My daughter-in-law is currently recovering from a knee operation, and asked me if I wouldn’t mind taking her 3 year old son to his swimming lesson and then perhaps staying on in the pool with him afterwards. My little grandson Billy has no fear of water and I initially baulked a bit at the responsibility, but agreed so that he wouldn’t miss out on his lesson.
After his half hour lesson the teacher handed him over to me. Right away he was off on his toes straight for the play pool where there were slides to splash down and a pirate ship to climb on. Nanny grabbed hold of his hand to stop him running on the wet slippery tiles. He pulled me along like a uncontrolled dog does that hasn’t learned to walk to heel.
I let go of his hand as I climbed into the pool, certain that he’d wait until I was in before he jumped. No way! He’d already jumped in by the time I’d turned around to catch him. Up he came, spluttering and giggling, full of the joys of life and the excitement of the moment. Then he was off running up the slide the wrong way, with Nanny grabbing his hand ready for the inevitable downfall. Yep, he slipped, but he didn’t really care.
Up and down the slides he went, and then he clambered over the pirate ship. He pointed towards the adult flumes with a hopeful expression, but Nanny soon put a stop to that.
Mummy smiled at us through the glass window of the café, as she peacefully sipped on a hot chocolate. Nanny gave her a wave and then turned back to her little tornado, who grabbed her hand and led her towards one of the smaller slides.
“Come on, Nanny!”
I wondered if my back could take the pace.
“You want me to go down there?”
There was an affirmative nod. There was nothing for it but to hold Billy’s hand and slide down into the splash pool. He looked up at me and giggled as we landed. His chuckle was infectious, and suddenly we were both sitting in the water and laughing. He gave me a cuddle, and I must admit it was rather a joyous moment in my day. I suddenly remembered what Arletta had said to her son in the film ‘Cool Hand Luke’:
“Sometimes you just have a feeling for a child…”
Yes, sometimes it’s delightful to be a grandparent. However, on the way home the little bugger managed to wind down the car’s window and also lock the back door from the inside whilst still strapped into his seat. I was rather relieved to be able to hand back a live and wriggling child to his mother at the end of the afternoon!