As a grandparent, the most precious commodity that you can share with your grandchild is TIME. Grandparents and grandchildren share a special bond which is so generous and forgiving that it is beyond any love of any kind. Grandparents are in the unique position of giving children the time and attention that parents, despite their best efforts, sometimes have difficulty finding. As a Nani to a three-year-old I believe one can do so much to enhance their experience and help them learn about the world around them.
It has been such a wonderful journey since the day I decided to be in the same space where my grandson resides. It’s been a year now and to see him grow each day has been so enriching and fulfilling and is helping me to become a better version of myself. His innocent “why” has often cleared my own mind and my answers sometimes surprise me too.
Children are observant, sharp and insightful. Recently, while I was working with my help in the kitchen, my grandson was playing in his playroom. At some point he heard my voice get a little agitated as while giving some instructions and he quickly came around and said, “Nani, why are you angry? You cannot speak like this. Only when you are nice, I will talk to you.” His words hit home and I instantly softened my tone and said sorry to him and my help. He then said, “Nani, it's okay. Even I get angry sometimes, but I love you because you said sorry. Now everything is fine.” I was amazed at his clarity of thought and his ability to quickly move on.
Toddlers also learn through storytelling a lot more than we can imagine and so it’s easy to find opportunities to discuss values and feelings while you weave tales and read books with them. I often spend time with him motivating him to think about situations and trying to gauge his level of participation in the process. We often read books together. One of his favourites is, ‘Jack and the Flum Flum Tree’ and he relates to it really well. Now while he engages in pretend play, he plays the part of Jack and I his granny; just like in the book. Together we discuss how people take care of each other and the kinds of things they can do to show love and appreciation for one another. We also talk about problem solving skills and come up with new ideas to overcome the little hurdles that the characters in the book face.
Involving him in daily chores like watering the houseplants, cleaning the windows, or clearing his toys after play time are an essential part of our time together. And some of my most joyful moments are spent sitting in the balcony with him, looking at the sky above or the playground below and us talking about everything we see from different vantage points, both literally and figuratively.
It is a privilege to be a grandparent which is an opportunity given to very few specially in the world we live in and I’ve grabbed it with heart and soul and am better for it in every sense of the word.
This article was contributed by Minakshi Jhunjhunwala, a grandmother, a mother and a wonderful everything that goes with it.