Sandy Turner: Grandpa normalizes this wild world. local news

Once a month, the five youngest grandchildren spend the night.

The oldest two have had their fair share of overnights with Papa and Gigi and now they’ve moved into teen land, which has fewer old men on totem poles. Dad complains, teens don’t talk much; Apparently he doesn’t remember we were that age, we didn’t talk to someone who wasn’t cool. I believe our teens will come back once they realize that old people really know “stuff” and will take advice from their grandparents.

Two 9 year old boys and 4, 5 and 6 year old girls entertain me so much that I have to take a nap the next day. Until recently, boys used to do their jobs and girls had a good time playing with the kids, however once the weather warmed up and we were able to go out to play, they found that many such things which all five can do together.

This last night’s stay, the warm temperatures kept us inside until after dinner. Speaking of dinner, a few months ago I made a buffet of standard foods—chicken nuggets, french fries, apple sauce and macaroni and cheese—and asked them to help themselves. It was a huge success, and as I watched the boys help the girls get their plates of food, I was so impressed that I let everyone eat as much ice cream as they asked for. Afterwards, only one in five had a stomach ache, and so again I considered it a success.

Even though their parents do not believe that children in our home are well behaved, it is true. They are good to each other and, especially important, to me and Papa. I tell my adult children that it doesn’t matter how they are behaving at home; If they are good in someone else’s household, then your parenting methods are working.

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While playing a round of ping pong, the boys discovered some old jewelry in the basement, and I convinced them that the cubic zirconia rings were real diamonds. When I told them they could take each one home, they hit the gold mine. The girls found old trophies that their mothers had received (participation trophies, no less) and were vying to put them in suitcases to take home.

The eldest of the five decided that he was going to catch a catfish in the pond, no matter what. When he stood in position with a large net (up to his waist), he tempted the chicks to throw the catfish food off the dock. We stayed out past darkness, and once the girls got tired of biting fish, they pretended to be at the drive-in as they watched a movie in a Gigi van. The other 9-year-old boy tried to catch a bull frog, and once it was all said and done, they came out with only a shower needed.

I’m counting down the days until the next night. They are my restart button when I feel like society is trying to make me lose my mind.

Sandy Turner is a Missouri-based mom, grandmother, former caretaker, and retired journalist who writes a weekly column about home, family relationships, and staying positive during challenging times.