Sunday, May 14, 2017

Seffascopes and Bomb Fires


Yesterday, my grandson came rushing out from under the decorative bush at the end of the driveway - his fort. He had an armload of sticks which he tossed back under the bush.

"Grandma, I'm making a bomb fire!" he explained with great excitement. Then he picked some red and pink leaves from the bush and threw them onto his pile of bonfire sticks.

"Here's the flames of the bomb fire."

Next, he began dragging some bungee cords that he had hooked together, and pretended that it was a fire hose. He squirted imaginary water on the bonfire, talking about the bad guys who made the fire and how he had to rescue the people in the building.

My younger grandson, aged two, observed his older brother, aged four, and picked up a stick.

"No, no! That stick is on the fire!" said "E", snatching the stick away.

Then we negotiated finding "C" a different stick to play with, one that was not part of the fire drama taking place under the bush. Still watching his older brother, C began plucking red leaves from the bush and delivering them one by one to me to hold for him.


Honestly, I don't know why we even bother with making plastic toys, when sticks, rocks, leaves, and dirt (and bungee cords) provide so much scope for the imagination and hours of fun.

As you might have guessed, I am presently on grandma duty. I am staying with my two grandsons for a week while their parents are out of town. I live far away in a different province. Although I have visited quite often, this is the first time that I have looked after them for multiple days.

I had forgotten how exhausting a day with two preschoolers is! And how early the morning starts! Poopy diapers, two-year-old contrariness, wheedling for sugar, eating toothpaste, sibling disagreements, disappearing socks, and the many places where food can be smeared.

On the other hand, there is nothing quite as sweet as a cuddle and kiss from a toddler. Or the seriousness of a four-year-old explaining about a seffascope for looking at the sky, or asking concerned questions about Snow White's evil step mother. I was grateful that E was able to help me figure out how to remove the diapers from the complicated odour-free diaper disposal system when it became full. Both boys love to be helpful!

We have been to an outdoor preschool program, swimming lessons, soccer, a science centre, gym drop-in, and the playground. Every day we read many, many stories. E enjoys long books and has amazing knowledge about the natural world, and about how things work. C is very interested in animals, music, buses, and construction machines.

I am so lucky to have this opportunity to spend intensive time with my dear grandchildren. They are growing up so fast! I will recover from a week of being tired at the end of each day, and I know that the long grind of full-time childcare is in my past, not my future. But if I didn't have the chance to spend time like this with them now and from time to time, I would miss out on truly knowing them as young children.

I expect that being a grandma will be one of the best things about being retired.

22 comments:

  1. Being a grandma makes my heart sing and lights up my eyes. I remember the toddler days when there was often a bum to wipe or food to prepare or clean up. I would foolishly think that a chore could get done after the grandkids were in bed. Hah! I would sit quietly for a minute before going to bed and resting in anticipation of another full day tomorrow. I welcome the days I'm invited to stay with the grandkids. It's not that I have to stay with them; it's that I get to.

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  2. Mona, you are so right that there is no energy left at the end of the day for chores. When I look back on my earlier years as a single parent of three, I have no idea how I managed to fit everything in. Now as a grandma, I enjoy taking more time to play with them and read stories. If the floor has crumbs on it or the window has nose prints, well, it can get cleaned tomorrow. Being a grandma is the best!

    Jude

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  3. I agree. Being a grandmother and being able to spend uninterrupted time with your grandchildren IS the best thing about being retired. Great post, Jude. You should share it at: https://www.retirementreflections.com/blogging-grandmothers-link-party-15. Looking forward to seeing you again soon.

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    1. Donna, having the opportunity to spend time with our grandchildren while they are still young was one of the factors in the timing of my retirement. Being closer to all of our family (spread out though they are) was another. Sorry I didn't get in touch while I was on the Island. As you can tell from my post, my days were full from morning to night!

      Thank you for the invitation to share a link at your grandmother's link party. I did!

      Jude

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  4. Excellent post, Jude. I'm not a grandmother, but have had similar experiences with my niece and nephews. Thanks for the reminder of the wonderful imagination and language use of young children. Keep enjoying your week, fully aware that you will be able to have lots more time with your grandchildren once you have retired. A bonus indeed!

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    1. Thanks Karen. What never ceases to amaze me is how the most precious gems of life are embedded in the messy minutiae and ordinariness of everyday events. While there is nothing particularly appealing or romantic about changing diapers, mediating sibling rivalry, and cleaning up after endless snacks, the parts add up to a whole fabric of relationships and connection that is what life is all about. Of course, it is topped off by those special moments - snuggling for a story, a shared insight, and the wonder in their eyes in response to something new.

      It reminds me of your story about finding Shylah. How frustrating it must have felt at the time! But by your commitment and caring, you built greater trust with your fearful dog (the precious gem).

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  5. How creative little ones can be! Like why do they always play with the box the toy or tv or washer came in? It is exhausting to take care of them when they're young but it is also the best thing ever. I wouldn't trade being a grammy for anything. Thank you Jude for linking up at the #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty. I shared this post.

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    1. Grammy Dee, thanks for commenting, and for sharing this post. I found your blog and the Blogging Grandmother Link Parties via Donna at Retirement Reflections.

      Jude

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  6. So happy for you that you're cherishing those special times! Grandchildren are wonderful. My four-year-old grandson said to me, “I’m a genius, amn’t I?!” 😄
    “I’m a genius, amn’t I?!!”

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    1. Lori, I love the way they make me think twice about language, and lots of other everyday things that I just take for granted and otherwise would never notice.

      Jude

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  7. Thank you for sharing at #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty

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    1. Thank-you for checking out my link and replying!

      Jude

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  8. I mind my 3 year old grandson each week from 6am to 5pm and he certainly keeps me on my toes. Thanks for sharing with us at #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty

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    1. Sue, that is a long day! Your grandson is lucky to have such an involved grandparent in his life.

      Jude

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  9. I love your description of a preschooler's world, Jude. I love their imaginations and am often surprised when they reveal how much they observe and understand. Full-time care of them can be exhausting, but oh so rewarding. And just like our children, the grandchildren grow up way too fast! Savor this time.

    Christie

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    1. I might be just a wee bit biased, but I think my grandchildren are incredibly brilliant and insightful, not to mention very cute. Thanks for commenting, Christie.

      Jude

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  10. Yay!! I am so glad that you shared this post at this Link Party, Jude. I see that you have had some great responses (which I knew that you would). I look forward to catching up soon! #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty

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    1. Waiting, waiting waiting to sell the house. You'll probably be off on your summer trek before we get there.

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  11. Grandchildren are such a treasure and so much fun. It's really quite amazing! I am so glad that you have had this opportunity to spend a week with yours. My husband and I saw a bumper sticker once that said "If I'd known how much fun grandchildren were, I would have had them first".

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    1. Now, is it that the grandchildren are more fun than the kids were, or that we have more time and less responsibility for raising them? Or maybe it's the years of accumulated experience and wisdom. Whichever, I agree with you that grandkidscare fun.

      Jude

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  12. How sweet. There is nothing like this time you have with them. Enjoy it!!! And they are so cute. Thank you for linking up at the #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty. I shared this post.

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    1. Clearissa, thanks for your comment and for sharing the post. I did enjoy the week, and then I went to a conference for work for a week. Such different worlds!

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