Grandma Diary: Scrabble!

I try to visit my three grands once a week after school. This week I picked them up. As we walked to the car, I asked the eldest, 9, how his day was. “Great,” he replied.

“What made it great?” I asked.

“Well, for one, you.”


In the car, all three buckled and happy snacking on the mini-banana-oatmeal muffins I made, I asked what else made the day great. By then, the focus had moved onto other things – the three arguing about whether or not to play a CD or just talk, so whatever else occurred during the day was lost for the moment.

At home, we played some Monkey in the Middle (inside), and even though it was freezing, I suggested we go outside. My granddaughter, 7, wanted to play soccer.

It took a little convincing to get them to wear at least a fleece jacket and hats. We kicked the ball a bit in the yard.

Hand-knitted hats

Returning inside, I asked if they wanted to play some games. Often the 9-year-old ensconces himself in Legos; the 7 plays with me a little, and the 5, hovers around, observing. I can still read aloud to him and his sister, especially while they’re eating dinner.

Lately, their games have become very complicated. Too hard to teach me. Too many pieces, requiring lots of time. Gone are the days of a few rounds of Connect Four or Uno. Now it’s intensive board games. Dominion, for one.

At an impasse, I suggested a lifelong favorite of mine, Scrabble.

We agreed to play an open board and not keep score. Even the eldest joined in. I explained the rules and taught a few strategies. We consulted a dictionary a couple times. We traded letters and helped each other. By the time the letter bag was nearly empty, they’d grown tired of the game and we put it away.

But the seed’s been planted. I have another game that I can play with them and in time, they’ll certainly overtake my abilities.


About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. ( I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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