Diary of a Grandfather- 2
Some people are natural and naturals with children. Some are not. I have tried as every grandfather in this modern touchy feely age must, but I have failed. Its half term. We are baby sitting Octavia now 3 and half , for the morning. Well to be exact Mrs Thompson has her for four hours and I have for half. The little girl has a new bed she must show me. Ok. It’s a bunk bed, I make approving non judgmental noises and make for the door. No grumps don’t go, we must see how Penny is. Penny who? Penny, my dolly silly. Under the bunk is a cot with a large blond haired doll. Penny is cuddled.
She isn’t well cries her Mum. Whats wrong? I’m trying to do the John( Mary’s brother) Poppins bit.. She has a stomach ache. What shall we do? Its OK I have some medicine and some milk. Is milk such a good idea. No Penny really likes it. I look at my watch, only five minutes have gone by and I feel a cloud of ennui descending.
Lets take her for walk. Lets. We go into another bed room. Time for lunch. Would you like fish and chips? Yes they are my favourite. She leaves the room and comes back and says sorry there is no fish and chips but there is beer for the men and wine for the ladies. I feel a panic attack coming on, I am descended from Kafka but no self respecting cock roach can make head or tail of this.
Would you like something else, she asks sweetly. I look at my watch only ten minutes gone. Yes steak and kidney pie. Octavia leaves the room and comes back and hands me an invisible plate. She says you must share it with Penny. Fine. I shovel invisible food from one invisible plate onto another invisible plate and Octavia feeds her doll. Oh dear she cries its made Penny worse its too spicy. Too spicy? I poisoned it deliberately so that Penny would die and I might retain a shred of sanity.
Then she says Oh dear Penny has poohed her pants. Now as an experienced drinker I know what this means. I look up and try and show sympathy. Its alright says my granddaughter I ‘ll change her. Then she picks up a book and starts telling a story to Penny and turning the pages. Though she has obviously taken advanced gender determining classes she still cannot read. She puts Penny back in her cot and we start to go down stairs. Stop she exclaims I can hear Penny crying I must go to her, wait here a minute.
I look at my watch I have done half an hour and my brain is caught in the vice of absolute boredom and total inadequacy. I have failed at many things but none has given me more satisfaction than coming last in the grandfather of the year competition.