For the last two months, our nowhere-near-identical twin grandchildren – 3-year-old boys – all boys – along with their mother have been our houseguests while their dad tended to his job in Cleveland and a new house under construction.
All good and stressful things really do come to an end.
This week, the boys – Ben and Brendan – and their parents moved into their new house, big enough to accommodate the family now and hopefully some growth later.
As the taillights grew dim in the distance, it was clear that Dover, or at least the Farrell household, will never be the same.
What I learned:
–Even perfect toddlers – like our boys – have periodic meltdowns for no apparent reason. It’s kind of like the explanation so many people use to explain why oil companies raise the price of gasoline: Because they can. Once you realize that you will never understand and accept these meltdowns, it is much easier to slip into another room while their mother deals with them.
–There is nothing better in the morning than to be greeted by your grandchildren, who say something profound upon seeing you such as, “Hi Papa.” That’s what they call me – Papa. I like that.
–There is nothing better in the evening than a willing goodnight kiss from both of the boys, who have totally underscored the definition of unconditional love without realizing it.
–No matter how hard you try, you can’t make a person into someone he’s not. Our boys are as different as anyone. They eat, sleep and play differently. They are their own persons. I like that. It makes the future unpredictable. What will they be?
–You probably have never heard of the “Fresh Beat Band,” “Team Umizoomi” and “Bubble Guppies.” I have. (Brendan actually was able to high-five bandmember Shout at the group’s concert in Akron. How cool is that?)
–The best movies ever made were “Toy Story” and “Cars” – at least they would be if the rating system were based on the number of times I’ve had to watch them over the last two months.
Some things I’ve taught them:
–Always wave at passing watercraft when you’re on Papa’s aging pontoon boat. This is very important, and it shows people how nice you are. It also buys good will and potential assistance if Papa’s boat dies in the water.
–When the boys encounter their favorite comfort food, like a hot, soft pretzel, they will proclaim “Outstanding!” Hey, it gets a laugh.
–The boys now can sing the refrain (“I fill you up … let’s have a party”) from Toby Keith’s “Red Solo Cup.” I wanted to teach them some other songs, but their mother put a stop to it. Yes, they can also sing the “Alphabet Song” and “Old McDonald.” Big deal.
–They can identify Toyota and Honda logos. I’m working on Ford now. I’m not sure why I’ve spent so much time on this exercise, but I have.
Of course I want to teach them a lot of other things, but they need to get a little older. They are far too young to trust with a real golf club or baseball bat. For some reason they like to throw all sorts of things that are not meant to be thrown, and I could see Papa getting injured very easily. I’ll bring out the big-boy equipment when the time is right.
One other thing I’ve learned is that stay-at-home moms have a much harder job than go-to-the-office dads. I will have a long talk with my son-in-law about this fact. (Just kidding, Kate.) Given my daughter’s patience, love and devotion to her boys, I am buoyed by the fact that her parents did something right back when she was a toddler.
Our house is oddly quiet again now that the boys and their parents have moved into their new house. Perhaps a little nap is in order.
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