Over the past few weeks we’ve been blessed by the frequent visits of my son Tad, his wife Lisa, and our toddler grandson Marek. Winston, their active springer spaniel also comes along. When they’re here everything is different, and pleasantly so.
The first and most dynamic of change is Marek, who will turn three years old on December 1. He’s potty changed now and that’s a big help. Last Saturday morning Tad quickly unzipped Marek’s pajamas and accidentally nicked his penis with the zipper. The howling was predictable and Tad’s protest to Lisa that “the odds are incredibly small that you will “nick” a penis when unzipping” fell on deaf ears. While Tad is absolutely correct (the zip-up is the thing males fear most), you never want to argue with a female that is defending her son’s body parts. Now, whenever we zip our grandson’s pants up or down, Marek exclaims, “Don’t zip up my wiener”. Eventually he’ll forget about this horrific episode that all males eventually must experience.
It seems that watching a toddler would be pretty easy. No way! After some calculations, I’ve figured out that it takes 1.349 adults to watch Marek. Any one-on-one assignments usually end up with the adult losing. Typical adult defeats are manifest by events such as spilled apple juice, a missing key to the locked patio door, the missing remote control buried completely out of sight at the bottom of the toy box, or grandpa’s lost baseball cap underneath the lazy-boy chair. Oh, yeah. Don’t ever buy a plastic bucket full of 895 green army men. They blend into the rug, causing you great foot pain when you step on them. And you never get rid of them; they’re under every couch and chair.
Then there are the games we play. His favorite game is when I put on my old baseball cap. Then I come up to him on my knees and defiantly proclaim, “This is MY baseball cap. NOBODY takes my baseball cap off my head!” Then he grabs the bill of the cap, pulls it off my head and throws it ten feet across the room. This game gets repeated over and over again. Each time I give my glorious speech about how no one is going to get my cap, he grins with delight, always letting me complete my proclamation before he dashes my hat to the ground. The longer the proclamation the farther he throws my hat!
Another game we play is “don’t put your head in there.” I’m sitting on the couch watching baseball. This little “pest” keeps bugging me. So, I slightly lift up my bent elbow and say, “Don’t put your head in there.” Of course, he immediately puts his head in there, and I temporarily trap his head, holding him down. After imposing a small amount of inconvenience upon him, I let him go. He backs off, not wanting to have his head trapped. But 17.38 seconds later, there his head is, right back in Grandpa’s trap! We never play that game too long; Marek gets tired of the game after 150 tries or so.
I suppose that there are plenty of child psychologists that wouldn’t like either the “cap” game or the “don’t put your head in there” game, but I raised two kids and they both turned out all right.
Topping off the visits is Winston the dog. He loves to run out the back door and chase squirrels. You would think that after 96,396 failed attempts that he would figure out that a dog can’t catch a squirrel, but Winston is eternally optimistic that the next squirrel will be the “slow” one that can’t climb a tree.
The house is very busy when the kids come back home. It is very quiet whey they’re gone. But I prefer the company. Family is not just important; it is everything!