- Family and Parenting»
Is That Smell My Grandson?
How I Bonded with J.D.
When J.D. was about 14 months old, my daughter asked me to take care of him so that she and her husband could attend a seminar. They invited me to use their new truck and drop them off at the seminar, then keep the truck to run my errands. I gladly accepted. I was a divorced bachelor then, so I had to tackle this tending job alone. During the day, I had to go to the store, so -- of course -- J.D. and I went shopping together.
He talked to me the whole time. Not in words, but with smiles, vocal sounds, and a few laughs and squeals. He showed me his approval as I put him in the seat of the shopping cart. He knew this type of thing, evidently. When he saw the bananas, he lit up, and showed me how much he liked them. As I pushed the cart, he patted my hands and gave me this smile that made me feel like a million bucks. As I bought certain things, he seemed to think this meant he could play with them, which I allowed for the unbreakable stuff. I soon discovered, though, that I had to steer clear of things that I didn't want to buy, as he was very expert at grabbing them before I could react.
As the trip through the various aisles neared an end, I could smell something foul. But I thought nothing of it, thinking everything was well-contained. But the smell got worse, until it demanded attention. I looked, and saw that a certain smelly, penetrative goo was coming out of the cracks of his diaper and jump suit in very generous amounts, and as I approached the check-out stand, some of this landed on the floor, and was getting all over the cart.
The whole time, J.D. was giving me that smile that you see mainly in photographs that you can't resist buying, when the photographer presents you with additional proofs.
I arrived at the check stand, and asked for paper towels. As I think back on this, I see that I reacted as a man would; I didn't even think to buy diapers. All I saw was a mess that needed to be cleaned up. So, I had to reach down between the legs of people who were waiting behind me, to clean up the little piles: "Excuse me; sorry; I'll just....; Oops...."
I asked for more paper towels, or newspapers, and resolved to set him on these, so that the brand-new car seat in my daughter's brand-new truck wouldn't get dirty.
The bagger followed me out after I paid for the items, and told me not to worry, that he was going to hose off the cart. I gave him a distracted thank-you as I planned how I was going to keep the penetrative poo completely away from the 100% new things that were about to be in very close proximity.
I got to my apartment's parking lot, ran J.D. into the house at arm's length, locked the door, then ran back out to get the groceries, since they were in the back of the truck, and might get stolen. When I returned, J.D. was merrily playing in the pots and pans drawer. I mean, he was inside the cabinet -- of all places -- with all that mess on him. He gave me that heart-melting smile again, probably inspired by God so I wouldn't beat him up.
I removed his diaper, and took him to the bathroom sink, sitting him on the counter and putting his legs in the warm water. This, too, seemed familiar territory for him, as he gleefully slid himself into the basin, thus flooding the place with poo-filled water.
I bathed him, dried him, then put him down, so I could drain the water and clean the sink area. While I was doing this, I heard some cute splashing going on. It was only briefly that I wondered where this sound came from, then looked in the toilet area, and saw our little hero happily playing in the bowl.
So I washed him again, then took him to the bedroom where I put a clean diaper on him, a clean shirt, a clean jump suit, and fixed his hair. He was now shining, from head to toe.
I lifted him up at arm's length, to give him a prideful once over. At that point, he, uh . . . . threw up, all over his clean outfit. (This is a true story, and it really happened this way!)
I learned, that day, why God made babies so cute and loveable: to prevent you from . . . . . Well, anyway . . .
I cleaned him up again, and even went through the toilet bowl routine a second time, because I'm a slow learner. Next, we played for a while, until I started getting tired. I could see that he was wearing down, too, so I figured it was nap time for both of us.
I tried to communicate this idea to him, but he seemed to promptly veto it (another ritual he was evidently familiar with). So I turned off the lights, and lay myself down on the easy rocker. He seemed to recognize these signs, too, and began to walk back and forth, looking for other things to do, as he yodeled out a melancholic dirge of some sort. I couldn't see what he did when he went into the kitchen, so I closed off that area, as well as the bedroom.
His cries became more yodely, and were weak, showing that he was getting more tired, or as if he sensed that he was losing the battle, but this seemed to make him more determined to resist.
I just lay there, pretending to sleep, so that he would know that his partner in play had given up.
A few minutes later, after wandering back and forth in the room a few times, yodeling and bemoaning his lot, he came over to my lap, and flopped over onto my legs. I pulled him up onto my stomach, his head on my shoulder, and within a few seconds, he was out.
Needless to say, we bonded that day. It's great to be a grandpa.