Friday 17th February 2012
SHE’S reached the age where every day presents new opportunities: from pouring breakfast cereal into socks to adding unsolicited spider-poo to a sister’s drawings, from hugging the knees of unsuspecting train travellers to making another committed assault on the world’s longest tantrum record.
I think it fair to say that my youngest granddaughter has a strong character. Copies of her latest research as a dietician – Retaining One’s Body Weight While Eating Hardly Anything for a Week Except Rice Cakes – are available on request.
The word ‘persistent’ comes to mind.
Jigsaws are one example: a floor-based activity pleasing to a grandparent who’s prone to spending afternoons in a prone position.
“More, Gappadee. More jissor. My turn.”
It takes a good twenty-odd repetitions of ‘other way up, poppet’ to persuade her the Gruffalo’s leg isn’t a part of the tree, but, to her, right now, it’s the fitting together game that matters, not the picture. Watching her learn can be hypnotic.
Then, suddenly, it’s the kitchen, there to open a cupboard, and take out a multi-pack of tins of tuna. Having eventually torn off a length of the cellophane wrapper, she attempts to wear it round her neck.
“Look, Guppa-tea. My fay-vit.”
Though her other current favourite appears to be…
“No; no; no.”
…used when invited to eat, sleep, bathe, get dressed, have her nappy changed, stop doing one thing or start doing something else. Her parents and siblings show remarkable restraint and patience as this freewheeling explorer of free will wanders ever wider across the as-yet-unknown landscapes of Toddlerdom.
And the game of hiding Granddappy under pillows on the sofa is already yesterday’s news. She won’t fall for that one again.
“My turn. Hide me, hide me.”
I sense our two paths beginning to cross: where sturdy limbs and burble of song meet aging bones and husky croak; where dexterity and swiftness overtake fumblings and measured tread; where her afternoon naps become shorter… while mine grow longer.