Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)

Life in the Pedestrian Lane: The generations … my how they flow by

It has been over 20 years since we had a 1-year-old in the house for any extended period of time.

By Virginia Walters

For the Peninsula Clarion

Whew! We just spent a month with a 1-year-old in the house last weekend (well, it was a long weekend, but …). I had forgotten what it was like to be hit with full force tornado.

Her grandpa, Middle Son, brought her down from Fairbanks. We had not met her yet. Her birthday was June 9, and we missed the past year because of pandemic stuff. It was fun to become acquainted with her and be reintroduced to the ins and outs of being 1 — how soon we forget. It has been over 20 years since we had a 1-year-old in the house for any extended period of time.

She is just walking good, and got better each day she was here. She settled on a route through the living room, into the kitchen, around the table and back to the living room, leaving a trail of toys, cracker crumbs, occasionally clothes. Always on the move. At home she has a playpen the parental unit parks her in when it is time for a little respite. Unfortunately, Grandma’s house is no longer stocked with baby essentials so she was allowed to roam unfettered.

And we are not baby proof, so the first thing was to move the T.V. remote and other odd gee-gaws like coffee cups and pencils and close some doors, especially the bathroom. Her line of sight is at least 2 feet below mine — not many times in my life have I been able to say — that so I discovered many interesting little objects live below my waistline, like shoes and wastebaskets. At least we don’t have a pet to attract attention.

She is in that constantly learning phase of life. Mostly she learned good things at GG’s (easier than saying Great-Grandmother): to roll a ball; how to get herself off the couch (still in the learning mode on that one); Grr (Great-grandpa) usually will pick her up; which cupboard door has the crackers; look up to see the noisy airplanes. Things that will be really handy in future years.

I had to play the Grandma card a couple of times: We ate green beans with our fingers, ran ‘til she dropped rather than enforce a nap time (it was usually within 15 minutes of her prescribed time anyway); let her walk outside barefoot and ice cream for dessert.

Middle Son, much to my surprise, considering his laid back attitude about most things in life, is a hovering Grandpa. Not quite a helicopter, but I had to remind him a couple of times that HE turned out OK with a little benign neglect. His daughter, Granddaughter #5, is still learning the ins and out of being a mom. I expect she will practice ‘let ‘er run’ if her dad doesn’t spoil her. She is an ‘all things in moderation’ person in the rest of her life, but she is a picky eater. I think I trumped that, though, with cottage cheese for breakfast (Miss One-Year didn’t like yogurt).

And I had a few things to learn about parenthood, 21st century style. My kids were from the wash-and-fold diaper age, of course, but the granddaughters were into the disposable age. I remember ranting a little about the Disposable Era. Diapers these days have come a step further, and are good for 12 hours. They gel as they get wet, and apparently are not uncomfortable. Good for overnight, but I checked and changed as needed during the day anyway. My thought was we are training the parents now, not the kid, but who am I to question progress??

She had fruit sauce in a pouch she could squirt into her mouth and everywhere else. No spoon necessary. No sugar (another grandma card. We had a cookie if it was whiny time.) and a small sprinkle of sugar also makes oatmeal much more palatable. GG wasn’t the only one learning a few little hints over the weekend.

My grandmother lived to meet two of her great-great-great-grandchildren. (My oldest great-grandkids.) Six generations in one room. I can only imagine the changes she experienced in child rearing. Mom was born in 1920, those sixth-generation kids in the late 1990s, nearly 80 years later. Grandma went from hemming diapers by hand to buying them by the dozen (or more) in a box and throwing them away (to mention only the most obvious change). I am sure she held her tongue on more than one occasion as she watched the generations flow by.

I am trying to do the same and we are still two generations out!!!

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