Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Cousins Forever!

Grandma's House - where cousins go to become friends......

A year or so ago, one of my grandma friends directed me to a blog post written by an ultra refined grandmother. Her manicured vintage English garden was the setting for a story book child's cottage - the place grandchildren frequented to practice becoming young ladies and men. Cousins, attired in Sunday best, peeked about coyly - ladies from beneath graciously adorned, brimmed sunhats - gentlemen from above crisp bow ties. They followed a pretty primrose path to their destination - a dainty cove for sipping tea from Peter Rabbit china cups, nibbling tiny morsels, and conversing in hushed tones. Regal Queen Grandmother beamed with rightful pride and took photographs galore.

"There!" my friend declared. "You could so do that too!"

Hmmm. I pictured us at that time. What if we had been invited for a visit? That enchanted dollhouse would have been immediately commandeered by the boys as a "police station," stuffed full of "bad guys" - Bree's dolls, handcuffed with jump ropes. She would be screaming her head off. Every flower around us would wilt in terror. Not one of our party would be caught dead wearing prissy heirloom pearl necklaces, ones "the regulars" wove about their slender necks. Not a chance. Ours would have been pressed into service as leashes for the "police dog." That lovely grandmother hostess, recoiling in horror, would spray us all with a hose, ordering us back to the barbarian quarters from which we emerged. Each fanciful curlicue on the ornate iron gate would shudder its disgust as it slammed firmly behind us.

But that was sooo last year!

Perhaps it has been me who has grown up in that time, acquiring skills that make for a pleasant and fulfilling experience each time grandchildren cousins convene for a weekend sleepover at grandma's - the place, hopefully, where they will gather for many years and become fast friends.

Children enjoy traditions. Do something fun once, and they'll ask for it again and again. For us, it's ice cream making - incentive to eat healthy at dinner because 20 minutes from the punch of the "start" button only kids with clean plates will be invited to dip in!

I probably should cringe when Sae proudly announces that, "Grandma lets us stay up as late as we want!" But what the heck - it's the truth! We love the dark and have lots of fun in it. During summer, we enjoy our Night Hikes. Until it's warm enough for those, we move our adventures inside. For starters, there's hide-and-seek with dollar store glow sticks. Sweet little kids. They hide in obvious places and call out, "Grandma! Over here! And Nick's over there!" Bless their little hearts. Far too considerate to let a ditzy old lady stumble and bumble around in the dark all night minus a clue to where she is!

And then we wind up the evening with a Night Picnic. Ever heard of those? Perhaps not. I've initiated them to tide us over the winter. There are platters of snacks: cheese, crackers, fruit and veggie sticks. We line up our sleeping bags and crawl into them. Every kiddo gets a flashlight and the lights go off. We read books in the dark, nibble away and drift off toward toothbrush time, unwinding after a day of fun and togetherness. This is where and how cousins become lifelong friends. And it all begins during the years when one of the best parts of life is having a grandma who "lets us do whatever we want!"

Yep, I've been busted for that too!
By this little guy!