Toys and toothbrushes may be turning up in peculiar places, but I wouldn’t trade this month for anything. It is said that grandparents have all the fun when it comes to child-care, but none of the responsibility, and I say, “Hurray.” I suppose that for those grandparents who are charged with caring full time for grandchildren, the fun can wear thin, but there’s no sign of that at our house, even though two of my grandkids are now into the third week of a monthlong stay.
We are also thoroughly enjoying that special prerogative of grandparents: bragging.
Nettie and Teddy are 7 and 4. They have grown a lot and learned a lot since the last time we were together, at Thanksgiving. We applaud wildly when Nettie gets into a yoga bridge from a handstand. We knew she was good at drawing, and that she loved art, but we were particularly thrilled with a portrait she did of Chris. A pencil drawing, it has a word-cloud reading “Okay” (something he says constantly), and there is a cellphone at his ear (also ubiquitous); these are truly characteristic, as is the big open mouth she gave him (about which I will make no comment).
We knew that Teddy was good at putting things together, like the bits and pieces of Lego, and that he had learned perhaps too much about manipulating video games. (He and his sister are allowed only two hours of video games a week, but recently he somehow managed to purchase for himself a game app called “Contract Killer 2,” much to his parents’ horror and amusement.) But we were delighted to discover how well he knows his letters and numbers, and charmed that he likes to sit quietly doing very important “homework” in a kindergarten “Star Wars Mathematics” workbook. Nettie has read a book to me, and Teddy has a way of playing funny tricks on us.
Obviously, we are indulgent grandparents. We smile at the kids when they open our bedroom door and wake us early in the morning. Today, when they actually found me up and about — but Chris still under the covers — they insisted that I wake him because they had a surprise for us. It turned out that the surprise was in the kitchen, where we found they had made breakfast: Shredded Wheat for Chris, Honey Nut Cheerios for me. They had also put an egg in a pot of cold water on the stove for their mother. Teddy brought us spoons; Nettie poured in the milk. Who could ask for anything more?
Because we all work, and because Chris and I are indeed getting older, I must admit it is something of a relief that they are attending day camp during the week. A yellow school bus picks them up and delivers them home, and they seem very excited about going on their big adventure every day. From a grandparent’s point of view, they also look completely adorable as they march off, struggling under the burden of colorful backpacks and cute matching lunch bags.
My daughter will be driving to Maine to catch a ferry back to their home in Nova Scotia when the time comes for their visit to end in early August, and she was surprised when I offered to go along for the ride.
“Why would you do that? Won’t you have seen enough of them?” she asked. My answer? “No way.”