When our new grandbaby was just 3 months old, he made a grab for my eyeglasses. Being an experienced grandma, I held onto him in one arm and shoved the glasses around my neck to my back with the other hand.
Being an experienced baby, he held on to the eyeglass holder attached to the glasses. The string broke and all the tiny glass beads cascaded down my shirt front. But I deftly passed him to someone else, gathered up the tiny scattered beads and threw them away. The next day I went shopping for a sturdier holder to hang my glasses on so I can keep them around my neck.
When he was 5 months old, his aunt and daytime babysitter dropped him off to spend the morning while she kept an appointment. He was wide awake and ready to play. We had a grand time.
Just as we used up the toy selections Auntie brought with him, an uncle came in. Baby got a whole new view of Grandma’s house from Unc’s shoulder as they toured the old homestead. Baby upchucked just once on Unc before Auntie returned.
The baby was happy to see her, but not ready to go yet, so we played some more. Finally Auntie said, “Well, it’s time for us to go.” The corners of the baby’s mouth turned down. She picked him up, and he began to fuss. She reached for his jacket, and he began to throw a fit.
It was the first time I ever saw him do that, and I have to admit I was a little bit pleased. He launched into a full-scale cry. I called his name and moved into his view. He reached for me. I said, “It’s OK, you can come over another day.” He stopped mid-yowl and gave me a nice big smile. It was clear that little boy already knew the way to this grandma’s heart.
Now he is just past 6 months old. He has been a very social person for most of his life. He smiles a lot, and seldom sees a stranger. Anything he gets his hands on goes directly to his mouth, probably because he is trying to cut his first teeth.
Just recently several members of the family met at a local restaurant. When the baby arrived, he was snuggled in his car seat and sound asleep. As his mom removed his jacket, he was jolted awake and obviously disoriented. He looked around the assemblage in puzzlement.
I greeted him in my usual manner, but he just stared at me soberly. I held my hands out, but he didn’t reach out to me. That was alright with me. As I said, I have lots of experience as a grandma. I know there are periods of rain, but they are always followed by sunshine.
In spite of his lack of interest, he was shoved into my arms. He looked at me, but he didn’t smile. Instead he turned away and began to cry. I spoke softly to him, but he still cried. Not a problem. I just exercised the “grand” part of being a grandparent. I handed him off to someone else. Sure enough, before dinner was over he was happy and smiling, grandma’s boy again.
A reader told me about another 6 months old boy. His mom and dad were having a “discussion” when the baby began fussing. As their discussion began heating up, the baby launched into full wail. Mom loudly said a word she shouldn’t have, and the baby stopped crying and broke into a hearty laugh.
Mom looked at the baby in amazement as the dad joined them. “Did he laugh because you said the word you shouldn’t have said?” he asked.
She shrugged her shoulders, and they both looked at the baby. Of course, the only way to find out was to try the word again. As the baby smiled angelically, the dad said the word. Immediately the baby roared with laughter. Throughout the evening they experimented and the result was always the same.
It occurred to the mom that the baby only said one syllable words like mom or dad. Suddenly she had visions of the baby shouting out the forbidden word at some inopportune time in the near future. Consequently, “the word” has been totally forbidden in the household, as the parents wait with bated breath for the baby to shout it out and embarrass the dickens out of them.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate on Feb. 26, 2004.