(an infrequent series)
Our day begins about 6 am when the eldest grandson, nearly 3, wakes. He stands by the gate that keeps him inside his room, chatting to his stuffed animals- a calico cow, a baby kangaroo and a blue panda named Stillwater- or singing songs or reciting books he’s memorized.
When the children are visiting us in Pennsylvania, we take the early shift, giving the parents a little bit more sleep.
I go to the room and face the biggest challenge I encounter as a grandmother.
Opening the gate. It’s placed upside down, with the release button facing the floor. Simon already figured out how to open it when it was right side up.
I find it tough to undo it and often just lift Simon over the top.
Then we read stories while he has some milk, talk a walk to look for deer, and return and make breakfast together. We make pancakes, French toast, or eggs, cut fruit, and set the table. His mother or father bring his little sister to join us. Nearly one, she plays with makeshift toys from the kitchen drawers—plastic measuring spoons and cups, mixing bowls, and colanders.
Reading, changing diapers, baths, and cooking. These are things I can do.
It’s the equipment that befuddles me.
We’ve acquired enough baby accessories to make everyone comfortable and safe: a stroller, a car seat, a high chair, and a booster seat, forget about using an old telephone book. Each one needs assembling, often minimal, and each has a strap system designed to restrain the child. They may be quick-release, just not for me.
I’ve saved many books that the kids liked and boxes of legos, blocks, and train sets. Garage sales have become our best friends as we recycle others’ castoffs.
For years I admired our friends Sandy and Richard, who introduced us to road cycling. They had a bike rack on the back of their a car and a car seat inside.
I always thought “how cool is that.”
And it is.