Since her Papa retired at the beginning of October, I find myself relegated to Jet’s second string. I understand how this happened, because I love Papa too (and I really am excited to have him at home) but sometimes my hand feels very empty on our morning walks! Not only does Papa get first dibs to hold her hand, she gives him all the newly found sticks, leaves and pinecones he can carry. Jet, bless her heart (a phrase which I seldom use but which somehow feels appropriate in this instance) has been remarkably sensitive to the possibility that I may feel abandoned. From time to time she drops back and holds both our hands, and yesterday she asked me to tell her a story right in the middle of our walk. That’s my girl!
Fortunately (from my perspective), Papa’s retirement plans did not include monopolizing every minute of Jet’s playtime and thus, we conceived his “quiet room.” Jet adapted quickly to the idea that Papa did not retire for the soul purpose of providing her with entertainment. She understands that when he goes into the office for quiet time, he is not available for play and must not be bothered with invitations and questions. I’m actually quite impressed with her thought process on the matter. “Grandma, Papa didn’t retire so he could have another job taking care of me, did he?”
“No, Jet, Papa has some other things he’d like to do too.”
“But you don’t have anything else to do, right, Grandma?”
It sounds rather lame when she puts it like that, but okay. “Pretty much.”
When Papa emerges from the office, Jet sticks to him like glue. She is fascinated to discover the limits of what she can convince him to do. Wear bunny ears? Check. Hop like a bunny? Check. Share some of his snack? Check. Give her a bath? Nope, that’s Grandma’s job.
While Grandma was outside one morning (making faces at Jet’s brothers in the back of Mama’s van), Jet auditioned Papa as a replacement for breakfast duties. After he failed to arrange things to her specifications, Papa was banned from bib application and food preparation. “That’s Grandma’s job,” Jet declared, “’cause Papa is just silly!”
Jet has also been exploring the potential to divide and conquer. Could she use Papa to delay naptime? No. Grandma was wise to that trick. “Jet, if you keep talking to Papa instead of getting ready for your nap, I’m going to have to send him away.”
“Okay, then. Get down to business.” She did.
To date, I remain the go-to grandparent for meals, toileting, bathing, ballet class, naptime, stories, clothing changes and most cleanup activities, but Papa is now the MVP of playtime…. at least until he goes into that office of his!