I was asked to watch my year-and-a-half-old granddaughter for only a few hours while my son and his wife were out. Of course, I was thrilled at a chance to have my sweet little granddaughter all to myself and spoil her. But once again I have flunked Grandmother 101.
She was already in her ‘jamas, as content and innocent as a Pooh bear with a honey tree. She waved a crooked “bye, bye” as mommy and daddy went out the door. Nothing to do now but watch TV and let the child play with toys until mom and dad return, I thought.
That’s before I found out that toddlers are greased lightning. I went to turn the TV on and the child went for the stairs. She was halfway up before I realized she was not right behind me. I led her back down and told her not to go up again because she might fall.
I gave her a toy to play with and decided to fix a snack. Little Miss Greased Lightning followed me to the kitchen, climbed on a chair and tried to get up on the table where her father had left some tools. I rescued a light bulb before she could grab it. “No, honey, glass can break and hurt you.” I scooted the chair under the table, while she proceeded to open a kitchen drawer and take out all the utensils.
I put away the utensils and decided to pop some popcorn to share. Maybe food would keep her attention. “Eat one piece of popcorn at a time, honey.” She took a handful and crammed it into her mouth. I’ve never seen a child move so fast. Thank goodness she didn’t choke.
While I got rid of the popcorn, she climbed on a lamp table and stood up. “How did you get up there? Get down right now!” She jumped to the sofa, a game she seemed familiar with and had obviously played before. While I tried to figure out what to do next, she found my purse and proceeded to unzip it. I put it on the mantel, while she found her mother’s purse, which I also put on the mantel.
“Let’s play with toys,” I suggested. We found two music boxes and turned them on. She danced in circles in the middle of the floor. “How cute, that should keep her busy for a while,” I thought. She found a tiny tea party chair and sat on it, holding her baby doll. While I picked up the scattered toys, she decided to stand up on the tiny chair, which was not nearly secure enough.
Maybe we can find a cartoon on TV, I thought, as she turned the rocking horse upside down. While picking up the rocking horse, I didn’t notice that she had a package of baby wipes until I saw them flying in the air one by one. I put them back in the container the best I could while she began to unfold diapers. I swooped everything up before she could open the baby cream and put it all on the mantel, which was getting pretty full by now.
It’s been a long time since I’ve had one this age. I had forgotten how fast they can move. I wonder how her mom does it, I thought, as she was playing with the light switch. “No, no,” I said. “Baby, must not play with the light switch!” So, she just climbed up the stairs again instead.
She finally became frustrated and broke into tears because she could not climb on a chair while holding a beach ball at the same time. I tried to comfort her. I could tell it was getting to be time for beddy-bye. No, not for her — for grandma! I had forgotten how toddlers overflow with natural curiosity and boundless energy.
A grandma just has a hard time keeping up with greased lighting.