Herald and Journal, February 8, 1999

A christening of its own kind


Have I mentioned that I'm a grandma?

I never thought that some day I would brag about that fact. After all, being a grandmother means you're old, right? No, it means you have grandchildren to enjoy.

Like all grandparents, I think my grandkids are the greatest. They haven't always felt the same way about me, though.

My oldest grandson is 11. Nathan has always been the quiet type. Well, there was that first time I baby-sat for him. My daughter and son-in-law went tubing on the Apple River for the day. Nathan decided that he did not want to be at Grandma and Grandpa's house. He proceeded to cry most of the time his parents were gone.

That made for a long day, a very long day. I told my daughter that she was lucky the gypsies hadn't stopped by. If they had, I would have sold him to them.

Of course, I was just kidding. There is something so special about a grandchild that I can't even describe exactly what it is. They are endlessly fascinating. It seems that just when you start to become jaded by the world and life in general, here come these little people to make life interesting again.

They impart little bits of childish wisdom to you. They share profound thoughts with you. Each is special in his own way.

Several years ago, we adults were talking about Aunt Clara's funeral. We mentioned going out to the cemetery. Nathan came over to me and shared a bit of information about his family and cemeteries.

He said, "Grandma, we went to a cemetery once, but none of us got buried."

I listened very seriously and asked, "Was there someone buried there that your Mom and Dad knew?"

"No," he replied, "They were all dead people."

You might remember from a previous column, that I have five daughters and one son.

I have the opposite in grandchildren. I have five grandsons and one granddaughter. My granddaughter, Mattie, was a special present on my 50th birthday.

My youngest grandson will soon be one year old. Ethan is usually quite a charmer. He decided he would take exception to being left with Grandma, too.

I just happened to be having company over for supper the night Ethan stayed with me for the first time. I thought everything was going fine. It was merely the calm before the storm.

Ethan seemed happy enough, sitting in the highchair eating Cheerios while I cut up and browned the chicken I was frying. All of a sudden he decided the kitchen was too quiet. He began to wail. I tried to feed him his baby food, but he wouldn't have any part of it. I tried his bottle. He became even more incensed. I was a loser, and he was going to let me know it.

I did everything I could think of. Trying to hold him and fry chicken just wouldn't work. My husband and my mother-in-law each took their turn with him.

Finally our youngest daughter, Jesy, came home and she managed to make him happy for a short time. About the time I got the food on the table, Ethan really swung into high gear. Nobody could please him now. Walking around seemed to distract him. Finally, I ran water in the sink, and he was so fascinated by it that he stopped crying. He even ate his vegetables.

"Oh, good," I thought, "He will settle down and be happy now."

That thought was short-lived. Ethan began carrying on again. I took him into the living room and laid him down on the floor to change him. I made the mistake that parents and grandparents have made with baby boys from time immemorial. I didn't keep his front covered while I was getting the new diaper on him. I got sprayed.

Suddenly Ethan was all smiles and giggles. I think he was just a little too gleeful. Could it be that he just wanted a chance to show his grandma what he really thought of her? He was completely happy after that, smiling and playing on the floor.

Ethan has been a perfect little gentleman the last few times I baby-sat for him. I'm not taking any chances though. Now I'm sure to keep him under cover.

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