Diary of A Modern Gran | Hidden In A Pocket

Istockphoto © Lady chasing pram Illustration: Istockphoto

“Look,” says my daughter when I give her my eldest son’s duffel coat so she can try it on three-year-old George. “It’s still got something inside the pockets!”

Last week’s readers might remember that I’ve been emptying cupboards in an attempt to find my daughter’s party dress from when she was five-years-old so little Rose can wear it for her birthday this week.

Instead, I discovered my eldest son’s duffel which he’d had when he was small.

George is totally swamped by it! But it will do nicely in a couple of years’ time. Meanwhile, my daughter’s right. There is indeed something left in the pockets from the last time it was worn in the early 90s!

There’s an empty packet of chocolate buttons, a piece of lined paper with the words “Do spellings homework” in childish writing and a scrunched up tissue.

Oh dear. You can tell I‘m not very domesticated, can’t you?

“I should have emptied the pockets before storing it,” I said.

“No, Mum. It’s great that you didn’t. This is a piece of history.”

Maybe she’s right. At that point, the original owner (now aged 36) comes in wearing his wet suit. He’s been surfing before starting work.

“Look, Uncle Wow,” says George (that’s what he and Rose call my son because they think he’s wonderful.) “This was your coat!”

He pretends to try and get into it but his hand won’t even go through the sleeve. How do children grow so tall in what seems like the blink of an eyelid?

Pass it on…

Lots of you feel the same judging from your lovely emails about passing on clothes from one generation to another. “My husband’s mother kept all his Fairisle jumpers from when he was little and gave them to me for our son,” writes Maggie from Birmingham. “I kept them after he’d outgrown them and now our six-year-old grandson wears them! It’s lovely to keep this sense of family history going.”

Meanwhile, we are all trying to get our heads round the new lockdown rules.

My youngest son lives in London and, with the new rules, will be allowed to join us for Christmas. But my husband has an operation coming up in January (we don’t know the date yet) and my daughter has low immunity. I haven’t seen him since August and I’m desperate to give him a hug. But we know we have to be careful. It’s so difficult, isn’t it?

As for my 97-year-old dad and his wife, they are too nervous to have anyone inside their home. I understand that. So my eldest son and I are going to drive down for the day during the Christmas period and wave to them from the garden.

“Are you going to have the injection when it comes round?” I ask him.

“Oh yes. I think so. But only if they come to us,” he says.

Hopefully they will. My father can barely walk from his chair to the bathroom let alone get to the surgery. It’s a huge strain on my stepmother but there isn’t much that my sister and I can do apart from ringing every day and sending little goodies in the post.

I often call him when I’m looking after Rose and George so he can chat to them. We used to do this on Facetime but somehow he’s “lost” it on his iPad. My sister and I have tried to help him get the App back but it’s not easy when you’re giving long-distance tuition. He does very well to send emails as it is.

Sometimes he’s too tired to talk to the children but at other times, he’s quite chatty. “Isn’t it your bedtime yet?” he asked the other day at about 5pm.

“No, great grand-dad,” trills Rose. “We want to play first.”

“Well it’s nearly mine,” he says.

What strange times we live in, yet life also goes on as normal

…or as near to it as is possible. Rose has written a letter to Father Christmas. This is the first time she has actually written it herself and we are all very proud of her neatly-formed letters! She’s even written the address. The North Pole.

“How do you say that phonetically?” asks my husband.

We’ve both been trying to learn this in order to do our bit with reading homework.

“I’m not sure,” I say doubtfully. I’m just glad they didn’t do it like that in our day.

Talking of that, I’m on the naughty step. The other day, Millie and George were dawdling over tea. (This might have had something to do with the story I was reading them at the time. Personally I can’t eat without reading something and it turns out that they are the same.)

“Hurry up, George,” I say. “Or Rose will finish before you.”

“It’s not a race,” he says sternly.

“Yes it is,” I say jokingly.

“No it’s not,” butts in Rose.

The two of them “shop” me as soon as Mummy comes back.

“You’re not meant to say that when they’re eating,” she says. “It sends the wrong messages.”

“But I did with you,” I protest.

“Exactly. It’s not healthy.”

Maybe she’s right. Goodness, these grandparenting rules are rather unclear at times!

Take hair wash time. Neither Rose or George like it when the water goes into their eyes. Who does? When my three were little, we had a hair-washing shield which did wonders. So I buy a sweet little duck one.

“I don’t want to wear that,” declares George when he sees it.

“Nor do I,” says Rose, following suit.

“Why not?” I say. “Look, I‘ll put it on.”

But I can’t persuade them. What a waste of money!

“I’ll have it,” says my husband when I tell him.

“It won’t fit around your head,” I point out.

But that doesn’t stop him trying!

Mixing it up

You have to laugh even when at times like this when life is so uncertain. Talking of humour, I thought it would be fun to make some gingerbread men with my grandchildren when I was looking after them during the week. I’d just bought myself a new mixer (from an offer in My Weekly magazine) and wanted to try it out.

Obviously I was careful not to let little fingers near the mixer bit but they had great fun measuring out the flour and butter even if they did get rather carried away with the ginger powder! You can see our results in the pictures! I’m thrilled with the mixer too.

There’s something really special about cooking with grandchildren. One of my granny friends, who lives a long away from her 11-year-old granddaughter, does Zoom cooking sessions with her online. “It helps to keep us close,” she says.

Well, I think that’s all my news now apart from one thing. Cathy –  a regular reader of my column – wrote in to say she was worried about social distancing amongst parents and other carers waiting to collect children from school. My granddaughter’s school is very strict about this. We all have to stand on socially distanced spots and most of us wear masks. I’d love to know what your experiences are on this. Do email me at janecorryauthor@gmail.com.

Meanwhile, I’m off to look through some pockets. You never know what you might find! Have a good week!

I Made A Mistake book cover

Jane Corry is the author of five top ten best-sellers. Her latest novel Made A Mistake is about Betty, a grandmother who lives with her son’s family. Published by Penguin, £7.99 in paperback and also available as an e-book and audio, narrated by Emilia Fox.  http://bit.ly/IMadeaMistake OR https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Jane-Corry/I-Made-a-Mistake/24376830

Allison Hay

I joined the My Weekly team ten years ago, and I love the variety of topics we cover both online and in the magazine. I manage the digital content for the brand, sharing features and information on the website, social media and in our digital newsletters. I also work for Your Best Ever Christmas - perfect as it's my favourite time of year!