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  • Kristan Higgins

The privileges of grandmothering

 Like any good grandparent, I am obsessed with my two-year-old grandson, whom I call the Peeper. And like a good toddler, he worships me. “Nana!” he shouts with delight when I come in, and then, “Gup? No Gup? Gup come? Gup here?”

Gup is my husband, who had initially wanted to be called Gramps but will forevermore be known as Gup. The babies get to pick your grandparent name, after all. Gup and the Peeper are soulmates…McIrish finally has that child who loves to pick up sticks and cut the lawn as much as he does, and the Peeper is fascinated with power tools and big machinery and fire trucks, so Gup does have an unfair advantage there.

Anyway, the Peeper loves me, too, as he should, since I worship him. His devotion is shown in many ways…when he said, “Peppa Pig…love,” my daughter asked, “You love Peppa Pig? And who else do you love?” “Daddy Pig,” said the Peeper. “Aw,” said the Princess. “Anyone else?” The Peeper gazed at me, smiled and said, “Nana.” My heart, dear readers! It melted.

Once, when his parents, Gup and I were all vying to put him down for bed, my daughter asked, “Who should read you stories tonight?” And he looked at me, smiled that adorable, cheeky smile and said, “Nana.” Then he took my hand and led me upstairs to his room. One hates to use the word “winning” here, but yeah, I felt like I won an Oscar.

And then there was the day last month, when with the complete lack of inhibition all toddlers have, he squatted, turned red and made a straining sound. “Are you pooping?” asked his mama.

“No,” wheezed the youngster.

My princess and I laughed. “Come on,” said my daughter. “Let’s go change your diaper.”

“No,” said he. “Nana. Nana poop.”

“Mommy will do it,” said my daughter. “Nana doesn’t have to change your poopy diaper.”

Nana poop,” he repeated firmly. “No Mama.”

Well, when he put it like that, how could I refuse? “It would be an honor,” I said.

“Are you sure?” asked my daughter. It’s not like I haven’t changed his diaper before, but I did appreciate her trying to spare me.

“Yay! Nana poop!” said my grandson. We went upstairs to his room, and he lay down, smiling as I changed his very full diaper. “Nana poop, Nana poop, Nana poop!” he sang as I went through eight or fifteen baby wipes, trying to keep him from wriggling so he wouldn’t grind anything into the rug.

“There!” I said when we were done. “Nice and clean! Give Nana a hug.”

And he did.

Ah, the times we cherish! Maybe I’ll get another tattoo—Nana poop!—as a reminder of what it’s like to love and be loved by a little one.


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