We survived, but not without a few battle wounds. Being in charge of the 19-month-old grandson for five days put more wear and tear on this old body than a months' worth of weed pulling.
My daughter and son-in-law left the country to attend a destination wedding in Mexico. Watching a toddler for a day or evening is one thing but trying to keep up for five days is another. Basically I let him do whatever he wanted, which meant I was constantly moving. Up and down the stairs, in and out the back door, front door and garage. How can someone with those little legs run off faster than it takes me to get up off the floor.
He figured out very quickly I was willing to be the grandma puppet and all it took was a little whining to get whatever he wanted. My goal was to return him to his parents, without injuries, and that in itself was a feat worth celebrating. In this toddler's world everything is meant to be climbed on and even when I didn't think it possible, when I turned my back, just for an instant, he'd be wobbling on top of something that wasn't supposed to be stood on.
Besides my hip being out of place and being totally exhausted, I had to pat myself and Papa on the back for being able to keep up with the needs of an almost "terrible twos" toddler. Actually, he was on his best behavior, or as Papa put it, "he doesn't need to have a meltdown when he gets whatever he wants." This included a variety of foods not on his menu at home, being able to play with items on the no-no list and dictating when, where, how and what we were going to do.
My oldest daughter brought his cousin over to play one evening, and I was ecstatic to see anyone who would chase him for just a few minutes. At this point all I really wanted to do was use the bathroom in peace. Between his obsession with flushing the toilet every few minutes and then trying to keep him out of the toilet paper, it had become a chore.
The toddler grandsons were excited to see each other, for about five minutes, then the fighting began. Between slapping, biting and pushing, they giggle and laugh and then pat each other on the back for making us work so hard to keep them from hurting each other.
By the end of the fifth day, as much as I loved watching him, I was ready to send him home. To celebrate his parents’ homecoming I served him chocolate chip waffles for breakfast, a bag of goldfish, M&M's and sweet tea for lunch and dinner consisted of whatever he pulled out of the pantry. By the time they arrived he was in prime condition.
I didn't feel a bit guilty he was on a sugar high when I handed him back to his parents who were exhausted from a day of traveling. All they could do was watch as their toddler ran full force back and forth across the living room. I left smiling, knowing I was just minutes away from a nap.
Thanks goodness his vocabulary is limited. What happens at grandma's, stays at grandma's.
Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org