"Papa lets me use poison," the nearly 5-year-old grandson told his mom when she wouldn't let him use the furniture polish. It must have slipped his mind - what happens at Papa's, stays at Papa's.
It's not like we just throw caution to the wind where the grandkids are concerned, but we definitely let them experience things I'm sure we wouldn't have allowed with our own kids when they were the same age. That's the beauty of being a grandparent. We don't have to worry about discipline so we can just focus on making memories and teaching life lessons.
The boy follows his Papa everywhere and wants to do everything he does. When the tomatoes were infested with bugs, sprinkling the Sevin Dust powder on the plants became one of those times the non-stop questions of “why” could be answered by example. Very carefully they took turns sprinkling the plants with the poison, only to come back the next morning to see the bugs were either gone or dead. Life lesson learned. Poison isn't something to mess with and neither is Papa if you're messing with his vegetables.
While the "men" were out working in the 10 acres, the second-grader granddaughter and I worked in the kitchen. Having lots of veggies to clean and cut, she retrieved her apron from next to mine and was ready. We began peeling the cucumbers, which she mastered quickly. When she asked if she could slice them, my mind screamed, this doesn't sound like a good idea, but my heart was excited to be the one to teach her something. I figured the worst that could happen is she'd cut her finger and her parents would ask me why. Not only did she cut up all the cucumbers but she also learned how to slice tomatoes, core green peppers and cut them into strips. Life lesson learned. Knives will cut your finger, just don't bleed on the veggies.
So far the two toddler grandsons haven't been able to rat us out on things like drinking sweet tea before bedtime or eating chocolate doughnuts for breakfast. They have, although, figured out this is the place to be, to do whatever you want, whenever you want and they have no problem telling their parents goodbye when they're dropped off.
Even though I sent a video to their mothers' fancy phones of me practicing saying the word grandma for the boys to watch, they've decided to call me "Gigi." They've both been able to say Papa for quite awhile and maybe they sensed my frustration (I'm sure I said the word grandma more times than was necessary, but I just wanted to make sure they knew who I am). It's official, I'm Gigi and all they have to do is say my name and I'm putty in their hands.
Not being able to say grandma did have some advantages as they begin to learn to talk. The oldest of the two got caught jumping on the bed and when his mother asked him where he learned such a thing he said, "Gigi."
Life lesson learned. If Gigi thinks it's funny, the parents won't.
Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org