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U3A Writing: Grandchildren

It's hard work being a grandmother, as Monica Duckering reveals.

Staying with grandchildren can be fun. But not much, till they reach maturity - say nine or ten. At that age you can talk to them. By then they will treat you as an equal.

Maxine had an allergy rash and was prescribed an antihistamine concoction which could make her drowsy. I volunteered to stay and baby sit instead of going to town. It was raining anyway.

"Breakfast?" I asked.

"No thanks," she answers, her eyes barely leaving the page in her book.

"How about one of my scones?"

"Yeah, OK, with jam? Yeah - and a glass of milk.''

She drinks half the milk.

This seemed a good opportunity to write those letters. By the time I'd fetched the writing materials she was wandering around in her pants and flimsy top.

"Don't get cold, darling. Are you itchy? Do you want Calamine on?"

"No thanks, just getting a .drink of orange juice".

She poured out a glassful, drank a few sips and left it. Her mum never complains so - when in Rome...

I start writing. Now she comes back, dressed.

"Going to feed the guineas and Charlie" (the fat chicken she was given three years ago as a tiny chick).

Bits of food - bread, lettuce, fall to the floor and stay there.

"Grandma, look at my bracelets.'' She counts the finger-crochet wool rings on her arm. "Fourteen,'' she says.

A bag full of assorted coloured wool is tipped onto the carpet. Lovely colours.

"Which do you like best?" I ask.

"Mmm,that one! Oh, there's no green. Green's my favourite colour. Would you like me to make you a bow for your hair?''

"Oh, yes please.''

"What colour?"

"Bright pink please,''

"OK. Big or small?"

"A big bow please.''

I write again - but not for long.

"There you are, let me fix it for you.''

I submit to the bow being fixed in my hair. "Grandma, do you want to play Number Rummy?"

"Yes, darling. I'll just finish this letter. You get it ready.''

I don't finish the letter. We play. Its easy. She wins. The game is put away. Maxine goes to play a game on the computer.

I finish my letter, signing it, "exhausted grandmother''.

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