Yes! Rose is back at school after a whole week of isolation along with the rest of her class.
It’s hard to believe who is more relieved. The children or the parents!
I can’t wait to find out her how her day went. So when my daughter asked if I could possibly babysit while she dashed out to the chemist for an urgent prescription, I jumped at it.
Rosie is still in her school uniform. And the first thing she does when I go round is to put me in a home.
“You’ve got to sit here,” she says, leading me to the sofa and putting a blanket over me.
“Why?” I say.
“Because you’re in a special place for old people.”
Where on earth has she got this from? I know of some wonderful residential homes but I wasn’t quite ready for this yet!
“Here’s something for you to read,” she says ignoring my question. She gives me one of her children’s books. “Now you go to sleep and have a little rest.”
“But I’m not old,” I protest.
Well I don’t feel it! I’m only in my mid 60s. I swim when the sea is calm and I do my Pilates regularly.
“Just pretend to be old,” she says a trifle impatiently. Sometimes I can’t believe my granddaughter is only five. She seems years beyond her age. I wonder if she’s picked this up from somewhere.
When my daughter comes back, I quiz her. “You haven’t been scheming to send me away, have you?” I say, half-jokingly.
“Of course I haven’t, Mum,” she says. “I don’t know where she’s got it from either.”
Rose has always had an imagination but I’m pretty sure that lockdown has increased it even more. It’s certainly given her lots of time to play make-believe games with her little brother.
Meanwhile, she seems pleased to be back with her friends. It must be incredibly confusing to be at school one minute and then not the next.
Let’s hope we don’t have any more scares at her school. Then again, it’s bound to happen, isn’t it? It only takes one positive test for a whole year or more to be sent home. Yet on the positive side, the numbers of school infections – according to the latest figures – aren’t increasing as much as was feared.
Feeling nervous as the country opens up
I don’t know about you but I’m feeling rather nervous as the world is beginning to open up. I thought I’d be excited but I’m so used to being in my childcare bubble and keeping ourselves to ourselves that the thought of going into the outside world is scary.
“I feel the same,” says one of my Granny friends. “It’s all going to take us a bit of time, I think.”
The other day, I bumped into someone I used to go to playgroup with. I say “bumped into” but actually we just waved across the street at each other, wearing our masks. It seems impossible to think that a year and a half ago, we saw each other every Wednesday morning with a whole group of mums and grandparents playing games with our children and grandchildren.
But life will get more normal. It has to. And the children will help us. Indeed, they seem much more adaptable than many adults.
Meanwhile, one of my old school friends is very excited because she’s going to be a granny. “We can’t quite work out what I should be called,” she said. “I don’t really like ‘nanny’ but ‘granny’ makes me feel too old.”
As you might know, I’m called Gan Gan. I haven’t come across another but then I received this lovely email from Lorna, one of my readers. “We have five grandchildren, two in New Zealand, two in Havant and one in the next town who I see on a regular basis as we are part of her childcare bubble. The others call me Granny but she calls me Gan Gan. I picked her up from her childminder the other day and on the way home, I explained that as her cousins called me Granny, maybe she would like to start calling me that. I could hear her try to say it in the back of the car then suddenly she announced, ‘No, I will keep calling you Gan Gan!’ She is only three.”
Sometimes it’s a good idea to let the children make the decision!
Another of my friends who has horses, is known as Granny Gee Gee. If you’ve got an unusual name, please email. It’s fun to share! My own grandmother was known by her first name (Doris) because she felt that the other options made her too old. At the time I felt rather cheated because I wanted someone to call Granny. But now I think it’s rather stylish!
Talking of stylish, do read the ‘Grandparent of the Week’ below. Actually Alison is a great grandparent although you’d never think that to look at her!
But before you do, I have to tell you something. I’ve found out why Rose wanted to put me in a home!
It’s because of the Wendy house I gave her at Christmas. This comes complete with little wooden people including – yes you’ve guessed it – an old-fashioned granny figure. She is small and bent and has a grey bun.
Now I’m actually quite tall (although I’m always working on my posture because I felt too tall as a child). And it’s true that my hair is going a bit grey. But in April, I’m booked in for the hairdressers. I can’t wait! Maybe when I’ve got my highlights back, Rose will think I’m young again!
Great-Grandmother of the Week – Alison, 72
Alison has four grandchildren (Sasha, 34, Sam, 33, Archie 20 and Piper 18) and two great-grandchildren (Eva 5 and Bethany 3). She lives in Devon with Barry, her partner.
“My two youngest grandchildren live in New Zealand. I usually go out there once a year to see them but I haven’t been able to do so since Covid. I miss them terribly even though we Facebook and we What’s App a lot.
“On Sundays I have Zoom chats with my 33-year-old grandson Sam which is lovely. It’s so good to keep up with his news although I miss seeing him in person.
“My 34-year-old granddaughter Sasha is the one with children: Eva and Bethany, my great-grandchildren. My daughter Fiona (Sasha’s mum) looks after them when they’re not at nursery and school and we have them on Thursdays.
“I looked after my grandchildren when they were younger so it’s lovely to have two little ones to look after again. We play games, watch television, bounce on the bed, have tea and chat. Funnily enough, I feel I have plenty of energy when I’m with them but after they’ve gone, I do feel tired. Maybe my age is creeping up on me!
“During the first lockdown, it was awful not being able to see the children. But now we’re in a childcare bubble. Even so, we’re very careful to stick to the rules.
“We’re all looking forward to life being more normal. ‘
Do Get In Touch
If you would like to tell us about your situation as a grandparent during lockdown, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you.
JANE CORRY is the author of five best-selling thrillers, published by Penguin. Her latest novel I Made A Mistake is about Betty, a grandmother who lives with her son’s family. Available in paperback (£7.99) and also 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