The ‘Caravan of Chaos’ arrived around midnight Thursday. I heard them come in the door and do their best to be as quiet as possible, and to their credit they did okay. I pretty much acknowledged their arrival in my head and went back to sleep. Three hours later I got up and went to work, knowing that for the next five days, life was going to change… the grandchildren were in the house.
The ages of my grandchildren, currently range from 8 to 1. There are six grandchildren in total. BulToo are responsible for the four in my basement and GenCo have the two that are local. Each child is different, mostly because of age discrepancies. There is a distinct difference between a 2.5 and 3-year old when it comes to development. But there is also a distinct difference between first-born and last-born and the way they behave.
GenCo’s oldest has the same general demeaner as BulToo’s oldest, even though they are 5 years apart. While his cousin, who is only six months younger, being the last-born and spending his whole life trying to play catch-up, is a “pedal to the medal” kind of kid. Each of the 6 are unique and have a certain way about them.
But these differences do not matter, because when you put them in the same room together it is bedlam!!! I have no idea how a kindergarten teacher survives. 20 five-year old’s in one small room?!! I wouldn’t survive a day!!! I couldn’t keep track of 6, how would I manage 20?!!? I’d lose a hand-full by noon!!! The 6 in my yard was enough to give me fits! 1… 2… 3… 4… 5… ??? “Honey!!! I can’t find one of the kids!!!”
For four days I counted heads and checked on child status relentlessly. How sad am I??? I couldn’t stop myself! In my defense though, lots happens when there are that many.
“Where’s Elyza?” I would ask.
“She’s on a time-out,” Tattoo would tell me, “she blah… blah… blah…”
Never saw that happen… but I didn’t care what the kid had done, only that she was accounted for. The whole thing became pathetic. I wasn’t like this when my children were young. I was the one that was always telling Honey that the “kids were fine… they’re playing together… relax… you worry too much.” What happened to me???!!! I got old and I became a mother!!!
The easiest to keep track of was the youngest, Reid. He didn’t go far before you tracked him down. He isn’t walking yet but he is an adept ‘bum-scooter’. Placing his hands on the ground while sitting, he pushes his ass forward towards the intended target. He’s quick but nothing like the other five that have fully functioning legs. The fact that he was not quick made him the most frequently missing. He scoots around things and disappears from sight because he is sitting. I lost sight of him all the time! By the end of two days of trying to catch his cousins, he had learned the monkey crawl and was creeping forward with all fours on the ground. Once he musters the courage to take those first steps forward without support, he will become like the others… a blur, running and screaming past me as I try to count.
The one sure way I found to get a handle on the grandkids was to start the BBQ. Food is like a magnet for children. Where they put it, I don’t know. Their bodies are so small but in under 36 hours they had eaten the fridge bare! Honey had pre-made meals and snacks, and our refrigerator was bursting before they arrived. There was enough food in there to last Honey and I a month!! It was all gone in 3 days!!! Taco dip, pizza spread, every vegetable and most of the bread and buns, gone!! All gone!!!
They would gather around as soon as I removed the cover from the grill.
“What cookin’, grumpa?” one would ask me.
“What do you want?” I would ask back. The answer was always the same, hot dogs or hamburgers. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, it did not matter, they would eat either one, at any time.
“How about pork tenderloin,” I said.
“I don’t like that,” was the response.
“Have you ever had it?” I heard the voice of my father coming out of my mouth before I could stop it.
“I don’t know,” I am told genuinely.
“You might like it,” I say. The child stands shaking their head in the negative. Okay, shut up dad!!! That logic never worked with me when I was four, why would I expect it to work with this generation?!! I bend down and look my grandchild in the face.
“It looks like a big hot dog,” I say with a smile and a wink.
“Oh…” I could see the wheels turning, “Okay, I like hot dogs.” With that proclamation, they speed off to play. I always put a few wieners on the grill to be safe.
This is the first time that Honey and I have had all our grandchildren under our roof at the same time. It was everything that we imagined it would be, and then some. By the time the ‘Caravan of Chaos’ drove off on the 5th day, we were spent. Physically and emotionally drained from the experience. I was sad to see them leave but looked forward to having our home back and some quiet.
When I returned home from work the day they left, on the drive-way where their vehicle had sat, I found a token. One small sock, had been left behind on the gravel. I laughed to myself, it had almost made it to the caravan for the trip home. I picked it up, intending to add it to the inevitable collection of other things forgotten, but there was nothing else. Nothing else had been left behind… just one little sock and the fond memories it provoked.