Category Grandma’s Perspective

Little Brother Finds His Voice

Posted by Grandma on July 27, 2017

It’s hard being the youngest of three and being the only boy. My poor grandson has had to put up with being bossed around incessantly. When he was younger the girls played house and he of course always played the baby. For a while he didn’t mind as he got all the attention and when they put him in the high chair he got treats to eat, even if it was only Cheerios or fruit.  It was as he got older that things changed. One day the three of them came into my living room holding hands and dressed in one piece girls bathing suits. The eldest, eight at the time, asked, “do you like our baby sister?” I didn’t stop for a moment to think, which I admit I do much of, and blurted out. “No! I want my grandson back.” Well the poor little guys face fell. I had ruined their, ‘day at the beach game’ but I also saw something else in his face that day.  It was somewhere near my grandson’s fourth year that he decided he would be no one’s puppet. I may have inadvertently played a small part. The girls would ask him to do things and he would say,  “No, I don’t want to.” Then the weather changed and they spent so much more time outdoors. When outside you didn’t hear his refrain. He wanted to do everything. The girls climbed high up in trees. So did he. They spun in circles in the tire swing. So did he. They chased the chickens. So did he, until the Rooster chased back.

Well he just celebrated his half birthday. He’s now four and a half. Everyone at the farm gets a birthday cake but no presents on their half birthday. The exception to this is grandpa, who gets pie, not being a cake kinda guy. Well, I tell you, the three have grown into a beautiful unit. They play well together, a little sibling stuff, but that’s normal; however, when disaster strikes and knees get skinned or a lip gets split, big sisters come to the rescue. Doctor/nurse/mother mode is put into action. The wound is cleaned and bandaged. The lip is soothed with a popsicle – and one for each of the helpers as well.  I guess being the youngest has it advantages as well as its disadvantages. Right now the girls leave their dolls behind more often than not to play dinosaurs or look for fossils with my grandson. I’m not sure what will come next but what I am sure of, is that there is another half birthday coming up and I love cake almost as much as the kids do. 

Grandma’s Golf-cart Safari

Posted by Grandma on July 4, 2017

Being home schooled by a mother who has a masters degree in environmental studies is really obvious. The three grandchildren on our homestead continue to amaze me. They recognize plants, birds, insects and even rocks. The latter is from their dad’s teachings. Their curiosity is never ending. When they see something, for example a butterfly or moth, they capture it and put it in a jar. Out will come one of the many books which pertain to the subject and the search begins. After the identification is made they release whatever it was now the wiser.

The children are like sponges, soaking in all kinds of information. A bird sings, they tell me what kind it is. We find a caterpillar, I’m told what it will turn into. They are happy to pass their knowledge on to me. As we ride the golf cart around the property I’m bombarded with words of wisdom. The six and nine year old obviously outshine the four year old but he too shows his knowledge in other ways. While sitting on the porch swing one day a bee was coming toward them. Not long ago his sister got stung and he remembered her cries. Pointing at the offending bee he warned, “a pollinator.”

They say the older you get the more exercise your brain needs. We’re told to do crosswords, learn a language or in my case, go for a ride in the golf cart with my grandchildren.

How to Fix a Grandchild’s Sleeping Foot

Posted by Grandma on September 27, 2016

The entire family was gathered at my eldest son’s house. All the adults were in the kitchen helping in one phase or another of after supper clean up. There were dishes to be taken care of and the all important, who wants what leftover to take home. Empty and full containers were being passed about as the fridge opened and closed. This was all part of one of our family gatherings. As I’m sure it is in many other homes.

When my eldest granddaughter slipped into the kitchen and told me that her foot was asleep and wouldn’t wake up I said, “here sit down. Grandma knows just what to do.” She sat down on one of the chairs. I gently picked up the sleeping foot and leaned in close. I fully intended to kiss it but instead something made me yell. “WAKE UP!” Well everyone in the kitchen immediately stopped what they were doing. Some jumped, others dropped whatever and I’m pretty sure pants were almost wet. But my granddaughter laughed a belly busting laugh and tore out of the room foot now fully awake.

After explaining why I yelled the adults were not mollified. Even less so when my son had to go into the other room and halt the rousing game of Wake Up! my granddaughter had started. She didn’t explain anything, just ran up to her cousin and yelled “Wake up!” who in turn ran to another cousin. Next thing you knew seven little ones were all running around yelling: “Wake up!”

