Grandpa and RG Visit the Zoo. Chapter 1: Preparation.

December 10, 2008

My assignment was to babysit Random Granddaughter on Veterans Day. Both mommies had to work. The pre-K was closed. I arrived the night before, just in time to kiss RG goodnight.

The next morning we all arose early. Mama (Random Daughter) left first to catch the bus for her downtown job. Mommy (my daughter’s partner and RG’s birth mother) provided me with some instructions for the day. For entertainment and activity, she suggested I take RG to the zoo.

RG is now big enough to ride in a regular booster child’s car seat in the back of my car, strapped in with a regular adult safety belt, instead of the space capsule safety seat she used as an infant and toddler. Mommy brought the booster seat in to the house for me to use in my car.

RG often skips taking a nap at PRE-K. (RG has informed me in no uncertain terms that I am not to refer to her school as “preschool” any more.)  However, Mommy gave me strict instructions in regard to this day’s nap agenda: “Make sure she takes a nap. I am taking her to her swimming lesson as soon as I get home. If she doesn’t have a nap, she will be too tired and cranky by dinner time.”

RG at various times has been interested in fire trucks, trains, and ferries. Currently, for reasons I am not sure about, she is interested in pirates. I am not sure what she thinks pirates do. Her mommies are very selective and protective in what she is allowed to come in contact with in regard to her exposure to books and other media. She encounters a lot of literature, but she is not yet allowed to hear the Cat in the Hat books. Shielded from television as an infant and toddler, she now watches carefully selected videos with Mommy. Mary Poppins seems be at the top of her current permitted video menu. She watches it 15 minutes at a time in the company of Mommy (her birth mother and my daughter’s partner).

 I presume RG is not exposed to stories about how pirates of old murdered, stole, and raped. She doesn’t get to watch the news, so I am fairly certain she is also not aware of the present-day resurgence of pirates in such areas as Southeast Asia (Indonesia) or in Northeast Africa (Somalia), or how they are holding ships for ransom.

But RG does know that pirates hide treasure. That Tuesday morning, she had about twenty “pieces of eight” that she had gotten somewhere. They looked like silver dollars (some with John Kennedy on the face; some with Dwight Eisenhower on the face), except wrapped in gold foil. Inside the gold foil (I am pretty sure) were chocolate candies shaped like silver dollar-sized coins.

 As RG has a considerable sweet tooth, I am sure she would have been ripping the foil off if she had known about the candy inside. As she didn’t realize they were hidden candy, she played with them, hiding them as “pirate treasure” and then finding them again and letting me find a piece or two.

After awhile we played the board game CandyLand. RG won. (I didn’t have to fix the game; she won fair and square.)

As I am only 15-years-old in maturity, I am working on growing up as a retirement project. It’s kind of late as my chronological age will be 65 when I retire. One of the main goals I have set for myself is to learn how to cook.

However, this goal may be too limited. After the pieces of eight game and the CandyLand game, RG became bored. She said to me, “Grandpa, I am bored. Let’s bake a cake.”

I said, “I don’t know how to bake.”

RG replied, “That’s OK. We have a recipe. Just follow the directions.” My refusal to take this project on undoubtedly lowered Grandpa’s standing in RG’s eyes, assuming it can get any lower than it already is. On the other hand, her confidence and optimism is wonderful and inspiring. She is a role model and an inspiration for me in growing up.

9 Responses to “Grandpa and RG Visit the Zoo. Chapter 1: Preparation.”

  1. I’m simply bamboozled by the concept of chocolate pieces-of-eight bearing the likeness of Dwight Eisenhower.

  2. modestypress Says:

    David, I stared at them in some stupefaction myself. I figured there was no point in having a conversation with RG about it, however.

  3. pandemonic Says:

    I wish I could spend time with RG. She sounds so interesting.

  4. Random Name Says:

    I’m sorry, Pan, I will not take your daughter as a trade granddaughter for RG. I realize I am being unfair in this regard.

  5. pandemonic Says:

    RN, I’ve long given up wanting to trade my offspring for another. They are children only a mother could love… 🙂

    I’d sure like to spend time with RG, though I wouldn’t want her all the time. Just call me the Benevolent Babysitting Fake Auntie.

  6. Spectrum Says:

    I am tickled by your reaction as a grandparent. I laugh with delight at your concern of RG’s ranking of you as a grandpa. Now, was your concern as great when you were a parent? I just get a kick out of watching the grandparents with my kids. They are a hoot. Such pushovers, IMO, their boundaries nowhere near what they were when I was a girl.
    On another topic, my son, the Wiggles addict, is quite fond of Captain Feathersword. The primise behind is that Captain is a friendly pirate who has a feathersword and goes around tickling people.

  7. modestypress Says:


    I now think that I was fairly arrogant as a parent. I detested the parenting job my parents had done, so I strove to be different. In that respect, I did pretty well. I think our great strength as parents was that we treated our daughter with respect. Our basic approach was: we tried to have as few rules as possible; we are strict about enforcing those rules; we never told our daughter what to say or think.

    Those are not bad rules and they worked out pretty well, but in part they worked out well because we were lucky. Our daughter was intelligent and good natured; she figured out at an early age how to manipulate adults in a constructive way.

    Children have an innate nature. Success in parenting comes in part from parents and children being compatible; just as in marriage, people need to have some basic compatibility even if they have good spousing skills.

  8. modestypress Says:

    For all I know Captain Feathersword is the inspiration of RG’s pirate trip.

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