Now, for the first time on TheBuddyBlog.com is an updated version of one of my most popular Reflections, Grandfather Therapy. Since first published, the number of my grandchildren has doubled. So have the therapy sessions. So have the lessons learned.
I have concluded that grandchildren, or at the very least, the nine who call me Poppy, are born with a Ph.D. in Grandfather Therapy. No classes are necessary, no degrees are earned, this doctorate of delight is simply a gift from God. Completely unaware of the power they possess, these grands crawl, waddle and otherwise ramble through their early years freely dispensing the cure for the moody blues, the antidote for busyness and a remedy for taking life too seriously.
If you are a grandparent, you are already shaking your head in agreement. For those of you yet to attain such a lofty status, pray that you may one day become a patient in need of such therapy.
For whatever ailments this Grandfather may have had, these bright-eyed therapy specialists have tag-teamed to keep their Grandfather, aka Poppy, in a state of primogenitor bliss. One of the simple joys in life is the laughter prompted by the unadorned, sometimes brutally honest, truth of these toddler therapists and pediatric philosophers. This boatload of grandchildren, all under the age of seven, is a virtual fountain of giggles, wiggles, and mirth. The French may call it the joie de vivre. I call it Grandfather Therapy.
Surely, those of you with small children or grandchildren already have a treasure trove of similar memories to brighten your day. For those of you who do not have such therapy readily available, allow me to offer you, at no cost, a sample of the auditory medicinal banter that has been some of the best cure-alls I have ever received during my treatment sessions.
“Poppy, do leopards leap?”
“When it’s my birthday can I pick what to watch on tv?”
“After my brother goes to potty, can I go see?”
“We stayed up so long it even got dark.” The next morning the same grandson blurted, “I slept so hard the sun came up!”
“Look, a long daddy legs!”
“Wow, a million two hundred thousand stars. Just kidding. There are a ton of stars!”
When my daughter was expecting what would be her third son, her oldest, who was three at the time, came up to her and demanded,
“Mom, I want another brother!”
“Well, wouldn’t you like a baby sister like your cousin Maryn?”
“No, baby Maryn was enough!”
One of my daughters had an 80-pound boxer named Bruno. This lovable dog, unfortunately, died when her oldest son was four. A few months later, her son said, “I don’t think Bruno is in heaven anymore.” When asked why he thought Bruno was no longer in heaven, he replied, “Cause he’s really FAST!”
“Why don’t Aunt Mary and Uncle Andrew have any kids?”
“I am still Smith’s birthday brother, and when it’s my birthday, Smith will be my birthday brother.”
“I had no idea pets had that kind of life.”
One six-year-old grandson, trying to understand how days are numbered, asked, “If there is a February 5th, 6th, and 7th, why isn’t there a February oneth?”
This same six-year-old grandson, upon gazing over his Poppy’s library, rejoiced when he saw a book about George Washington, proclaiming, as if this was something only he knew, “George Washington was our first President.” Proudly stating that he knew the names of all the Presidents, he quickly spotted other Presidential biographies. “Poppy, I see a book about Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, Coolidge and John Adams.” It was at this point that I began to wonder who is this little historian and what has he done with my SIX-year-old grandson. I was left speechless when he turned to me and asked, “Poppy, do you have a book about Martin Van Buren? Do you know he was the first president to be born an American?”
As my 3 1/2-year-old grandson overheard his mom talk about her upcoming birthday plans, he offered his own suggestion:
Grandson: “Mom, I have the best idea for your birthday party!”
Mom: “Oh yeah, what’s that?”
Grandson: “It involves FARTS”
Mom: “Ummm, ok. What is it?”
Grandson: “A whoopee cushion party! Everyone can fart together!”
This same 3 1/2-year-old grandson recently resisted going to bed by giving excuse after excuse. Frustrated, his mother finally told him in no uncertain terms, “It is time to go to bed, and there will be no more negotiating.” Still not giving up, he looked up at his mom and offered, “If I tell you that you are beautiful, can I stay up five more minutes? His mom hesitated just long enough for her son to add, “It worked before…” Apparently, it worked again, but this time he only got an extra three minutes, or as long as it took his mother to stop laughing.
One grandson is the oldest of three brothers. When he was five, he asked his mother, “Mom, how come you are the only one in the family that doesn’t have a tallywacker?”
One grandson upon receiving an incredible but unexpected Christmas gift, squealed in delight, “I KNEW I needed this!”
After I gave one grandson a gift, he responded with a heartfelt “Thank you Poppy.” He stared at me for a moment and then offered a very serious admonishment. “Poppy, when I say ‘Thank You,’ you are supposed to say, ‘You’re welcome!’”
I have shared this in an earlier post, but it bears repeating. Waiting to pick up her five-year-old son at Pre-K, my daughter noticed his teacher walking him towards the car. Wondering what her little boy had done now, she was relieved to hear that the teacher just wanted to share what had happened that morning. It seems that other boys in class had used some inappropriate words and the Pre-K teachers decided to nip it in the bud and lectured the entire class of five-year-olds that there would not be any more “Potty Talk” in class. Two hours later, my grandson reluctantly approached his teacher and said, “Teacher, I know we aren’t supposed to speak any more potty talk, but I REALLY need to go to the potty.”
And finally, my favorite grand quote occurred as my 3 1/2-year-old grandson said his bedtime prayers, “Dear God, thank you for giving me such a happy Poppy. I’m glad that he’s happy & I love him very much. I’m a very lucky boy. Amen“
For reasons that should be obvious, this grandfather takes full advantage of the unending therapy opportunities (aka babysitting) provided by this group of up and coming Therapists. There is no cost to these sessions other than the occasional diaper change, tickle-fest or game of hide and seek. Are these sessions helpful? Scripture reminds us that “A cheerful heart is good medicine…” (Proverbs 17:22) That must be why I think the more time I spend (in therapy) with my grands, the longer I will live.
In fact, my life expectancy did increase just this past week. As my family gathered to celebrate my birthday, my 3 1/2-year-old grandson, came up to me and whispered, “Poppy, I have a song for you.” Seeing his impish grin should have alerted me to what was coming. He proceeded to bellow out his own version of Happy Birthday. “Happy Birthday to you, you are a hundred and two, you smell like a Poppy and look like one too.”
Yes, I feel younger already.
So, while these rug rats may be unaware of their soul-mending powers, for now, I must take full advantage of their skills for in only a flash they will be brain-dead know-it-all teenagers. The irony being, that at an earlier age, they once possessed a Ph.D…in Grandfather Therapy.