Monday 24th October 2011
KEYS are found in locks, on computers and pianos. They come in different sizes, like granddaughters, of which I have three: small, medium and tall: the cuddler, the gymnast and the songwriter.
Lunch was a disaster. Growing girls need more than ten pasta shells each and…
“That’s not tomato sauce, Granddappy. That’s ketchup!”
…I hadn’t realised they wanted that mélange in a jar which transforms it into a meal. Meanwhile my struggle with the tin of tuna was becoming a farce. The only (new-fangled) can-opener and I were at loggerheads, oil spilling from jagged holes, lacerations to my fingers expected any second, to be followed no doubt by:
“That’s not ketchup, Granddappy. It’s blood!”
They have such pace. The tennis ball is retrieved before I’ve stood up; computer games completed before I’ve worked out the rules; stories written, pictures drawn, dance routines polished while I wait for the kettle to boil.
“Another one, like Rhianna, uses only her forename…” I’m not completely out of touch, just forgetful.
“No. British, I think.”
And they rush to the piano, bursting into a Someone Like You duet, while the cuddler carefully places a ladybird on the roof of the insect hotel.
She’ll be two next month. Last Christmas I made her an alphabet book of images: b for bread and butter; p for puddle; v for vegetables. The page for ‘k’ had two photographs of keys.
When Mum comes home, I grab a snooze, while the gymnast strokes my arm and whispers a commentary to Finding Nemo.
The songwriter has a friend for supper, so we pull the table out. The cuddler finishes first and sits on the rug, playing with a favourite toy.
“I’ve found it, Gappadee,” she announces, making her way round the table to present me with a small padlock.
“Aw, thank you, sweetums.”
“It’s a bag.”
You can’t fault her logic. Chuckles all round.
“But to open the bag, I’m going to need something. Can you find a key for Granddappy?”
She nods, turns round, and, yes, plays a note on the piano.