Letter to my grandson (xxxii)

My last post to you contained a rather long version of a story that I have told you. I think it tells better than it reads. However, I wanted to record because it’s one of the first stories the I have told you that is not from the traditional canon of stories, Goldilocks and the three Bears et cetera.  There are a couple of others I should probably record involving Winton Diggerman which I have told you while you’re in the bath.


Bath time is a particularly happy time that we share together. For me, because I love watching you, engrossed and preoccupied with your toys, pouring water from one container to another, playing with the water filled balloons that Nana has given you or playing with the large plastic pipe which serves variously as a wheel, a didgeridoo or a waterslide for your animals.

I also sing you songs and nursery rhymes and sometimes tell you stories. While I’m doing this you often appear preoccupied with what you’re doing and I sometimes wonder whether you’re listening or not. But then, every now and then, you will join in a nursery rhyme, respond to a question I’m asking or begin to mime some part of the story and I realise you’ve been following all along.

We had a little contretemps a couple of nights ago. You had a large glass of water which you were pouring over the edge of the bath and onto the floor. I said, “No, don’t do that Winton, it is making a mess on the floor.”

I was pretty certain what was going to happen next and it did.  You always like to check and see if I’m serious when I tell you not to do something. You got another glassful and poured it on the floor and turned around and looked at me as if to say, “So, what are you going to do now.”

I stood up and took the glass away from you and said frowning, ” That’s naughty. Papa asked you not to do that so I’m going to take the glass away from you.” Which I did and looked at you with my most disapproving stare. You were quite mortified. It’s pretty rare for Papa to growl. I put the glass out of reach and  said, “Now, you say sorry to Papa.”

You looked down, crestfallen.

“Sorry, Papa.”

“Okay,” I said, “forgiveness kiss.”  I leant over the bath and you came scooting across and lifted your face up for us to give each other a kiss. I’m not certain if you understood who was forgiving who but there was no more water poured on the floor that night and we have remained friends.

You’re great kid to have around and I particularly enjoyed the times when you and I have the house to ourselves.

This week, your mum brought you round while she took the dogs for a walk. After we had put out a number of fires and rescued babies from burning buildings. You are developing into quite a formidable firefighter.

After this, we went upstairs to play. It’s a little ritual that we have, unloading the contents of the cupboards and playing with what is stored there.

On this particular day, you had been playing with some motorcars and blocks when you came over to me and stretched out both your hands which appeared to be holding something that you wanted to give to me. I opened my hands and mimed putting something into my hands.

Then you ran off into the bathroom and walked into the shower. I followed you and said, “I would like some tomatoes today, please.”

“Tomatoes,” you said and you looked around the shower, located the tomatoes on a shelf somewhere, reached up and brought me two handfuls of tomatoes, which I took.

“Now, I would like some blueberries please.” You looked around the shower to find blueberries and brought me two handfuls. We worked our way through the grocery list with you locating each item in a different place in the shower, until I asked for some mangoes.

You went into the shower and looked around for the mangoes and said, “No mangoes today.”

“Okay,” I said, “I’ll have a loaf of bread please.”

You looked around the shop and said “Got bread.” You carried a loaf out and gave it me.

“Thank you,” I said, “that’s all for today thank you.” I carried my groceries through to the bedroom, you followed me, and I put them all down on the floor.

“Now,” I said, “do you think it’s time for the animal friends to have their lunch.”


“Yes,” you said nodding enthusiastically.

“I think we should give Mrs Rabbits some carrots.” You look around on the floor and selected one of your red blocks, picked it up and looked at me.

“I think Mrs Rabbit will love those carrots.” You trotted through to the bedroom and fed the carrots to Mrs Rabbitt.

For the next 15 minutes, we selected various items of lunch for the animals. On your suggestion, Monkey had blueberries (a small bulldozer),  Hippo had apples (a toy car), Bear had brown bread and honey (a number of blocks) and when you were a bit stumped on the Lion, I suggested a sausage and you picked a small car and took it through to the Lion.

You are particularly attentive to the Dragon and decided that the Dragon would like honey for lunch.

After you had fed all the animals I asked if you wanted some lunch now. You nodded

You have a very special way of nodding which says, “That is a very good idea papa. I agree completely.”

And trotted off to the stairs where you slid down counting, “11, 12, 14, 17, 18, 3, 4, 5,” on your way down.

I love creating stories for you particularly because you’re so good at joining in, in a way that shows you completely understand what is happening. I suppose I should not be surprised because you have been telling your own stories almost since the time you first began to talk.

You would sit playing with toys and making up a story that went with what you were doing. It was a time when you had your own special language that nobody else really shared but I’m sure you were creating a coherent narrative. Now you are beginning to develop a language that we all have in common and we are able to share the narratives as we did with the feeding of the animals.

I went into the city to do some work last week and you Nana came to meet me when I got off the tram. As we approached 170 on the way home, you said “Nana, Papa’s house. Let’s go in.”

Nana said, “This is Winton’s house too.”

You trotted across the road holding your Nana’s hand and walked through the open front door.

“Our house,” you said as you walked in.





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