Greased Lightning


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.

Copyright 2006 Sheila Moss

About Sheila Moss

My stories are about daily life and the funny things that happen to all of us. My columns have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and websites.
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2 Responses to Greased Lightning

  1. Yes. Sounds like my morning. And every day of my life for the last 5 years! Kids are a handful. Parents (and gmas) don’t get enough credit!

    Liked by 1 person

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