Small joys with a small boy

Small joys with a small boy

Being a Grandparent

There is something about the role of grandparent, one step detached from the ‘front line’, that is allowing me to appreciate his development in a different light from what I remember as a parent. This is especially the case with the little routines that have evolved on his visits, and how his involvement in these routines changes, at this age, from one week to the next.  

Recently he came to spend some time with me and straight after entering the house through the back door, he toddled down the hall to the front door. 

Smell roses,” he said, pointing to the front door. Constructing mini-sentences like this, a step beyond single words, is quite new to him. 

When I opened the door he stepped out to my front verandah and said “Steps! My front garden slopes down away from the house on a couple of levels, and as he reached the bottom of the first flight of steps he exclaimed, “Hooray!” and was as usual, delighted with his accomplishment. Not really stopping to smell the roses – that request was just a ruse to start this routine – he immediately moved to the next flight of stairs. “More steps!” he said – another mini sentence – and we made our way slowly down to the front gate. From there he said “ gate’’ which I opened and then, he was off as fast as his little legs could carry him onto the footpath and up the street to see the trams, until recently known as “Ding Dings” which is always the real goal of this little routine. 

Later at the nearby playground one of his longest sentences yet gave me a big smile: “More swing please Nanna Lou”. There’s a lot in that if you think about it. 

Other routines are getting easier – he ate all his food, saying “yummy” along the way – while others, like changing a nappy on an octopus, get harder. Trips to the shops are more fun as he is able to interact with me more. Another routine is a climb on the Bob the Builder ride, which is fun while he hasn’t yet worked out that it is a ride. I can see a time in the not too distance future when trips to Kmart become less attractive as words like ‘more’ and ‘mine’ and ‘want’ are heard more frequently. 

These times with my grandson help me appreciate afresh how rapidly development takes place and how precious and fleeting childhood is. They renew my passion for the work our nannies do and how important it is that we, as an agency, support them with a fair wage, good working conditions and ongoing training so that they can do the best job possible. Because in the end, it’s all about the children.