Conversations With My Grandson
My eldest grandson turned three this past week. I’ve been watching Grant on Tuesdays since I officially ‘retired’ from my job. He loves coming to bumpa’s daycare since I pretty much let him run the show. Whatever he wants to watch on TV, I turn it on for him. Whatever book he wants me to read to him, I do. Whenever he wants his breakfast and lunch, that’s when I get it. He’s a little prince in my house on Tuesdays.
What has been most interesting in the months I’ve been watching him has been to see his communication skills develop. He can’t tell me what he wants unless he communicates it to me. Like last week when he was watching his favorite movie of late, Attack of the Crab Monsters, he complained that it was “too loud.”
I knew that’s not what he meant because I had purposely turned down the volume on the TV. So I ignored him. Pretty soon he put his hand up to his ear and declared, “I can’t hear the monster.” That was better. I turned up the volume on the TV. By the way, I’m not sure how this fascination with my crab monster DVD developed. I got it for Christmas as I’m a fan of vintage science fiction movies I saw as a kid. Grant spotted the DVD case lying around, thought the monster looked interesting so I put it in the DVD player just so he could see the clips that accompanied the menu screen. He was hooked, eventually wanting to see any scene that featured the lumbering, mechanical crab.
He has made some interesting observations on the crab. For example, he tells me that the crab monster eats, “Apples, vegetables and an orange.” Not people, he insists (though the plot of the movie says otherwise). And he says, “You have to pay for the crab monster.” That one threw me a bit. I can only assume that had something to do with someone buying me the DVD for Christmas.
Crab monsters aside, he sees things from his own little world, the world of a toddler. It's just simple observations and requests mostly. I just listen or offer a simple response—'yeah', or 'is that right', or something like that. One time I was driving him in the car and he was babbling on and on about where he wanted to go. Particularly, he wanted to see two water towers (like crab monsters, water towers command a particular fascination) and he wanted to go to the store and get two donuts. The number two is another favorite concept.
Eventually, I stopped listening as I had to concentrate on the traffic around me and he didn’t seem to be asking anything in particular. But then he ordered, “You need to answer me.” Sheesh. It’s a different kind of backseat driver. At this moment, the word "just" is frequently creeping into his vocabulary as in, "I just want to go home" or "I just want to watch the crab monster."
He’s too young to have deep conversations with, of course. As in why is the sky blue or will Obamacare eventually work. He just reports the world he observes and makes requests depending on his mood at that moment, which can change the next moment. I do remember when he saw a picture of his uncle Scott on the mantle. He’s fond of Scott though he sees him infrequently since Scott lives in Maryland. “That’s uncle Scott,” Grant observed. Then after looking at the picture a few seconds he followed up with, “He come back?”
That's about as thoughtful as his comments get. But it is pretty touching when you think about it.