Well, I tell you. The looks I got. The one who started it all is the one to blame. But you know what? Some nights when going to sleep I remember and still get a chuckle.

The Saga of Rodriguez

Posted by Grandma on June 21, 2016

When my youngest son was a baby he loved to climb. He climbed out of his crib, opened his dresser drawers to use as a ladder and climbed to the top. He climbed anything and everything. The older he got the more he climbed. One day I went outside to find that he had scaled the house and was sitting comfortably on the peak of the roof. He loved to impress his brothers and friends by hanging from a tree branch by one arm, drawing up his legs, scratching his armpit with his other arm and grunting like a monkey.

One day while shopping for Christmas presents my husband and I came across an unusual piece. A twelve inch by twelve inch clay etching of a monkey. It was one solid piece that consisted of a frame, flat background and monkey. It was painted in lovely jungle shades. It even had hooks on it to hang on a wall. We hung it over his bedroom door.

Decades later while downsizing we decided to give the monkey to my son. Well he loved it, or perhaps the memories of it so much that he hung it in his kitchen. His wife didn’t mind as she was one of the ones he impressed with his branch hanging routine. My two grandchildren didn’t say anything as they were too young to care about decor. Until one day…

The conversation went something like this:

Dad: Eat your dinner.

Son: I don’t like it.

Dad: How do you know you haven’t even tried it?

Son: I can tell just by looking at it.

Dad: Well you better eat it or you’ll end up like your brother.

Son: What brother?

Dad: That brother ( my son points to the monkey on the wall.) Rodriguez wouldn’t eat his supper either.

It’s now a year later and they are enrolling my grandson into kindergarten. Today he comes along to see his classroom and meet his teacher. The parents stand back and let the two get to know each other. The teacher asks if he has any sisters or brothers. My grandson answers that yes he has a little sister named Sophie and a brother named Rodriguez. The adults are stunned. The teacher knows there is no brother but continues with her meeting. Meanwhile, my son and wife decide that if asked they foster a child in South America, and will do so as soon as possible. The truth would be too much. They are shocked that he remembered that conversation never mind that he believed it. What he must have thought this past year every time he saw the monkey. When they got home they tried to explain and took the monkey off the kitchen wall. My grandson said that it was okay that he only had a sister but would they please hang Rodriguez in his bedroom.

Sometimes we don’t realize how what we say is interpreted or believed by young children. All this time my poor grandson thought the story of Rodriguez was real. And now as I think about this I wonder did we, by calling my son a monkey, create this chain of events or was he really such a climber to begin with. I guess we’ll never know.

Grandma Arrives at Harrold Country Home

Posted by Grandma on April 26, 2016

How we got here is a long story. Besides, the getting here is not what matters. It’s that we are here. Three generations learning, trying and living together. Mom, dad and three grandchildren live in, what my husband and I like to refer to as, the Big House. Grandpa and I live in the addition we built. As you leave the big houses’ kitchen you enter the utility room then go through the laundry room where you may knock on my door. We have taught the grandchildren that this must be so and in return we knock as well. We must respect each other’s privacy.

When outside we work and play together. Me not so much work because of my ailments but I do know how to keep the grandchildren busy. In summer months I tend to man the barbecue while everyone works. My eldest grandchild has shown an interest in cooking so this year I’ll hand over the tongues and teach her some recipes. Recipes my grandmother, and her great-great-grandmother, taught me like potato beet salad. This recipe and more I’ll share with you at a later date. The younger granddaughter likes to work in the vegetable garden where she supplies us with a variety of vegetables to accompany our meal.

Grandpa does all the lawn cutting and there is a lot of lawn to cut. He puts on his iPod and listens to his favourite tunes, probably Bob Dylan, Van Morrison or The Eagles. Besides lawn cutting he does a variety of jobs. Taking care of the garbage and recycling is one of them. He’s always going to the hardware store for something or other.

What I find most important about our arrangement is that both grandpa and I have found a purpose. We lived many years after the boys moved out and grandpa retired just living, if you know what I mean. The days just seemed to melt into each other. Sure we enjoyed our vacations to Florida and our time in cottage country but otherwise our lives were like a melting candle and our wick getting shorter and shorter. I remember saying to grandpa one day that without a job to go to and no children to care for, what is our purpose? Do we live the rest of our days just entertaining ourselves. Read books, watch television and do our chores. I think we should have a purpose. It seems meaningless otherwise.

So by happenstance we fell into this arrangement and now our lives have purpose.