No matter how hard you try, when the grandkids grow in number beyond 24, the great-grandkids start coming, and some of them live out of town, and you lose track.
One of our sons lives out of town, so we really haven’t gotten to know his wife’s children or her grandchildren very well. We have seen them often enough to know they are really cute, but not often enough for them to know us.
So when that son and his wife moved into a new home, we arrived as virtual strangers to three great-grandchildren aged 3 to 5. Everybody there was busy moving heavy boxes and furniture, so I assigned myself the job of keeping the little ones off the busy road in front of the house.
They were not particularly interested in me, preferring to play on the front deck with each other. Lexie was 5, Bubba was 4, and his sister Faith was 3.
Lexie and Bubba decided to play in the front yard. Their moms said okay, but Faith had to stay on the porch. She was not a happy camper. She went inside to plead her case for being allowed off the porch.
The other two cousins were having a great time running back and forth in front of the deck when Lexie slipped and sat down. She discovered some gravel, so she picked up a stone and heaved it at Bubba. She missed, but I said, “No! Don’t you throw any more stones!”
They looked at each other with the “Is she allowed to do that” look,” and then they looked at me with a “who do you think you are!” look. They came back up on the deck, glared at me, and then turned their backs to me in the universal stance of silent rebellion. I neither said nor did anything because they were both safe on the deck, nowhere near the busy street.
Little kids can stand most anything but silence. So they looked at each other, and then turned their heads to give me the “evil eye.”
I stared at them steadily and then turned my head away from them, obviously ignoring them. Being ignored is something else little kids really can’t stand. When I turned back towards them, they were looking at me in puzzlement.
With an absolutely straight face I asked them, “Can you wiggle your nose?” They shook their heads no. I said, “I can.” And I did.
They had to come close to observe this phenomenon. And then they each pulled out their bag of tricks to impress me. I agreed they could certainly jump higher than I could, but told them that was because they were younger than I was.
Then I challenged them to an ugly face contest. We had just begun when Lexie’s mother came out and told her they were going home. Lexie debated but Mother won.
As they were leaving, Lexie waved and told me, “We’ll play again tomorrow!”
Bubba and I were joined by Faith and we continued the ugly face contest.
We decided to go into the house. As we entered, Bubba made a great ugly face at me. His Mom and Grandma both yelled, “Bubba! What do you think you are doing?”
He’s making an ugly face and that’s really a great one,” I explained. Then I stepped behind them and made one at him they couldn’t see. He laughed, but I had on my normal ugly face before they turned around. “Leave him alone. We’re playing,” I added.
They just shrugged their shoulders and looked at us. His mom said, “We have to go home.”
Bubba looked at me and said, “Why don’t you come home with us?”
“Yeah,” his little sister agreed.
“I can’t,” I answered, “My Grandpa wants me to go to my home.”
They nodded at me in complete understanding. Then we all smiled and went home friends.
Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her column Back Around the House II. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.