Monday, November 2, 2009

Conversations with Joey and Jack

My grandsons talk constantly. Everything about their language development is fascinating and delightful to me from the mispronounced attempts at words to the expressions of toddler logic. I treasure every conversation.
Joey began preschool this year and though he says he "loves preschool," he has been a bit quiet about it. I try to ask him about school when we are doing something else, like cooking. Joey likes to bake and last week when he was at my house I mentioned that I was going to bake some muffins while he and Jack played with the cars and the GI-Joes.
“Can I help?” Joey said, his tone of voice eager and joyful.
“Of course.”
“I’m really good at dry ingredients,” he told me as he climbed up on the chair. And it turns out, he is good at dry ingredients. I told him how much flour and he dug it out of the bin and held up the piled up cup for me to “make it pretty” translated “level it off.” He measured the chocolate, the bran, the sugar, the baking powder and the cinnamon. True, the counter was a little messy, but I get it messy all by myself and this was more fun.
Joey informed me that he doesn’t do wet ingredients, “except the oil.” He liked to pour the oil and did so very carefully. He kept suggesting I add more oil. I decided to ask him about school while he watched me crack the eggs and mix in the other liquid. “How’s school going?”
“Not a bit good,” he said. “Why?”
“There’s a train and I have to wait and wait and wait and wait. I don’t like to wait.”
“Oh, but do you still like the sandbox?”
“Yes, Grannie, I love the sandbox.” He said this in a teasing, tolerant tone he uses with me when he knows I know the answer. I had heard about his love of the sandbox when I drove him to school one day. We had arrived too early; Jack was asleep in the back seat, so Joey came up front to my seat to hang out and talk. We watched the students arriving and I saw a boy who looked to be about his age. “What’s his name?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” Joey said.
“Oh, he’s not in your class. He looks like he’s your age.”
“No, he’s in my class.”
“Why don’t you know his name?”Joey looked at me, those blue eyes patient, but firm. “I don’t talk to strangers, Grannie.” Jack has begun to talk a lot, too. He tends to repeat things, which I think is awfully cute. Today as soon as he walked into my house, he came to me, turned his sweet little face up to me and said, “Watch movie. Need Nemo treats.”
Jack’s other phrases include, “need help,” and “play cars,” or “don’t want it.” Nemo treats are Jack’s current obsession. When I was at his house a few weeks ago, he was allowed to have some after dinner. I found two packs in the basket, one for him, one for Joey. When Jack finished his, he “needed” more. I told him that there were no more. He got down to “play cars.” A couple of minutes later, he came to the table and took hold of my pointer finger. “Need help,” he said, pulling on my finger. I got up and followed Jack to the kitchen. He pointed up toward the ceiling where the top of the cabinets form a kind of a storage shelf. There was a “hidden” box of Nemo treats, the narrow side of the box visible between boxes of cereal. “Need help, need Nemo treats.”
It seems as if the toddlers are observing and thinking about far more than we would expect. How interesting – even startling is their view of the world. When I climbed from the back of Andrea’s van to the front during our recent trip to the museum, Andrea expressed her concern about my acrobatics. I said something about not being “that old!” Joey said, “But Grannie, your skin is looser than most people’s.” When I protested, laughing, he added, “Are you older than everybody, Grannie?” Funny and endearing, fascinating and thrilling, I love to listen to their ideas and to hear them playing. I may be old, easily convinced to dish out the Nemo treats, with looser skin than most people, but I’m happy to be their grannie, to hang out and listen to all they have to say. Andrea and Joe recently asked Jack what he wanted for his birthday. Jack said, “Cars, animals and Grannie’s house.” See what I mean? Jack peeking out of the tunnel at the playground.


  1. How sweet, that he wants Grannie's house for his birthday? Could anything warm your heart more? I LOVE, LOVE the things kids say, and the endearing little way they say it. Your grandsons crack me up... they are quite observant and witty, much like their parents!

  2. I can see why he would want that, I would love your house for my birthday too! I have recently just been thinking about the same thing as my son is gaining more mastery of his communication and my daughter NEVER stops hers.

  3. I can't wait till Liam can talk more. what a treat to find out what they really think.

    I love that you love being a granny. I know Mommo loves it too, and as a new mother, it makes me feel great to have that kind of support for my child--not a second mother(as some grandmothers try to be) but someone to grandmother him: to love all the fun, special things about him and not worry or focus on the tricky parts. kids need that :)

  4. That was great those photo's and love those sweet expressions from Joey & Jack. Oy, I had to turn my back from some of the things Joel would do as a toddler because it was just too cute!

    Thank you for the smile while drinking my coffee this morning.