I usually fix pancakes when my grandchildren visit us. Pancakes with chocolate chips, pancakes with food coloring, pancakes with honey and not syrup, you name it and I am here to please with the various request that come from a 4 year old.
This particular day was not just an ordinary day, however. For today, “CarCar” was turning five! Five, the magical number that makes us all realize that babies are growing up and are no longer a toddler.
I decided to switch things up and offer donuts instead. My daughter in LA would raise an eyebrow at the unhealthy choice, but one day won’t hurt, will it?
We live in a neighborhood with a store a few blocks away so the first thing on the agenda was to take advantage of the beautiful day and head off to store with them, on foot. Now “CarCar” is 4 and his little sister is 2 1/2. When Grandpa and I have them over, we are always on the go, going here and there. Buckling and unbuckling them, in and out of the car on our way to this and that. Today was special though, so we had to do something different and that was to, explore by walking. Novel idea, huh?
Off we went with the excitement of not only donuts, but I used it as a teaching adventure. When you are not in the car going somewhere, you can actually stop and smell the roses, literally. We got to the store and scouted out the donut case, and wouldn’t you know there was only one donut in there! But it was a big donut with colorful sprinkles on it and it was waiting for Birthday Boy. “CoCo”, being 2, didn’t realize there wasn’t one for her and was happy with a fruit pie.
Mission accomplished. Now to go to the nearby convenience store and get something to drink. We got to the counter with our choices and “CarCar” decided he just had to have a fidget spinner that was by the cash register. I’d heard or read that the small bearings on these spinners could come off and a couple of children had swallowed them. So this grandma made the unpopular decision of no. “CarCar” thought he needed one in the worst way and started crying. In the split second of how I was going to handle this one, the clerk solved the problem with a couple of quarters and said ‘here, there’s a gumball machine around the corner and it works for my kids all the time. It worked! Soon the fidget spinner was history and we were now concentrated on seeing if CarCar’s favorite color was going to
come down the spiral slide inside the machine.
Being raised on a ranch, and now a city gal, I miss the days as a child when I would head out onto our 500 acres and explore. I collected polliwogs and watched daily how their tails would slowly disappear and legs would replace it. Us kids would explore a couple of vacant houses on our ranch and I’ll never forget the time we crept down the stairs to the basement of one of those old houses. We lifted up a straw hat on the floor, only to find a rattlesnake coiled up underneath it.
Life on the ranch started early at 6:30 with my dad flicking on my bedroom light and announcing every single morning with “It is morning!” Even in the summertime we rose early, and especially in the summer, because there was extra work to be done.
How I would love for my grandkids to have the joy of stepping into a fresh cowpie with their rubber boots like my sister and I did when we would gather the milk cows in the evening. Or be walking in the alfalfa field, moving the cattle from one end of the ranch to the other and getting startled by a pheasant taking flight just as you almost stepped on him.
The endless hayrides and siphon tube setting. Yelling at the top of our lungs towards a set of hills so that we could hear our echo. The sound of crop dusters in the night sky, and looking out the window to see my dad cranking up his Allis Chalmers tractor to get it started for the day.
Although the city doesn’t have all the exploring that a ranch offers, I did manage to take my grandkids to a good old- fashioned cattle auction and they loved it. Especially when a feisty cow would charge the cattlemen standing behind the safety fences in the arena.
But today was our city adventure and we were whiling away the morning and taking in everything like murals on the side of buildings, learning to cross streets and holding hands and noticing things you just don’t see as you whiz by them in a car. The kids stood under the big pines by the college instead of viewing them from a car window.
But the best part of this 2 hour adventure was ending up at a park and having Grandpa meet us there during his lunch hour. The walk was fun and memorable, but we were all happy to jump in the car and drive to lunch with him.