Little hands… Little feet… Little voices… All talking at the same time. No, this is not the start of the new school year; this is my living room this week. The ‘Caravan of Chaos’ has arrived at my door. With a Phase 3 implementation across Western Canada, a Covid-roadtrip is now allowed by the powers that be, and after months of no classroom life or extra-curricular activities, these children were good and ready for a visit to their grandparents. That’s right all you covid-frenzied people… there was hugging!!!
It has been a year since I have last seen these children up close and physical, and though there has been video interaction, it’s not quite the same. With small children the changes that take place over this kind of time period are quite stark. Sure, we’re all a year older but in adults that means very little, in children it can represent a large percentage of their life to date. For the youngest, a year is one-third of his entire life!
They’re not the same people that they were a year ago, and it requires Honey and I to adapt quickly to the overall change of each one. Including the two that live close by, three are bathroom users, two are ‘potty-training’ and one still lets loose in his pants. Two speak in complete sentences, one is almost there but needs to be reminded to speak in an adult-voice, two are talking so you know what they are trying to say and one is just throwing out random words for the hell of it. Three are in school, two will be ready for some kind of pre-school in the fall, and one will be left wondering where everyone went.
The personality of each one is also evolving and becoming defined. Two now have knowledge, three are still inquisitive, and one has mischief in her heart. Two can be trusted to act safely, three must be monitored at all times, and keeping track of the mischief-maker is paramount to keeping nail polish off the floor and lip-stick off the walls. Left to her own devices, she won’t just sit and watch cartoons. No doubt this personality will change in the next few years, otherwise I think she may be quite the handful as a teenager. Not my problem though, that’s a parent thing, I’ll love her whether she changes her ways or not. I only need to worry about keeping certain things out of her reach for a week.
Honey has a much better ability to adapt to the changes in her grandchildren than I do. I don’t know if it is because she is a mother or because she can channel her inner-child better than me, but she seems to be intuitive as to the needs and abilities of each one. She seems to know what the sentence speakers are saying, and in some cases, even what the random-word thrower means! My mental-capabilities can’t get past saying “What did you say?” every time any one of them opens their mouth and speaks to me. The exasperated look I receive from them when I don’t understand what they are saying has a way of making me feel like I’m senile!!
Honey is the star of this production though. She is the major attraction anytime one of the grandchildren are around. She’s got a child magnet implanted somewhere under her skin. Find her and you find kids. Sure, they like me, but they adore her. It could be that when they come to me, I say “What do you want?” and Honey says “Why don’t we make some cookies.”
Honey has a secret cache of fun little activities that are held aside for those moments when boredom sets in. Activities that all have sections that are age appropriate, regardless of the child’s age. She’s an all-inclusive granny. No child is told that they are not old enough to help or participate, they all play a part. She plans it that way. It’s on a list!!
Even though there was much planning done prior to their arrival (last year’s Fruit Loops were replaced by a fresh box), you are never quite ready for the changes that have taken place. Our grandchildren are becoming little people, with individual thoughts and capabilities. They each try to express themselves in their own way, even single-word is able to combine facial expression with the word, aiding most adults around him to understand. I know the parents, GenCo and BulToo, don’t even notice these changes. When Honey or I mention them, the response is simply “Oh yeah, he/she always does that”. Don’t tell me that! It isn’t always!! They didn’t do that last year!! I’m old but I would remember that mischief-maker likes to hide all the shoes!!!
Honey and I notice the changes because we are not around the grandchildren on a daily basis, to us their behaviour is a drastic departure from a year ago. To us, their motor-skills and their comprehension have stepped ahead by light-years. It’s like getting a whole new set of grandchildren every time they visit! It’s a challenge for an old person like me!!
But I can take heart in the one constant that doesn’t seem to change, the noise that six children create when they are hard at play. I find it helps that my hearing-aids come with a mute button.