Bob and I finally watched all six of our grandchildren at the same time. After a good night’s sleep and a hearty lunch we were as prepared as possible for their arrival (ages 9, 7, 5, 4, 4, 6 months). They were with us for dinner so we set up an assembly line of bowls, filled them up and called the kids to come eat. We observed the emergence of two distinct eating groups.
Group One will eat just about anything we put in front of them and then scavenge the pantry, the refrigerator and even our plates for more food. Their goal is to leave as little food in my house when they leave as possible.
Group Two practically requires an IV for nutrition or possibly the surgically assisted opening of their mouths to a space large enough for a fork or spoon. They are unaware of the starving children in Africa and we have to work hard at keeping them from being starving children in Orlando, though as soon as we give up on making them eat their dinner, they will be hungry and want yogurt or cheese.
When finally we were able to get Group One to stop eating and Group Two to eat enough to ward off starvation, we excused them to watch a show while we surveyed the damage. That was the point when I realized how much I miss my dog. We always had a dog when our children were young and truly there is no better friend than one who will lick your floor clean after every meal.
In case you think I’m lamenting dog ownership, let me assure you that I am not. Besides, according to the No More Pet Pact of 2011, (click here to read about this on my former blog), a pet is not an option. On-going training of the children is the only option. Yes, it’s hard. Eating while sitting squarely on your chair and aimed at the table does not come as naturally to a four-year-old as licking the floor does to a dog, but I know it can be done. Most adults are a testimony to that, but I digress.
Anyway, after the kids were in bed, Bob and I reminisced about our own days of parenting our four children. We remembered people telling us that one day we’d miss this, that or the other. As we sat in the quiet room, exhausted, we compiled a list of five things that people will sometimes say that one day you’ll miss, and we have decided that we don’t:
- Of course, topping the list is trying to get the kids to eat their dinner. They love chicken and chicken nuggets, but throw chicken potpie on their plate and you’d think we served up gruel with chunks of liver and brussels sprouts. Being the grandmother, though, I am a little more merciful. I can remember many tearful dinners trying to get my children to eat. Now I hardly cry at all.
- Getting poop stuck under your fingernails during a diaper blow-out. Enough said.
- Scooping a floater out of the tub during the kids’ bath time. I’ll never forget the first time this happened. We had a couple of our kids in the bath together and one started screaming. Bob calmly came in and bare-handed the offensive fecal matter. Yes, he is my hero in so many ways. I remember looking at him and saying, “Someday we’ll miss this.” Ha, ha, ha – not really.
- Boogers everywhere including in a row on the wall around their bed, on the bottom of the top bunk, on the headboard of the bed, crusted to the back seat area of the car.
- Bedtime stall tactics: No, you cannot have one more last drink of water. One story and one song sung is all you get. There are no monsters under the bed. Daddy killed them all this morning. Wolves cannot turn the doorknob to get in the house and we won’t let them in either. Besides, we live in Florida, you should be afraid of alligators not wolves. Yes, I too am concerned about the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the world today, but for tonight you just have to go to sleep.
These are some of the things that I really do miss:
- Cuddling with sleepy children when they wake up in the morning.
- The mispronunciation of certain words, for example, pianio. I didn’t want to correct my daughter on that one because it was so cute. (Now that she’s all grown up, I guess I’ll tell her how it’s really pronounced.)
- The awe and excitement of watching them learn new things.
- The “let’s say we do this” conversations of plotting while pretending.
- Hugs around the neck with all their might.
But, of course, these things make appearances again in the form of grandchildren. It’s a good process. I’m grateful.