Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Day With Papa

  Veterans Day meant a day off from preschool / day care for Alex, but not a day off from work for Chuck or Rebecca. Not to worry, Papa was available and willing to babysit.
  Rather than get up before the crack of dawn to beat the morning rush hour traffic, I opted to drive to their house Tuesday night after volleyball. It worked out well, as I made it in just about an hour, far better than the average of 90 minutes. I got settled in, read for a few minutes and then went to sleep, knowing that my little buddy was a very early riser.
  Sure enough, there he was at 6:30, his sweet little voice saying, "Hello, Papa!"

  Chuck and Rebecca went through their usual morning routine, sans the part where they get Alex ready for school. Instead, I got him dressed for a day indoors -- it had been raining all night and everything was quite sodden outside, so we weren't going anywhere -- with plenty of things on his agenda.
  At breakfast, Alex helped me peel my banana. I asked him if he wanted a bite. He replied, "Piece!" and took half of it. I asked him if he wanted some of my coffee and he said, "Silly Papa, I don't drink coffee. I drink milk!" (Asking him if he wants coffee is one of our regular games, not unlike Laurie's when she puts his shoes on and asks if they go on his ears. He always laughs at how silly his grandparents are.)
  We then proceeded downstairs for a variety of games. He cooked up some food for us in his play kitchen, drove trucks and trains all over the room, and played a one-man concert on his drums and guitar. The concert featured, of course, his favorite "I've Been Working on the Railroad," but also included "The Airplane Song," one that I'm not sure whether he made up or heard somewhere else. For that latter, the audience  -- a.k.a. Papa -- has to stand up and stick my arms out and move like an airplane.
  He pulled a yoga mat out from under the sofa and said we had to take it upstairs to do exercises. The mat was unrolled in the kitchen and Alex did a variety of yoga poses... well, the three year old versions of them, anyway. While we were there, he decided it was time to have a snack -- apple slices and pretzels -- before heading back downstairs.

  The most elaborate playing involved a set of large cardboard bricks. These are nothing more than heavy-duty cardboard boxes, designed to look like brick walls, but they are light-weight, durable, and easy for a little boy and his grandfather to build with.
  First we built a bridge that Alex could stand on. He told me about all the different kinds of trucks,  cars and other vehicles he could see while standing on it.  A few were the toys around the room, but the rest were from his imagination. (When we were telling Chuck about this some six hours later, I said that one of the things Alex saw was a school bus. "No, Papa," he corrected, "I saw a regular bus...not a school bus.")
  After the bridge was destroyed by an "earthquake," the bricks were turned into an elevator as we were now going to be visiting "the museum." In his imagination, the museum was mostly based on the Liberty Science Center, one of his favorite places, but with the addition of a barber shop, a dentist's office and a McDonalds. The elevator was only big enough for Alex, so Papa had to go up and down the imaginary stairs as we explored various floors. (A lot of floors in this museum had lots of toys to play with -- not surprising, considering how much stuff we had spread around the room.)
  Though we were carrying around a bucket of "snacks" (toy food from the kitchen) in case we got hungry, they weren't very filling. So, at about noon, we went up the real stairs to have lunch. Alex unrolled the mat and did some more yoga while his noodles warmed up.
  After noodles and more apple slices and pretzels (and a piece of Papa's sandwich), Alex announced it was nap time. So we went up to his bedroom, where actual sleeping was preceded by reading a book and then Papa telling a story. Then he got in his bed and I laid down on the other bed in the room.
  If there was any question about whether we'd worn each other out, the answer is "You betcha!" I slept for about 90 minutes; Alex slept for 2 1/2 hours.

  Awake and refreshed and after another snack, grapes and pretzels this time, we returned to "the museum." This time, in addition to visiting the various floors with toys and ones that had animals, we also stopped in at the barber shop so Alex could get a haircut and the dentist's office so he could get his teeth cleaned. The museum had apparently gone through a major expansion while we were napping, though, because it had a lot more floors during our afternoon visit. Papa had to go up and down a lot of flights of stairs while Alex rode the elevator. (At one point, I said, "Well, I'm downstairs waiting for Alex." He, standing amid the wall of bricks, replied, "Papa, this is a very slow elevator.")
  When Chuck got home, Alex took him on a tour of the museum, reenacting the haircut and the visit to the dentist and adding a check-up at the doctor's office, which had apparently opened up when we weren't looking. Then we rebuilt the bridge and Daddy was told all of that story as well.

  After dinner, Alex and I read a couple of books and then it was time for me to head home. There was more that we did during this whirlwind day, but it has all become a blur. Not to worry, though, because I'm sure he'll be able to tell me all about it in great detail when I see him again next week.

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