GRANDPARENT BRAG ZONE – Rocks and roly-polys
BY SUSAN J. DECUIR
It was a beautiful June Saturday morning in Carrollton, Texas, and to my delight, my son-in-law, Scot, brought our three-year-old grandson, Evan, with him when he came over to help my husband, Ron, (Pop to Evan) clean out our attic.
His sky-blue-eyes sparkling, Evan begged, “Come play with me, Nana.” Like a trained puppy, I followed him into the backyard. Right away he headed for Pop’s rock garden by the patio, scooped up a handful of pebbles, and sifted them through his fingers. A boy thing, I discerned. Then, faster than Superman, I felt something whiz past my head.
“No, Evan.” I scolded in my soft Nana voice. “They’re not for throwing. If you hit someone with a rock, it could hurt them.” Someone like Nana, I thought. He scrunched his brow, considered the possibility, and thankfully obeyed. I could see by the twinkle in his eyes that a new plan was in the making in that busy little brain of his.
My caution antenna perked up when he picked up a new handful of rocks and headed for the glass-top patio table. “Be careful,” I warned, explaining that glass can easily break. Flashing his playful grin, Evan released his treasures onto the table, as carefully as a little boy is able, without incident.
“Let’s sort them by size and color and then count them,” I suggested, gathering the pinks and reds. That game lasted about three minutes. Back to the rock garden he went.
“Pop bought these colorful little rocks from the lawn and garden store,” I explained. “But these big rocks,” I pointed, “are souvenirs from vacations that Nana and Pop took your mommy on when she was a little girl.” Try explaining souvenir to a three-year-old.
I sat in the shade of the patio and watched while he poked at the big rocks, finally tipping one over. “What’s that, Nana?” he gasped, pointing toward the ground beneath the rock, his eyes huge with wide-eyed wonder.
I smiled. “It’s a bug called a Roly-Poly. They like to hide under rocks where it’s cool. They don’t bite, but some bugs do,” I explained. “Watch this.” I gently nudged the tiny bug with my pointer finger. Evan giggled when the agile arthropod rolled itself into a tight little armored ball.
Evan asked, “Why did he do that, Nana?” and I replied, “To protect himself. He doesn’t know that we won’t hurt him. We’ll just play with him for a while. But be gentle, like Mommy asks you to be with your baby sister,” I emphasized with a wink and a hug. “Be real still, and soon he’ll stretch out again.”
We watched and waited when, suddenly, the frightened little black bug started twisting and turning his body in every direction and wiggling his seven sets of his legs through the air, until at last he turned himself upright then quickly scurried away trying to escape us. But Evan caught up with him. Using caution, he reached toward his newfound discovery and gave him a gentle shove, and then another, and then another, and – well, you know. Boys will be boys. I’m thirsty, Nana,” Evan yawned.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Susan J. Decuir, lives in Carrollton, Texas with her husband, Ron, of nearly 43 years. She loves to read, write, and spend time with her three grandchildren, Evan, Emma, and Ava.