The animals that grow from sponges
Part 1 - Days in the life of a grandpa
The Animals that Grow From Sponges -
I find one of life's greatest joys is to be able to spend time with our 11 grandchildren.
Usually it is here and there - maybe once a week or so seeing a "set" of grandchildren from one of our four families of grown-up and married children of our own, who all live in the local area.
I look back over the calendar from last month, and I see usual baby-sitting times - we had Vicky (almost 2) for four hours around the middle of last month while our daughter-in-law Jessa was at the kindergarten on a "parents' helping day" with their son Joseph.
Then about a week later we had Joseph and Vicky from 4:00 until around 9:00 in the evening, while Ray (our oldest son) and his wife Jessa went to a year-end staff function for the teachers at the school where Ray teaches.
The following Monday our middle son Daren and his wife Jenna were going out, and they had arranged a week or two ahead for us to look after their three girls.
Amanda (6), Christie (3), and Evie (7 months) were dropped off here around 6:30.
When we were getting Amanda and Christie ready for bed, I noticed the dirty feet. They had enjoyed jumping on the trampoline outside in the yard, and now their feet showed it. Black.
Beth thought it was getting too late for the girls to have a bath, so I decided to just wash their feet. First I got them to sit on the kitchen counter while I ran warm water in each of the double sinks. I explained to them that I had a special surprise for them. I showed them the package - it looked like rows of specially-colored capsules (like vitamins) - only these contained tiny sponges that would grow and expand and pop into the shape of a little animal when the hot water melted the gelatin capsule.
We looked at the pictures of different animals on the back of the package, and they tried to guess what theirs would turn out to be. Then I let them pick their capsule and drop it into the water. The little capsules soaked along with their dirty feet, and in a few minutes the capsules melted and a tiny sponge animal took shape.
While Grandma looked after the baby, I let the two older girls use "Grandpa's special toothpaste" (a natural toothpaste from the Health-Food Store with a delicious orange and mint flavor). They always ask if they can use mine when they are here at bedtime.
They stand up on the little stool in the bathroom and lean over the sink while I brush their teeth for them. "First the inside of the bottoms; now the outside of the bottoms; next is the inside of the tops; now the outsides of the tops...."
Grandma usually "tucks in" Christie when the girls are going to bed here. I tuck in Amanda. Christie goes to sleep in the guest bed in Grandma's den. Amanda goes to bed in Grandpa and Grandma's bed.
"Tucking in" involves reading two story books, praying, a hug and kiss good-night, then some soft music on.
Amanda was "lonely for Mommy and Daddy that night" - very unusual. When I have tucked her in for the night, I usually stay in the room and read some emails on my computer.
That helps her settle, if she's still awake, having me still there in the room.
I had gone out to the living room to talk to Beth, when I heard crying coming from our bedroom. I hurried down the hall and found Amanda in tears. She was just missing Mommy and Daddy so much. She said that sometimes if she can't get to sleep at home, they let her come out to the living room and lie quietly out there. So I let her come out and curl up in my arms for a while in the big chair. Then Grandma held her, and finally she settled and fell asleep back in our bed until Daren and Jenna came to pick up all three girls later that evening.
I went to sleep that night feeling loved, needed, and appreciated.
If you'd like to read more stories -
- Stories about Days in the life of a grandpa
Read human interest family stories - grandparents and grandchildren can share family fun and children’s outings strengthening family relationships