When it comes to being inventive, my biggest successes seem to be unintentionally creating problems.
An example of that is teaching the grandchildren to imagine themselves in a parade, crowds waving and calling to us as we strut through a circle of rooms in the house. We step in time to a John Phillip Sousa march.
It is even more fun, at least for me, when they march outside and their grandpa and I don't participate in the parade but fill the role of spectators.
Sousa's music blares through an open window. Bells and pan lids contribute to the music. Hollow plastic Christmas candy canes have scarves tied to them to be waved as their parade winds around the island in our cul de sac.The grandchildren have also discovered that, with a hearty blow, the canes can also serve as wind instruments.
We have a supply of little American flags that are carried and waved with enthusiasm by the youngest children. The flag-waving was the seed that resulted in a problem. Telephone company employees are laying fiber-optic cables around town. They marked the route across our lawn that they will follow to auger a tunnel for those lines. Little red flags also mark the automatic sprinkler heads.
The flags had been in place for several days when our granddaughter came to spend the day. Maggie was playing outdoors alone and decided to put on her own mini-parade. She pulled up all the markers and flags, waving them over her head as she marched around and around the house to music only she could hear. That is what I saw when I went out to check on her.
Maggie offered to put all the flags back where she found them. That would certainly have caused a real disaster. Instead we put the bunch together with a note of apology and left them where the workers would find them. "Sorry Guys. This is the result of a 3 year old who was not properly supervised during her visit."
Later that day I saw the men out there replanting the flags. Then they set up their equipment and the auguring was begun. The workers probably figured it was best to do the work at our place immediately so they would be the ones removing their markers the next time. A week has passed and the flag indicators in neighboring yards are still in place with no activity by the telephone company workers.
This isn't the first idea I put into the children's heads that backfired.
Encouraging them to pick a bouquet of flowers for their mom has seen newly planted mums pulled out by the roots. They love to replenish the bird bath and add water to the broken-jug fountain feature in my flower bed. One morning Jocelyn had filled the fountain. I went around the corner of the house to a spigot to fill a small bucket with water for the bird bath.
During the few minutes I was out of sight, her younger sister went wading in the newly filled fountain without benefit of taking off her new shoes first.
The almost two months of constant sunshine this summer has made it possible for me to spend a lot of time driving around in the golf cart with them. If the golf course isn't busy we look for golf balls in the rough, find frogs in the ponds on the course, drop bread crumbs for the fish and ducks or lay on the bridge to try to spot the koi that swim there.
If there are is a lot of activity on the golf course, we head to the edge of town to check Uncle Glenn's apple trees, visit the Memorial garden in front of the high school, stop to chat with friends or go to a playground. So far this little adventure has been nothing but a good experience all around.
It won't be long before we'll have to hang up the cart keys for the season.
My sister brought a new supply of story books that we will save for the times we have to stay indoors. I know little Ben will not understand why I no longer grab his hand and head to the garage when he says, "Grandma, go golf cart."
It will take more inspiration than I have at this point to find an activity that keeps him and his sisters as happily occupied as that little vehicle has. I will definitely keep in mind that whatever we choose to do together should be carefully thought through.
Those kids can cause the simplest of activities to backfire.