When I took Elliott to report for the first day at his new daycare, the appropriately named “Nut House” daycare run by grandma and grandpa Almond, I should have know the welcome Elliott sign on the front door was more than a sign of greeting – it was a sign of things to come.
I remember when Katie and I informed our parents over a year ago that Elliott was on his way. What seemed unlikely the first seven years of our marriage was now imminent, our deliverance of a grandchild. Their reactions were equally joyful. There joy seemed a bit different from that of our other friends and family though, and until now I never really understood it. After all, both sets of grandparents already had grandchildren, so there was no “newness” factor to it. No, it wasn’t newness; it was the “revenge” factor.
The concept of spoiling is very misleading. Spoiling the grandchild really has nothing at all to do with the child, but more with the parents. You see, immediately after our parents celebrated the beauty of a new family addition, they began to rejoice in the revelation that Katie and I would soon receive trouble in the same form it had been given. (On a side note, Katie was a problem child so this notion is a bit frightening). It’s a fascinating phenomenon to watch, but if you can help the process along a bit, what’s the harm. Especially when grandparents are bonded in the campaign of that’s what grandparents do – spoil their grandchildren.
The revenge factor is in high gear. In fact, it went from neutral to fifth gear the first day at the “Nut House” (not my name by the way) and it hasn’t seen neutral since. Elliott comes home each day with an expanded vocabulary, an endless supply of energy and a monopoly on all attention.
He has started to put words together. Most are associated with animals – “bye bird” his favorite as he waves out the window when in the house or at the sky when outdoors.
He loves being outdoors. It has been in the 70’s this week, so the love affair has blossomed.
He has developed a sense of humor. He’s always found humor, but mostly at something we’d do intentionally to see him giggle. He has begun to search for his own sources of laughter. I was eating dinner the other night and while attempting to get some apple sauce, I dropped the lid – right smack dab in the middle of my plate creating quite a mess. Before I could groan in frustration, I heard a snicker. I looked up to discover Elliott looking right at me and giggling.
His humor is also dangerous. Last night he was letting out some of that endless supply of energy he has and did something that led me to playfully call him a ding dong. The name didn’t go over well, not with him, but with his mama. She informed me that Elliott was going to begin mocking everything we say and that we don’t want him to think it’s OK to call someone names. I was a bit skeptical about her claim and responded “mama’s a ding dong”. The same apple sauce giggle erupted on the other side of the room as Elliott laughed as if he’d heard the funniest joke ever. Katie and I both immediately looked at each other then broke into our own giggle. Name calling lesson learned.
He is a creature of habit. He knows when the final letters are turned on Wheel of Fortune, it is bath time. All you have to do is look at him and he scurries down the hall toward the bathroom proclaiming bath – bath – bath the entire trip. In the morning, I say its time to go bye-bye. He immediately climbs up in his little rocker, sticks his two little feet forward and patiently waits for me to put his shoes and socks on.
At the risk of antagonizing all of his grandparents, his development continues to bring us great joy and thankfulness. But I’m sure the bumps are coming, grandparent created or not.