Sheer joy and trust washed over my granddaughter’s face as my son held her arms and swung her around and around until her red, canvas sneakers pointed straight out from her two-year-old body flying a couple feet above the earth. Sure bliss her face declared.
Right now her daddy helps her fly in circles – all too soon she will break the circle and fly off on her own.
For now the little ones need our “hep” as the youngest granddaughter says when she presents me with a doll and its clothes. She just wants me to dress or undress the doll so she can feed baby a magical bottle of milk and pat her. She may not be able to dress the dolls, but months shy of her second birthday she went into her brother’s room and pulled on his shorts and T-shirt and proudly showed her momma.
If the clothes are big enough, she does not need ‘hep,’ but socks and shoes are another story. The other day she began screaming in frustration because she could not fasten the Velcro strap on her shoe. My daughter called from the kitchen, “I can’t come right now. I’ll be there in a minute.”
Before she reached the bedroom, big brother quit playing in his room and went to fasten the strap on his sister’s shoe and he sealed his “favorite brother” status with his sister – who already likes to wear her Spider Man pajamas because they look just like his.
Not so long ago, favorite brother earned a cupcake for his behavior. He went to the back porch to enjoy it. Little sister saw that cake. She say-shayed over to sit down beside him and gave him a big hug. She looked at the cake. She gave him a big kiss and looked at the cake. She patted him on the back – and Momma came to brother’s rescue and handed her a cookie. The two sat the back porch eating their sweets, swinging their feet, dropping crumbs in the dirt and watching the planes fly overhead.
At bed time, little sister takes her dolls to bed with her. In the morning, she smiles, stands up and hands the dolls over the railing before reaching up to be taken out of the bed herself. After that morning ritual at my house, we sat down to eat breakfast and I asked her, “Are you a baby or a big girl?” She quickly said, “baby.”
Between mouthfuls of breakfast, her brother assured me he is a “big boy.” He not only believes it, he keeps researching the privileges. Recently, when his parents announced “bedtime,” he looked up at them and said, “How about this? You guys go to bed and I’ll stay up and watch TV.”
He did not get to stay up and watch TV, no matter how much he likes it.
As the family walked home from play time at the park one evening, the tired children began crying.
“They’re tired,” momma commented.
“I’m not crying because it’s late,” the pre-schooler sobbed, “I’m crying because I want to watch TV.”
While he may not be old enough to stay up to watch TV, his mom talks with him about anything and everything. One day she pointed out an empty building and said it used to be a business when his dad was growing up in the area.
Staring at the unkempt building, he asked, “Was that when God was still making things?”
But he is right … God plays an important role in the family. Grandson confidently dragged a visiting friend to the kitchen this winter, “Mom, Landen doesn’t know who God is. Tell him that God is that guy we’re always talking to.” And God is the guy they are always talking about: When his mom told him his toy was too big to fit into his pocket he countered, “Nothing is too big for God’s love.”
Concepts may take a while because he still doesn’t catch all the adult words he hears. No matter how many times his mom says “twins,” he refers to the girls in his class as “Same Girls.” And, last winter after a sneezy cold, my grandson stopped one day and smiled when he realized, “I’m not sick anymore. I don’t have anymore bless-you’s in my mouth.”
He knows what he does have in his mouth. As supper neared one evening he announced, “I’ve filled my mouth with water, I’m so hungry.”
The proper terms will fall into place soon enough for him and all the grandchildren and they will fly away as capable adults. For now we enjoy our glimpses into our little people’s world.
(Joan Hershberger is a reporter at the News-Times. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.)