Lynne Mortimer: Talcum powder explosions, snow globes and ballet classes for boys - life as a grandma is never dull

Oops, George was tryign to recreate the snowglobe grandma showed him in Tesco

Oops, George was tryign to recreate the snowglobe grandma showed him in Tesco - Credit: Archant

It was probably my fault. It usually is.

My son, Mark, had the plumber in (something to do with the washing machine) so, in order to give the men enough manly space to do their work, I took little George shopping at Tesco. First we had lunch in the cafe. I guessed by my three-year-old grandson’s reaction to the cold food cabinet that he is fully conversant with concept of the children’s meal deal. He promptly selected a ham sandwich, a packet of Pom Bears (a sort of crisp-type snack), a mini packet of Cadbury’s animal biscuits and a pear and apple fruit drink. I added a sausage to this array.

In my long experience as a school governor, most small children who declare they are vegetarian cease to be so in the presence of sausages.

I didn’t get myself any food, suspecting there would be enough left over for me. Well, there was... except for the chocolate biscuits, which he ate first. I let him eat them straight away because I’m a grandma so I’m allowed. He then by-passed the ham sandwich (I ate that) and went on to the sausage before eating the crisps.

Then we did the shopping. I asked George what mummy and daddy would like for tea. “Pizza,” he said, accurately.


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“Do you like pizza, George?”

“No.” “What would you like to eat. Chicken?”

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“Grapes.”

So I got him chicken.

We then strolled along Christmas aisles (currently available in all supermarkets) and after he had admired the tinsel, I showed him a snowstorm. This is a liquid-filled ornament you shake to create “snowfall”. In this case, it had a reindeer and a Christmas tree inside. George was mildly interested but then, it wasn’t a car. He is more of a car than a snowstorm boy. Or so I thought. We went through the chelfie (self check out) where I tried to explain about bar codes.

Two days later, my son sent a text with an attached photograph. It showed George standing on the mat in the sitting room. Beside him, an empty tub of Johnsons baby powder sat in a deep settling of talc on the coffee table. The floor was under a couple of millimetres. George had white hair and was wearing white jeans and an anxious smile. It was the smile of the three-year-old who is wondering if his decision to empty the talcum powder over everything (except his nine-month-old brother who was looking on with a ‘don’t ask me, I didn’t see anything’ expression) was the right one. It was the look of a young man who has taken a bit of a risk and, though generally pleased with the outcome, wasn’t sure how impressed his daddy would be.

Though his daddy saw the funny side, he gave George a stern talking to.

When I spoke to Mark, I ‘fessed up that I had shown his son a snowstorm and that he had probably been subject to a sudden creative surge that impelled him to try and replicate the scene. I was given a stern talking to.

Life isn’t always easy when you’re three. There are daily disappointments and upsets. Auntie Ruth visited last week and was witness to one event of major unhappiness. George returned home from nursery school and wouldn’t speak. He climbed on to the sofa with his blanket and sat in silence. What had caused this uncharacteristic behaviour?

It seems his best friend, Charlie, was off to ballet class and George wasn’t. This caused a meltdown and George was inconsolable. His mummy has since emailed the ballet class to see if he can join. I’ll keep you updated.

In the meantime, I showed George an excerpt from Swan Lake on YouTube on my iPhone (how current am I?) and explained, as best I could, what was happening. When grandpa rang, George spoke to him. “I’m watching the ballet. The lady is going to turn into swan in a minute.” I let it pass.

Mark went to ballet when he was tiny. He was often the only boy in the class and, therefore, the only one not in pink. He learned to do “good toes, naughty toes”, to skip and gallop and to be unimpressed when surrounded by adoring little girls in pink.

“Do I have to go again, mummy?” he appealed.

He did... but not for long.

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