I now have three grandchildren--two girls and one boy. You don’t know true joy until you have grandchildren!
This story is about Malia, the oldest. She will turn six next week and is the most precious and precocious child I have ever known. At 18 months old, Malia could recite the entire ABC’s and spoke in complete sentences. Around that time, I was showing her some fun things on my smartphone while babysitting. She grabbed it and started investigating the top, bottom, and all around. Without looking at me she said, "What's in there Papa...what's in there Papa?"
One day, just before her second birthday, we were watching a kid’s movie about dogs. In one scene, the dogs were running away from some danger in the middle of the night. Malia looked up at me and asked, “Papa, are those dogs nocturnal?” I was a little stunned, got on my smart phone and looked it up, then I answered, “I guess they are.”
Her attention to detail and her memory are spot on. I never question her version of things. Not after I came to the realization that her version was always right. I'll tell her "we haven't read this book". She'll then tell me when we read it and what the book is about. Once we were driving in an unfamiliar area. Malia, looking backwards from her toddler car seat and still in diapers said, “This is the way to Lilly’s house.” My wife and I looked at each other and smiled. Later on, we found out from her parents that it was the way to Lilly’s house.
Malia rarely comes straight out to ask for something, e.g. she will offer, “It's hot outside. Do you want some ice cream?” She very good about sharing, but when I cut something in half to share, Malia carefully studies each half as if it were the wings of a fairy princess, then chooses what she has determined is the larger one. I learned over time to make one half a little larger. It speeds up the sharing process.
Four days before her third birthday, I took her out to lunch. Literally to the waitress she said, "I'll have a strawberry Italian soda with a splash of cream please. Oh! And a grilled cheese!" I did not prep her for that. It came out of nowhere.
If it sounds like she’s a ‘smarty-pants’, it’s not really like that with her. She is just precise about everything she has ever learned. If I say something is red, she’ll say it’s really more like orange-and she will be correct. When she watches TV, which isn’t often, she is mesmerized in concentration. You could do the hokey-pokey in front of her and she wouldn't see you. She knows “The Sound of Music” by heart and the names of all the Von Trapp kids. Here recall for any movie, book, or outing is faultless.
Malia loves to sing and dance. She’s a little afraid of putting her face under water. She has a love of books, drawing, and pretending. Malia loves to pretend! We have played mermaids (my favorite). I've been a little brother, a princess, and a tea party companion. When I've added my two cents to the drama, Malia always said, "No, that's not right." She had total control of the plot. I really didn't like pretending. But I loved pretending for her.
She is a sponge! If I use a word Malia doesn't know ( a rare occurance), she’ll always ask what it means and I will define it. Once I said I was famished. She immediately asked me, "What does famished mean?" The next time I saw her, she told me she was famished.
She remembers every person she has ever met, especially kids, by name and what they did together, even if was two years ago. And socially aware? Malia scolds me if I eat a piece of fruit without washing it. When I put her seatbelt on, she tells me to make sure it is tight. Since she was tiny, she warned me to stop when the traffic light turns yellow. And she reads speed limit signs and asks if I am speeding or not. “Go fast but not faster than the speed limit!” --she'll tell me when wanting to get somewhere quickly.
“No, what?” I responded.
“Everything you ever told me--I already knew.”
My ego was crushed (not really). Her mom and dad are always teaching her things about nature, etc.. I'm more just for fun. I tried to think of something that I had taught her--proving what a force of good I have been in her life.
I asked, “Didn’t I tell you what ‘famished’ meant?"
Silence! I had her! She was quiet, then stumbled trying to get out of it. She hates to be wrong. I had conquered this five-year-old, finally! She remembered that little jewel of knowledge I had taught her.
I had been concerned, before my other two grandchildren came along. How could I possibly love them as much as Malia? Well, it turns out that was just silly. They are all special in their own ways and loving them is as easy as falling off a boat and getting wet. Ryan is my buddy at 20 months. We both love trucks, cars, and airplanes. He loves to ride on my lawn tractor, play with my keys, and pretend to drive my truck. Rosie, who is 11 months, is my sweet addiction. She has a ready smile, very rosy cheeks, chubby legs, and half-moon eyes. She grins and waves to everyone as she happily coos. I cannot get near her without picking her up and dancing with her. She snuggles right in. More about Ryan and Rosie later!
HAPPY 6th BIRTHDAY MALIA!!!! Papa LOVES you!