There is solidarity amongst grandparents. We’ve all received raised eyebrows from our children for the way we care for our grandchildren.
Just as I did last week, when I pushed Hector to his favourite play park, sucking a lollipop. I admit the lolly was not something that had been expressly sanctioned by his mother but he was happy and so was I. It was a beautiful day; we saw snowdrops and stopped to watch some workmen digging a very large hole in the road.
The blasted thing was still in his mouth as he began ascending the steps up the slide.
The only thing slightly troubling me was how the devil I’d get the lollipop off him when we got to the playground. My fears were soon confounded. “Nooooh, don wan to grandpa,” he shrieked. The blasted thing was still in his mouth as he began ascending the steps up the slide.
In front of an army of very sensible mothers, whose children (younger and older than my charge) were properly and carefully climbing the steps and being praised for their successful descents, I asked/ begged Hector to hand over his lollipop. But he simply would not let go. It was understandable. He was too busy sucking it.
I decided it was time to show some authority and forcibly took it away after the third descent. This was instantly rewarded by a mother with an approving look and a “well done”.
But Hector had other ideas. Rather like George Pig’s tears, Hector’s came out horizontally and with an unremitting noise like a dying rat. Sheepishly I returned the lollipop to his grasp, ignoring the sensible mother’s condescending glare. I then managed to distract him to the swings where a man a little older than me was pushing a girl a little older than Hector.
“I saw what happened back there. I would have done exactly the same,” he said. What a relief. We quickly became firm friends. It turned out he lived nearby and was also called Hector.
Like a squad of soldiers keeping in step we soon assumed a syndrome of synchronised pushing – which proved to be hilarious fun for our respective grandchildren and, more to the point, amazingly therapeutic for us.