simply cannot agree. Then nobody watches nothin’.
A trip to the playground.
On Friday afternoon we took G and E to the playground. It’s a fun place, and that day it wasn’t too crowded. Since my daughter still gets tired and moves slowly, she put me in charge of E, and she, not wanting to be a helicopter parent, stayed in the background while keeping an eye on G. G always finds a friend at the playground. As I chased E around I noticed that G was playing with another little girl. A bossy little girl. Every once in awhile, the little girl would order G to do something, and G would saunter off in a seemingly nonchalant manner to get away from the bossiness. The bossy kid’s mom was sitting on a bench, engrossed in her phone, so she didn’t notice the bossiness or the running away.
There were two baby girls at the park, younger than E, who is very chivalrous. He has somehow already learned the lesson of “ladies first.” At one point E was teetering on the edge of a plastic rock climbing hill, waiting for an 18 month old blonde girl to move away so he could slide down the slide. I was also patient, as I balanced on one toe, stretching up to make sure E didn’t tumble backward. A little later, after E decided to crawl beneath a slide where he was too tall to stand, he stood up and bumped his head. I had to crawl under to retrieve him. Since G was tired of being bossed and E was rubbing his head, we decided to go home.
On the way home I discovered that my three year old granddaughter is a backseat driver. She knew the way home, and pointed out landmarks such as Turkey Hill, CVS and a bridge. At one point she asked: “Mommy, why you don’t stop? It was a stop sign. Why you didn’t stop?” My daughter replied that she did stop, and then she went again. Then G told us to turn here for home.
G and E were a bit cranky after returning from the park. A tug of war over toys ensued. My daughter tires easily and needs to rest more than I do, so I’m always happy when my husband shows up to lend a hand. He finally arrived around 4:45, right before dinner, enabling me to sneak out the front door for a few minutes of peace and quiet.
Fifteen minutes later I went back inside. PopPop entertained G and E until bedtime. (My son-in-law works late on Friday evenings). Then he went home, my daughter went to bed and I retired to the guest room with my kindle and a glass of wine. There was no point in me driving home. My son-in-law leaves for work at eight on Saturday mornings, so I spend the night. I fell asleep, and about five minutes later, (or so it seemed) I was awakened by little voices as they went down the hall to get breakfast with their dad. It was 7 am. I texted my daughter that I would be down soon. Then I snoozed until 7:30, got dressed and combed my hair, brushed my teeth and began another day.
The trip to the park the day before had been too much for my daughter. She went back to bed after my son-in-law went to work, and I drank a few cups of coffee. Before I was fully awake, the kids decided they were still hungry. They wanted a snack, and decided on sweet pickle chips. I did not argue, even though it was only 8:30 am, and the thought of eating pickles made me queasy. I simply placed a plate of pickles on the table. G and E colored coloring books while snacking on the pickles, and I finished my coffee.
Unfortunately it was raining that day. We were stuck the house. We played with hot wheels cars, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, a toy roller coaster, Cosy Coupe cars and a play kitchen. Then it was time for lunch and a nap.
After a couple of hours of sleep, both kids were recharged. They were happy to see PopPop come back through the door.
Mass with G.
Since my daughter thought she could handle E alone for an hour, my husband and I took G to church. Unfortunately, the rain was worse. G didn’t mind; she got to wear her ladybug raincoat and shiny black boots. We arrived at the church right at Mass time. G sang along and played quietly with a Minnie Mouse for about ten minutes. Then she asked, for the first time, if we could go home. G was quiet, except for when the church was silent. Then others heard more questions about wanting to go home. The Mass progressed. G was being good. My husband showed her the words in the hymnal. Right before the collection was taken, G ventured out into the aisle, where she began to twirl and dance in her black rain boots. We were seated on the far right, so no one was bothered by G’s twirling except me. (I was afraid she would trip over her own feet in the boots).
The twirling and dancing came to an end when a beautiful lady dressed in red, an usher, walked down the aisle toward us. She smiled at G and began twirling along. She said she liked that dance. G darted into the pew and sat facing front, and the lady in red walked on down the aisle.
On the way home, G demonstrated her backseat driving skills to PopPop.
E was happy to see us. The kids played with PopPop until their father came home around 7:00. Then it was time for us to go home, and leave the family alone for some downtime.
What a week. We had a lot of fun, but I think the best part for me was witnessing my granddaughter kneel beside her bed, make the Sign of the Cross, and pray the Hail Mary all by herself.
The week began again today. I go back tomorrow morning to become exhausted again. It will be fun. G and E are my world.