Comfort Baulks

We say, if he doesn't put his toys away, does that mean he no longer cares for them? They could be gathered up easily in a bin bag, bundled to a charity shop?
I’ll get new ones at Christmas, says Grandchild 1.
Okay then.
(But maybe he remembers that time at the Eden Project when Granma took his ice cream away?)
He tidies some stuff, it makes his arms slow and heavy.

Somewhere on tv are his parents, dots in a damp field, best-friend dots drinking cider up and watching bands, holding hands, eating good food, good simple important stuff. We look for the blue tent. There are a lot of blue tents.

Grandchild 4 has a bump, holds his hands up for Grandad.
Gets cuddles. Comfort.

We go to run in the park, the one that is just grass.
It will be boring, Grandchild 1 huffs.
They have races. He is the fastest.
Look at this tree he says, it’s tiny, but it’s a tree!
He finds a dock leaf for his nettle sting.
The nettles are taller than him. He looks up, sees the sky, the wisp-clouds, birds on wing.
Gets reprimanded for wildly swinging a poo-bag.

Grandchild 3 makes a run out of the park. Granma catches up. Grandchild 3 holds up her arms.
Gets cuddles. Comfort.

Grandchild 1 say he didn’t push her, in fact she scratched him.
But Grandchild 2 refutes, holds up her arms, gets cuddles. Comfort.

I’ve gone up a reading band, says Grandchild 1.
Good work, we say. Let’s read some books.
But yes, you will be required to eat some vegetables.
And not boss your brother so much.
He’s my brother, he says, so he belongs to me.
Not quite, we say; he is growing up, is his own person, just like you are. And your cousins too.
But I’m the oldest, he says.
Yes, but the others are eating their vegetables and will get bigger and faster than you.
He eats some vegetables, they make his arms slow and heavy.

Grandchildren 1&2 do quiet colouring. They can stay in the lines. Because they are five and four years old, not babies. Five is old, at five you are all ready at big school.

Grandchild 4 has his bottle and hits the sleep.
Grandchild 3 is bathed, eased free of debris, full of sun and food and play. She slips into sleep on her father’s lap.

Grandchildren 1&2 are bigger, they can have a later bath time.
The water fight is okay because Granma is laughing and joining in.
They have squirters, she has a jug.
In your face kids!
In your face Granma!

Pyjamas on. Grandchild 2 has her story first from Granma, then Grandad.
Grandchild 1, vice versa. He wants a told story, not a book. The one about the Rude Clown.
Granma tells that one the best, because she wrote that.
You’re telling it different, he notes.
Yes, says Granma, sometimes the words come out different. We should read your school book too, shouldn’t we? We’ll do that together.
Some of the words are difficult.
Good job he is five.

I’ll put your book away now, Granma says, so it doesn’t get lost.
Grandchild 1 makes drama eyes, flops on the bedcovers.
It’s just because you want to leave me, he says.
Granma can’t squash her laugh.
It’s not funny, he says.
No, she agrees; it’s not that, she explains. It’s the idea that I want to leave you, that’s making me smile. Ridiculous.
Her arms circle his shoulders.

All the baulks of the day are tidied away.
Granma sits and writes while the small boy settles.


The Cranky said…
Growing up is a weighty matter; it still makes my arms slow and heavy at times.
Geo. said…
As a grampa, as a lover of poetry and magic, I found this post enchanting.
Jo said…
Delightful pictures.

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