Letter to my grandson (xxvii)

Your mum dropped you off on Wednesday while she walked the dogs and she left with the normal maternal admonition of “Be a good boy for Papa.” When she returned her first question was, “Have you been a good boy for Papa?”

Being your 24-hour a day carer, she sees you in all your moods so is naturally concerned that Nana and Papa should not be exposed to the worst of them.

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My response is always, “Of course, he has been.” But I shouldn’t really say that. What I should say is, “Yes and he’s been fun.”

So here’s how your hour-long stay went.

You arrived at the front gate and I opened the door. You weren’t happy so I closed the door and we started again. You got out of your pusher, climbed the stairs and knocked on the door.

“I can hear a boy,” I said, as I opened the door. And there you stood, grinning your head off and holding your arms out to be picked up.

A quick cuddle and you’re off down the hallway, “Nana, Nana, Nana.”  We normally play hide and seek looking for Nana but Nana was at work today.

The living room is set up with some paper, dinosaur stamps and crayons, a mobile crane and trailer and some building blocks. It’s an old school teacher thing, having the room prepared.

We start off with the dinosaur stamps and a big sheet of paper. You take the orange one and give me the purple one. We do stamping and I sing the dinosaur stamping song. After a while, you put the first sheet of paper aside and we start on a second one. You get the pussycat and dog stamps out and give me the dog stamp. You take the pussycat stamp.

Suddenly you’re off to the crane and its trailer. The crane is on the back of wooden truck which has a trailer with six  magnetised wooden shapes, two squares, two triangles and two circles.


You spend some time picking the shapes up with the magnetised crane and putting them back in their respective slots. Then you tow them off around the kitchen. You stop when you get to me and I put in an order.

“I would like a square blue one please.” You hand me a square blue one. “Now I would like a round yellow one, please.” You hand me a round yellow one. We work our way through the trailer until it is empty and then I give them all back to you and you re-stack them in the trailer and then you are off around the kitchen again stopping to unload them and give them to me on the way.

Then you’re off again.  You find your train made out of toilet paper rolls that you and Nana made some months ago.


It’s an old favourite and has proved remarkably durable. You put it on the toy box and take the blocks out and build a beautiful railway station for the train to stop at. It’s interesting watching you build, you use all the blocks in the tin. It’s like when you tidy things up, you always pick everything up and put them back away in the box.

I ask you you if would like to go for a ride in your railway train. It’s the basket where we store the used newspapers. You go around and unload the newspapers from the basket and I take it out from under the sideboard. We both go off to look for the blanket goes underneath it to stop it scratching the floor.

You remember it is in the cupboard draw in our bedroom and we set the train up. You in the basket, the blanket under the basket and me pulling the blanket. I tow the basket down the hallways singing, “Clickity clack, Clickity clack, Clickity clack along the track.”


We do a couple of laps of the hallway and you decide it’s time that the teddy bears should come for a ride as well and they join you in the basket. And then on a return trip to the living room, you dive into the toy cupboard and haul out a box of toy cars which you tip into the train.  Then we are off to the railway station in the study. When we stop there, you unload all the toys, one by one, and hand them to me.  Once they are unloaded, we load  them back on the train and set off for the station in the living room.

Then you decide to time to swap the train for your bike and we repeat the process.


On the return trip to the study, you jump off the train and begin two ferret around in the bag on the back of your pusher. You discover a couple of uneaten Weetbix biscuits.

You’re off like a shot to the kitchen. I find you climbed halfway up your stool at the breakfast bar with the Weetbix biscuits on the bench in front of you, ready to be fed.


When your mum returns,  you are enjoying Weet-Bix biscuits and milk.

“Have you been a good boy for Papa?”




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