THREE VIGNETTES ABOUT MY GRANDKIDS
A Sparkling Performance on the Fourth of July
My wife and I celebrated Independence Day with a family gathering at our beach house. Five-year-old Ahava, my youngest granddaughter, played hide and seek with me downstairs. At one point, I could not locate her, no matter how exhaustively I tried. After vainly searching under the beds, in the closets, behind the shower curtain, and between stacks of boxes, I gave up and went upstairs. Soon, Ahava triumphantly strode up the metal staircase and joined the rest of the family. She informed all of us that she had been hiding under the scrunched-up bedspread in the boy’s room—a clever ploy. Then, in a dramatic flourish, she wagged her finger at me, and exclaimed: “Papa has finding issues.” How articulate! But she was not done chiding me. Pursing her lips in mock disgust, Ahava accused me of being a quitter: “You should not give up, mister.” Such histrionics!
If Ahava becomes an actress, I will fondly look back at her fire-cracker performance as a launching pad for her theatrical career.
Brava to Ahava
Last night, Ahava, my kindergarten-ready granddaughter once again displayed her verbal skills. At first, my wife asked Ahava how the cooking was divvied up in our daughter’s household. Ahava said that her older sister Emmi, who had just baked a birthday cake at our family gathering to honor her sister Mia, “literally” did most of the cooking. I would have expected Ahava to have used one of her favorite expressions, “actually.” Last night, she upgraded her vocabulary. But Ahava was just getting started.
When she discovered that my sister-in-law Theresa is one year older than I am, Ahava figured that if I had my birthday right that moment, I would be the same age as Theresa. My wife joked that she herself would have had a hard time “thinking” so fast. Ahava, quick witted as she is, then had a solution, “Don’t worry, Nana. I’ll do your thinking for you. I’ll be the head, and you can be the legs. I’ll be your brain.’’ As an afterthought, Ahava drew Theresa and me into the picture: “Theresa, you could be the arms” and “Papa, you could be the chest.”
I fondly remember that my daughter, Erica, had precocious language skills before she could read. She loved to listen to a story-book tape of Cinderella. One day (and many days after that) Erica, with uncanny expression, recited the fairy tale to us verbatim. Ahava may not have that particular talent, but when it comes to word usage and repartee, she is clearly (and dramatically) my daughter’s child.
Noah Tests Papa
On Independence Day, I played Monopoly with Noah, my son’s six-year-old boy. As usual, he legitimately won, as he does every time I play a board game or card game with him. Instead of diversifying (as he smartly did), I used all of my money and mortgaged all of my remaining property for a motel on Boardwalk. If he happened to land on that spot just once, he’d be bankrupt. I would have to repeatedly land on his plentifully housed properties to be broke. Although he worried a lot, he never landed on Boardwalk. I, however, frequently plunked down on his properties; and inevitably, I lost the game.
At one point, while I was still solvent, Noah excused himself to go to the bathroom. When he returned, he became edgy. He asked me if I had seen his second $500 bill. But from what I could recall, and I told him so, he had only amassed one $500 bill, not two. And as banker, I explained that I kept meticulous track of financial outlays. He, however, certain that the money could not have just disappeared, frantically searched for it. Figuring that maybe I had miscalculated, I joined him. We double checked his funds, sorted through the Chance and Community Chest cards, and looked under the bank’s money slots and the game board itself. I began to wonder if Noah thought that I was the one who had misplaced his money. In fact, considering his panic, perhaps he would be desperate enough to frisk me.
Before either one of us had the presence of mind to tally up the total number of $500 bills to see if one of them was missing, Noah began to laugh. He said that he was just teasing me. He was very much aware that he never had more than one $500 bill. But it would be so much fun to try to fool Papa. And I admitted that I was beginning to consider refunding him the misplaced money. He sure bamboozled me.
Suspecting that I am an easy mark, my grandkids sometimes elaborately try to kid me. And they usually succeed. Whether I am just indulgent or just easily gulled, I always enjoy their antics.