Being a single mom of four (thanks to the tragic magic of divorce), I often felt like it was just us against the world. My children were my light, my love, and my life, and I really could not fathom there ever being any room left in my heart for anyone else. With the birth of my first grandchild this year, I was delightfully proven wrong.
When my kids were younger, we did all kinds of things together. We did arts and crafts and we sang at local nursing homes. There were always games to play on family night-which really was just about every night. However, those games and crafts and singing outings did not come until my children were of a certain age. My grandson is not yet a year old and that presented a mini-mystery for me. What ever could I do to entertain one so young? It took a little investigating, but I did manage to compile a list of five fun things to do with my grandson at this special time of year.
We live in a fairly rural area and a great deal of the revenue here is generated through agriculture. Our town offers up the best of the fresh fruits, vegetables, and eggs that our farmers produce at the Farmer’s Market downtown, as well as a variety of foods made from their wares. My grandson is just old enough now where he can appreciate a taste of “grown-up” food, and it is never too soon to instill in a child the importance of eating healthy.
Another favorite activity that we share is exploring the foliage in the hills of neighboring Carroll County . Fall is my absolute favorite time of year because of all the changes that the earth goes through. I’m not even sure if my grandson understands any of what I’m saying to him as we are driving through the hills or walking around them, but his little eyes do light up when I let him feel the texture of a leaf or the cool bark of a tree. Whether he truly understands or not, I believe that our outings are helping to foster an appreciation of nature and also helping him to learn about the colors and textures of the world around him.
We have two Christmas-themed activities that we have shared thus far. The first is driving around town at night and poking fun at all the overdone Christmas lights. Please don’t misunderstand, I love the holiday, it’s just that some of my neighbors and fellow townsfolk over-do their decorations. And these over-done decorations have always brought me countless hours of fun-poking enjoyment. If his eyes light up at the sight of the changing trees, they practically blaze at the sight of the Christmas lights, Santas, reindeer, elves, etc. He may just be excited about seeing the different colors, but I’d like to think that he has inherited my wry sense of humor and is critiquing the debacles just like me.
Our other Christmas-themed activity was attending the ” Battle of the Bands” before our local Christmas parade. Sure, everyone and their cousin was going to the parade, but only true “bandies” such as myself would be in attendance to hear the local bands challenge each others’ musicianship. Music has always been a big part of my life, having been in both the choir and the band in school. This was something that I happily passed on to my children and if his movements and hand clapping were any indication, I have also passed the love of music down to my grandson.
One of my favorite pastimes, bargain-hunting at the Salvation Army Thrift Store, can be done at any time of year. It just so happens that I did not discover my grandson’s fondness for finding hidden “treasures” among the items until mid-November. I honestly believe that most tots his age would get restless and cranky with being secured in a shopping cart for the duration of the excursion, but my grandson just seemed to become more and more inquisitive with each aisle we traveled down. He even helped me to spot a movie I had wanted to find for years when he grabbed a handful of VHS tapes off a counter and my little gem rattled to the floor! With the economy being what it is these days, I think it’s extremely important for him to understand the value of a good bargain and I believe he is well on his way to reaching that understanding.
So even though he is still very young in the grand scheme of things, there are still interesting and educational places that we can visit together in our little city. It was a pleasure discovering these things we can do together and I look forward to our outings becoming a tradition.