Great grandma takes her charges to the water.
Just as I was about to go to the Senior Citizen’s Bingo, the phone rang
. “Gran, I’m so sorry to ask you, but I need to take the dog to the vet. Could you please look after the kids this morning?”
My heart sank. It’s not that I don’t absolutely adore my great grandchildren, but they are a handful, especially that little Charlie.
“If it’s an emergency, of course I will.”
“Oh, thanks Gran, you’re a lifesaver, we’ll be there soon,” Lauren said, sounding relieved.
“Granny!” Three-year-old Charlie yelled, as he rushed into my arms, followed by his little sister Sophie, toddling along on her chubby legs.
Lauren handed me a bag, “There’s everything they need in there.” She waved and drove away.
“Okay, you two, let’s see what Granny has for you.” I took the children inside.
After two hours, the children had eaten my chocolate stash, watched a movie and started to fight.
I looked at the clock. Another two hours, what else can we do?
“Who’d like to go for a walk?” I asked. The kids stopped rolling around on the rug. “Yes please Granny, can we get ice cream?”
“We could go to the park. Let’s get our coats on, shall we?”
We set off for our walk, Sophie safely strapped in her stroller. Charlie talked non-stop, giving me a headache. I breathed a sigh of relief to be outside, at least this would fill in an hour.
When we reached the park, I released Sophie. The children ran towards the play equipment. I sat, pleased to take the weight off my feet.
Charlie stood tottering on the top of the slide, “Granny!” He shouted, “I can see water!”
“Be careful Charlie, come down the slide.” Imagining him falling and breaking his neck. “we’ll go and see if we can catch a fish,” I coaxed.
Flying down the slide, he landed with a bump.
Putting a wriggling Sophie back into her stroller, we set off towards the lake.
Several children paddled in the shallows. My heart sank, I hoped my two wouldn’t want to go into the water, but Charlie immediately sat down and started to peel off his shoes and socks. Sophie asked, “Swim, Granny?”
“No darling, it’s yukky, look at all that poo, it’ll get in between your toes.” Sophie looked down at the mud around the lake, at the black and white lumps of sloppy duck poo and her little nose wrinkled.
Charlie was already up to his chubby knees in the brown water. He’d found a discarded ice cream container, “Look Granny, fishies,” I peered into his bucket, where a tadpole wriggled madly in the murky water.
“Do they like fruit buns?” Charlie asked, as he ran to open the lunchbox his mother had packed
“I don’t think so, sweetheart, they’re too little. Let’s throw some into the water, the fish and the water birds will like it,” I said, helping him and Sophie to tear off pieces of bun.
Sophie squealed, pointing to the ducks diving for fish. I laughed at the look on her face as one disappeared under the water, and then popped up, grasping a wriggling fish in its beak..
The sun peeked out from the clouds, and suddenly I realised this was where I needed to be, watching nature, with two innocent children, who were seeing creatures in their natural habitat for the first time in their short lives.
I gently put Sophie down, my back ached from holding her for so long. Looking around for Charlie, I saw he was up to his tummy in the water. He suddenly slipped and disappeared. I raced over to the spot, desperately searching for him, the water too murky to see, so I dropped to my knees dragging the bottom of the lake with my arms.
At last I felt his small body and pulled him to the surface. He spluttered, and then gave a big grin. Relieved, I gathered his little wet body to mine and searched the shore for Sophie. Thank goodness she was still where I’d left her, but now she had stringy green pond scum draped over her head, like a crazy wig.
I waded in to shore from the lake, Charlie grasped under my arm. Strapping Sophie into her stroller, we made our way home. Both children were wet through, so was I.
When we reached my house, Lauren stood outside waiting. “Granny!” She exclaimed, shocked to see the state we were in.
“We had a great time Mumma, can we come to Granny’s again soon?” Charlie asked.