Being Grandpa – Some Initial Thoughts

Samuel Allen Edwards arrived August 27. So, this old guy is now a grandpa. The move to Indiana was to evaporate some of the hours between grandpa and grandchild – this first one a grandson. The pure emotion of being a grandpa is a harder thing to describe than expected. There are all kinds of exhilarating emotions to label the feeling, but cutting through all of that, what is it like? That’s difficult. The focus then shifts to surroundings some or other factors since just describing the feeling leaves me speechless.

You think about your home surroundings more as a grandparent – even if the child has not yet come to visit. Of course, the infant is not going to do the things a toddler does quite yet that could lead to trouble – they aren’t moving around yet to go test the electrical circuitry by placing a finger in an outlet. Still, they move suddenly when they move.

Amy Elizabeth had never moved too much in her walker – those fine instruments with rollers on a circular platform with feet usually touching the floor. Still, there was a gate up at the top of the stairs just in case. So, one day too often you leave it open however briefly and the next thing you know, Amy E. is on the landing several steps down, having negotiated the carpet at the top and taken a ride.

Lori Nicole had never moved at all in her walker – it was a great diversion to sit her in front of Elmo and everyone else on television and she would just sit there and watch – until the day she rolled backwards across the living room and pulled a plant down on her head. The description given to me was that Lori had a plant upside down on her head with the pot falling to the floor – a great pic opportunity…

In neither case above were the daughters hurt terribly, although Amy lucked out on the fall and Lori had the pot roll to the side. Still, there were unrecognized threats in view of the sudden change in behavior.

There are no huge threats at the cabin. The only plant – a staunch killer-of-plants-survivor – is pretty well blocked and stairs – even the step from the kitchen to the living room – would be easily secured.

The yard is fairly safe. Oh, there is poison ivy on the periphery, but you aren’t going to let the child wander into the woods anyway. The ivy in the yard has been eradicated (and was close to the edge of the lawn). There are a few prickly bushes around, but only a few.

The yard slopes a bunch, giving the early walker a challenge that flat land does not. There’s no water hazard – the two ravines are dry most all of the time except immediately after a rain and both are in the “woodsy area.”

There are always bees or wasps or whatever around, but no nests in the grassy areas. That is a risk also at home as Samuel’s dog, Holly, was stung on the nose earlier this year. Izzy and Maya have done well here – Izzy did step on one on the road walking, but not in the yard.

There are lots of rocks – boys love rocks (and many girls, too). That creates more of a fall hazard right now, though.

Other critters include nonvenomous snakes and other reptiles (you have to lift heavy rocks to see them – not a current issue). Garter and worm snakes, skinks, frogs, turtles – these are around. The venomous snakes have never been seen around the cabin or land nearby. These snakes (copperheads and timber rattlers) have been reported (never seen by us) at the state park nearby and other points miles away from the cabin.

There’s no fence to keep Samuel away from the lightly traveled street, but it’s a hike up the hill from the cabin to get there and you don’t let the grandchild just wander or “climbing hills” without your full attention.

So, from a surroundings perspective in thinking of the safety of the grandson, there’s not much concern, yet. Even as a toddler, there isn’t much concern – subject to a few additional “child-proofing” steps, like cover outlets, and maybe a fence, which would be good for the dogs also. For the youngster down the road, well, you never have any house or building completely safe and that time is a few years out.

Suffice it to say on emotions that the grandchild Samuel is loved and his safety is a big concern. This part of caring is easy to explain. Other expressions are harder…