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  • Writer's pictureHelen

Out of the Mouths of Babes

....comes a lot of noise and nonsense – but so much more!


Our latest grandparental trip to Scotland, this time for eleven days, was requested to support our daughter-in-law . She is working full time and our son was away on a week's course. We shared where we could in all the relentless tasks of caring for small children: cooking and cleaning and washing, filling dish-washers and emptying bins! There’s meeting from the school bus and walking home, shopping, and taxiing between all the various appointments in a 5-year old’s busy life. At the end, another day 410-mile drive – this time we started in floods and rain and temperatures of 11 degrees and arrived home in sunshine and 23 degrees! After four days at home, we are beginning to feel human again!

But, as parents and grandparents everywhere know, the physical exhaustion is just the price we pay for the cuddles and chats and games and giggles and all the other delights and surprises of spending time in the company of a five year old and a 19-month old.

Bath time with 5-year old Kiki is often great fun. Sometimes we make up stories together peopled by the crowds of plastic characters scattered around the edge of the bath. I get into big trouble because I can never remember their names! Her regular request is, ‘Can you tell me a story of Daddy and Auntie Emma when they were little.’ One of those stories which mentioned Daddy’s grandparents led her to very serious questions about where those grandparents are now. Lots of serious and very literal 5-year old’s questions followed. Can you see after you die? Can you hear? When will I die? I don’t want to die. Her solution to the problem of her own mortality: ‘I wish I was God – then I wouldn’t have to die!’ I have no idea what she made of my answer that being God would be a bigger job than she might like to take on!

Another day, she accidentally spilt her drink. She was quick to say she hadn’t meant to. ‘Don’t worry, I said automatically, ‘it’s not the end of the world!’

Serious face. ‘What would be the end of the world, Granny?’

Kiki’s curiosity is such a gift, reminding me how hard it is to say, ‘I don’t know’ and how rarely adults discuss questions to which we aren’t sure of the answers!

Her 19-month old brother DJ offers me, and so many others, a different gift.

Some of our readers will remember our family anxieties around DJ’s birth in March 2022. He still needs to be connected to oxygen day and night and fed through a tube into his stomach. But he hasn’t had a stay in hospital now for a year! His heart is strong and his kidneys, operated on in the first week of his life, are functioning virtually normally with no need of the feared dialysis. He is alert and responsive and laughs and plays peekaboo and jigs up and down in his baby bouncer.

DJ’s gift to the world is welcome! When anyone he loves walks into the room – he looks up - smiling, clapping, arms stretched out, delight at seeing another human being written all over his face. If you pick him up, he engages fully. He puts his small hands gently on your face. He particularly likes and can now identify a nose!

Driving 410 miles? Kiki’s questions and DJ’s daily welcome make it so worthwhile!

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