Here’s a reboot of a post from 11 years ago, about babysitting my first two grandchildren. Fond memories.
I must redefine for myself the word “constructive.” I was just recently relieved from 10 straight days of Grandma Duty.
Now…this is no editorial on those thousands of grandmothers who have actual custody and are raising their grandchildren. That MUST be some kind of calling; an official spiritual calling; an uber-ordinary anointing of ability and grace. I say this because 10 days left me exhausted, sleep-deprived, delirious, resentful, and crazy.
I love my little grand-daughter… I call her Mowli. She’s two – although we (Mowli and I) have had several arguments on that.
“I’m fwee, Gammaw.”
“You’re two, Mowli.”
“No, I fwee.”
“Two.” And so on, and so on, until I remember I’m talking to a two-year-old.
My eight-month-old grandson, whom I called Spitty Gonzales, is both hilarious and tiring. He’s beautiful. Fast on the crawl, but I gave him the variation on “Speedy Gonzales” before he crawled. He is the “slobble king.”
Inveritably one will lift him up and hold him high overhead due to the infectious laughter that comes out of him. Unfortunately, so does a line of dribble… every time. You think the folks on Nickelodeon know how to slime people…uh-uh. I also used to call him “Mellow Yellow” because when he’s dry and fed, he’s happy. Just chillin’ and checking things out. However, now that he’s crawling “he done gone crazy.”
So I could spend two or three hours just juggling those two. Reading to my granddaughter. She asks me 374 questions an hour. Three hundred and sixty-nine of them which I do not answer. And the fact that I answered the first five questions and did not answer the next 20 did not deter her from continuing with the next three hundred and forty-nine.
I also spent thirty minutes in the back yard blowing bubbles while she chased them around saying “Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles,” in a very high, funny, falsetto voice. During the time of the chasing of the bubbles, she paid no attention to me, unless I stopped blowing the bubbles. When I did, she whipped around to look at me incredulously and exclaimed “Gammaawwww” in her most perturbed, regular voice. So, in spite of the several moments when I hyperventilated and almost passed out, I kept the bubbles coming.
When I was allowed to stop (I put my foot down) she said, “Aw maaaan.” This little phrase she’s picked up from Swiper, the fox on the Dora, the Explorer cartoon. She has taught me to participate with her when Dora tells the audience to say “Swiper, no swiping” when the fox tries to steal something. To this, Swiper replies, “Aw maaaan.” My granddaughter now answers with that to whoever doesn’t do exactly what she wants.
I tried to do some work on the computer a little earlier. I couldn’t concentrate or give it the attention required because my little sweetheart was making constant inputs and requests, such as;
– Gammaw, Kiera is teeping. See (Her doll.)
– Gammaw, you want some eggs? (from her play kitchen.)
– Gammaw, where’s my pacy?
– Gammaw, read this book. Read this book now, Gammaw. (the book is the ever-riveting Go Dog Go. This is reading number 7,437.)
– Gammaw, where’s my shortcake shoes?
– Gammaw, are you happy?
– Gammaw, it’s my Mommy on the phone. (Her play phone.)
– Gammaw, I gotta go pee.
– Gammaw, Kammon (her crawling brother) got my hot gog!
– Gammaw, watch PongeBoB.
– Gammaw, I fix you some hot gogs. Okay? (Play food, play kitchen.)
I take the plastic hot dog she hands me and pretend to eat it. “Mmmm, That’s good. Thanks, Mo.”
“Eat some more Gammaw.”
“No thanks, Gammaw has had enough. I’m full, Mo.”
“Eat some more Gammaw.” She crawls up on the wrung of the stool where I’m sitting and sticks the plastic hot dog up to my face.
“Eat it!” She says in her most demanding voice.
I look down at her. Take the hot dog and throw it across the room and go back to my computer.
That cracks me up. Because I know I’m in for our little routine where she’ll get the plastic hot dog to bring it back and say again…”Eat it Gammaw.” To which I’ll respond by throwing it across the room again. Now, this makes her laugh.
We spend ten minutes on this little ritual until I remember NAP TIME! YEAH!
“Okay Mowli, time for your nap.”
Surprised, aren’t you? She gives me no hassle about naps. Spitty, on the other hand, has his own agenda.
Time has passed I have gotten no writing done. No business. During any spread of 10-minute intervals when one or the other of them isn’t requiring my attention, I have managed to pick up behind the cyclone that has whipped through my house in the form of a two-year-old, an eight-month-old, and a 52-year old who’s trying to watch ’em. But anything more than that…no. I began to be a little anxious about not “getting anything constructive” done. Now I realize that there was nothing more constructive than playing with Mowli and Spitty. Making them breakfast, lunch, dinner. Piling them in the car and riding them to the park. Blowing bubbles for them until I nearly passed out. Watching Dora, the Explorer and Spongebob (which by the way is hilarious.)
There was nothing more constructive that I could have been doing for the past ten days.