“What are you?” asks George.
Good question. I’ve often asked myself that, especially during the last year and a half when everything has been upside down.
But right now, we’re playing that game where you take it in turns to put on these plastic headbands and slot in a picture of an object. You’re not meant to be able to see the picture you’re “wearing”. Then you ask the other person questions, to guess what you are.
“Do I eat grass?” I say to my three-year-old grandson.
I’m babysitting George while my daughter is picking up Rose from school.
“No,” he says.
“Do I have four legs?” I ask.
“Yes,” he chuckles.
An animal then! Unless you count a granny crawling along on all legs and arms to retrieve lost pictures from under the sofa.
“Am I big or small?”
“You can only say yes or no,” he tells me sternly.
Oh dear. My grandchildren are better at the rules than I am.
“Am I big?”
“Am I small?”
“I give up!”
“You can’t,” he says.
I’m impressed by his perseverance. But two can play at this game…
“Why don’t you have a go?” I suggest. “What are you?”
He takes a sneaky look at the card on his head. “A banana!”
So that’s the way to do it! Cheating!
After that we play Snakes and Ladders followed by Ludo. Nice to see that they still love the games which my sister and I used to play. I just hope they don’t get keen on chess. I’m absolutely hopeless at that one!
Meanwhile, I’m impressed by George’s constraint. The kitchen is full of Easter eggs which his other grandparents and family members have sent. “We can’t have them until Sunday,” he tells me solemnly.
Ah! But we can jump on the plastic wrapping which pops in a very satisfactory way. In fact, we’re still doing this when my daughter comes home with Rose.
“Nice to see you’re playing happily,” she says.
Talking of playing, Rose appears to have slightly overdone it. One side of her very long hair has got a shortish layer which wasn’t there at the beginning of the week. “I think she must have cut a piece by accident when using play scissors,” says my daughter.
It reminded me of the time when I did a school run with my youngest son and the little boy who lived in the farm down the lane. Unknown to me, one of them had some play scissors in their satchel. I thought they were rather quiet when I was driving home. When we got back, I discovered they had both given each other a pudding bowl basic cut! Luckily the mum (a friend) was very understanding…
Meanwhile, I’m thinking of giving Rose and George pocket money. Rose is definitely now at an age where she can learn how to save and as for George, it’s never too young to start.
I clearly remember the thrill of storing up my silver and copper coins to buy my mother a birthday present. (In fact, I still prefer giving presents to receiving them.)
But how much do you give a child nowadays? According to statistics I found on the net, five year olds get just over £3 a week and 14-year-olds get around £8.
“Why don’t you give them different denominations to teach them how to use currency?” suggests my daughter.
That’s a good idea!
“Or,” adds my eldest son, who has been with us during lockdown until he can return to his job in Spain, “what about giving her an iPad so she can create a Pay Pal account?”
“Isn’t that going overboard?” I ask. Then I realise he’s joking.
At least, I think he is.
I have to say that I love buying things for my grandchildren. In fact, I’ve got them two soft koala bears which they’ve been wanting for ages. I’ve hidden them in the spare room upstairs along with a ‘Story of Easter’ book and their Easter eggs.
But best laid plans can go awry! When I was looking after them just before the weekend, we went upstairs to look through my jewellery box (one of their favourite occupations even though it only has little cheapish bits inside) and the presents are discovered.
“Look!” gasps Rose in that magic voice of hers. “May we have the koala bears now. Pleeese!”
How can I say no?
This time last year, I was heart-broken because I had to leave their eggs on the doorstep and just wave at my grandchildren through the window.
This year, I feel incredibly lucky that we’re able to have lunch outside together, in compliance with the regulations as a childcare bubble and two households. I’m just hoping it won’t rain.
In our town, every Easter, there’s a tradition going back for many years of Easter buns being handed out by church on the seafront on Good Friday. This year – and last year – this sadly wasn’t possible because of the restrictions.
So imagine our excitement (and gratitude ) when one of the ladies from church knocked on our door and gave us a pretty bag with hot cross buns inside for Rose and George. “We’re trying to reach all the children at church,” she said. How lovely is that? I am constantly amazed by all the kindness and resourcefulness that people have shown during the pandemic.
Easter Sunday comes and – yes! – it’s sunny. We can all sit outside without freezing. In fact, there’s no danger of that as we’re all running around taking pictures of little Rose and George as they hunt for Easter eggs. “Uncle Wow”, my eldest son, was in charge of hiding them. It’s been so lovely to have him here with us. The children adore him!
But I am also aware that before long, if the world continues to get better, he’ll be flying the nest all over again.
I’ve always been one of those people who is constantly planning ahead. But the last year has taught me to live for every minute.
Hang on. Who’s nicked my Easter egg?!
Grandparent of the Week – Lorna
Many thanks to Lorna who wrote in to tell us about her life as a gran!
“We have five grandchildren, two in New Zealand, two in Havant and one in Letchworth (near where we live). While video calls were “the norm” for our Kiwi grandchildren (although we have been lucky enough to visit them several times since they were born), it was very hard moving over to this format for the UK grandchildren.
“When lockdown started, the youngest two had just turned two and had no understanding of why they couldn’t see Granny/Gan Gan or Grandad in person. They also had very limited attention spans and while we were more than happy to sit and talk to them we usually got ‘Hello’ (prompted by their parents!) then ‘Bye’ as they rushed off to do something more exciting.
“During the first lockdown, our granddaughter was fluent in saying, ‘Boris says no!’ We are in her childcare bubble so I have managed to see more of her than the others but it has been hard.
Last year’s planned holidays with them has been re-scheduled to this year and we have moved our Xmas get together to 2021 so am looking forward to seeing them all again and giving them big hugs and doing normal Gan Gan things like dealing with strops and watching endless episodes of Blaze and Shimmer and Shine while snuggled up on the sofa!”
Do Get In Touch
If you’d like to be our grandparent of the week, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’d also like to know if you give your grandchildren pocket money and, if so, how much!
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