Who is this small hellion kicking me in the chest for the crime of trying to put her shoes on so we can walk to the park?
What happened to that good-natured sprite who, mere weeks earlier, thought that the park sounded like a delightful prospect and was happy to get ready to go?
The time comes in any relationship when the initial infatuation dampens a bit. The beloved’s behavior gets a bit annoying; the sense that you’re in accord on everything begins to erode. You find yourself sparring about things that never used to divide you.
With my granddaughter, Bartola (that’s a pet name, honoring the former Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon), that shift happened — predictably — a few months after she turned 2. As her Thursday day care provider, I was used to her routines and preferences, but not to this prickly behavior.
Me (reasonably): Would you like some blackberries?
Bartola (at a decibel level suggesting violations of the Geneva Conventions): NO! No blackberries! NO BLACKBERRIES!
The sight of a jacket sends her hurtling in the other direction. Diaper changes can become pitched battles. Most of the time I can jolly her out of her opposition or wait out her squawks of protest.
But one day while we were out, Bartola refused to follow the rules her parents had set: Either you hold a grownup’s hand while you’re walking down a crowded city sidewalk, or you ride in the stroller.
This is a safety issue, something you can’t back down from, so after several ignored warnings as she tried to twist away, I had to plop her into her stroller.
Already tall for her age, Bartola is getting stronger. Our struggle became less about plopping and more about wrestling, and it got loud and tearful, a genuine meltdown. I half expected passers-by to report me to the authorities.
I try not to take this stuff personally. Bartola also at times defies her parents, who bought her an earnest board book called “Feet Are Not for Kicking” — part of a series, I’ve learned, that also includes “Teeth Are Not for Biting” and “Hands Are Not for Hitting.”
Her parents have read “Feet Are Not for Kicking” to her roughly 35,000 times. I’ve read it to her, too. She likes the book. It has had no detectable effect.
Spending time each week with a toddler not only tests one’s patience. It also challenges the immune system.
I’m forever coming down with a cold or recovering from one. I used to go a year or longer between viral illnesses; now, they seem to assault me every other month.
It’s not that I’m particularly susceptible, it’s that toddlers are disease vectors. They can get eight to 10 colds a year, more if they’re in day care centers, as Bartola is three days a week.
A doctor friend, Jennifer Brokaw, taught me the perfect word for this attribute when I was, as usual, on the tail end of a cold.
Fomite. It’s a medical term for something that transmits infection, and while it usually refers to an inanimate object like a stethoscope, doctors sometimes jokingly talk about patients that way, too.
So now I no longer refer to Bartola as The Walking Petri Dish. I just call her The Fomite.
Of course, these same trials plagued me, and all grandparents, when our own kids were small. At about the same age, Bartola’s mother also liked to kick at whoever was trying to put her shoes on. I remember being sick a lot, too, when she started pre-K.
In fact, a pediatrician friend maintained that the true purpose of early childhood education was to confer immunity, so that our kids wouldn’t miss every fourth day when they started Real School.
Parents, however, don’t have a choice about dealing with toddlers. They have to get their kids dressed, fed and bathed, even if those routine tasks produce shrieks and sobs. They have to live with their fomites and suffer the health consequences. They’ve signed up for exhaustion.
But most grandparents don’t; our exposure is voluntary. I choose to trek from my New Jersey apartment to Brooklyn every week. I could, instead, claim that for the next few months (when do the Terrible Twos end, anyway?) I’ll be too snowed under by work, too sick or too weary.
I could tell my daughter and son-in-law, “I did this once already.” I could say, “I need a break; see you in April.”
I’m not going to say any of that, of course.
On the day my daughter told me she was pregnant, I responded with a request to claim the name Bubbe (it’s Yiddish for grandmother) and an offer to serve as a weekly day care provider. I remembered the frazzled feelings of those early years, when two young parents can barely make time for anything besides working and baby-ing. My own parents and in-laws couldn’t help much; they all lived hours away.
Now, I’m the only one of Bartola’s grandparents close enough to take on this role, where I don’t just sympathize with her parents’ attempts to help her kick her kicking habit, but join the campaign. I cherish the opportunity, even as I sometimes mutter about the particulars.
Partly, I’m sticking around because even on her more obnoxious days, Bartola and I have lovely times.
She’s a fully verbal little person now, for better and sometimes for worse, so we have extended conversations. We share private jokes and invent songs. She understands make-believe, so we can take out her bucket and shovel and pretend we’re at the beach, making imaginary sand castles and watching invisible sea gulls overhead. That’s worth a fair amount of kicking.
In fact, on some Thursdays, just to keep me off balance, she reverts to her previously cheerful self. Time to put shoes on? Sure, no problem. Psych!
Partly, I’m sticking around because children need consistency from the adults who love them, and because family relationships give adults’ lives meaning, too.
We’ll have future disputes. Inevitably, I’ll infuriate and disappoint Bartola now and then, just as she sometimes grates on me.
And relationships change. More experienced grandparents have talked about the sinking feeling when the kid who used to come racing into their arms gets older and barely glances up from his video game when Grandma and Grandpa arrive.
That has to hurt, especially when grandparents have traveled some distance, but can it justify our staying away? I’m not at that point yet, but I don’t think so.
On a Tuesday last month, my daughter Emma asked Bartola if she knew what day it was. “Bubbe Day!” she yelled.
Well, no. The correct answer was: Daddy’s birthday.
But once a toddler recognizes there’s such a thing as Bubbe Day, even though illness or other obstacles may one day intervene, Bubbe had better keep showing up for her shift.
Commitments are not for breaking.
