“When can I go bowling with you, Gan Gan, like Rose did?” asks George plaintively.
It’s not the first time he’s asked.
If you read last week’s column, you might remember that I took my seven-year-old granddaughter bowling because her class teacher was on strike and there was no school for her year group.
Both her parents were working so I took a break from writing next year’s novel and together we knocked down a few skittles. It was fantastic fun!
So jolly in fact that Rose couldn’t stop talking about it to her little brother whose teacher was NOT on strike. Not surprisingly poor George’s little nose was decidedly put out of joint.
“Mum,” asked my daughter. “Would you mind taking George out for a hot chocolate while Rose is at dance class? He’d love some one to one chat with you to make up for last week.”
Of course! On Thursdays (my pick-up-from-school day), I bring both children back to our place for a quick snack. After a quick turnaround (including a change out of school uniform into leggings), it’s off to dance.
“Gan Gan’s taking me out when you’re at dance,” pipes up George from the back of the car as we make our way to the hall.
“Oh,” says Rose.
“Actually,” I say, trying to concentrate through the blinding rain, “it’s to make up for the time that you and I had last week.”
I can see in the rear mirror, that Rose’s face has fallen.
“We could get you a toy,” chips in George.
“Hang on,” I say. “I thought we were having a hot chocolate.”
“Yes but the —- is just over the road,” says my grandson, naming one of their favourite chain stores which sells stationery and books and toys for very reasonable prices. “Can we go there instead?”
I’ve got one ear on the conversation while trying to find a parking space for dance class. The rain is so bad that I can hardly see. We end up squeezing in between a motor bike and a car about four roads away and then having to rush to the hall because we’re running late. (Did I mention that I left my hat behind so my hair looks like rats tails?)
“Can you get me one of those pink squidgy balls please?” asks Rose.
At this point, I would agree to anything.
So after dropping her off, George and I have a great time wandering round the shop. I suggested various activity kits but he was much more interested in a dinosaur that stretches out like a piece of elastic. No accounting for taste…
Then we popped into the library and bought some raffle tickets for the Easter draw.
“Will we win?” asks George.
“Maybe,” I say, remembering the time I won a giant Easter egg in our local sweet shop when I was 12. I couldn’t believe I’d got the winning ticket. “But even if we don’t, it’s going to a good cause.”
“What’s a cause?” asks George.
“It’s something that you believe in or try to help,” I say rather lamely.
Gosh it’s hard being a children’s thesaurus at times, isn’t it?!
“Did you have some lovely one to one time?” asks my daughter when she collects George after work.
“Yes,” I say, thinking of our conversation in the shop. (“Are you really sure you want that dinosaur?”)
But the important thing is that George felt justice had been done. I get his point entirely. I remember when I was a child and my sister was asked to the circus by a neighbour who had tickets – but not for me. I still feel that pang to this day. Honestly.
Meanwhile Rose is thrilled with her pink stretchy ball. In theory, this means she’s had two treats – the ball and the bowling – but George doesn’t seem to realise this. Not yet, anyway.
Being fair isn’t always as easy as it sounds, is it?
“No it isn’t,” says one of my granny friends when I run this past her. “Mine think it’s unfair that the eldest goes to bed an hour later than the others.”
Please send us your “fair” stories. Maybe it’s a memory of you feeling hard done by as a child or perhaps it’s a tale about struggling to be equal with your grandchildren. You can email us at email@example.com.
Ask Agony Gran
“I’ve never liked April Fool jokes. My brother used to play them on me as a child and I thought they were rather unkind and scary at times. I certainly didn’t make a big thing of them when my children were growing up. But my grandchildren (10 and 12) are already planning things to do on April 1st.
“I don’t think it sends the wrong message across at a time when we should be kind to each other instead of wrong-footing others. But my daughter says it’s just a bit of fun.” Name withheld
Mmmm. This is an interesting one, isn’t it? To be honest, I’m not very keen on April 1 jokes myself. And I can see why you’re not, especially if your brother scared you.
In fact, I have an elderly friend who fell over when some April Fool pranksters tripped her up in a shop by mistake.
On the other hand, this isn’t your decision, to be blunt. It goes back to something we talk quite a lot about on this page. Grandparents aren’t usually the prime carers. It’s not up to us to decide what our grandchildren should or shouldn’t do. So if it was me, I’d tell your daughter that you don’t want any jokes played on you. You might also remind your grandchildren that April Fools don’t count after midday…
The Funny Things They Say
“I collect my five-year-old grandson from school every now and then. It’s a short walk and I always use it as an opportunity to point out trees and birds and the sky. (I’m very keen on nature.) But I was a bit taken aback when my grandson said, ‘Why do trees have trunks just like elephants?’
“I’d never thought of that before!”
From “Grandad Mike” from Sussex
What a bright grandchild you have, Mike. It got us thinking! Of course there are also “suitcase” trunks too.
If you’d like to send in a “funny”, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Children make significant decisions in the family when it comes to holidays, TV, shopping and many other considerations according to a recent survey commissioned by Haven Holidays, who are searching for Kidfluencers to tell them what makes a dream holiday. Head to www.haven.com/holidays/kidfluencer to apply.
Some parents agree on their decisions because it means a quieter life. What do you think about that? You can let us know by emailing email@example.com
Where To Take The Grandchildren
This time we’re headed to the Blue Reef Aquarium, Portsmouth, Clarence Esplanade, Southsea, Portsmouth, Southsea PO5 3PB.
Phone: 023 9287 5222, www.bluereefaquarium.co.uk
A great place to marvel at local fish, sharks, ray and tropical varieties. There’s also an underwater viewing tunnel.
Children’s Book of the Week
Every week I share a brilliant book that you might want to read with your grandchild.
This week it’s I Love My Granny by Giles Andreae (author), Emma Dodd (iIllustrator). Orchard Books.
A charming board book with captivating rhymes and illustrations. This won my heart!