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Grandchildren, like fireworks
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My two weeks of grandchildren-sitting are over. I have about gotten my house back in order.

There are still a few things I cannot find, but I am sure I will soon run into them. I have changed all the beds and washed and dried loads of laundry.

The golf cart is having a well-deserved rest. I was beginning to wonder if it would survive. The four grandchildren like to ride it around and around my back yard, taking turns driving while I sit beside the driver. They don’t understand some basics, like you can’t put it in reverse while you are still going forward. Or if it is making a grinding sound, you need to stop, not step on the gas.

Riding around my yard is not like riding on a paved road. My spine gets a lot of jolts. While riding with them, I find myself repeating over and over phrases like "slow down," "drive slowly when you make a turn," and, "STOP!"

I did it so often that when I drove them to and from Art Camp they repeatedly told me slow down or, "Grandmamma, you were going too fast to make that turn." Then they giggled.

I am slowly emptying my cupboards and refrigerator of assorted yogurt with various toppings, cookies, candy, chips and ice cream. Having all my grandchildren here has not been good for my diet. And now that they are gone, I can’t bring myself to throw the stuff away. I promise myself I will have just one cookie and then eat a bunch. I need to eschew the chips and cookies.

My cat is venturing back into the house oh-so-warily. She is used to being the only loud one in the house, as she has a habit of screeching very loudly to get what she wants, usually food or attention.

She had a lot of competition when the grandchildren were here. And they usually screeched for the same reasons.

I have to get used to cooking for just two instead of upwards of six to eight. And to cooking things that are not so kid-friendly.

Meals have returned to quiet, broken only by my husband’s monologue on his latest interests. The past weeks’ meals have been punctuated by laughter and children talking louder and louder as they vied for everyone’s attention. Their humor and jokes sometimes elude me.

Every grandchild has to comment on what the others are wearing, eating or doing during the day.

I know four girls do not consume the amount of food that four boys would, but still the amount of food that disappeared from my kitchen the past week was amazing. I’m glad they like my cooking.

I no longer do a load of dishes each day or a load of laundry. I am no longer bed-hopping during the night or being the mean teacher while everyone has to spend a half-hour reading.

While I miss the noise and camaraderie, I find myself enjoying the quiet. At my age, I need an hour or two of quiet.

My sister’s renovation is completed, so she no longer is spending weekends with me. I have to go spend a weekend with her and help make new curtains for her bedroom.

And I have put it off as long as possible; I need to start spring cleaning. I told you I had cleaned my kitchen. Now I need to attack the rest of my house.

A couple of notes about previous columns. My husband said to tell you that we did not just have hot dogs and hamburgers for the Fourth of July. He cooked spare ribs, fresh corn-on-the-cob and cole slaw. A friend brought cobbler and deviled eggs. He had gotten the corn fresh from the field, and it was delicious.

My youngest granddaughter said the fireworks were awesome. I can’t even spell how she pronounced "a-w-e-s-o-m-e."

It had about six syllables and she was jumping around and spreading her arms over her head to illustrate her words. She said she especially liked it when they went boom, bang, boom, boom, bang. I assume she was referring to the grand finale.

City fathers, you earned her seal of approval.

Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be reached at