Paula Span writes the New Old Age column in the Science section of The New York Times.B:
【目】【送】【三】【祖】【远】【去】，【一】【气】【道】【人】【眼】【睛】【逐】【渐】【冷】【冽】。 【原】【本】【属】【于】【自】【己】【地】【仙】【气】【运】，【现】【在】【被】【四】【家】【瓜】【分】，【相】【当】【于】【强】【行】【融】【资】，【瓜】【分】【股】【权】。 【如】【果】【进】【入】【三】【族】【的】【地】【仙】，【造】【下】【大】【罪】【孽】，【他】【这】【位】【老】【师】【也】【有】【责】【任】，【有】【因】【果】【牵】【连】。 【说】【到】【底】，【还】【是】【技】【不】【如】【人】。 【自】【己】【与】【三】【祖】【曾】【经】【为】【道】【友】，【但】【是】【现】【在】【已】【经】【不】【在】【一】【个】【层】【次】【上】。【若】【他】【现】【在】【是】【大】【罗】【金】【仙】，【三】
“【嗯】【咳】，【先】【不】【说】【这】【座】【岛】【的】【名】【字】【有】【些】…【嗯】…【特】【殊】，【为】【什】【么】【选】【择】【这】【座】【岛】【呢】？”【干】【咳】【一】【声】，【布】【兰】【纽】【率】【先】【问】【道】 “【其】【实】【呢】，【这】【座】【岛】【的】【名】【字】【除】【了】【因】【为】【这】【座】【岛】【的】【外】【形】【确】【实】【像】【凤】【梨】【之】【外】，【还】【因】【为】【这】【座】【岛】【上】【盛】【产】【凤】【梨】”【小】【样】，【你】【不】【想】【听】，【老】【娘】【偏】【要】【告】【诉】【你】，【莎】【琳】【傲】【娇】【的】【内】【心】【不】【可】【描】【述】 “【而】【为】【什】【么】【选】【择】【这】【里】，【是】【因】【为】，【这】【里】【一】【开】【始】【曾】【经】马经挂牌系列新图c新图【更】【多】【的】【人】【跑】【了】【过】【来】，【有】【人】【听】【到】【沈】【彤】【的】【话】，【不】【由】【咂】【舌】，【道】：“【是】【咱】【们】【在】【村】【子】【里】【待】【得】【太】【久】【了】【吗】？【怎】【么】【外】【面】【来】【的】【女】【人】【说】【话】【都】【这】【么】【狠】【了】？” “【你】【看】【清】【楚】【了】，【这】【小】【姑】【娘】【就】【是】【那】【女】【人】【带】【来】【的】，【她】【来】【那】【天】【就】【是】【穿】【的】【这】【一】【身】【黑】【色】【夜】【行】【衣】。”【说】【话】【的】【是】【个】【女】【子】，【四】【十】【出】【头】【的】【年】【纪】，【一】【张】【脸】【如】【同】【桔】【皮】【般】【粗】【糙】。 【有】【人】【高】【声】【问】【大】【刀】【疤】：“【出】
【包】【不】【书】【对】【于】【计】【划】【有】【些】【犹】【豫】，【让】【大】【黑】【密】【切】【观】【察】。【有】【人】【要】【质】【疑】【了】，【天】【魔】【难】【道】【不】【能】【跨】【越】【空】【间】，【一】【下】【子】【突】【袭】【过】【去】？ 【可】【以】【啊】！ 【这】【就】【跨】【越】【过】【去】【被】【人】【包】【围】【了】【呢】，【还】【有】【跨】【越】【空】【间】【存】【在】【很】【多】【未】【知】【的】【因】【素】，【而】【天】【魔】【组】【成】【战】【队】，【只】【要】【初】【速】【起】【来】【了】，【后】【续】【就】【不】【管】【了】，【直】【接】【朝】【一】【个】【方】【向】【直】【接】【运】【动】【就】【是】【了】。 【根】【本】【不】【需】【要】【消】【耗】【什】【么】【力】【量】，【没】【有】
【既】【然】【玄】【武】【巨】【龟】【此】【刻】【已】【经】【答】【应】【把】【宝】【藏】【交】【给】【自】【己】，【江】【长】【歌】【便】【决】【定】【不】【再】【难】【为】【它】【了】，【毕】【竟】【自】【己】【已】【经】【掌】【握】【了】【能】【够】【控】【制】【它】【的】【办】【法】，【也】【不】【怕】【它】【出】【尔】【反】【尔】。 【于】【是】【江】【长】【歌】【便】【在】【自】【己】【的】【脑】【海】【之】【中】【对】【着】【水】【龙】【说】【道】“【水】【龙】【前】【辈】，【就】【此】【把】【玄】【武】【巨】【龟】【给】【放】【了】【吧】。” 【江】【长】【歌】【和】【几】【位】【龙】【族】【前】【辈】【解】【释】【了】【一】【下】【自】【己】【心】【中】【所】【想】，【也】【获】【得】【了】【众】【龙】【族】【的】【同】【意】，【随】
【拿】【到】【录】【取】【通】【知】【书】【几】【天】【后】，【李】【瑜】【还】【没】【回】【过】【神】【来】。 “【可】【以】【啊】【昕】【昕】，【没】【想】【到】，【你】【还】【是】【隐】【藏】【的】【学】【神】【啊】！” 【沈】【昕】【抱】【着】【零】【食】【慢】【慢】【吃】【着】：“【你】【这】【话】【每】【天】【都】【重】【复】【好】【几】【遍】，【你】【不】【累】【吗】？” “【但】【我】【好】【奇】【啊】，【你】【是】【怎】【么】【做】【到】【的】？【我】【们】【每】【天】【都】【在】【一】【起】，【就】【没】【见】【过】【你】【看】【过】【一】【本】【书】，【是】【怎】【么】【考】【上】【的】？” “【天】……” “【别】【拿】【天】【赋】【应】【付】