War College for Grandparents
When we learned our daughter’s spouse, Jim, was nominated to attend War College, I blurted, “Really? They have a college for war?”
Kris answered, “Oh, yes. It’s quite an honor and we’ll be living there for a year. We’d love to have you come up and visit.”
Hubby and I proposed we child-sit Laura, age six and Daniel, age four, while their parents relaxed at a nearby resort for the weekend. Having raised four boys and a daughter how difficult could it be to entertain, feed and keep two small children in line?
The family Jeep squealed away leaving the four of us coughing exhaust at the curb. In an attempt to assuage our grandchildren’s anxiety Hubby said, “We’re going to have a rockin’ time, Kids.”
Traumatized, Laura and Daniel raced to the sanctuary of the playground.Carlisle,PAwas experiencing a frog strangler spring and except for their faces, I couldn’t have identified the returning muddy urchins. Despite screaming protests, Hubby hosed them down on the porch. In the space of ten minutes we had established ourselves as “The Enemy.”
During dinner I discovered my grandchildren were discriminating (polite for “picky”) eaters. Laura eyed her plate and wrinkling her nose protested, “We don’t eat potatoes.”
“OK, well, how about the lemon-baked chicken?”
Teetering on his rear-two-chair legs, Daniel said, “It’s got something funny on it. It doesn’t taste right.”
“Let me guess…you’re not crazy about vegetables either.”
“We like French fries.”
“Well, French fries are potatoes.”
“No they aren’t. They’re something else.”
“No, they’re…Daniel, stop pounding your fork into the table…Laura, watch your milk…nuts, there it goes…no, I’m not mad. Look, everyone ready for dessert?”
At least, I was. They won War College Battle Number One and I retreated.
“Would you like me to read you a bedtime story?” I asked and presumed we were having a bonding moment as we nestled on the couch. In retrospect, it was a bedtime delaying tactic.
Skirmish Number Two began when both of our sweet grandchildren refused to pick up their toys before baths. We fired a warning shot and sat downstairs killing time while their whimpering shifted to silence. A-ha! We smirked and tiptoed into enemy territory. The combatants were nestled amongst their toys, sound asleep. We tucked them into bed and lights out.
Hubby asked, “When did Jim and Kris say there were returning?”
“These are just kids. Tomorrow will be better.”
Saturday at 6:15 a.m. we woke to hi-volume TV cartoons, a rain deluge and good-bye to a park outing.
I foolishly assumed KP baking a batch of cookies would kill a couple of hours and evolve into scrap-book memories…and it would have if half the cookie-dough wasn’t consumed and followed by latrine trips.
Bored, Daniel discovered launching his toy metal airplanes into walls was as lethal as a real air battle. As the planes disintegrated their French Bull Dog munched and regurgitated them. Laura invited a friendly ally in and pouted when her guest deserted her and joined Daniel in the air “dog-fight.
Laura asked, “When are Mommy and Daddy coming home? Can you call them now?”
Desperate to salvage our relationships, I asked, “Would you children like popcorn for supper?”
Daniel mumbled, “Beats potatoes.”
Everyone’s mood improved. Daniel and Laura played bathtub battleship, and Grandpa swabbed the floor. Was this is truce?
Sunday morning brought forth a shimmering sun and their parent’s return. A relaxed, beaming Jim asked, “So how did it go? Any problems?”
Shell-shocked and glassy-eyed, we crossed our arms and tentatively smiled at the kids. The gracious victors grinned back and shouted, “We had a great time with Grandpa and Grandma!”
Little did we know we had signed up for War College.