Granddaughter Fern had an encounter with a super hero last weekend. She doesn’t yet know the lyrics, but the opening lines of this song describe how it happened.
Over the river and through the wood,
To Grandmother’s house we go.
With giddy excitement Grandpa and Grama (Shawn’s chosen grand-name) welcomed Fern for the first of what we hope will be many sleepovers. Our evening passed quickly as Fern demonstrated her block crashing technique. She knocked down anything Grandpa built and continued the mayhem until no block remained stacked atop another. Though she had a nutritious supper the child tasted every object she could lift to her mouth including a shoe and the two pound dumbbell she effortlessly curled with a single hand.
Our home echoed with the strains of silly songs erupting from Grama’s Pandora Toddler Radio station. We’ve been practicing our singing and relearning lyrics because that’s what hip grandparents do.
I’m delighted that the wheels on the bus still rotate, the five little monkeys can’t stay in bed, and the teensy-weensy spider with his attempted invasion of the water spout continues to receive his comeuppance.
Our evening overflowed with the blessings only a grandchild brings with her tiny smiles, sounds, and movements. And in all that warm-fuzzy togetherness I confirmed something I already suspected. Grama has super powers. I’m sure of it.
I first suspected Shawn’s hidden identity in 1984 when Fern’s mom, Amanda, hit the planet. I moved closer to the realization when Michelle joined the team in 1988. Over the years I’ve uncovered clues, but now with Fern the secret is out. Grama is a super hero, and in grandma-grandbaby interactions there is no need for concealment.
Shawn’s smile has a tractor-beam effect on the baby. Fern locks onto the rays of love and for a period of time stares into Grama’s eyes. Frozen in place. Contented. Neither willing to break the connection. Who knows what data is swapped in those moments? I can state with certainty the language is love.
The kid trusts Grama completely. Fern takes her place in the ancient high chair which survived from Grandpa’s childhood and enjoys whatever Grama spoons her way. Blueberry-bean-squash paste squeezed from an astronaut tube? You must be joking! But Fern vacuums it down and offers the “mmm” of thanks after every bite. Grama’s hand must change that stuff into angel food cake or something equally pleasant. I gave Fern a nibble of Christmas sugar cookie because those of us without super powers have to use our wits to survive.
Loaded diapers slow the baby’s movements to a crawl, and I’m certain Grama’s x-ray vision plays a part in knowing when the diaper has reached capacity. I am pretty good at guessing when pooh is in play by the eye-watering aroma filling the available airspace. Grama jacked the baby up and slapped new diapers on her with blinding speed only a NASCAR pit crew can match. She sailed in with no fear, tackled the challenge without mess, and put Fern back into play.
As bedtime approached and passed (Grandpa’s not Fern’s) Grama swapped Fern’s play clothes for sleepwear. I tried to snap one snap and concluded after four failed attempts the child has at least four arms and six legs but somehow Grama tucks everything where it goes. Satisfied and secure Fern snuggled in her crib and dropped off to sleep.
How does one distinguish a good trip to Grama’s house from a bad one? When the child sleeps all the way home Mom can know for sure the baby has exhausted herself swapping super powers with Grama in a mutually beneficial experience.
Meanwhile Grandpa, the mere mortal, fell asleep for a 2 hour nap of his own.