Did you know that grandchildren go through phases when they come together; at least they do when they come to my home.
Here’s a pretty common day.
1. The feeling you out stage: around 10:00 a. m.
As each grandchild enters the house, I always try to hug them. It hardly ever works. They stare, take a step back as if to say, ” Oh, no. ”
2. Late breakfast: 10:30 a. m.
Jimmy Dean Sausage, eaten up immediately. Donuts are a close second, and munched on the rest of the day.
Vegetables go uneaten.
3. Congregating: 11:00 a.m.
After eating they congregate. Then as a gang they descend upon the one place you hope they will steer clear of. Our exercise room is usually the prime target.
4. The breakdown: 11:05 a.m.
I can predict it will take about five minutes before someone starts crying. It usually happens when someone falls off the exercise machine or gets hit with something.
5. Sympathy: 11:07 a.m.
I’m usually the first one the smallest kids come to after they get hurt. This is how it usually goes,
Gretta: “Robbie and Harry pushed me down.”
Me: “You ok?”
Me: “What do you want me to do?”
Gretta: “Go push them back.”
At about the time she finishes, she’s gone.
6. Snack time: 12:15
They begin raiding the refrigerator and freezer. Chocolate ice cream bars go quickly. Donuts continue to be eaten.
Crying always ensues for the child who looks for one last bar and finds we’re all out.
Sandwich is offered but rejected.
7. Unavoidable mistakes: 12:30
About this time, someone has to go to the bathroom. Because so much is going on, they wait to the last minute and sometimes don’t quite make it. (That’s one of the reasons we try to have all hardwood floors.)
Or if they do make it they miss the target. A particular pattern with boys.
8. Chaos: 1:30 p.m.
Before you know it they’re outside and a rock is thrown. It almost always hits something – a window, a pot, me.
9. Parents enter: 2:00 p.m.
About this time parents take over and calm children down.
10. Give up: 2:30 p.m.
Everyone seems to do their own thing at this point. Fathers go to sleep on the sofas. Mothers get out crayons or stickers so the smallest ones can draw. Seven year old girls go off and tell secrets. Five year old boys jump into the pond and squirt anyone who comes around. Babies under two sit there half asleep, half awake.
11. Questions: all throughout the day
Grandpa why did you built a waterfall?
Grandpa why do you always say “good going” to the kids?
Grandpa what’s that rainbow on your toenail?
Grandpa why do I have to stop sucking on my fingers?
Etc. Etc. Etc.
No matter how I answer them their responses are usually: What? Or Why?
12. One last breakout: 3:00 p.m.
Here’s where they unify one last time and play a game like hide and go seek. It works out well, except there’s usually one child who has hidden so well that the other kids can’t find him, nor can the parents.
Panic begins and search parties are considered to comb the neighborhood.
Child comes out of hiding from behind the drapes and is made to promise not to hide when his name is called by his mother and father. He always promises, but never keeps the promise. Ear pulling becomes a temptation.
13. Go home time. 5:00
Finally kids are willing to hug me. Parents say, “before you can leave you need to give grandpa a hug.” They’re all too eager. They’ll do anything to go home.
Moral? MORAL? There is no moral. It’s life.