I have always considered myself a rather strict grandmother. I believe children thrive the best when they have rules of conduct. Above all, they should never tell lies…like the whopper their grandmother is telling right now.
Okay, so my grandmothering techniques are a little “lax”, should we say. I still have my own sense of order when the grandchildren are here. Like the prime rule: whatever the grandchildren want is what they get.
I was excited to have the children here for a week to visit, but it was an unusual visit, since their mother and aunt were coming with them. Arthur, the younger boy, was openly aghast at this arrangement. Explaining his chagrin to his mother may have given her some warning of what was in store, “But Mom, if you are there too, it will take away our fun!”
Stefanie, the mother in question, related the conversation to me, with a question in her eyes, but what could I tell her–I had no idea what he might have meant by that. She implied that perhaps the children and I were in cahoots against her, but that is just silly…isn’t it?
How things were going to be different this visit was clear from the first morning. Royce, the older boy, fixed his morning bowl of Fruity Pebbles (apparently they aren’t allowed this sugar..I mean, cereal at home) and was headed to the living room to watch some more Wild Kratts on television. Stefanie stopped him on the way past her at the dining room table.
“Where are you going,” she said with a severe look (okay, it looked severe to me). “We have a rule about not eating in the living room.”
Royce’s mouth dropped open as he stared at her, “Grandma doesn’t have rules.”
“THAT rule, that’s what you mean, right darling? You didn’t mean Grandma doesn’t have any rules, you meant she doesn’t have THAT particular rule,” and by this time in my mad rush to stop the leak in the dam, Mother, Aunt and grandson are all looking at Grandma like she is nuts. “Just remember, that the rule is you must eat on the rug in front of the television.”
With a small push, I sent Royce to the living room to sit on the rug that had never been designated as the eating spot before and I tried to smile nonchalantly at my suspicious daughters.
The week did not improve as the boys sought out their favorite activities at Grandma’s house, and I tried to convince my daughters that there were indeed rules to the game. For instance, the boys were allowed to play in the mud, but they were not to THROW mud at each other…of course not. We had never had a mud fight before, right boys? Also, when it came to tree climbing–they must stay on the low branches. Grandma had always forbidden them to crawl up further than that, because, of course, that would be dangerous and no fun, right boys?
Snacks were another issue. The boys thought they could avail themselves of the cheese crackers, toaster strudels, juice packs, etc., without any restraints. I set their mother straight on that early on, though, when I told her that their snacks were strictly regulated. I had distinctly told Arthur he could not have any more toaster strudels and I did not fix him the last two…his grandfather did! Certainly, the boys were required to eat a fair and nutritious meal when one was fixed, so neither I nor the boys could explain to her how those empty snack pudding packs had appeared in the garbage and why they weren’t hungry for the delicious dinner that had been prepared.
Okay, so my daughters may have discovered that things are a little loose around Grandma’s house when the grandsons are there, but the boys and I have come up with an ingenious plan for future visits: Mom will stay home and so will Aunt Tracie, because she might rat us out, too! Who loves you, boys??? Grandma does, and that’s the only rule around here!