Perhaps every grandchild is born with the ability to captivate the affections of their grandparents, but my grandchildren seem to be particularly diligent in their efforts to continuously improvise, improve and test techniques to melt their grandma’s heart. During the past week, each took a piece of the action, adding some impressive new methods to their repertoire.
Jem fired the first salvo when I arrived to babysit on Saturday. The twins rocked peacefully in their swings as I approached. Then Jem turned his head, looked at my face and smiled. His smile proclaimed quite clearly, “Hey, I know you! You are one of my people!” Then, for the first time, he reached out his arms for me. Jem does not suffer the unfamiliar with equanimity, so the opportunity to be recognized as part of his entourage is a very big deal.
His brother, not to be outdone took the next round. While Jem continued to offer an open-mouthed toothless grin, Oboe matched his smile and added a coupe de grace: he fixed his eyes on mine, raised his blanket and covered his face. Then he coyly lowered it again. His impish twinkle left me with no doubt about his offer to play peek-a-boo. I clasped my hand to my chest to keep my heart from melting all over the rug and the three of us played.
As the week unfolded, Jet loaded the bases and went for a grand slam. On Sunday she declared that she suffered from “old knees,” just like Grandma’s. On Monday she proudly displayed a new pair of sunglasses and proclaimed that she simply couldn’t see without them. Just like Grandma. On Tuesday, as we were eating our breakfast Jet found something else to share. “We both eat with our left hands, don’t we Grandma?”
I turned to look at her. Sure enough, Jet had transferred her spoon to her left hand and was in the process of trying to find her mouth. “I like to use the hand that makes me feel the most comfortable. Is that the hand that makes you feel comfortable?”
Jet nodded vigorously. “Yes! We both feel most comfortable using our left hands, don’t we?”
I looked at the milk running from her spoon to her elbow. “I do feel more comfortable with my left hand, but it’s okay to use the other one too if you like that better.” I switched my spoon to my right hand. “Some people use both.”
On Wednesday Jet looked at me with her big, blue eyes. “Papa and you and me we all have blue eyes, don’t we Grandma?”
“We do. We all have blue eyes.”
“I love Papa and you and Marcy and you love Papa and me and Marcy and Papa loves me and you and Marcy and we all love each other, in the whole wide world don’t we Grandma?
“We do Jet. In the whole wide world.”