Today we went en masse to my mum’s for lunch. The lunch itself wasn’t too bad – a fab leg of lamb – although it was a bit overcooked. The boys seemed to enjoy it. so it worked to that extent. That wasn’t going to be the problem. The next thing is, what do the boys do. For some reason or another my mum has kept absolutely no toys at her house at all. Basically her idea of keeping the boys entertained is the TV and some DVDs. Generally they are happy watching TV or DVDs, but Daniel in particular can take them or leave them. He’s been watching TV at home and in the middle of a programme will get up and switch the TV off without warning. He needs much more stimulation than that. There’s so much for him to do here of course, and he loves random creation with K’Nex a lot for example. Over the road, he’s got none of that, and sooner rather than later he will become bored. He seems to want to come home earlier and earlier. That’s a sign that should be taken note of, but it isn’t.
Even Matthew – who has a higher boredom threshold when it comes to watching TV – eventually vocalised his boredom. If a lad who had watch Tom & Jerry for hours has had enough and isn’t being stimulated, then there’s a problem. It seems to me that there’s a real lack of understanding that having grandchildren requires a greater commitment than having them visit and put on a TV. The need engaging with and they need greater stimulation. We’re constantly hearing about a friend of my mum’s who is forever looking after her grandchildren, or doing this, that or the other with them. Well, isn’t that an example of what being a grandparent is really all about? I think back to my own granny. When I stayed overnight there – long before wall to wall kids TV, or DVDs etc – I was never bored. There were always games to play, and we were engaged. Not so with Matthew & Daniel. They are loved of course, but its not enough.
The trouble for the boys’ grannies is that as they grow older, the boys will see right through them and won’t want to spend time with them. I think they’re already realising they can do all the things they do there at home. There is nothing exciting about going over there for them anymore. What is there to look forward to? I take them over because they’re still young, and if I didn’t they’d hardly see their granny at all. Eventually there will come a time when they’re asked if they want to go over and they will say no. Who will blame them when that day comes. They’ve already noticed that my mum hardly comes over here anymore. Soon they will return the compliment.
Its a similar scene here. They’ve been used to having Jane’s mum around, but as she has become older, she has become much more bitter – thanks to endless days doing nothing but watch TV and vegetate. Baiting Daniel to the point where he explodes seems the only source of stimulation. Its not fair on him but he needs to be taken away from that situation. He must see he’s being wound up and is punished for him. I’ve said before that they will grow away from her, and it will all be her fault. The day will come where they just tell both their grandparents that they’re just not interested in engaging with them. They’re making there bed in that regard.
2014 is a new year, but I suspect that some things really will never change.