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Grandkid Duty---Again

Corky Cummings


Patti and I welcomed our grandkids, Hazel (10), Hank (8), and Mae (5), to our house recently while Jamie and Mark went to Palm Springs for a business/pleasure long weekend (the word “long” should probably be capitalized and underlined for proper emphasis). If you have read any of my previous reports about taking care of our grandkids, you can probably save some time and go to the next essay on oldartguy.com because there may be some duplications.    

We picked them up from school on Thursday afternoon, and everything had been going rather smoothly for about 20 minutes until Hazel decided to practice her violin. I’m not saying it was bad, but two neighbors put up For Sale By Owner signs before she finished. I don’t think the audio punishment was as cruel as waterboarding, but it has to come in a close second. Our dog Boomer, when last seen, was heading toward a field where coyotes are known to hang out. The nightmare eventually came to an end after about 3 years which allowed them time to argue about various subjects. 

My mother always said that two kids can usually get along, but when a third kid was added, disagreements and fighting would take over. Her theory was proven accurate while they were here. One of the main conflicts centered around fairness e.g. why someone was allowed to do something first, why someone got to pick which TV show they watched, etc. The response that I would like to have made to their mistreatment questions was, “...because we love her/him more than we love you.” Something simple seemed reasonable to me. However, Patti thought that might be a little harsh, so I usually answered with something like, “...because she’s the oldest” or “...because he’s the only boy.” Surprisingly they didn’t accept either of those responses as a valid reason or appreciate my sense of humor and the complaining would continue.

One of the highlights of their visit was constructing a fort in our loft. It gave them a place where they could hang out together and continue arguing (You may have noticed that arguing is the central theme of this essay.). Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi have probably had a more cordial relationship on occasion than the three of them exhibited at times. Hazel or Hank was usually the catalyst, but Mae’s participation should not be underestimated. Being voted Miss Congeniality does not appear to be in her future.

Mae doesn’t believe in wasting any footsteps when it comes to locating someone who isn’t in her eyesight. Her preference is to call their name continuously rather than walk into another room to find them. She also increases the volume each time she says their name until I eventually suggest that she go look for them. This, of course, isn’t what she wants to do. She would rather test my sanity level by staying in close proximity to wherever I happen to be.

Jamie and Mark mercifully returned Sunday afternoon and the energy level in our house went from atomic to nonexistent.  After we convinced Boomer the kids were gone and coaxed him out from under the bed, Patti and I were able to catch our breath and collapse. Tasks such as cleaning out cups, paper plates and snacks between the sofa cushions could wait. Have you ever noticed how difficult it is for a kid to walk 7 steps to a trash can?

Regardless of their normal childish behavior, Patti and I love having them because they are spontaneous and candid, they keep us young, and most importantly, they eventually go home. Being a grandparent rather than a parent definitely has advantages.