August 14, 2006
My daughter-in-law tells a riddle about parenthood that goes like this:
Why do you put 2-year-olds to bed at 7:30?
The answer: So you can go to bed at 8.
More than two decades after we last had a 2-year-old of our own, my wife and I spent this past weekend taking care of our grandson, Jackson. Alone. Just us and Jackson.
People in the office have heard me refer to Jackson (lovingly, of course) as “Bruiser,” “The Linebacker” and “Pinball.” He is ripped: big shoulders, bulging chest, all muscle, no fat. One of his favorite words is “run,” and off he goes, a miniature Forrest Gump. “Pinball,” by the way, refers to the way he bounces off things and seems to gain speed and energy from each collision.
During the weekend, when we weren’t out harvesting blueberries and blackberries, for which Jackson has an extraordinary capacity, I spent the good part of the weekend trying to divine the mind of a 2-year-old. I mean, what is going on up there? At times, the boy seemed charming, loving and perfectly normal. He put the plastic flamingo on the letter “F,” aped animal sounds on command and counted to 13 over and over. But then, suddenly, he would zone out and slip off into the next room in search of an electric socket or, more likely, do precisely the opposite of what we had told him to do. And do it again. And again. "Tantrum" might be too stark a word for his most headstrong moments, but probably not.
As far as I could tell, there were no logical connections between the responsive Jackson and the devious Jackson. Only one thing gave us comfort in these personality flips: They were accompanied by expressions very reminiscent of those that crossed his father’s face 28 years ago. These were familiar expressions, even though Jackson seemed to be just trying them out: the Clinton-lip pout, the evil eye, Don’t Tread on Me.
When you first become a grandparent, other grandparents tell you how wonderful it is to spend time with grandchildren – and to send them home to their parents. I’ll admit I had this thought last night when my wife drove away with Jackson and peace returned to our domain.
But that is not the thought that lingers from his visit, nor was I left thinking about the few difficult moments of his stay with us. Rather I woke up this morning thinking what an amazing challenge it is for his parents to guide him through this phase of his life. Also, how this adorable little tyke brings to the world such a headlong desire to grasp life and how we, as grandparents, have the high privilege of watching him become.
Posted by Mike Pride at August 14, 2006 06:59 PM
Grandparenting is simply grand, not only from a distance, but right up close. For those who are new to the role, please be aware of a granddad prerequisite: a grandfather must be able to fix anything and everything. A word of caution, if it involves fixing a boy/girl relationship, it's wise to get grandmother involved.
The experiences are wonderful, fascinating, alarming, and whole host of other descriptors. A belief that was reinforced a few weks ago when I agreed to babysit a 3-year-old grandson, Tristan, at his home in Candia. Tris is a bright active boy who has developed enough language to carry on a rudimentary conversation when he feels like saying something. Typical of 3-year-old boys, he's only bratty when his mother's around.
The two of us were alone at home, and he was active with his toy cars and bulldozers and trucks. He kept himself busy, so I decided to watch television. I found a remote control that was a different model from the TV set, but still would change channels and the volume. However, I could not get a picture, just a lot of snow.
I was stewing about not getting a picture on the set,and Tristan,it turned out was aware of my dilemma. Saying not a word, he walked over to the TV set, reached down under to the shelf below, and pushed the button that shut off the VCR. My TV picture magically appeared. I began to wonder how in today's world grandfathers can get by without the guidance and technical knowledge of a 3-year-old grandchild.
By the way, my new on-line name is "Opa." the German word for "Grampa." Not to leave grandmothers out, their name is "Oma," the word for "Gramma."
Grandparenting is one of those things that we should simply relax and enjoy.
Posted by: John Stohrer at August 18, 2006 07:48 PM