One of the more humbling aspects of my retirement as a former executive director has been the realization that the huddled masses no longer gather before me anxiously awaiting my daily commandment.
Okay, I know that's a slight exaggeration but it's my column and my story so I get to write it with my creative memory.
Since I no longer have a handful of people who not only think every idea I have is incredibly brilliant but also eagerly take every new concept to heart and instantly make it their life's mission... still can't quite accept that one either?
Alright, if you combine the fact that not only am I no longer able to send memos and give directives to my staff with the realization that my four children remind me on a daily basis that they've indeed "grown up" (relatively speaking) you can see why this Christmas had a rather bittersweet moment for me.
Being a thoroughly modern woman, I thought it would be a great idea to give our two year-old grandson a cute but gender neutral kitchen for Christmas. He loves to play with his little Playdough oven so I was positive he'd love to have an all inclusive kitchen with an oven, microwave, stove top, refrigerator, cupboard and sink.
When I brought this idea to my daughter, you would've thought I'd told her that I was going to start dressing him up in little girl clothes. "He's a boy!" she yelled when I mentioned the idea in October. "I know that, but this is the 21st century and every boy needs to learn how to cook," I explained.
Trying to provide the logic behind the concept (it always seemed to work with the huddled masses) I reminded her that since neither his mother nor his father knew the first thing about cooking and that their collective idea of fresh food meant immediately eating the burger and fries they'd just ordered at the drive-through, this baby needed to know how to cook.
Her response led me to believe that my explanations had fallen on deaf ears. Furthermore, her passing comments about losing my grandparent privileges helped me to realize that I'd better not push the envelope, or in this case, the oven timer.
However, never one to pass up a great bargain, after Christmas I found the perfect combo kitchen marked down from $76 to $30. Now seriously, who could pass up a bargain like that? I figured I'd let the box sit around for a while so she could get used to the idea. But just like during those glorious executive days, that idea didn't work.
So I went to the next level and approached the concept with the help of the boss - my grandson.
First, with all the cunning of a covert CIA operative, I put the unopened box in the middle of the playroom after his mother had left for work. Within seconds his attention was keenly focused on this new box.
I gingerly opened it (sorry I couldn't resist) so not to make my plan (or was it guilt) too obvious. I pulled out the pieces and casually laid them on the floor. It took all of two seconds before I had him right where I wanted him - excited about the kitchen.
Knowing that I would probably have to prove my case (is there a good grandparent lawyer out there?) and document his excitement with each step of the process, I decided to grab my camera when we went to get the screwdriver from the tool box.
Thinking back on it now, I should've seen the writing on the wall when I opened his grandfather's tool box. "OOOOO," and "AHHHHH" seemed to excitedly come from the depths of his little being. With hands and fingers faster than a starving man at a Saint Joseph's Church bake sale, he dove into the tool box pulling out tools like they were freshly made pierogies. Not to lose the momentum, I redirected his attention and grabbed the first screwdriver I could find.
Knowing that my plan could fall apart as soon as his grandfather heard the tool box open, I went straight to work. The parts were skillfully laid out on the floor and directions dutifully studied. Quickly putting part A with part B, the kitchen began to take shape. Next, I added the facet to the sink and the burner to the stovetop.
Looking back now I should have realized my mission was doomed for failure when I heard the him squeal, "car" when I laid the two joined pieces down together on the floor. No matter how many pieces I assembled or stickers I lovingly placed, the kitchen had now become yet another moving object. It mattered not that there weren't tires or a steering wheel. What did matter was, in his cute adorable brown eyes, it was a car.
Every now and again grandmother can stand the kitchen up and we pretend to make pies and cakes in the "trunk" (that's really the oven) and we can microwave Playdough food in the "glovebox." I can even get him to fry an occasional plastic egg on the "radio." However, when the moment fades the kitchen once again returns to its intended purpose, the two year-old's minivan.
He sits in the window which has a curved back making it the perfect bucket seat. He turns the control knobs from the oven to change the radio station and puts his toy trucks and friends in the trunk/oven when he drives away. His toy keys turn the engine on via the drain in the sink and he skillfully turns the faucet as he heads off to the store to buy eggs, cheese and spinach to make an omelet.
I guess there's hope after all.
- Tuesday, 10 January 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Ginger Costen's From This Corner