By Janet Schwan
She patted the seat with her little hand and smiled at me. It was time for our tea party and that’s where she wanted me to sit. It was a pretty low and small chair for an old grandma but I managed.
She’s so delighted to pour my pretend cup of tea and share the creamer and sugar bowl. As we seriously stir our cups we have our own unique conversations.
Her vocabulary is about ten single words said very emphatically, especially, “No!” But she understands countless other words which is evident in her body language and clever hand signs. Occasionally she will burst out fluent sentences in a dramatic imitation of our expressive adult language. They are startling and fun to hear yet only partially understood by us grown-ups.
She is eighteen months old and named Maya Rose. Every day reveals some remarkable thing that she’s discovered. How did this tiny complete person develop so quickly and become so wise?
Time to play! That’s the most wonderful privilege enjoyed as Maya’s grandparents. There’s no job to go to——–no other children to chase after——–no big meals to prepare and no piles of laundry to tackle. Even though it keeps grandma and grandpa both busy watching over her, it’s the kind of relaxed, unworried, enjoyable busyness that welcomes discovery and is not hurried by deadlines and the usual pressures of parenting.
The toughest part of her day is settling down for a nap. Although we start doing quiet things a half-hour or more ahead of time, her dolly is always ready before she is. Dolly gets volunteered for many unpopular things.
After lunch we love to watch the Teletubbies on T.V., dancing with them and using our rhythm instruments. Sometimes grandpa even joins our dance with his inimitable version. And she loves it–especially when we do that unique teletubby group hug.
Our tea parties have become more fascinating as time has passed. Recently she has found that grandma ( or Mimi as she calls me ) gets very excited if the teapot is emptied into the nearby plant. “Oh, No! No! Not my lovely flowers. They don’t like tea,”
“Oh, No! No! Not my lovely flowers. They don’t like tea,” grandma cries and Maya smiles.
Doesn’t Mimi know there’s no real tea in this pretty pot?”
And a short while later the creamer gets dumped into the plant. “ Flowers don’t like milk either——–No! No! No!” cries
“ Flowers don’t like milk either——–No! No! No!” cries grandma again and Maya laughs.
“ Oh! Dear—dear—dear!” says grandma.“ Let’s give some tea to your dolly,” and the party continues.
Finally, grandma gets up and moves over to the sofa. Maya follows her and takes her hand, insistently pulling her back up.
“Where do you want me to go?” grandma asks. Maya goes back to the little chair and pats the seat again. So, being charmed by this little personality, grandma cooperatively sits at the tea table again. But Maya leaves and seats herself on the floor in front of the T.V. Grandma calls her but she doesn’t respond. She seems totally involved in the characters on the screen.
“Why isn’t she staying to play our tea party?” grandma wonders and then decides to return to the sofa. No sooner has she settled herself into place than Maya leads her back to the little chair. This routine happens one more time and grandma is amazed. She is being unbelievably ignored. Suddenly, a light flashes under the grey hair, “ That little rascal is putting her grandma in the corner! She doesn’t want the T.V. To be turned off and naptime to start. Aaa—ha! What will she think of next?”
About the Author
Janet and her husband John help care for three granddaughters. She retired from elementary teaching, owned a daycare/nursery school in 1998 and now writes freelance for senior, parent and children’s magazines.