Jet eagerly anticipates the arrival of the “mailmam” each day because he often brings something she is allowed to open. She found something really special in Tuesday’s mail: “Grandma! Grandma! STICKERS!” A charity had sent some address labels with animal images.
I cut them up, removing the name and address so Jet could use them in an impromptu art project. I wrote the names of all the animals on a piece of paper, spelling the word and saying it aloud. Then I gave her the first sticker. “Can you put it next to the word fox?” I asked.
To my amazement, she correctly placed all of the pictures next to the matching words and wanted to do it again. As a proud Grandma, I like to think she’s very intelligent but I’m pretty sure she hasn’t learned to read yet, so the credit for this astonishing feat must go to the extraordinary number of times we have played “memory” games together. When the stickers were gone, she wanted to write the words herself with a washable marker.
As she worked, she talked about the things on her mind. “Everybody sits on their bottoms, Grandma! I’m sitting on my bottom in my chair. Grandma sits on her bottom. Mommy sits on her bottom. Daddy sits on his bottom and eats cupcakes! You could sit on your bottom and eat cake. You get those cupcakes at the store. If Aunt Mary sits on your seat do you sit on her? Marcy has a bottom too! Marcy can’t go on a walk because her leg got hurt. We have to be nice to her. I’m going to put diapers on my baby’s bottom. Baby’s can’t sit on they bottoms. I need more stickers.”
In lieu of stickers, I cut up some of the paper and handed her pieces of tape. “This is Grandma and Jet’s tape,” she said.
“It’s Grandma’s tape,” I reminded her, “but I’ll share it with you!”
When she’d used up all the cut paper, I pulled out some blue painter’s tape and she continued to decorate the page. Suddenly she was done. “Grandma! It’s playtime now! Clean hands!” She displayed the spots of marker on her fingers.
I got the washcloth.