A grandparent by any other name is still just as fun

Emmitt B. Feldner • forThe Review

We hadn’t even left for our trip out to New York last month when we got a request to step in as pinch-hit babysitters.

It came from my sister Amy, who was hosting her son and daughter-in-law and their two children in her little two-bedroom apartment.

We were due in to Warwick Thursday night and Matt and Julia were leaving Friday morning to fly out to Chicago to visit with one of Amy’s two daughters there – but leaving Ruthie and Ernie behind.

Amy had to work Friday morning, which led to the urgent call for the relief babysitters from Wisconsin.

Plans were made for us to head over to her place Thursday night after we got in to Warwick, in order to meet the little guys.

We had met Ruthie about two years ago, the last time we were out there, but she was less than a year old at the time, so we might just as well have been total strangers.

And we’d never even met her little brother, who’s only about a year old, so there was no ‘might just as well’ with him – we were strangers.

As our travel day dragged on and on Thursday – review last week’s column for that little misadventure

– we began to despair of getting there before the two of them would have to go to bed.

We did manage to arrive before their bedtime and headed over to Amy’s, prepared for the challenge of trying to win over the two of them.

Turns out we had nothing to worry about.

There must be some magic vibe grandparents give off, because Ruthie and Ernie took to us right away just like they were our own grandchildren – instead of our grand-niece and grandnephew.

Ernie came over and jumped right into my arms, while Ruthie went right to work showing Terry her favorite toys and books.

I soon took up my familiar role as the Tickle Monster with the two of them, while Mee-Mee – I mean Terry – was on the floor having a great conversation with the two of them.

We finally had to assure them that we’d be back to see them the next morning so they’d finally go off to bed and we could get over to my brother Jim’s house, where we were spending the weekend, and get unpacked.

We were back at Amy’s the next morning, as promised, and there wasn’t even a tear shed as Ruthie and Ernie sent their Oma off to work.

We got there just in time for the start of Ruthie’s favorite TV show, “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” and settled in to watch it all together.

Of course, we had to tell her that it also used to be her second cousin Aiden’s favorite show to watch when he was at our house – even though she had no idea who that is, having never met him yet.

Over the next couple of days, we accompanied Ruthie, Ernie and their Oma out on a boat trip with Jim and Mary, then to the spa Oma belongs to to go swimming and have lunch.

I’m not sure who was happier to have us along, Oma or her grandchildren.

Since Matt and Julia weren’t due back from Chicago until the middle of the next week, Amy was facing a long siege of one grandparent taking on two grandchildren – and Custer had better odds than that at Little Big Horn.

Mee-Mee and Poppie have both taken on that challenge at times – one grandparent against two grandchildren – so we were more than happy to ride to Amy’s rescue.

Ruthie and Ernie enjoyed it because they got to play tag team with three different grandparents, going from one to the next as soon as they wore the first one out – which usually didn’t take too long and wasn’t always before one of them wore out as well.

In fact, we have a really nice picture of Ruthie on the boat, sleeping on Oma’s shoulder as Oma is napping as well.

NEXT WEEK: Finally hooking up with all those old-timers I went to high school with.

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