Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Weekend with Grandparents Typically Great

We had a great weekend with Kai’s grandparents in Michigan. It was filled with fun activities and some very special moments.

The day we got there, we went to the wellness center that Bubbe belongs to and used the swimming pools. Kai had a lot of fun going in two different pools as well as the hot tub. My wife and I had been disappointed at how scared Kai still is when he is in the water, this despite having had swimming lessons for about two years. So, it was a nice, little moment on Saturday when we got Kai to swim just a few feet on his own without clinging to me.

The next day, we took advantage of the perfect weather to go to the beach and also to a nearby orchard to pick our own apples and peaches. Kai loves these pick-your-own places and we always end up picking a large quantity of fruit that sometimes is more than we care to consume. This time, however, my intrepid wife found a great gluten-free recipe for apple cobbler and made it shortly after we got home Monday afternoon. It was the best apple cobbler I ever had!

The best moments of the weekend, though, were back at Bubbe and Papa’s house, playing games or just hanging out together.

Kai has always had a nice bond with his grandfather. Even back when Kai was hardly responding to anyone, Papa was always able to get him to laugh with a silly face or a funny noise he would make. These days, he still gets a great reaction out of Kai, but it’s more often the result of a comment, and Kai responds in kind with a remark. Funny thing though, one highlight of the weekend was a non-verbal remark that Kai made to Papa.

Papa is a big University of Michigan football fan so naturally he was watching their opening game on television on Saturday afternoon. Kai is not really into sports but was drawn into the game by the numbers on the screen – such as the yard markers and time clock – and by Papa’s enthusiasm. Still, after about a quarter, he had enough so Bubbe got him crayons and paper. The rest of us were watching the game and weren’t paying attention to what Kai was putting on the paper. When we finally looked, we saw that he had written a note to Papa that said, “No more football. Game over.” We all laughed and Papa turned off the game and spent the rest of the afternoon playing games with Kai instead.

Kai is now at the age where we can play games with him that are fun for the grownups, too. We had a blast playing so many different games that were challenging, while also had all of us laughing so much.

One of the things that I like best about our visits is that Bubbe is always so enthusiastic about seeing us, and especially about seeing Kai, of course. She is always effusive in greeting him, and has all of his favorite foods ready. In the past, when Kai did not speak much or show much reaction to people, I wondered whether he knew how much Bubbe cared for him. So, it was another nice moment when, while Kai was talking about how much he enjoyed our visit, he said, “Bubbe loves me.”

I know that Bubbe does love Kai very much, and always has. But, I have to think that before, when he did not react much to her, that it was at least a little discouraging for her. Now, though, I see both Bubbe and Papa getting huge kicks out of seeing Kai react so enthusiastically to their love and affection.

At one time, I wasn’t sure that Kai would be able to generate such utter joy through his interactions with others, or be cognizant of the affection he is getting. But, now, I know he is to both. That is what relationships between grandparents and grandchildren are supposed to be like. Parents of most typical kids can probably take that for granted. But, it warms my heart to know that my son is getting to experience that, too.

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