Grandma and Grandpa Cartwright have come to town this week to see Elliott. They’ve come under the influence of duel motivations. First, absence. They’ve not seen their growing grandson since Christmas, which I’m sure has been tough. Second, they’ve come to relieve Grandma and Grandpa Almond from spoiling duties – it can be exhausting responding to every want of an infant to avoid seeing those pea sized tears.
I’ve already reflected on my thoughts about spoiling, that it is really much more about the impact on mom and dad than the grandchild. So I can’t help but feel some consolation in watching the spoiling work against the grandparents; although not enough to discourage their behaviors I’m sure. But Elliott has kept Papa Hoss running and wrestling in perpetual horseplay, a pattern established by Grandpa Almond and we don’t dare disappoint the boy. And for Grandma and Grandpa Almond, make sure there is plenty of Diet Coke available when Elliott returns, he’s gotten somewhat accustomed to the flavor filled soft drink. I must say though, other than watching a joy filled Elliott, there’s nothing better than seeing a proud grandparent.
Elliott has found plenty of ways to create his own joy. Like racing to the bathroom ahead of mom at teeth brushing time to close the door between them before she gets there; only to be standing with a devilish grin so completely full of himself when she opens it. Or emptying out the kitchen cabinets of all the pots and pans, lining them up in some semblance of order on the floor; so determined with the project that he crawls his entire 22 pound body into the cabinet, completely disappearing save for his two tiny feet twitching about, to retrieve the soup pot every bit as big as he is from the back. And when completed, finds just the right lid for the pot, places it on top and stands above the entire project clapping with approval. After the ovation, he returns them all.
In fact, I’m not sure why we have so much invested in toys. He has taken lately to stacking his baby food jars. He won’t eat the contents of them; concerned I’m sure that he might end up outside the 10th percentile of weight for babies his age. But he’ll stack them, as many as 5 high, which creates a stack of jars up to his nose. Lately he counts them, only skipping the number one and five, seeing no reason to count the beginning and the end I suppose.
His latest trick is imitating airplanes. He sees a lot of them at Grandma and Grandpa Almond’s house. He’ll take his hand, or any other toy, and glide it through the air while doing his best Cessna impression. We had to break down this weekend and buy him the real thing, or at least the Tonka version. It looks much better to see the toy plane glide through the air than a green alligator floating to the accompaniment of sputtering engine noises.
All of it continues to bring us pure joy and amazement. Some tricks more than others and often dependent on your point of view. For Grandpa Cartwright, no trick will surpass him waking up from a nap and saying “papa”. We all find our little pieces of joy. Through each of them though, we give thanks to God. Charles Dickens once said, “It is not a slight thing when they who are so fresh from God, love us.” I get that.