Some of you might know that I was blessed twice last year. First up was Deb agreeing to marry me, something we rushed into on March 5th. We’ve only known each other since 1961, reconnected in 2001, and got married in 2011. Luckily for me her son Dan and his wife Kate gave birth in July to their daughter Claire.
I went from being single since 1980 and childless from forever to having a granddaughter. Avoiding all that middle childhood, adolescence, rebellion stuff makes for a very easy transition into grand-parentage.
It’s not like I don’t have a bit of training in this sort of thing. I have niece and nephew so I have some history of taking part in the fun part of children. Birthday parties where I only have to show up for the fun. Parades, trips to the pool, Pony rides at the fair, lots of sugar to get them all amped up and then give them back to the parents and go home to a nice quiet house for myself.
Avoiding all the pitfalls like doctor and dentist visits, measles, being bullied at school, toilet training etc. I have to say that this concept of taking on children for only the fun parts and giving them over to someone else for the messy complicated tiring stuff is great. Personally I don’t know why more people don’t do it.
As we went through the last half of the year getting to know Claire I continued to perfect this programme.
Deb and I were at the hospital when she was born and go tot see all 7 pounds of her before she was an hour old. We then spent a few days in Windsor helping the new parents as they brought her home and started into the night feedings,sleeplessness, and all the rest of the “fun of newborns.
Since the introduction we have managed to get to see Claire at least monthly and the changes apparent on every visit are of course staggering. She is now up to almost 20 pounds. Starting to move around on her own and responding with the most beautiful smiles and gurgles if you please her, or a 190 decibel high pitched screech that can peel paint and cause the dog to howl if you do wrong by her.
As the “disabled” grandfather even with this once removed process I get to pick and choose when I play with or feed her and when I surrender her to the others. All I have to do is say I’m a bit tired or sore and I’m immediately relieved of the burden.
Claire and I set the tone for our relation ship on the first visit we made to Windsor after her birth. At about a month old when the parents were at about their worst for tiredness we went to visit and help out.
When we arrived, Claire had just been fed. We got settled and I sat at one end of the couch. I was carefully handed the baby and watched by the others who weren’t sure about my baby wrangling skills. As I said I had a niece and nephew before and didn’t do anything stupid like picking her up by the head or sitting her beside me on the couch to watch TV. At that time for those who have forgotten she was barely able to focus her eyes on anything and motor skills are so lacking she couldn’t do much more than wriggle and stretch a bit. I held Claire for about ten minute as she dozed off, recently fed and warm and cozy there. One of the limits I have right now with her is that the PEG tube I have for feeding, emerging from the middle f my abdomen is right about where you would hope to hold and cuddle an infant. Because of this I can hold her in my left arm fine but in my right arm she rubs on the insertion whenever she moves around which can sometimes, if the tube is tugged on, can be uncomfortable. Now with much greater mobility and strength she has occasionally kicked it and stuff just to see me flinch. On that particular day however after about 10 minutes of quiet warm cuddling she started getting restive and my arm was getting a bit tired so Deb came and got her from me. The two of them settled into an arm chair and about 10 seconds later the little darling dropped a shit that squirted out the leg hole of her diaper and all over Deb’s dress. WHo knew month old children had little if any control of their bowels but an uncanny ability to go to her grandmother rather than me to let go.
Since then she has never let me down yet. As Dan mentions sometimes I break her if I pick her up wrong and she shrieks but she has never made a mess on me through several feedings and holdings etc. She has always waited till she’s with one of the others.
I can’t help think she realizes that our time together is for good times only. The other servants take care of any of the tedious stuff.
By the way she is of course the most beautiful, talented baby seen in decades. It’s not just me that thinks this. Our estimation of her has been confirmed by the other grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins etc. All of us unbiased and objective about the whole thing.