Monday, November 16, 2015

Grandparent Week

The Grandparents in happier times
We, of course, have had our kids. We, like our parents, suffered through all the ins and outs of bringing up a boy and girl of our own. I recall how we would often make light of other older couples we'd see at the zoo or at Parent-Teacher Night corralling Grandkids through whatever venue. We made astute observations about how exhausting it seemed for them to ride herd over their clearly high spirited offspring. Like retirement accounts....we never considered we would be those exhausted Grandparents someday. Well that day came.

Our darling daughter and son-in-law decided to travel to New York City to visit family and tour the sights. When planning their sojourn they advised us they would not be taking their son and asked us to watch our two year old grandson "for a couple of days". Closer to the departure date it turned out it was a full week and we would be watching their seven month old Lab as well.

"buy Disney Disney products"
Ok....I thought, we could do this. My wife and I had, as stated earlier, raised two of our own and had all the obligatory skills needed to manage one diaper wearing, just learning to talk, get into everything, two year old little boy. Or so I thought. And yes...I know you other veteran grandparents are yawning and dismissing us with a, "Been there, done that, Nick," wave of the hand. But allow us to tell our tale.

Jax the wonder dog

The big day came and the daughter and son-in-law dropped off Jax the aforementioned crazed black Lab who, as it turns out, really hasn't been around many dogs and immediately went berserk with joy all over my two dogs. First day was going to be inside until we could get home and supervise them.

My first official Grandparent activity was picking up the Grandson at daycare. A neat little establishment in our town not far from our home (I wonder if that wasn't part of my daughters evil plan all along). I parked my RSX (two door, six speed, no interior room built for speed and cool) in the lot and strutted in to a somewhat surprised teacher as I calmly asked for little Robert. She quickly tapped her code in and unhinged the airlock to the inner sanctum and quickly led me to his cell....ahhh classroom. There, surrounded by others of his ilk, he bounded over to me with glad tidings.

Once released, we squeezed him into the RSX, his car seat ( can get a car seat into the backseat of a sports car) and zipped, as cool as we could, back home. Nay.. I did not bow to the video gods like his mother...nope, he was subject to the old school stereo and we sang Hip Hop and Country songs back and forth to school. He may be partial to Jay Z but really leans toward Lil Wayne.
No...he got in there all by himself

The first night sort of went like other overnighters we had done with one exception. Clearly his "cheese" had been moved and the prospect of his week of Grandparent care away from home (well and maybe the chocolate Dianna slipped him) caused him great distress and he couldn't fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning making getting to work that much harder for us old folks.

Nick two days after the assault
But before he would settle down and succumb to the sleep gods, he had to commit one more atrocity. As I was attempting to comfort him, he began a rhythmic rocking which culminated in him reeling back and head butting me with his apparently thick skull (I wonder where he got that from) right on the ridge of my right eyebrow. I saw stars and enough pain to illicit some very un-grandfatherly expressions which, for obvious reasons, cannot be duplicated here.

The result was a class-A black eye. Rest your minds, the kid was fine and just walked off giggling. The guys at work were giggling as well when I showed up. I had considered a Starbucks line-cutting confrontation but decided against it.....mostly because everybody knows how much I despise one would have believed it anyway.

The next few days were interspersed with many "No's" and...well....a bunch more "No's". He has this amazing talent of locating every loose object and ajar drawer and door in the place. He's located unreported dog poop as well as missing doggy toys and unclaimed socks and underwear. And he always seems sooooo busy all the time. He never stops moving. Repetition is his stock in trade as he (for the umpteenth time) climbs up into my lap then immediately climbs back down to get back up again. Or, climb a stairs....and does it again. It's just exhausting to watch. Then he'll plop down and fall dead asleep....(sure like to have those days back again) then get up and do it all again like it was the first time.

Don't let that smile deceive you
His grandmother is no longer the woman I married. She has become this tyrannical disciplinarian I don't recall ever seeing before. She claims she is the same Dianna that got us through potty training, vacations with the kids and puberty. I am not so sure.

For instance, I have the more gentler approach to bedtime. The Grandson will pull himself into my lap and lean back as we watch TV until he slips off to sleep. Oh, no...not Granma. There is a schedule to keep and when he starts rubbing his eyes, he's scooped up and put down into his bed with Panda Bear tucked in and it's lights out.

As an example, I, for one, am not a big fan of screaming babies. My reaction is well documented, I go in and comfort, wait until he's nodded off and then a slow descent to the crib and slink out of the room. Lately when I've tried that, I have received "the look", a piercing stare of the kind your mother (or wife) gave you when you were about to countermand an order she had just given you. You can see her rising up like the Queen in Snow White as she grows in size until she morfs into that fire breathing dragon. It can be ugly if left unchecked.

Climbing Grandson
He drives his grandmother crazy by doing that stare back when she tells him not to do something. You know, that one where he's climbing up on top of the forbidden coffee table and in mid stride gets the command from Granma to cease and desist. He will look her right in the eye and do a slow-mo continuation of the forbidden act, rolling his leg up onto the table as Granma is doing that Cosby bit about his children, "No, No, No, No......come here, come here, come here!" to no avail.

I find it amusing that when he has access to several hundred dollars of age appropriate toys, he is perfectly content with playing with empty cans of beer he finds on our walks. He can take a simple cardboard box and roll around in it for hours. His favorite pastime is to throw open the Tupperware drawer and pull out every piece and try to mate it to its top (which I can still not do....ever).

He loves Mac and Cheese, pizza (really..who doesn't) and he even likes salad...yes, green vegetables...and black Olives. What an amazing child. Clearly this recessive gene had slipped past my kids.

Robert and his Uncle Bill
Finally, on the seventh day, his parents returned from far away to retrieve him and their little dog. Little Robert was happy and, I believe, relieved to see them. I think Jax was the happiest. He was going to get his life back as the lone house dog. Although he may have known his stay was temporary, I firmly believe little Robert realized he had exhausted all his cuteness on Granma and was headed into negative territory and needed to put some space between himself and his grandparents to preserve that potential car or college fund in his future. A wise child.

New Dog Habitat

Although (and I will never admit this to anyone even under threat of torture) no matter how many times you have to say no or watch him cry when he's denied a toy or some daredevil antic, he always comes back and gives me a big hug and always makes me smile. We missed him as soon as he was gone.

1 comment:

  1. Try 10, yest 10 grandkids all here at one time. I didn't get a black eye thought.