I’m the first to admit that I’ve been a purist when it comes to young grandkids and their electronic devices.
When the 3-year-old paid more attention to the Shimmer and Shine game on his iPad than the flaming onion volcano at a Japanese steakhouse, I worried.
When his 7-year-old sister started sending me nonstop emojis on her new iPod, I rolled my eyes.
But when I took the two of them overnight while their parents vacationed, I watched myself do a 180.
You’re sending their iPads, aren’t you?” I asked their mom.
“I’m afraid they’ll get broken,” she said.
Suddenly, I heard myself wheedling and begging and making grandiose promises.
“I want them just in case,” I said. “I’ll be careful.” I came just short of offering replacements and upgrades and full tuition at the college of their choice.
In exchange for the iPads – secretly tucked in the bottom of a tote bag under Mister 3’s blankets – I promised myself that only under the direst circumstances would I drag them out. I didn’t want them to get broken. Besides, I wanted to prove that these electronic devices, including the iPod already in Miss 7’s possession, would be no match for the old-fashioned fun I was about to devise.
After all, my own grandmother entertained my cousins and me for hours making artificial flowers and shell dolls and stupendous messes. But I had no idea till I tried it how exhausting it would be to compete with the razzle-dazzle of Shimmer and Shine.
“How about painting?” I suggested brightly and before anyone could say eeuw, I shoved them into oversized art shirts from a consignment store.
The two of them dived into the brushes – Miss 7 seriously creating an easel-size purple cat with enormous blue eyes, Mister 3 on the other side more interested in shredding the paper. He was just reaching for a bigger pair of scissors when his parents facetimed us from Vacation Paradise to see how things were going.
“Fantastic!” I declared.
“Nice scissors!” said my son.
Weapon quickly under wraps, I next proposed finger painting, and to my surprise neither shrank back. They dived right into the goosh, and produced between them eight masterpieces. One by fashionable Miss 7 looked like something out of a Lilly Pulitzer resort wear collection. Somehow, her brother’s hair took on a similar design, as did the back of his art shirt and a once boring section of the basement floor.
All this occupied them for at least 38 minutes until Mister 3 discovered my cache of Kinetic Sand, advertised as a “three-dimensional building toy” but actually a kind of brown sugar substance that never dries out. At Miss 7’s insistence, he began taking dinner orders out of it and designed a pretty fair lobster with drawn butter, which he served on his sister’s china tea set.
Thanks to 30 minutes of Sponge Bob (I’m not counting TV as electronics) and a bedtime story supposedly written by a hamster named Humphrey but read by me, we made it all the way to bedtime without iPads or iPod. The first bedtime, that is.
Mister 3’s second and third bedtimes that night needed a little help. Shimmer and Shine to the rescue.
Funny, but I had no trouble sleeping at all.
Copyright 2017 Pat Snyder