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Reasons why Fran is playing more children's games these days
A month ago, to see my grandchildren, I had to go on one of these all the way from Leamington to Richmond in South-west London.
Now that they have moved to within ten minutes' walk of our house in Leamington, I just have to go on one of these.
Correction. Two of these.
Correction: The legs above were my dream legs, not my real legs.
Correction: These aren't my real legs either. They're someone else's. For my legs, think, 'Somewhere between Picture 2 and Picture 3.'
It's taking some getting used to, knowing that just by putting one leg in front of another (never my favourite activity) I can be at my son's house, playing Snap or Snakes and Ladders with a 3 year old and a 4 year old, or watching a Peppa Pig DVD, or answering a litany of questions from a curious Elijah, who's just started school and wants to know the answer to Every Awkward Question Ever.
I took them both to see their Great-Great-Granny in her care home. She's my mother's mother, is nearly ninety-five, and Elijah (nearly 5) was fascinated. He wanted to know
- what does nearly blind mean?
- what is a walking frame for?
- why does she need us to shout?
- why is she old?
- why can't she walk very well?
- what is quite deaf?
- why does she live here?
- where does she have her dinner?
- who else lives here?
- why don't her legs work very well?
Sometimes, he asked the same question two or three times, not because he hadn't heard the first time, but because he was so interested, and wanted to hear the information all over again.
It was ironically not unlike a conversation with my grandmother, the dear old lady in question, only with her it's because she forgets that we ever had that conversation, so we have it twice. Maybe thrice. And again the following day.
Some might lose patience with this, but I find it oddly calming, and it saves on thinking up new topics. Every time I visit her I can say 'Did I tell you so-and-so had died/is getting married/has moved away?' knowing that I did, but she'll deny all knowledge, and so we can do it all again. She's just as pleased with the news every subsequent time I tell it. I told her about Vera Lynn becoming a hundred years old at least five times, and she relished the information just as enthusiastically on each occasion.
My grandmother is 95 in July. I am 55 at the end of April. Elijah will be 5 in July.
Out of the three of us, Elijah's legs are definitely the ones with the most potential. My gran's legs are weak and unreliable. Mine are too plump and varicose-veiny. Elijah's got his dad's legs: like a young footballer's, with strong thighs and muscles.
I feel like breaking into 'The Circle of Life'. To save you the pain of that, here's Elton John singing it instead.