I had forgotten the amount of work it takes to care for kids for more than just a one night sleepover. Apparently I’ve turned into a wimp and didn’t even realize it.
We were in charge of Hank, the nearly five-year-old grandson and June, the newly one-year-old granddaughter for five days while their parents took a siesta in Mexico. There was a time in my life I had no problem keeping up with the daily tasks of small children but obviously I’ve passed that. I was counting down the days until I go to bed without the sound of the baby monitor and be able to make a trip to the chiropractor.
The one-year-old has found it pays to have an opinion and insisted I carry her around most of the time. Her nickname could easily be thunder thighs. I have personally witnessed her eating an entire bagel, a bowl of yogurt and a banana in one setting. She’s not messing around. If she wants to be carried, you will carry her and she points to where she wants to go.
Hank, on the other hand, is satisfied to play with his cap gun, digging in the dirt or playing pirates – all of which is not an easy task with a one-year-old on your hip, thus the required trip to the chiropractor.
I suggested we go to the pond to feed the catfish while Papa mowed the grass. We took the catfish pellets and headed that way. It was a peaceful evening sitting on the dock as the three of us admired the water levels from the recent rains. OK, I was probably the only one admiring the level of the pond water but it was peaceful, for a few minutes.
Hank was telling me all about the bracelet he had made that day at preschool and asked if perhaps I’d hold it as he didn’t want anything to happen to it. I laid the bracelet beside me and decided I should put June on my lap as she was making me nervous as she too thought she should throw the catfish some food.
About the time Hank had thrown his third handful of food into the pond and the catfish were going crazy, June decided to give one of the pellets a try. She was making a horrible face after she realized it tasted as bad as it smells and by the time I got her clamped mouth open, I had kicked the newly made bracelet into the pond.
The water level is so high I could have grabbed it before it sank, but I was holding June who was still trying to swallow the catfish pellet. All we could do was watch the bracelet sink, ever so slowly, and then all heck broke loose. Hank started crying which made June start to cry and then to top it off, I started crying, as I felt so awful I had not taken care of his prize possession (for that day anyway).
We made our way back to the house with the promise of going to the craft store the next morning to buy more beads and pipe cleaners to make another bracelet. We gave June some milk to wash down the catfish food and called it a day.
Several days later, with new bracelets made, Hank asked if we could go watch the catfish again. I said, “maybe we’ll see one swim by with your bracelet on their neck.”
Apparently 5-year-olds don’t have the same sense of humor as 57-year-olds.
-- Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org