The grandchildren factor

Photo by Matthias Groeneveld on

It’s been a hectic week. While things are always busy, this week took on special significance because of what I like to call the “grandchildren factor.” And while things in my house are never particularly organized, the “grandchildren factor” definitely adds to the chaos.

As my husband was returning from a day at work, I heard the entry door open and close and then, a lot of loud clumping and some very inventive curses.

“Problem?” I asked, not getting up from my chair.

“Yeah, I tripped over a bunch of boxes; where did these all come from?” he came in, still trying to kick one off of his foot.

“The grandchildren collected them. They want to build something,” I answered.

“Build something? What will they do with it after they build it?” he persisted.

“They will set it up in the back entryway for you to trip over,” I answered. “It’s only a week’s visit; deal with it.”

In fact, the “grandchildren factor” contributes to a lot of things. I make boxed meals and frozen pizzas because the grandchildren “love” those and they think grilled chicken and broccoli is, and I quote, “Gross.”

The “grandchildren factor” means that you find things in the bathtub that were never intended to be in the house (and some of them send you screaming from the room because they MOVED) and you find that your best china basket is now the home of some “really cool rocks.” If the smallest grandchild is here, there is unrolled and unraveled yarn in every corner of the main floor, and many of the refrigerator magnets have been removed and pitched off the deck. The yarn art is good, though, because after I’ve run after grandchildren for a week, I’m ready to just veg out in a chair, rewinding yarn balls!

The “grandchildren factor” is responsible for weird things. Strange smears and marks appear on the windows, doors and mirrors, some of which must be chiseled off. There is a paper trail of snack packages from the pantry closet to the bedroom and I’m not sure the refrigerator door will ever recover from so much opening and closing in a week.

The toothpaste roller disappeared from my toothpaste tube on the second day of their visit and I discovered it on their travel tube of toothpaste because it was “cool.” My crystal swans were rearranged, because if you put one forward and one backward and put them on either side of my round “Teacher of the Year” award, it spells SOS in crystal. Perhaps this was a sign!

The “grandchildren factor” has an opposite side, too. Never is there so much conversation at the dinner table as when they are here. We have riveting discussions about what would happen if you were in space and you had to poop, or how much pee it would take to fill a water glass. Dinner chatter has never been more interesting and becomes very dull after they are gone.

It is impossible to keep enough books on the bedside tables when they are here, because they plow through them. I have always loved this aspect of the “grandchildren factor”, but I suspect part of it is a ploy to keep from going to sleep too early. They love to do artwork to decorate our home, and since they have my artistic skill (I don’t have any), I have many Picasso-like paintings and chalk works.

This week, the younger grandson presented his grandfather with a picture. “Do you like it, Grandpa? It’s your lawn mower tractor.”

“Oh, that’s very nice,” Grandpa said, twisting and turning the picture looking for “up”.

“I want you to put this in your office, Grandpa,” declared the young Michelangelo.

Grandpa thought for a minute and then agreed, but before he took it, he had the artist sign it. “Because,” he explained to me quietly, afterwards, “I don’t want anyone to think I drew it and then brought it to the office.”

It may sound as if I don’t enjoy the “grandchildren factor,” but you would be wrong. When my boys are too old to come and visit for a week or two in the summer, I will be sad. However, the end of the “grandchildren factor” will also end the week following their visit being the “grandparent factor,” where we just sit in the wild shambles of our house and stare at each other!

Enjoy the grandchildren; they grow up even faster than the children did!

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