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February 6, 2013

The Suwannee Scribbler - 
Full time grand-parenting: An update

Live Oak — Those of you who are regular readers of this column know that since the beginning of December, my wife and I have been the full-time care-givers for our 20-month-old grandson, Caedyn. That’s to change in April, when our daughter and son-in-law are finally settled in their new home near Atlanta.

I suspect you’ll know exactly when the transfer takes place. Lynda and I will be the two old coots in Walmart giggling like 12-year-old school girls, as we skip up and down the aisles. Among other things, it will be the first time in months we’ve been in the store and actually know what we’re buying.    

Our shopping goal these days has less to do with getting the best deal than getting in and out of the store before Caedyn can pull something he shouldn’t off a shelf.

Then there is the fireworks display I’m planning, following his departure. I was hoping to also hire some dancing girls for our personal Independence Day gala, but for some reason Lynda pooh-poohed that. Something to do with her concern that my heart might give out.

At any rate, to quote some quotable folks from the past, “We now see the light at the end of the tunnel”. Of course at the time, the “light” they were talking about related to winning the Vietnam War and we all know how that turned out. Hopefully our luck will be better.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love my grandson beyond words and he is a joy, most of the time. But as an old coot, I just don’t have the stamina to be a full-time parent.  Over the years, I have come across several different grandparents, who due to personal family tragedies, were forced to become the permanent caregivers for their grandchildren. I always admired them. Now I consider them saints!

Since Caedyn has moved in, there have been numerous changes in our lives, both big and small. While I knew I would be a slave to the Trinity of Infancy (pee, poop and puke), there have been other lifestyle modifications, I wasn’t anticipating.
For instance, the blessing I say before our meals historically runs about 30-seconds…perhaps even a little longer if something particularly troubling is weighing on my mind.  Today, 10-seconds tops! I’m afraid to have my eyes closed for any longer than that for fear my extraordinarily curious grandson will get into something he shouldn’t.

Completely unexpected was the sibling rivalry issue that has developed in the Holmes household. After all, there is only one kid living here … or so I thought. That’s because I completely forgot about our three-pound Yorkie named Scooter. In short, he sees Caedyn as an unwelcomed interloper. As a result, every time the boy tosses a toy from his playpen, Scooter makes a mad dash for it. The Yorkie isn’t being spiteful. He simply sees his act as retribution. After all, Caedyn always makes a mad dash for Scooter’s toys whenever they’re near.  

In either instance, the captured object ends up in the capturer’s mouth, much to the chagrin of my spouse, at least as far as Caedyn is concerned. My issue is less about sanitation than it is about bang for my buck. Clearly Caedyn would have been happier with his Christmas gifts if they’d come from Petsmart.

Needless to say, when Sarah and Chris come in on weekends, giving us a break, Lynda and I enjoy it immensely. After all, due to Caedyn’s presence, we have suspended most of our personal outings and community interactions. We did make one exception, however.  

We told the kids they had to be here this Friday, so we could attend a mushroom cultivation seminar we’d really been looking forward to. Of course, I have to be honest; since Caedyn’s arrival my interest in mushrooms now has less to do with growing them than smoking them!

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