Keeping up with the grandkids

By Joanne Peterson | Apr 05, 2012

I recently read that the reason grandchildren have so much energy is because they suck it right out of their grandparents, and the grandparents are such gluttons for punishment they keep going back for more.

I suspect there are many other grandparents out there who recognize that the comment, though amusing, is seriously true.

My grandson Adam will be three this month, and I do not have half his energy.  Not a quarter. Consequently, it doesn’t take all that long for him to suck all the energy out of me.

His little sister Abby is learning fast.

One rainy evening a few weeks ago, I drove to West Seattle to take care of my grandchildren.

We three went downstairs to the cozy family playroom, where I cranked up the heat and helped the children sift through toys, in order to find just the right ones to satisfy the mood of the moment.

Here’s the drill: Abby chooses to practice staggering around the room at a tilt, trying to keep up with her mother’s big exercise ball, as it rolls ever away from her.

Adam decides on a sizeable fire engine his Uncle Warren gave him for Christmas.

I sit on the floor with him, keeping an eye on Abby as she totters after the ball. I can tell she’ll tire of it soon.

Yes. Abby walks deliberately to her brother and grabs one end of the fire engine. Much pushing and roaring erupts.

Grandma—ever the peacemaker—attempts to quiet Adam while distracting Abby.

No, Abby doesn’t want her pink Jeep. Never did want a pink Jeep. Wants Adam’s police cars and garbage trucks—and fire engine. Now.

For a while, the two of them squabble, and then they go their separate ways, Abby to stack blocks with Grandma.

Adam hops onto the guest bed and begins throwing pillows onto the floor and then diving into the pillows.

“Look, Grandma! Look!” he shouts. Well, yes. I am looking. He appears to be headed for a broken arm.

“Hey, Adam,” I say to my sweet boy in my most calm loud voice, “Let’s read a book.” Not interested.

He eyes his sister, changes his direction slightly and jumps again, knocking her over. She screams. He giggles.

I comfort her and ask Adam to put the pillows (all six) back on the bed. He declines. Finally, exasperated, I announce, “Adam, I am NOT having fun. Grandma is not having fun at all.”

Adam obviously is stunned by my words. How could this be? What’s Grandma’s problem? He settles down. I feel like a bad grandma.

It doesn’t help that during the rest of the evening, he repeatedly peers anxiously up at my face, asking, “Grandma, are you having fun NOW?” (I am.)

I put Abby to bed. One exhausted squawk and she falls asleep. Cuddly in his pajamas, Adam settles on my lap. We read two books, one of them twice.

All is forgiven.



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