Wednesdays are our day with Granny - my mother, who moved up here from Melbourne when Louis and Pearl and their cousin Jaya were all born with a month of each other.
Grandmothers are invaluable and watching my children with my mother makes me think more about the value of having children young. Not only because my children would know their grandparents for longer, but also because of the ways it changes one's relationship with one's parents. It's like the intensity goes out of the previous parent-child relationship and gets channelled into the new grandparent-grandchild relationship. All the hopes and dreams, all the love and spoiling, all the plans for the future find a pliable, receptive new target. The grandparent and the parent finally have a joint project. And watching the way Pearl and Louis respond to my mother is a joy. You know, she's my mother, there are things about her that irk me (and possibly vice versa although it's hard to imagine), but they just dance with delight whenever they see her.
My mother and I have always gotten along okay, as long as we didn't talk about politics, the environment, refugees, indigenous issues, gay and lesbian rights (although we should be equal, we shouldn't be seeking 'special treatment') or feminism. We have generally managed to converge on disability rights as she works as a personal carer. Conversations about our extended family have sustained our cordial relationship over the years, as long as I don't mention cousin Madeleine's jail term or Uncle Paul's drug addiction. She's always struck me as an ideal 1950s housewife, a couple of decades too late.
Someone said to me, 'Grandparents are the only people apart from your partner who will listen to the minutiae of the delightful acts of brilliance of your children.' Who else will listen to stuff like:
- Louis likes buses, trains, music, flowers and necklaces, particularly pearls.
- Pearl likes dogs, bikes, banging things, dancing and cornflakes. She does NOT like birds, or people dressed in animal costumes.
- They can say bus, train, bike, ball, car, home, no, yay! up, down, bath, tap, duck, whale and turtle, although only L and I can understand them. Also ute ('doot') and plane ('ae')
- They can do impressions of a dog (pantpantpant), a cat, a monster, a cow, and a train (eeeeee - I thought this was a mistake and tried to convince him trains went choo-choo but actually, the electric trains that go past our back fence really do go eeeeee)
- Pearl likes ball games and the slide, while Louis enjoys the sandpit and the swings. They both love a see-saw, possibly because they have such an advantage over other children their age, who, playing alone, get on one end of the see-saw and think, 'what's the point of this toy?'
Every Wednesday we plan an outing. We're both discovering Brisbane, so it's an adventure discovering Brisbane through the lens of toddler-friendly activities. Today we went to Redcliffe and what a find! By the beach, giant GATED park - how I love a nice big gate around my park, you can take your eyes off children for a second or three - big trees for shade, coffee shops across the road...idyllic.
We planned to pick L up from work on the way home, so the babies were fed and bathed and tucked into their car seats to fall asleep on the way home. When they saw Mummy L they perked up and I don't know whose life I thought we were leading (maybe I was flushed with success after dinner last Saturday) but I suggested we have a drink in the cafe next door. I had a very expensive glass of house white ('We don't have house wine madam,' 'Okay I'll just have your cheapest one then thanks!') and we had a plate of dips and they arrived and it all just fell apart. Sculled the wine, stuffed in the dips and scarpered before we were evicted.