I wasn't as solitary as I'd expected this morning, because Dilly rang up to ask if I had an hour or two spare to look after Squiffany...
If I'm too busy, I do say and Dilly strikes just the right balance, in that she feels free to ask but doesn't impose. Today, she had to visit the garage to have a new front light bulb fitted and then take Pugsley to the doctor for a vaccination.
Squiffany was quite happy to sit at the kitchen table painting, while I cleaned the kitchen. Then she bounced exuberantly on my bed while I tidied the bedroom. This took a while. I'm untidy.
I've rather concluded, as many grandparents must have, that while there are many pleasures and rewards to being a mother or father, the real dividends are paid when your own child becomes a parent. Grannydom is all pleasure. You can give little treats - mindful, if you have any sense, not to undermine parental rules - and have complete patience and good nature for you will give the lovely little creature back at the end of the day or the next morning.
They are easy children, I will admit. At one point, out of the blue, Squiffany started to say "I want..." she pulled herself up before she added Mummy. "Mummy won't be long, will she?" she said, in a self-reassuring tone rather than an anxious one. She is sensible and self-controlled, and Pugsley is happy-go-lucky.
I had them for several hours on Friday, which involved giving them tea. "Mummy has left some tuna and salad," I said, "Or I could do something for you?" "You please, granny," said Squiffany. I hadn't got very prepared. "I could cook eggs, or pasta..." "Yes please, I'd like spaghetti!" "I've got cheese, or I could do a meat sauce..." "Cheese and meat, please" I went and cooked.
They were both happy. "Delicious pasta, Granny, lovely tea" said Squiffany, several times. They had pasta bows, a slightly inauthentic Bolognese sauce, grated cheese, sweet potato chips and Romanesco broccoli. Then they each had a banana. They polished off a remarkable amount of food. Squiffany uses a knife and fork and sometimes a spoon and Pugsley aims with a spoon but mainly uses his fingers. I have become more relaxed about mess. I find food mess a little hard to watch, though I'm comfortable with paint and mud. However, they are so good about feeding themselves that it's worth the effort of not feeling slightly nauseous when they poke around in the pocket of their bib for the lump of dropped banana amid the pasta/broccoli slop.