Delightful Time-Wasters….

Daughts and her Hubs entrusted their two girls to our care – for four days and three nights –

The baby Eleanor is 6 months and her sister Olivia is two years.

I had cleared my calendar because, although I’d love to have taken them to the library for story-time or even to the zoo, I suspected that I may be asking for trouble with the additional change of routine.

Hubs and I went nowhere.

Looks like they went to the edge of a beautiful in-the-middle-of-nowhere too!

We were all set to enjoy our delightful time-wasters.

After a unsteady start when Mum and Dad first left we fell into a routine which Daughts had outlined in an email neither of us looked at…

“We’ve done this before,” I said to Hubs with a shrug as we shifted into slo-mo grand-parental gear.

Back in my child rearing days I had Gloria – an in home neighbourhood second Mum – and a nanny because I worked full-time and my weekends were usually spent playing catch up, especially challenging when my blue eyed cowboy was on the road with a band.

I included the children in everything I did and we managed parks, cinemas, favourite restaurants, walks and even bike rides interspersed with housework, laundry, grocery shopping and cooking.

Of course by the time I was running around with them they were older than Olivia and Eleanor; I’d grown slowly with them adding activities as the years slothed by!

One day looked much like another with no visible sign of change by the minute, the hour the week…

until, right before my eyes…they were all grown up and gone!

None of us knows how this happens, but it does!

Armed with a chill approach we re-lived our past; this Mama Viv and El Ray lark promised to be a mellow gig…and it was

We were thirty years older after all and moved a whole lot slower!

Hubs and I worked together, we made bottles, took it in turns to feed the baby solid food in her little seat strategically placed on the kitchen table,

which everyone knows is the heart of the home,

and re-discovered that as long as she had something in her hand that she could chew – a plastic wrapper, a wet spit-up rag, a cracker, my finger – she was happy and gurgly, kicking her legs in glee and having a thoroughly great time in between bites of pureed sweet potato straight from the fridge!

“Yum, yum, yum,” said Olivia cutting me a sideways look with her eyes that dared me to offer her a bite…which I did.

She quickly turned her head away and asserted her non-baby self,

“Hummy!” she said.

Luckily we had plenty of hummus, her all time favourite!

While the baby needed our full attention Olivia was good at entertaining herself.  Chatting to her new toys, pulling puppy along and hiding things away in baskets, metal dump trucks and a small log cabin with a working porch door, for me to find later.

We soon got a routine going whereby after breakfast I strapped Eleanor to me and Olivia in the gorilla wagon for a walk-a-bout Footlights.  I could see Eleanor’s feet kicking away below me and hear Olivia chatting behind me about the clouds and a plane and wanting me to pick the pretty wild flowers growing everywhere.

Having completed a tour of the property we’d pause at the water table in the garage.  Eleanor and I sat and cheered Olivia on as she experimented with showering and running water and floating boats and feathers and plastic blocks and sinking pebbles!

ElRay joined us and helped me unpack the happy baby as we trailed into the kitchen for snack,

puree’d sweet potatoes straight from the fridge…again..for the baby,

“Yum!” said Olivia…again…casting her eyes in a wicked sideways glance at me while climbing onto a backward facing chair at the table, in reaching distance of Eleanor, to eat a fruit bar or a couple of scoops of hummy…

…she can use a spoon now?  When did that happen?

Every now and again she’d get her little leg caught between the rungs of the ladder back chair she was standing on and begin to whine,

“Use your words, Olivia” I’d say.  She’d recover instantly and change the incoherent moans to a coherent,

“Help!  Pease!”

I’d gently raise her stuck leg to a wider space and voila, free!

All this nostalgia packed into four days made me a little sad…

I’ve seen how the story can end but I don’t say anything to my children who are immersed in the delights of parenthood right now,

-the innocence, the dependence, the kisses and hugs, the trust, the smiles, the laughter  and tears –

until, right before their eyes, they’re all grown up and gone.But that’s a long way away and I content myself with calling forth a thought one of my friends had,

“Children are God’s gift to old people.”

I don’t know if I care much for the ‘old’ part but they are definitely a gift to receive,

with all the enthusiasm of a baby grabbing a finger to put in her mouth,

and all the energy of a two year old’s forever hug.




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