Entry 858: Things I’ve Learned About My Granddaughter

Well, my granddaughter Sydney turns 11 months old tomorrow, and I’ve spent enough quality time with her to get to know her really well. For instance . . .

>Sydney is very easily impressed. She appears to be in awe when I juggle one thing.

>As should be evident from the photo at right of Syd and our daughter Casey, there is an issue with hair. (Syd’s; Casey’s is always beautifully coifed.)

>Syd is a good eater. In fact, the people in her day care place say she’s the best eater there. It is unclear, however, if they are referring to the amount she actually ingests or the area of face, body and floor she manages to cover with food.

>Sydney has a love-hate relationship with our Shetland Sheepdog Riley. Or rather, he has one with her. He gives her kisses when she arrives (possibly because she usually has some sort of foodlike substance on her face), and tries to protect her when one of us does something seemingly violent to her, like swinging her around. The fact that she’s laughing when we do this does not deter Riley from his heroic acts using his superpower of barking really loudly.

>The hate part of the Syd-Riley relationship comes in when she tries to pet him, which she does in the gentle manner of somebody trying to open a tightly sealed jar. As soon as she reaches for him, Riley vacates the premises.

>Now that the weather is getting warmer and I’m wearing short-sleeved shirts, Sydney has discovered my arm hair. Interestingly, that she treats with kindness, rubbing it softly with . . . ow, ow, Syd, stop pulling my arm hair!

>Also my beard!

>Syd really enjoys being held over my head facing down. Unfortunately, she also drools a lot.

>First Law of Syd: Any two hard objects can be banged together.

>I no longer worry that I might break her as I did when she was first born. However, I do worry that she might break herself while in my care. So, unlike my wife, daughter and son-in-law, all of whom seem to have no problem playing with their various devices while she goes about her business, I never take my eye off her, which can be exhausting, especially since she rarely stays in one place for an extended period of time. Not only do I fret about my family being mad at me should she injure herself, these days you also have to be concerned about becoming the subject of a child protection services investigation, which I hear can rival something Robert Mueller might undertake, only without constant presidential tweeting.

>Syd can now pull herself up into an almost standing position by using the living room coffee table. This means the remote controls are under siege.

>Sydney has a lot to say for someone who cannot yet talk. I don’t know if she’s just making sounds or if she thinks she is forming words. If it’s the latter, does she think I’m an idiot for not understanding?

>Syd is a good clapper. Just about anything is worthy of a healthy round of applause. It’s a good thing we never acquired one of those sound-activated lighting systems; the place would seem like a third-world country with unreliable electricity.

>Syd loves music, and will immediately start bopping rhythmically to any tune that happens to come out of one of her many electronic toys. Sometimes she’ll even raise herself up while on all fours and bounce her tush in time to the music. I appear to be the only person who is somewhat disturbed by the site of a twerking 11-month old.

>Syd dances, too, which you’d think would be difficult for someone who cannot yet stand. But she has this contraption that keeps her upright and allows her to bounce spasmodically in time to the music. Even if there is no music.

>Syd loves keyboards. Any kind of keyboards. Musical keyboards, computer keyboards. Here is something she actually typed on my computer. I could be wrong, but I think that bottom line is a physics formula for perpetual energy.

>Syd has a much longer attention span than I do. She can play with a talking and singing electronic book much longer than I can bear to listen to it.

>This is more about me than Syd, but I’m getting to the age where an extended period of playing on the floor might result in my not being able to get up.

>Syd is destructive. If I stack her stacking cups she will instantly knock them over, even if she has to crawl across the room to do it. If I put her peeping eggs back in their container, she will unceremoniously dump them back out, eggshell tops and chick-laden bottoms strewn across the floor without an omelet in sight. She is very proud of herself for these feats of devastation and watches me carefully in case I should attempt to restore order.

>Sydney believes that her toys are interchangeable with Riley’s. To some extent, so does Riley. As far as I’m concerned, there are an awful lot of toys.

>I love the hell out of this kid.

See you soon.

The aftermath of a Sydney visit>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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