For years my son, now in his early 40s, has sworn I will never have grandchildren. So I resigned myself to never spending much time with little ones again, and feeling just a little wistful. Well, maybe sometimes a lot. But now it looks like, ready or not, here they come.
Imagine my surprise when I opened my door this morning and saw not one but TWO kiddies standing outside. I had invited my little neighbor M, age 10, to come over and make an apron for our next cookie project. But her parents both had to work today and apparently thought it would be no extra trouble for me to take her six-year-old brother O. too. Plus the dog.
I last spent time with a boy child of that age when mine was six, decades ago, so my boy-handling skills were rusty. O. arrived toyless, looking a little forlorn. And his big sister was annoyed, being used to having me all to herself and terrified that I might just send the both of them packing. So what could I do but adjust my face to my best bienvenidos expression, open the door and my heart wide and wave them in.
So much for the sewing project.
We immediately headed for the nursery to find a plant for my Talavera pot. We wandered over every inch of Carmelita's green acre, sniffing flowers, admiring various colors and talking over the pros and cons of a dozen different varietals before selecting one. Then home for lunch.
O. is sweet-tempered, bright and well-mannered, dishing out copious "thank-you's" (possibly his only English words) for every little kindness. At least a couple of times his sister chided him in Spanish for some error and brought on tears, but he bounced back after only a brief pity party. He likes to draw, so I gave him paper and pencil and soon he had a major battle going between good ninjas, evil pirates and a bad king who came to a gruesome end. He was more than happy to dramatize every detail for me, in Spanish, so I count that experience as my immersion for the day. Then he found my measuring tape and we began measuring everything that would hold still long enough.
Meanwhile M. was busy on my computer with kid-versions of virtual reality, everything from animals you can feed and pet to cutesy cartoon dolls you can dress in infinite variety while syrupy music played in the background. Yuck! I remembered a news item I'd read a couple of days ago, about a Korean couple who were so involved in virtual reality games at a internet cafe they forgot their real-life baby at home and let her starve to death.
Deciding a little reality was in order, I announced that anyone willing to walk with me to the store could have ice cream with chocolate sauce and nuts. Of course they were both ready to go, but M. began to wilt halfway to the store and her sparkly but useless plastic shoes didn't help. O. was a little trouper and kept up with me the whole way. On the way we met their parents driving home, but the ice cream trumped going with the folks.
After our sundaes I exercised my pseudo-abuela prerogative and told them I needed a siesta, and their parents were waiting for them at home. Sat down to write this blog and found that my blogroll disappeared and my sound system no longer works. Probably not a coincidence, should have kept a closer eye on M. I'll try to fix it after my nap, in time-honored abuela tradition.