Monday, July 30, 2007

The Week that Was

Despite the fact that I am too old to be the grandmother of a four year old, I survived the week that has just passed and enjoyed it immensely. Four is the perfect age in my opinion. Those tiny articulate creatures are full of curiosity and have an energy that we can only envy.

It was a joy to watch her race headlong into every adventure and to listen as she announced what she read on road signs, on notices in stores, everywhere she looked. "Spend 50 dollars and get two free movie tickets," she piped up in one store. What? Sure enough there was a sign that said exactly that. According to my daughter she has learned to read almost by herself, although she is read to constantly. This was proved to me when we were in the children's bookstore and she didn't want me to read a book to her so I asked her to read to me. I filled in the odd word she didn't know but when we came to them again there was no need to repeat them. I think I would hate to be a kindergarten and first grade teacher these days as it seems half the children are reading long before they get to school.

We took the bus because that's a huge adventure for her and so it became one for us because of her enthusiasm. Here she was harassing the pigeons at Granville Island. She was mesmerized by the jugglers, she put money in the buskers' instrument cases and she went on a ferry ride. "What shall we do now, Nana?" she says. Then she fills in with her idea of what we should do next. I know intimately every children's park for miles around. Sadly there is a civic workers' strike on in Vancouver so the water parks weren't in operation nor the miniature train ride. But we managed to find entertainment enough to satisfy her.

She delighted friends who came to dinner and others who had us to their house for dinner. It was also the last week of the Tour de France cycling race, which we watched every day for the last hour of coverage between 7.30 am and 8.30 am. She always wanted to know about the cycling guys and where was the yellow jersey guy, although she had no idea what it meant and she watched intently along with her grandfather to see who won the stage. Unfortunately you can't mute the ads because they are just as interesting to her as the program, because they don't have TV at her house. However they do have every children's DVD known to man, both in English and Italian.

Although her father speaks almost exclusively in Italian to her and she understands him, until now she has been reluctant to speak it herself. But in the last few months and since her visit to see her grandparents in Italy at the end of June, she is starting to say a few phrases. I have been very interested to watch this as I want to see the process of producing a completely bilingual child.

I'm really sorry that we didn't save more toys from when my children were young. But we do have one that might be of interest. Actually it's really rather embarrassing, since we made it ourselves. Below you see the dollhouse that we built for my 40 yr old daughter when she was 4 or 5.

Note the Mactac wallpaper and wall to wall carpet of leftover fabric. We used to have little battery operated hanging lights and lamps but the battery pack was broken so we chucked them when we resurrected this for my granddaughter.

Better Homes and Gardens would certainly have given this living room a gold star. Father is seen above in the elegantly appointed bedroom. Note the bathroom with the modern fixtures, showcasing the height of luxury, a gold toilet seat.

In the kitchen the baby waits patiently in the high chair for Mother to prepare dinner. However the only food available is a bunch of bananas, although there could be something delicious in the pot on the stove.

My daughter played with this house for hours as a child and her daughter enjoyed it too. The old scientist and I thought it was rather hokey and were a bit embarrassed by how amateurish it really is. But it was a big hit and no doubt will come out of mothballs when she comes again at Christmas.

I don't get to play Grandmother very often and I didn't get to be one until I was 67, so I hope you will forgive me if I indulge myself a little in this post. Here's one last photo of her on the Aquabus ferry as we tootled around False Creek. Regular programming will resume soon.


Lee said...

You're allowed to indulge yourself, jmb...and I fully understand the reason why. She is a little sweetie. They are so wonderful, inquisitive and so bright at that age...far more aware of what is going on around them than we were at that age, that's for sure. Lovely little girl...I can understand you being so smitten. :)

Rositta said...

You indulge all you want, it's absolutely cool. I became a grand mother first time when I was less than 40 and thought I was too young. Now I have a new granddaughter at almost 60 and think I'm too old. There is never a perfect time, but anytime is good, so we will enjoy. Love the doll house, it's awesome...ciao

Vijay said...

A truly wonderful and heart-warming post JMB.
There is nothing a very young kid enjoys more than spending time with indulgent grandparents. I know from having watched my daughter with both sets of grandparents.
How is it that all little girls look so cute??

RUTH said...

You indulge all you want; as a grandmother myself I know the joy grandchildren bring (I was 39 when I first became a grandma...he turns 16 in August!) Your grandaughter has really started reading at a young will stand her in good stead for the future. The doll's house is beautiful; what a treasure to keep.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

She is beautiful, jmb and this post has cheered my day. She is very like you, I think. No TV at home - that's why she reads so well, I should think and it's lovely to know she is beginning to produce some Italian. [It is quite normal for her to understand more than she can say at this stage.] The doll's house is wonderful! Love the gold toilet seat!

jmb said...

Hi Lee,
As I said 4 is the perfect age, thanks for agreeing.

Hi Rositta,
Most of my friends were relatively young grandmothers too, some have 30 yr old grandchildren. Your new grandchild is a treat.

