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How to survive an outing with the grandchildrenPosted Thursday, August 2, 2012, at 6:21 AM
Anyone can see that I love my grandchildren dearly. I have six of the adorable creatures--age eight to two. Through the years, my son (the one who lives nearby) has asked me to babysit, a task which once involved watching the now-six-year-old playing contentedly on the floor with his mountain of toys.
Those easy, peaceful days are gone.
Last week, my BFF ("Best Friend Forever") and I were called upon to watch over the six-year old and his adorable but super lively two-year old sister. Having survived the experience, I have taken notes on how to manage the task more easily the next time.
1. Do not take them to the Mall without at least one roll of quarters! True, there is a free playground, but right next to it are little bright-colored vehicles that will not move, unless we insert three quarters for the simple ones and four quarters for the race car with the screen! These cars are ever so much more exciting than the ones that require imagination to move!
2. Two-year-old Sophie has the innocent belief that money grows in PURSES! She is totally unconvinced by the phrase "Mimi has no more money!" She wants to look inside the magic purse for herself.
3. Six-year-old Evan understands the limitations of the change machine, which stands ever so conveniently on the premises beside the rides. "Don't you have any more George Washingtons in your purse, MiMi?" he asks. He knows that Abraham Lincolns won't work. Like his father before him, he has learned the value of quarters at an early age. As I watch him stand longingly beside his favorite race car, I think of how his daddy made the rounds of the coin machines at Sam's or Pizza Hut, checking the coin returns. He always came up with some money. On this day, Evan waits until a family comes by with a likely little boy who is interested in riding in the race car. Like a carnival barker, my grandson explains how the ride works and how much fun it is. The parents insert the child and four coins, and the race car roars to life. Twice, the younger boy was terrified and had to be removed from the car--whereupon, Evan graciously finished the ride for him! He IS his father's son!
4. For the low price of $7.50, both children can ride the bungee jump in the center of the mall. This activity is reasonably effective and takes about a half hour. Though they seem to enjoy it, one time is enough, and then they want to go back to the quarter machines.
5. As long as there are other children in the free playground, they will stay there for awhile, jumping and climbing on one brightly-colored plastic turtle to another. Evan even met a little friend he recognized from basketball camp last year. By this time, my BFF has returned from the ATT store, so we embark on the lunch adventure.
6. We go to the Mexican restaurant in Scott City, which is near their home, with instructions from their mom on what to order. So far, so good. However, one look at the cracked plastic on the booths, and both children have a FIT! "Oh, no!" exclaims Evan. "The cats have scratched up the seats!" Where he got this idea, I don't know, but it takes some persuasion to get them to sit down, and I doubt we'll be able to do it again. The food is good, though, and Sophie even wraps up some chips in a napkin to take home.
7. At home, we break out the PlayDoh on the kitchen table, where we spend at least an hour, making a big colorful mess and having only one accident, when Sophie spills her soda, requiring the mopping of the entire floor. By then, it's nap time.
8. Sophie has to be put into her crib, where she cries for her mama for about five minutes. I have to practically hogtie the BFF to keep him from going back to get her, as she cries, "Mommy, Mommy, I wuv you! Get me out!" After five minutes, she goes to sleep for an hour. Then, I hear her call, "Mimi! Mimi!" in a small voice, and, when I go back to take her out of her crib, she smiles sweetly and says, "I didn't cry!"
9. By the time Daddy gets home from work, we have cleaned up all the blue PayDoh scattered on the floor, and all is well!
Though my son thanks us for babysitting that day, I know that I'm the one who should thank him for these precious memories that are as fleeting as a summer butterfly.
Signing off from the greening hills of Tillman, MO., I am one happy gramma!
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.