By Christina VanGinkel
It happened just yesterday. My daughter came to pick up my grandson after he had spent the night by us, and he threw a tantrum like no other he had ever thrown before. He told her he was not going home. He told her he was home. He is all of 25 months old, to the day! As he was throwing his tantrum, I felt a bit sorry for her. I was also very proud of her. She handled it better than I ever could have. She told him, very calmly that yes, this was his home. So was the one he lived in with her and Daddy. She did not bargain with him, she also did not tell him he was being sassy for saying what he was. She allowed him to vent his frustration (and boy did he vent!), and then she held firm and told him it was time to go.
My daughter and her husband travel a lot for work, so when they are home, as they have been for three weeks now, we try to have our grandson over as much as possible. He has spent several nights by us in the past few weeks, and we have tried to take the time to spend his hours with us playing, reading, and snuggling. He has also gained a new appreciation for his 'uncle' who is all of twelve years old. They can just sit outside casting a fishing pole, and the nearly eleven-year difference between them melts away. Our grandson is 'extremely' verbal for a two year old, with a vocabulary much larger than I ever recall my own children having, and my son has a captive audience in his nephew who thinks he is the best thing in the world. Who would not love an audience that cheers loudly when riding your bike, you pop a wheelie, or who giggles uncontrollably when you take your remote control truck, and drive it off the couch?
In retrospect, our grandson most likely considers our house to be more along the lines of a big fun zone, than he does his home. It was just his way to tell his mother that he liked it here. Thankfully, he did not continue his tantrum for too long. She put him in his car seat, where he asked me if Nana would come home with him. It nearly broke my heart to tell him that I could not, that I had to stay home and make dinner for Papa and Uncle, so they had the energy to go to football practice (and yes, that is exactly what I told him, in words that his two-year-old mind could grasp!). He continued to cry for some time in his car seat on the way home, until he fell asleep. Once home and awake, my daughter said all was better. He told his Daddy what a fun time he had, and that he was going back to play with Nana, Papa, and Uncle. With them heading off to work again late this weekend, we hope to keep him one more night before they take off, most likely Friday night, so he can come with and watch his Uncle play his first football game on Saturday morning. I hope then, that I can get him to fall asleep 'before' we have to drop him off. Being a grandparent is hard, and I would trade it for anything in this world!