An evening ‘off’

By Joanne Peterson | Jan 12, 2012

Sometimes too many days go by without opportunity to see my small grandchildren in West Seattle. I get lonesome.

Then I call daughter Lisa and offer to stay with Adam and Abby while she and husband Eric enjoy an afternoon or evening out.

Last Saturday evening was one of those times.

I spent six hours tending two little people who somehow used up every last shred of energy I had stored up for the weekend. It was wonderful!

When I arrived, baby Abby was napping, so I had a while alone with Adam after their parents left.

He focused on demonstrating a recycle truck, one of his growing fleet of a variety of garbage trucks. There’s nothing like getting down on the floor and playing trucks with a little boy.

Then Abby woke up, rested, ready to practice her staggering attempts at walking—she can walk several steps now, before abruptly tipping over.

By the time she is one, in February, she’ll probably be running.

As I recall, Adam pretty much skipped crawling and walking, in favor of running. By all appearances, she’ll not be satisfied for long to be left behind by her brother.

It took a while to coax Adam to quit playing long enough to eat dinner.

Once at the table, he amused himself by plunking his beans into his milk, one by one, laughing heartily as each bean splashed into the glass. Eventually he tired of his game.

“Cottage cheese, please,” he ordered, pleasantly. “Yes, sir,” I said. “Of course, sir. Whatever you wish, sir.” He grinned. I served him some cottage cheese.

While I supervised Adam’s dinner, I stayed half-focused on feeding Abby—who was more interested in watching her brother’s antics than in eating dinner.

Kierra, the huge family mastiff, grazed under the table, drooling and inhaling bits of Adam and Abby’s discarded chicken.

Joe, the orange family cat, mewed piteously; he didn’t stand a chance of grabbing a scrap.

This is what my grandchildren did while I tidied the kitchen: Abby stood, wobbling, one hand on the wooden kitchen stool, watching her brother, who stood two feet away from her. Then she screamed.

I turned quickly from the sink, wondering what had happened. Nothing! Abby screamed. Adam screamed back.

Abby screamed again and laughed hysterically. Then Adam screamed again and laughed hysterically. 

He began spinning in circles, a performance Abby clearly thought pure genius. I think they screamed and laughed for several minutes, not the several hours it seemed.

As quickly as possible, I finished in the kitchen, ending the raucous play.

Back in the living room, Abby quietly rummaged among Adam’s small Matchbox cars--which she did not put in her mouth—while Adam repeatedly listened to one of Abby’s musical baby toys.

It was time for pajamas, a bottle for baby, a book for brother--and bed. They quickly fell asleep.

I fixed a cup of tea and sat in the silent living room, perfectly content.

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