This week I am looking after Little Stuff while her parents are at a conference. This is fairly high intensity work, as she is convinced that Grama is a full time playmate. So far to-day we have planted some of the planters, trekked around the yard feeding birds and deer, picked several bouquets of wild flowers and gone swimming. It is still not suppertime yet.
Just at this moment, I am trying to explain how mosquitoes and black flies operate. The comment I just got is that 'An itsy bitsy teeny drop of blood is all they get. They can't get all the blood in my tummy.'
I am now getting demands to colour on the computer. Her parents have a drawing pad and a colour adapter. Little Stuff thinks this rig is pretty primitive. But she needs to do it *now*.
How you mothers of little ones do this all the time is beyond me.
Further comments - 10:45 pm
Little Stuff is now sleeping peacefully. Phew.
My girls were fifteen months apart, and they played with each other. I would set up an activity for them, or start them on something and they carried on. They also watched television, probably far too much television. Sesame Street, daily. Mr. Roger's Neighbourhood, daily. It didn't seem to hurt them -- and they learned a lot, especially from SS. When they were four and five we moved into a neighbourhood that had a lot of other children their age. We had a big, fenced yard, and they played outside in a big group, under my eye through the kitchen window, or in a playroom in the basement if the weather was bad. I think I was very lucky, in hindsight.
I was an only child of an older mother myself, and my mother played with me a lot. So did my grandmother because I stayed with my grandparents often. I clearly remember her making me doll clothes, singing to me, taking me for walks. And so I am applying this model to Little Stuff, who is an 'only' in most senses of the word as her brothers are 14 and 17. I will be looking after her for three weeks this summer and am using this week as a trial run. She will play by herself if I am doing something obvious, like cleaning the kitchen, but working at the computer, reading or just taking a break are not activities she recognises as legal for grandma to do alone.
It's the constant chatter that may drive me demented by Friday. I don't remember my daughters doing this, but maybe it's protective amnesia. The child is a talking machine. Best score on grandma today -- we were talking about raccoons going out at night, and I was trying to explain this. 'Do you mean they are nocturnal, Grama?' says the precocious brat.