If I'm honest, I've never been much of a baby person. Yes I admit, cuddling a newborn baby is a precious experience and they do smell delicious, but they also seem so fragile and they basically sleep for most of the time. If they are not sleeping, they are feeding or pooping or crying. There may be a few magical moments in between but mostly a little baby does what little babies do 24/7. I've always preferred the toddler stage. Toddlers are feisty, interactive, robust, cheeky and full of fun. They can chatter to you, understand you and they choose if they want to spend their time with you or not! You get to see their developing personalities and build a genuine relationship with them, where love and trust will be nurtured and grown into something genuine and beautiful.
My grandson Ted is getting close to his third birthday. He is now at the age where I can really enjoy him as a little person in his own right, and not just as an extension of his mum and dad. As a baby, I saw him as my son's child, delighting in the new role my son Joe was embarking on, which filled me with such immense pride. My own connection with Ted was through Joe, and amazing as that was, I felt slightly on the periphery, looking in on this miracle unfolding in my son's life. We live too far away to have been able to be a permanent feature in Ted's early days, so my grandparenting was done remotely rather than being hands on. Every time we visited, I'd look for a sign that he remembered me or knew who I was, forever hoping that the family bond would grow even in my absence.
I spent this weekend with my son Joe, his fiance Jade and my grandson Ted. We visited Alton Towers and had a fab time. Our favourite ride was the River Rapids, with all us in one of the round boats getting splashed and squirted as we whizzed through the water. It was so much fun watching Ted experience these things for the first time. On the Sunday morning I was woken up by Freddy and Ted bashing me with foam swords (little monkeys were being egged on by Joe of course!). Then at lunchtime, we all sat around the table to enjoy a family roast dinner together.
These are the days I have been waiting for, ever since the day I found out that I was going to be a gran. Ted is full on, energetic, boisterous and funny. He makes me laugh with his antics and leaves a trail of toddler-made destruction in his wake as he runs around, a little boy on a mission to explore, learn and play. He is everything I imagined and hoped my grandson could be. He may look just like his mum, but his personality is so much like his dad's in so many ways!
When he squeezes his chubby little hand into mine so we can walk along together, or when his little voice calls me Nana Wendy or he calls Ian 'Guitar Grandad', or when he says 'I love you', I just melt. He knows exactly who we all are. He enjoys being with us and his laughter and smiles are infectious. Ted told me stories, played lots of fighting games with his Daddy and his Uncle Freddy, enjoyed dressing up and having his face painted as a skeleton and generally made himself completely at home with us. He is comfortable here and he understands that we are family and we love him. This is how I dreamed grantparenthood would be and for Ted, he now knows and understands his place in our family, and realises just how adored he is.
I am honoured to be his Nana Wendy.