Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Grandparent Abuse

Honestly, I'm amazed at the amount of abuse Grandparents are willing to accept from grandchildren. I live within a few miles from of my Mother so I'm familiar with all things grandparental. In fact, because Mom & StepDad are our most reliable baby sitters, I felt I had seen it all. But, this past weekend my Father came to visit and put a whole new perspective on abuse.

My Dad is in his 60’s, and having worked in a factory his entire career, he has more than his fair share of aches and pains. He arrived on Friday, and by Sunday he was starting to slow down more than a little. While Wife took Boy and Girl to Church, I figured Grandpa and Tiny could have a relaxing morning watching Bambi or having a tea party.

Well, that didn't happen because Tiny decided that Grandpa was her personal chew toy for the morning. Tiny wanted nothing to do with TV, she wanted to play. It started simple enough with a game of fetch. Tiny took a stack of balls to the top of the stairs and tossed them down because there is nothing more fun than watching balls bouncing down stairs. It quickly became apparent, to me at least, that Grandpa was going to do the fetching.

I was trying to catch up on weekend chores, and I wandered by as Tiny pushed the last ball down the stairs. As the ball came to a rest at the bottom of the stairs, Tiny turned to Grandpa, “Can you get the balls please, Grandpa?” Her eyes were as big as saucers, and she flashed a wicked smile.

I knew Grandpa didn't stand a chance. I had to help him. But, before I could say, ‘Tiny, you’re a big girl. You can go get the balls.’ Grandpa was already halfway down the stairs. He had this look in his eyes like a puppy. I imagine his inner voice was going “yeah! yeah! yeah! you want toys? I’ll get you toys. yeah! yeah! yeah!”

At this point, I knew it was a lost cause, but I figured at 60, he was old enough to say no for himself. I came back 10 minutes later, and Grandpa as wheezing his way back up the stairs.

Lee: Ummm you ok Dad? You're looking a little tired.
Grandpa: *wheeze* No problem. I'm fine. I was getting tired so we started taking turns.
Lee: Really?
I found Grandpa's statement about turns very odd because that's really not like Tiny. So I decided to follow up
Lee: Tiny, are you letting Grandpa roll the balls too?
Tiny: Yes, Daddy. We're taking turns. First I go, then Dexter goes, then Grandpa goes.
Did I mention that Dexter is Tiny's stuffed dog?
Lee, to Tiny: That's very nice of you, Tiny.
Lee, to Grandpa: You sure you're ok?

So, as Grandpa stood there, eyes ragged and crazed with exhaustion, I heard a small voice in the distance “Come on Grandpa! Come on!”

Grandpa looked at me…

… And I pointed and said, “You better get going or she’ll run out of balls.”

As Grandpa gleefully ran down the stairs again, I wonder if it's abuse if Grandpa willfully lets himself be tormented.

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