River Wissey Lovell Fuller

What Does the Doctor Think - March?

March 2013

BABYSITTING SOME GRANDCHILDREN: We have just spent a week looking after three of our grandchildren in their home near Royston. Oliver, about whom I have often written before, loves shortbread and “Chaz and David” on the car CD. He has now learned their song “It takes a whole lot of lovin' just to keep my baby happy” with which to amuse his parents when I judge the time to be right. He is now 6 years old and his twin brothers, Sam and Milo, are 3 years old. They are all extremely good and loving children but they are rather “full-on”, much preferring me to play Rugby with them than watch me read the paper.

I had the usual nightmares during the week before, not about any disaster befalling the kids, but more about pushchairs and car seats, about both of which I have written in the past. Happily, they no longer need pushchairs (which cannot be collapsed by either Management or me) and I took the precaution of asking our son to fit the three (all differently fixing) car seats into my car before they went on holiday. So far, so good. The tears when the parents went away were rapidly dispersed by the appearance from our bag of a box of toy emergency vehicles I had taken along. Anything that goes “Dee-Dah” is a favourite in their house. The next morning, at breakfast, Sam, who loves to have long, one-to-one conversations with Deannie, pipes up - “I think Grandma and Grandpa are.....I think Grandma and Grandpa are..... (repeat 6 times). I was about to suggest the rest of the phrase with words such as “wonderful”, “great fun” or “super” when he managed to finish the phrase – “I think Grandma and Grandpa are babysitting”.

They get to choose their own breakfast cereal with a choice of hot or cold milk. Sam was eating his Bran Flakes when he said “These are not very nice, but I like them”.

The kids were to have Friday off school so, on Monday, at his mother's previous suggestion, I suggested to Oliver that a trip to nearby Duxford airfield might be a good idea. “No, I don't want to do that – too many planes!” came the reply. Deannie and I had a think and decided that we would go out to lunch at Frankie and Benny's followed by a trip to the cinema. On the Wednesday evening, kids tired and ready for bath and bed (ditto Grandparents), we told them about our plans for Friday. “I don't want to go to the cinema” wailed Oliver “I want to go to Duxford”. I explained patiently that, as he had rejected the idea of Duxford (too many 'planes) and I had already paid for the cinema tickets, the arrangements could not be changed. This led him to “go into one”and there was much crying and sobbing, soon mimicked by his two brothers. Murphy's Law – Strike 1: At that moment, the telephone rang. It was Mummy and Daddy, ringing fro Austria to check that all was well. All had been really well for 72 hours but, at that moment, al was far from well and they had a difficult conversation with a monosyllabic, sobbing Oliver. Of course. 5 minutes later, he was fine so we rang them back and the kids had a proper chat.

Friday was a great success. Having carefully chosen the film for its suitability, we had to sit through some trailers for other films which scared the twins half to death. Apart from that, and an episode of vomiting at the ball-park we visited later, the day was great. If you ever wish to suffer hell on earth, visit a ball-park. You will find a warehouse full of enclosed netting, stairs and slides, and many areas full of plastic balls. So far, so good. Mix in several dozen screaming children, some of whom are bullies with arrogant parents, and you have the final toxic mix, compounded by expensive rubbish refreshments.

The parents were coming home on Saturday afternoon. The morning went well with an hour's gymnastics for the twins and an hour each of tennis and football for Oliver. We had lunch and the kids then all played an imaginary game of football. Daddy's study was the changing and bathing room and the hall was the pitch. The orange at imaginary half-time was real and was graciously supplied by Grandma. Later, tired, they settled down to watch TV and Grandpa managed to see some Rugby (well, 5 minutes). Sam was having one of his dialogues with Deannie. She had offered him either a Kit-Kat or a Penguin biscuit and he was negotiating to have both (A complete No No!). The parents have very strong food regulations, which actually work very well. Many of you will remember the shortbread incidence a couple of years ago. I would be totally disenfranchised if I ever took any of them within smelling distance of a MacDonalds.  A sudden shout from Milo – “I need new trousers”. He had left it too long to visit the WC and had left a trail of puddles all down the hall and into the bathroom. I was just expostulating when – Murphy's Law – Strike 2: I became aware that the letter box in the hall door had been pushed open and Mummy, who had just returned, was peering through it before ringing the doorbell. Deannie put down the chocolate biscuits and went to the door. Murphy's Law – Strike 3: Mummy came in, walked into the kitchen and saw a very smug looking Sam with two empty wrappers and chocolate on his face.  Ah well!. It was agreed that a good time had been had by all. We now miss the kids and they miss us. They are all moving toSpainin a month, joining Duncan, another of our sons, who is already there with his family, so baby-sitting could take more arranging in future.

Best wishes to you all                                                                                                                                    Ian G.Nisbet

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