Earlier this year, I wrote about how I was all set to perform my granddaddy duties for my in-town granddaughter once her parents had both started back to school. During the fall semester, this included picking her up from Parent’s Day Out on Friday, bringing her home to spend the night with us and then having her spend the day with us on Saturday. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed having her on these days.
On a couple of these Saturdays when my wife was out of town, I had her all to myself. With nice weather, we could go for a stroll around the neighborhood.
But once the weather turned colder, we looked for indoor activities, one of which was her first ever ride on a carousel at a local mall.
Another great discovery was simply taking her to my favorite toy store, Lowe’s, and letting her wander up and down the lumber aisle where there was nothing little hands could break. And on one occasion, we even got to meet a very friendly dog, a pet that my granddaughter seems to be smitten by.
But by far my favorite granddaddy duty always came on Wednesday afternoon when each week I had her all to myself. With her parents both in school at that time and my wife working, my granddaughter and I developed a regular routine.
Typically, I would feed her lunch and then let her take a nap. As soon as she awoke, we’d jump in the car and head to the Children’s Museum. It wasn’t long after we started these excursions that we would just be waved through the gate without having to even stop as they recognized us (and my car) from previous Wednesdays.
Our first stop would always be to check out the chickens, and roosters (and occasionally turkeys). At the time, my granddaughter was learning to make different animal sounds and seemed to enjoy hearing the sounds of real chickens and roosters. Then we would hop inside.
When we first started making these weekly trips, typically we would start off in an area designated for four-year-olds and younger. There she could play in the tree house with its big slide at the bottom…
…climb on the jungle gym…
…play with a little doll house…
…or stuff scarves into the air-pipe system…
…and watch them make their circuitous journey through the pipe maze and pop out the top to float to the ground.
Near this area was also a toddler size kitchen with cabinets, back splash, and counter tops nicer than those in most of my previous homes.
Placing her little hands under the faucet would elicit the sounds of running water and the churning of a garbage disposal, both favorites of my granddaughter.
As the Wednesdays rolled by, we began to venture into the bigger kids area and eventually would spend almost our entire two hours in those areas.
The model Mississippi river proved particularly attractive as it afforded a splashing opportunity as well as good fishing.
There was also a time when she decided to play the role of dental hygienist and demonstrate proper brushing technique, having to climb up onto the willing subject to reach his big teeth.
But one favorite spot each time was the disco room with flashing lights and 1970s music to dance by.
And over the fall, it was with delight as I watched my granddaughter grow and learn to master new activities.
Like the time when, without even understanding the significance of the “Xs” and “Os”, she won a game of wall tick-tack-toe…
…or the time, always attracted to anything musical, figuring out how to make sounds emit from the laser harp…
…and even learning to get on and off the seesaw (designated for five-year-olds and older) driving herself up and down all by herself without even a second child on the other end.
Our last stop each trip would always be the painted yellow brick road just outside the exit door. With a motion detector high up on the wall sensing my granddaughter walking up, she marveled at how the song “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” would automatically start to play to which my granddaughter would begin to dance. Typically we’d have to hear it play at least five or six times before we would head back to the car. Sometimes, this activity was cut a little short as they began to lock the exit gate.
It was then a short drive back to her house where her parents who had not seen her all day always greeted her warmly.
It was often with sadness we had to end our time together but joy in knowing that we would get to repeat the experience in just one week for another Wednesday with Granddaddy!