Phragments with Phyllis: Life with my grandchildren

Deja vu all over again

I've now been "Nanny YaYa" to Cade and Payton for a month, and I've learned a number of things from the experience thus far:

1. The things that bugged me about my own children still bug me as a grandmother. I don't like whining. Ask me anything in a normal voice, and I will try to oblige, but ask me in that tone that only a 3-year-old can master, and it sets my teeth on edge. Recently, Payton wanted me to take her shoes off for her - something she's perfectly capable of doing on her own, by the way - and I honestly couldn't understand what she was saying. Each word stretched to at least two syllables - "I-eee wannnt you-ewewew to take them owuff" - in that tone that's like finger nails on a chalk board (for those of you old enough to remember what that's like.) And when she realized I really was going to send her to her room if she didn't stop whining, she turned her tone completely around in an effort to give me what I wanted. She actually laughed as she said, "Will you take them off, please?" I don't like begging, yet children everywhere - and Cade and Payton are no exceptions - think if they ask enough times for something, you will give in. "Can I watch Johnny Test?" "No, let's watch Sesame Street." Please, can I watch Johnny Test?" "I already said no." "Please, please ..." Now, realize I'm pretty sure their mother doesn't succumb to this "charm" either, but there are adults in their lives who apparently do give in far quicker than I would - at least that's their story and they're sticking to it. Tripping over toys and clothes in the middle of the floor is also a "no-no" in my world. I am working to teach Cade and Payton that certain things must be put away unless they are actively playing with them. Cade has mastered hanging up his coat and bookbag - a huge step in the right direction.

2. My grandchildren are growing up with many of the same values that I tried to instill in my children. Cade's teacher has commented that Cade is the most polite child she has in her classroom. She appreciates his sense of humor, which is not unlike his Opa's - a little dry, and you have to be paying attention because the humor is subtle but clever. His teacher also is looking forward to Payton being her student in two years, because she, too, already has the traits of a good student and a clever child. They both are polite to adults. They say "please" and "thank you" without having to be prompted most of the time. And they are kind to children on the playground - making friends for the afternoon with whoever is around at the park.

3. The serendipity of dealing with young children is still delightful. After a discussion with Opa, Payton will often say, "Why does Opa tease so much?" I remind her that Opa only teases those he cares about, so she is definitely on a short list of special people. That seems to please her. Then there's Cade's apparent phobia with regard to insects, which he comes by honestly since his mother was always the one bitten or stung if there were a biting insect around. Thus, it took some serious energy and patience on my part to convince him that the lady bug on the picnic table at the park was not going to bite him. Then there was the incident this week in which Payton decided she wasn't ready to go home from our house. In an effort to convince her it was time, Opa said, "But Mommy is making dinner for you." To which Payton replied, "I don't want to eat at my house, I want to eat at a restaurant!" Where do 3-year-olds get this?

4. The things that I cherished with my children I find still most dear with my grandchildren. There is nothing more peaceful than sitting with a little one beside you as you read a favorite book. The good news is that in this world of technology, Cade and Payton still enjoy time with a good book - whether it's a classic from generations ago like "Winnie the Pooh" or whether it's "Dinosaurs Wear Underpants." Both Cade and Payton prefer that someone lie down with them for a few minutes after we read at night. Oh, they would go to sleep without this part of the ritual, but as long as I have the time to oblige them, where's the harm. Of course, both kids have been trained well by their Opa that a back rub is in order along with the quiet time. And the best is when, out of the blue, either Cade or Payton run up, throw their arms around my legs and say, "I love you, YaYa." It doesn't get any better than that.