Pre­cious mo­ments

Oh, the joy of be­ing a grand­mother!

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - SENIOR - By TAN LING SUAN

SINCE the end of last year, af­ter be­ing mostly away from Se­lan­gor for al­most 10 years, my hus­band and I have been catch­ing up with the two younger grand­chil­dren here. And re­mind­ing our son that we are avail­able for babysit­ting any­time they need it!

In my son’s home, the TV is sel­dom turned on. The fam­ily reads a lot, and buys lots of books (from book­shops and ware­house sales), so it is no won­der that when we come vis­it­ing, the kids are ever ready to take out their books to read with us.

Bryan, who is five years older than his sis­ter, has his own li­brary corner. So does his sis­ter. He tells me he some­times “do­nates” his old books to his sis­ter’s col­lec­tion.

Sara, who is one-year-plus, al­ready knows her favourite books by their ti­tles, and she will has­ten off to bring me Are You A Frog? when I ask for it. Or when we hap­pen to sing a nurs­ery rhyme, she runs off to her li­brary shelf to show us that par­tic­u­lar piece in a nurs­ery rhyme book. There are times when, af­ter spot­ting us at the door, she would greet us with a big smile, then dis­ap­pear to get a par­tic­u­lar book for us to read to her.

Well, we can­not be read­ing the whole time we are with her, so I once sug­gested we take out the cook­ery set for her to cook some­thing for yeh-yeh (grandpa). She en­joys cre­at­ing dif­fer­ent dishes and she con­cocts her own, like putting a ba­nana in the soup she is tak­ing to him.

I also sug­gested cof­fee for him but she replied: “Wa­ter” (a health­ier choice!) and off she went with the plas­tic toy cup.

This could go on for hours so I again sug­gested we do some­thing dif­fer­ent when

Bryan re­act­ing to a joke. Chil­dren should learn to laugh more and grow up with a sense of hu­mour. her brother had fin­ished his home­work. He hap­pily played some nurs­ery rhyme tunes for us to sing and dance to.

One day, while sing­ing The wheels on the bus go round and round to Sara, we looked at my hus­band who was nap­ping nearby and I sang: “ Yeh-Yeh in the house go sleep, sleep, sleep” and she laughed but never for­got it, as she re­peated that in fu­ture ren­di­tions of the song.

Her brother who had just re­turned from his pi­ano les­son, joined us with “ Koh-Koh in the house goes read, read, read.”

Bryan turned seven in Oc­to­ber. My hus­band and I were keep­ing an eye on lit­tle Sara while her par­ents were busy with the small group of chil­dren they had in­vited for the birth­day cel­e­bra­tion.

Look­ing at the ban­ner, “Happy Birth­day, Bryan” on the wall, I asked Sara (who will be turn­ing two next month): “Do you know how old koh-koh (older brother) is?”

She replied: “Not old.” My hus­band and I laughed. Then I con­tin­ued with: “What about grandma? Is grandma old?” She said firmly: “No.” “Wah,” I said. My hus­band gave a broad smile. Then I con­tin­ued: “Is yeh-yeh old?”

With the same poker face, she said: “No.” We smiled broadly again. “What about Sara? Is Sara old?” “Yes!” she said, and we all laughed mer­rily. When I later re­lated the in­ci­dent to her par­ents and came to the part be­fore I asked her about her­self, she prompted me with “Sara” – as if I would for­get that part of it!

I re­called an in­ci­dent some three years back when I was hav­ing din­ner with my sis­ters who had re­turned from over­seas. I had of­fered to take Bryan to the re­stroom. I said some­thing about “go­ing with your old grandma ...” and he stopped me with: “Grandma, you are not old!” You can imag­ine the same broad smile on my face.

I have started a new game with him – word-build­ing. We pick a word with more than 10 letters, like “ex­am­i­na­tion” and form as many smaller words as pos­si­ble from it. We aim for a tar­get like 30 at first, then stretch it fur­ther when we man­age to get more than that. He en­joys it so much that he has started new sheets with new words to play on his own.

With Bryan and the other two older grand­chil­dren in Seremban, we have been shar­ing lots of sto­ries to­gether, as they love read­ing, too. We have been en­joy­ing jokes and rid­dles since a few years ago, which in­spired me to com­pile two joke books for chil­dren that in­clude other hu­mor­ous stuff like lim­er­icks and tongue-twis­ters.

Bryan, with his pas­sion for cars, has come up with some rid­dles of his own: Which car re­minds you of a bird? (Blue­bird); Which car is al­ways busy? (Toy­ota Rush); Which is the fastest car? (Jaguar). His list num­bers about a dozen by now, I think.

My nine-year-old grand­daugh­ter, Trisha, who is into video games and Su­doku, re­cently posed a new rid­dle she had heard from her friends: “Why is Su­per­man’s cos­tume so tight?” I was clue­less. Her an­swer: “It’s S-size!” Her 14-year-old sis­ter, an avid reader, has been en­cour­aged to widen her range to in­clude sci­ence fic­tion, the clas­sics and other gen­res, so we are look­ing out for these in the ware­house book sales that we at­tend.

I look for­ward to shar­ing things with my grand­chil­dren. When­ever my friends lament about the woes of grow­ing old, I tell them I don’t mind grow­ing older, as I want to see my grand­chil­dren grow up.

Each birth­day cel­e­bra­tion in the fam­ily is viewed as a “grand” cel­e­bra­tion for this con­tented and grate­ful grandma! n The writer wel­comes feed­back from read­ers with amus­ing tales of their grand­chil­dren. These can be com­piled into a book; pro­ceeds from the sales will be chan­nelled to char­ity. The writer can be con­tacted at tl­suan@ly­cos.com

is a fort­nightly page ded­i­cated to se­nior cit­i­zens. We wel­come real-life sto­ries – happy, sad, in­spir­ing, heart­warm­ing – from read­ers who are 55 and above. E-mail them to startwo@thes­tar. com.my. Con­tri­bu­tions which are pub­lished will be paid. Please in­clude your full name, IC num­ber, ad­dress and tele­phone num­ber.

A merry heart:

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