Hi Vijay,
Well you know all about the indulgent grandparents I'm sure. I think little boys are cute too, especially to their parents and grandparents, but a bit wilder by nature.

Hi Ruth,
you and Rositta were very young grandmothers indeed. Glad you like the dollhouse. I think it looks better in the photos than in real life.

Glad to improve your day with my little treasure. She's not truly bilingual yet, but she can sing all the songs along with the La Pimpa videos. But if she were an Italian four year old she would be chattering away in Italian without a thought. I guess that's what I expected, Italian only with Dad and English with Mum and daycare.
I have Spanish friends who brought their children up speaking Catalan to the Mother, Spanish to the Father and English in the real world which for them was Scotland first then Vancouver.
I guess it will happen one day.

Regards to you all and thanks for commenting.

Ian Lidster said...

What an adorable and beautiful child. I envy you greatly.


Sienna said...

Ooooh so beautiful and vibrant! This is heart melting....she is so gorgeous, the pictures are more than wonderful.

The doll house is fantastic btw.

Such a great age, joy and inquisitiveness and just delight, so good in her reading and language, I am forever passing on the bits and pieces I know...(he he so we all have this shocker of an accent-but it's such fun)

What a great week that them any pics you want, it's a great thing children seeing our world's diversity in nature, people and animals; please consider them yours to share, I'm honored.

That is a sanctuary, very much loved, preserved and funded by the locals, it's one of my favorite places. (Amid a million others ha)


jmb said...

Thanks Ian, we think we are very lucky to have her as a grandchild.

Hi sienna,
She brings us great delight and her parents adore her too.
I hope she enjoys the photo of the kookaburra. My daughter wants me to bring her a stuffed kookaburra if and when we next go to Australia, maybe late October or early November.
Does such a thing exist I wonder? Probably made in China if it does.

regards to you both

Daimyo Higham-Baka-Ohta said...

No doubt about it - she's going to be a heartbreaker.

Janice Thomson said...

What a precious little girl Jmb and so full of life - and more so because of not having TV probably. It will be wonderful watching her grow up as a bilingual person with a well rounded view of everything. Grandchildren are such a treat in our lives.

Anonymous said...

A cute granddaughter she is. Thanks for stopping by.

lady macleod said...

She is SO BEAUTIFUL!! You have taken me back in my mind to the days when Q was a toddler, it was indeed a special time - and exhausting! I expect to be in my mid-sixties before grandchildren, and I intend to savor every last minute as you so obviously do.

Are you bonkers? The doll house is perfect. A toy that runs on IMAGINATION to my mind is the best kind. I have no doubt but that she will request it again, and again.

Oh my, thank you for sharing. I have run the photographs back through twice just to look on the unadulterated joy in that face.

jmb said...

Hi James,
Yes I don't envy her parents when she is a teenager.

Hi Janice,
I hope she never loses her joie de vivre and her curiosity.

Hi Steve,
She's the cutest grandchild I have, being the only one.

Hi Lady Mac,
We think she is beautiful and we aren't at all biased!
The doll house looks better in the photos than in reality but it is 35 plus years old so it has lasted fairly well.

regards to you all and thanks for commenting

Cathy said...

You indulge all you want. I do it all the time when it comes to grandkids.

She is a beautiful little girl. you know, She looks a lot like you. I remember seeing some pics of you when you were pretty young, (maybe your honeymoon or something), and I certainly see the family resemblance.

I'm so happy you got to spend time with her and your daughter.

BTW, I love that doll house. I'm sure she enjoyed it very much...:)

jmb said...

Hi Cathy,
Isn't she adorable? I don't know if she looks like me, although she has the same shaped face as I do, but she has her Mum's eyes which are my husband's. Although I'm sure her Italian grandparents think she looks like them.
We all had a very nice week together.

ipanema said...

Looks like she had a grand time with you. That's a lovely doll house by the way. From her photos, she really looks energetic!

Eurodog said...

Lovely post, jmb.
I love the old-fashioned TV. Wonderful dolls house and pretty little girl.

Chris said...

Any age is a good age to be a grandmother.

MedStudentWife said...

Isn't that the best thing ever - you had the time of your life.

She is such a sweetie :) I'm so happy that it was such a good visit.

Your doll house is really grand, reall !! I think of the "apartments" my sister and I made out of our Barbie doll cases and old wallpaper and computer take spindles ( for tables, chairs and couch), and we played with it/them for hours.

jmb said...

Hi ipanema,
We did indeed have a grand time and she wore us all out with her energy.

Hi Eurodog,
The furniture is priceless, isn't it? I must say it looks better in the photos than in real life, but she still had fun with her Mum's dollhouse.

Hi Chris,
Yes it's true, but I wish I had more energy to keep up with her.

It certainly was a fun week and I think we all enjoyed the visit.
I'm glad the dollhouse brings back good memories of your childhood for you. These days it seems rather an old fashioned concept, doesn't it?

Regards to you all and thanks for visiting.