The Grandkids

The grandkids are coming. They are?
They are? Quick. Hide the computer, and lock up the car.
Lift everything breakable onto the shelves.
Teach grandfolk the art of defending themselves.
Take plenty of vitamins, A, B, and C,
for strong and resilient, you’ll need to be.

Say: “Goodbye!” to harmony. “Goodbye!” to quiet.
Your home will resemble an out-of-hand riot.
Make sure that you check out your washing machine
(Those washing nappies will know what I mean)
And don’t let the two year old near the TV,
there might be a programme you’re wanting to see.

Hang on to your patience with both of your hands,
the dear little darling will not understand
If you shout: “Will you stop it. You must not touch that.”
Or: “Don’t kick the dog,” and: “Put down the cat.”
“Don’t wake the baby by yelling and screaming.”
And “Isn’t it time you were in bed and dreaming?”

There’s Erin. Two months, and queen of the castle,
Food in one end, and waste out the other.
How can one baby, so tiny and frail,
be so possessed of such ear-splitting wail?
And how does she know, when she’s starting to squeal,
That the rest of the family are having their meal?

But how can you even pretend to be cross,
with the Queen of the castle. The Princess. The Boss.
When she looks up and smiles, gurgling and gooing.
You don’t have a choice. You just stop what you’re doing,
And pay her the homage of which she’s deserving .
She makes the demands, and you do the serving.

Now Matthew. He’s one of the terrible twos,
no wonder some grandfathers get on the booze.
They christened him Matthew, but I have a notion,
he should have been christened Perpetual Motion.
They say that it’s cruel to keep them in cages,
and that they grow out of it, slowly, in stages.

But the question that hovers on everyone’s tongue ,
is: “How long does it take to stop being that young?
And tell me, wise counsellor, what guarantee
Can you give to grandparents they’re better at three?”
If it wasn’t for Play School on the TV,
we’d be in a rest home, Grandmother and me.

He is ever so charming, ever so sweet.
His capture of grandmother’s heart is complete.
But I am his grandfather. I am much sterner,
or is it, perhaps, that I’m just a slow learner?
When he looks up at me and says: “Gamfarver. Cuddle?”
All thoughts of discipline melt into muddle.

I have to survive, or turn into a rover,
if the grandchildren’s holiday, isn’t soon over.
And it’s true, they are going, I’m sad to relate,
But we’ll sleep for three days, when they go out the gate.
And following that, we must build our physique,
For the other three grandkids are coming next week.

BLUE — the shearer (© Col Wilson)