Sour patch hit in baby-sitting

Although I have no doubt I make for a fun Granny, I’m not so sure my grandson is convinced of that just yet.
In fact, if he could provide a brief verbal synopsis of our last visit together, he would say it all with one word—“Waahh!”
It was one of the longest days of my graying hair life on Saturday trying to find ways to console the small fry during a five-hour, 45-minute, and 10-second stint away from his mother, who needed a little break.
I had all the goods a grandma could ask for at my disposal, including his own mother’s milk in a bottle, but that—and anything else I could think of—did little to sway his cranky pants.
I know. They call it “making strange.” But I honestly didn’t want to be the one to invoke such reaction and wide-eyed horror in the child when he realized his mother was nowhere to be found.
Perhaps if I had be born with elastic arms like “Mrs. Incredible,” I could have headed the grumpies off at the pass during the incredibly long 25-minute drive from his home to mine that day.
With one arm on the wheel and the other stretched into the back seat holding a rattle in front of his face, perhaps I could have kept him focused on something familiar.
Instead, he figured out the impending scenario in a New York minute, followed swiftly by a crying jag. And it didn’t help any when I pulled over on a side road, got in the back seat, and tried to soothe the tiny soul.
He took one look at me, saw a reflection of someone who was not his mother, and made a further attempt to break the sound barrier.
I thought maybe I had a chance at “Pleasantville” when, as I was carrying the car seat up the sidewalk to the house, all went quiet under the blanket. But no sooner did I put him down in the living room and lift the cover did he do a sweep of the room and realize his mother was nowhere to be found.
And with Daughter #3 hovering and two dogs wagging their tails at the prospect of a new toy, he quickly and vociferously let us all know he was not pleased.
The dogs took note of the intonation and made a beeline for under my bed while Daughter #3 disappeared about as quickly as she does when I ask her to do the dishes.
Over the course of the next four hours and 18 minutes, I called on every known remedy from my past experience with small children making strange. I even called out to my ancestral matriarchs for their pioneer cures.
I wore the rockers off my rocking chair, my arms out of their sockets, and over-exercised my face trying to keep a perpetual smile. By the way, it is no less effort to smile than to frown. All 53 of my facial muscles told me so.
And for every 15 minutes of consoling, I’d get five minutes of peace, a sliver of a smile, and a period of quiet reflection from the small fry—until he looked around the room again, eyes wide like saucers, and realized his mother was nowhere to be found.
The bottom lip came out, quivered, and fell open to a tale of woe as he once again found himself in “The Twilight Zone.”
Thank heaven for his mother’s breast milk in a bottle and the need for a baby to sleep. I wrapped the little squeaker in a blanket, poked the bottle in, rocked the legs off my rocker, and bam! He was out like a light.
I put him down to sleep in a cordoned-off safety area free of cats, dogs, and fluffy pillows and held my breath.
I tore down the hall to the media room, quietly shut the door, and then jogged around the coffee table—my arms raised above my head like Rocky Balboa—as I belted out the muffled bellow of success.
I’d just captured the million-to-one shot at getting the little critter to nod off. It lasted about 15 minutes.
Later, when I pulled into the driveway of his parents’ home accompanied by Daughter #3, who was duct-taped in the back seat as entertainment, I was infused and refreshed as I passed my grandson back into the waiting arms of his mother.
I planted a big wine-coloured kiss on his forehead, told him I loved him, and nearly broke my ankle as I flew down the stairs and skidded to the door of my truck—free at last.
Next time, I’ll call on larger-than-life “Grandpa Pete,” who no doubt will have great stories to tell his grandson about starting his new job.

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