I baby-sat two of my grandchildren last Saturday from about 3:30 to 10:30 p.m. I had 28 duplicate boards (decks of cards in plastic holders separated by hands) that had to be premade for a bridge game in which everyone in the United States who plays duplicate at a certain time will play the same hands. I will be the director of that game and must put the hands together for the players. After the game, the players will get a booklet that will tell them how the experts bid and played the same hands.
My granddaughters cheerfully helped me separate the decks into suits and put them in ace-through-king order. (Having the cards divided into suits makes it much easier to set up the prearranged hands.) That took us about an hour. They thought it was so much fun they wanted to mess them up and do it over again. I suggested we do something else.
We decided to get cleaned up and go out to eat. I thought they would be interested in getting pancakes at a somewhat new restaurant in Covington.
How foolish was I. They immediately began suggesting everything else available in town.
The only problem was what one wanted, the other hated. And vice versa.
Boy, are my grandchildren growing up. I can remember when they were excited about going out to eat anywhere. They didn’t care as long as they just got to sit in a booth and visit a strange restroom. (Why do children immediately have to go the restroom the minute you give your order for food to a server?)
If all four of them are eating out together, the number of times they visit the bathroom is exponential. Everyone has to go one time with this one and then another time with another one.
I guess the fascination with public restrooms is universal for little children. I remember that my own children, when eating out, had to visit the restroom as many times as there were sinks. They made sure they used a different sink on each visit.
Trying to solve the conundrum of where to eat, I suggested a compromise that I might like; it was voted down by both of them. We finally ended up going through three different drive-thrus and bringing food home to eat at the kitchen table. Everyone had take-out from a different place. And nobody had to visit the restroom.
I ask you, grandparents, have you ever had to resort to three different meals from three different places? I have learned my lesson: From now on, we will go where I choose and be happy about it, by George. Or we can stay at home and eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. (I hear what you are thinking. But I am serious. I am not going to back down.)
Next weekend, I’ll be going to Macon to celebrate the birthdays of two other granddaughters. Their birthdays have passed, but Grandmama’s promised present is to take them shopping. Again I mourn my grandchildren growing up. Grandmama can’t buy them a present anymore. Or even clothes. I have to tag along with them and purchase what they pick out. They do ask my opinion. And I try to be a mediator between what they want and what their mother thinks is appropriate for them to wear. I usually fall more on the side of their mother.
It’s fun, but not nearly as much fun as going into a store filled with little girls’ clothing and picking out what pleases me. We will be looking at grown-up clothes and shoes. Both of my Macon granddaughters now wear women’s sizes in shoes. No black patent leather Mary Janes for them. It’s boots, boots, boots. My pocketbook is cringing. No more pink frilly dresses with bows. It’s jeans and T-shirts with the appropriate brand name splashed across the shirt.
But one thing is certain: They will be happy. And that is what counts for Grandmama. They enjoy shopping now, and so do I.
It’s better than trying to chase them around the store while you are trying to purchase something.
Grandmama might even see something she wants to try on.
Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.