Being Grandma

Susan Manzke
Susan Manzke and her husband, Bob, revel in spending time with their grandson, Harrison.

I was lucky there was a wedding in our area. No, Bob and I weren’t invited. It was a friend of Russell’s, and our son and his wife would be going to the doings. Bob and I would be home baby-sitting our two-year-old grandson, Harrison. I think we got the best of this deal.

After Mommy and Daddy left, we took Harrison outside, but first we had to convince him to put on his boots. He put them on the wrong feet, but soon he was stamping his way through the puddles we had in the yard.

Stomp! Harrison splashed so hard I had to step back. We all laughed and walked a little farther to try out another puddle.

About this time, our chickens found their way to this side of the yard. They weren’t fond of the splashing and fled to a safe place under a bush. Harrison named the chickens. They are Ickie Kickie, Stickie Whickie, Poopie Whoopee, Shoopie Poopie, and Fred. Don’t ask me which is which, but I’m pretty sure the rooster is Fred.

After our outing, Harrison took his stuffed tiger, Bobs, his blankie, and took a nap in our living room. He didn’t sleep as long as he normally would. He suddenly woke up crying, “Mommy!” I’m afraid Grandma wasn’t a good substitute. Eventually he settled down and our evening progressed nicely.

The three of us, Harrison, Grandpa, and me had a sleepover in the living room. That worked out great. This time he didn’t wake up crying, but before he fell asleep he gave Grandpa a few odd looks because Grandpa had dozed off and was snoring.

I expected Harrison to be up early. To my surprise, he slept in. The weather wasn’t nice, so when he did wake, we played inside.

While Harrison was using his tools and our building blocks, I went into the kitchen to make myself a second cup of coffee. It didn’t take long for our grandson to come looking for me.

“I put my screwdriver in the hole,” he told me.

“What hole?” I asked and I followed him back into the living room.

There's nothing more fascinating to a little boy than jumping in puddles.

He led me to the corner of the room where the toy box rests and pointed to a hole in the wall.

Bob and I had forgotten about this hole. After our family had put up wallboard we had changed the placement of our electric outlets. This one had been removed and for some reason, we never patched the hole—there are no wires or electricity in this spot.

Well, Harrison’s toy was in there. I got down on my hands and knees and put my fingers in the hole and touched the purple screwdriver. It had been close to the opening, until I brushed it with my fingertips. Now it was just out of my reach.

I called for Grandpa Bob. He brought a small LED flashlight. Yep, the toy was there, but out of our reach.

Bob and I backed away to survey the situation.

Harrison asked for the flashlight. I started to hand it to him, figuring it would do no harm. Suddenly, I realized he was going back to the hole with the flashlight.

“No,” I said and reclaimed the light.

Harrison hadn’t heard me say ‘no’ before, or at least not often. This one word set him off again. “Mommy! Mommy!” he cried. The he grabbed Bobs and his blanket and ran into the kitchen. There he sat in the corner crying for his mother.

I believe I laughed, which didn’t help the situation at all—I’m a mean grandma.

It took a while to get him back to his old, cheery self.

We left the screwdriver in the wall and Daddy Russell retrieved it later with a bent coat hanger. All was well again.

Sometimes it’s hard being a grandma, but most days it’s the best job around.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;