updated 8 Dec 2011, 18:56
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Wed, Nov 24, 2010
The Star/ANN
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Share precious moments with your grandkids
by Tan Ling Suan

SINCE the end of last year, after being mostly away from Selangor for almost 10 years, my husband and I have been catching up with the two younger grandchildren here. And reminding our son that we are available for babysitting anytime they need it!

In my son's home, the TV is seldom turned on. The family reads a lot, and buys lots of books (from bookshops and warehouse sales), so it is no wonder that when we come visiting, the kids are ever ready to take out their books to read with us.

Bryan, who is five years older than his sister, has his own library corner. So does his sister. He tells me he sometimes "donates" his old books to his sister's collection.

Sara, who is one-year-plus, already knows her favourite books by their titles, and she will hasten off to bring me Are You A Frog? when I ask for it. Or when we happen to sing a nursery rhyme, she runs off to her library shelf to show us that particular piece in a nursery rhyme book. There are times when, after spotting us at the door, she would greet us with a big smile, then disappear to get a particular book for us to read to her.

Well, we cannot be reading the whole time we are with her, so I once suggested we take out the cookery set for her to cook something for yeh-yeh (grandpa). She enjoys creating different dishes and she concocts her own, like putting a banana in the soup she is taking to him.

I also suggested coffee for him but she replied: "Water" (a healthier choice!) and off she went with the plastic toy cup.

This could go on for hours so I again suggested we do something different when her brother had finished his homework. He happily played some nursery rhyme tunes for us to sing and dance to.

One day, while singing The wheels on the bus go round and round to Sara, we looked at my husband who was napping nearby and I sang: "Yeh-Yeh in the house go sleep, sleep, sleep" and she laughed but never forgot it, as she repeated that in future renditions of the song.

Her brother who had just returned from his piano lesson, joined us with "Koh-Koh in the house goes read, read, read."

Bryan turned seven in October. My husband and I were keeping an eye on little Sara while her parents were busy with the small group of children they had invited for the birthday celebration.

Looking at the banner, "Happy Birthday, Bryan" on the wall, I asked Sara (who will be turning two next month): "Do you know how old koh-koh (older brother) is?"

She replied: "Not old." My husband and I laughed. Then I continued with: "What about grandma? Is grandma old?"

She said firmly: "No."

"Wah," I said. My husband gave a broad smile. Then I continued: "Is yeh-yeh old?"

With the same poker face, she said: "No." We smiled broadly again.

"What about Sara? Is Sara old?"

"Yes!" she said, and we all laughed merrily.

When I later related the incident to her parents and came to the part before I asked her about herself, she prompted me with "Sara" - as if I would forget that part of it!

I recalled an incident some three years back when I was having dinner with my sisters who had returned from overseas. I had offered to take Bryan to the restroom. I said something about "going with your old grandma ..." and he stopped me with: "Grandma, you are not old!" You can imagine the same broad smile on my face.

I have started a new game with him - word-building. We pick a word with more than 10 letters, like "examination" and form as many smaller words as possible from it. We aim for a target like 30 at first, then stretch it further when we manage to get more than that. He enjoys it so much that he has started new sheets with new words to play on his own.

With Bryan and the other two older grandchildren in Seremban, we have been sharing lots of stories together, as they love reading, too. We have been enjoying jokes and riddles since a few years ago, which inspired me to compile two joke books for children that include other humorous stuff like limericks and tongue-twisters.

Bryan, with his passion for cars, has come up with some riddles of his own: Which car reminds you of a bird? (Bluebird); Which car is always busy? (Toyota Rush); Which is the fastest car? (Jaguar). His list numbers about a dozen by now, I think.

My nine-year-old granddaughter, Trisha, who is into video games and Sudoku, recently posed a new riddle she had heard from her friends: "Why is Superman's costume so tight?"

I was clueless. Her answer: "It's S-size!"

Her 14-year-old sister, an avid reader, has been encouraged to widen her range to include science fiction, the classics and other genres, so we are looking out for these in the warehouse book sales that we attend.

I look forward to sharing things with my grandchildren. Whenever my friends lament about the woes of growing old, I tell them I don't mind growing older, as I want to see my grandchildren grow up.

Each birthday celebration in the family is viewed as a "grand" celebration for this contented and grateful grandma!

The writer welcomes feedback from readers with amusing tales of their grandchildren. These can be compiled into a book; proceeds from the sales will be channelled to charity. The writer can be contacted at [email protected]

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