I wondered where that sound came from as I wheeled the stroller out of the playground on York Beach, Maine. The playground is above soft white sand that is incredibly clean.
Since I had to roll the stroller over the sand I pulled it down and decided to roll it on the front wheels. The next sound I heard was a blood-curdling screech coming from the direction of my wife. I still had no clue as to where the ‘Eeeee’ came from. I also noticed the stroller seemed a bit lighter.
Watching my wife run toward me I noticed this slight bump of sand between the lines made by the wheels of the stroller. My wife then scooped up this lump of sand and held it close. I immediately knew the lump of sand had a name and it was my grandson Jack. I later found out as I tipped the stroller gravity took its toll and off slid poor Jack. He was not hurt because he landed in the sand.
I took Jack from my wife’s arms hoping that he will not only remember me from this time of dropping him off a cliff and apologized to him. I actually started to giggle because all I could see was a face full of sand and two wide opened eyes.
It’s a miracle children survive their grandparents especially during this time of high tech equipment that I only thought would be found at NASA. Car seats are another technology I have yet to figure out. First of all when my wife and I had a child a car seat was defined by a seat belt. This was if we ever owned a car that had a seat belt and if it did it was tucked deep inside the seats of the car. Today, children have to be tied into a large plastic capsule strapped to the frame and roof of the car. This is all well and good because the safety of children should be exaggerated. Getting my granddaughter into her seat was comparatively easy. Getting her out took an advanced physics degree.
Once I bought my granddaughter a new car seat so she could be more comfortable. I installed the seat according to instructions that had to be six pages long per each language that ranged from English to Japanese. By the way, English was not the first language used. We drove down to the mall and too the exit from the highway. All of a sudden my granddaughter told me I took the corner a bit too fast. I looked back in my rear view mirror and discovered I could not see my granddaughter.
She, and the car seat, was lying on its side. She wasn’t crying just curious as to why she was lying on her side. I drove immediately to the store where I bought the seat hoping for a new seat to replace the obviously defected seat that was now lying on its side with my granddaughter still attached. A few minutes later the manager walked out to my car, showed me the seat was not installed correctly and sent us on our way. I think he feared for the safety of my granddaughter.
“Pac n Plays”, were developed by the devil. When you buy the contraption that is advertised to make traveling with your children easy and safe. It comes in a neat canvas tube. Opening up a Pac n play for the first time one discovered it had more parts than could be stored in a medium sized room. The main part of the Pac n Play was supposed to unfold to produce a small crib that could safely have any child sleep or play during any vacation or sleepover trip.
Originally this worked well. My grandson actually liked it. But, then it was time to fold it up and put it away. This proved to be an impossible task because the ‘thing from hell’ would not fold up. No matter what button I pushed or what safety device I disconnected the rectangular box would not fold up. Needless to say I gave up and just stored it away in its partially folded condition.This would not have been a problem except for the fact I had to build it again during my daughter’s next visit.
The thing would not allow me to have it once again become a crib. One side would lock while the other side would fall down. Once I finally had all four sides locked but the floor of the crib decided it wanted to become a pyramid. Two hours passed with my wife hoping I wouldn’t throw the thing out the window when at the last possible second I lifted it up over my head and threw it to the floor. The Pac n Play assembled it self. It is now stored in an unused closet to be never unfolded again.
There are many other products that drive second level parents insane. High chairs that are really low chairs attached to tables one prays were built well. Baby foods that are locked within plastic containers that need the old style beer can church keys to open up. Toys that need at least a week’s salary to supply the batteries to have it last over one night and baby clothes that seemingly are one piece without any buttons, zippers, or clasps that has one pray the baby will find its way inside them.
Being a grandparent is one of the best things that every happened to me. I smile more than I have ever smiled before. My grandkids are visiting today and I am now wondering where that, ‘Eeeee’ came from.
Jim Fabiano is a teacher and writer living in York, Maine
He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org