and bounced on his bed—boing! boing! boing!
“Yippee!” he sang.
“We’re gong to Grandma’s!”
And he jumped off . . .
and got dressed—zip! zoop! zup! zut! zut! zat!
Called his mother.
“It’s time to pack for our trip, dear!”
“I already di-i-i-id!” he said.
from: Froggy Goes to Grandma’s
by Jonathan London
illustrated by Frank Remkiewcz
My granddaughter, Ellie, arrived yesterday for a week at Camp Mie-Mie Pop Pop. Her family lives several hours away so it took planning and arranging to make the week happen.
When my sister and brother and I were young, our visits to Grandma’s and Grandpa’s often turned into a spontaneous overnight stay for one or another of us.
We were lucky enough to have our gram, too. Grandma’s mother lived with Grandma and Grandpa in their home in a nice suburb of Cleveland. Gram’s accent sounded like the “old country” and reminded me how brave she was to leave everything and everyone she knew to come here and raise her three-year-old daughter. Gram was a proud American. She was sure of herself, too.
After dinner we’d sometimes play Parcheesi, or a card game. Grandpa liked Crazy 8s. There was another card game that involved math, but I don’t remember how to play that one. When I was sent to get ready for bed the call, “Don’t forget to brush your teeth,” trailed me upstairs.
And there was Gram. To make sure.
I had traded my day clothes for one of Grandpa’s undershirts and heard Gram clomp upstairs in her tie-up black shoes. She followed me into the bathroom with what she insisted was toothpaste. Of course I had not brought my own. Gram and I shared a bathroom and I expected I’d use hers.
Gram was fluent in at least three languages, but she never mastered written English. I was around Ellie’s age, 6, and could read a little. I truly knew the difference between Colgate Toothpaste and Colgate Shave Cream. Gram was not holding the toothpaste.
“Gram,” I said as politely as I could. I was not used to correcting anyone in charge of me. “That is not toothpaste.” She insisted that she knew what she was doing.
“It’s Grandpa’s shaving cream,” I continued. My heart was thumping in my ears now. And Gram was even more insistent, certain I was trying to get out of brushing my teeth. It was not going to happen on her watch. She squeezed a generous amount on a spare toothbrush.
“Smell it,” I pleaded. But Gram did not back down.
That night I brushed my teeth with Grandpa’s Colgate. I can still taste the sharp soapiness. It was hard to rinse, too.
I’m sure Gram realized her mistake, but didn’t say anything to me. I decided not to say anything either.
When her mom helped Ellie unpack, we discovered that she had forgotten her toothpaste. I only have the minty kind and she likes watermelon.
Dinner eaten, clothes changed, stories read. It was time to brush her teeth.
When Ellie balked at the minty tube of Colgate, I assured her that the act of brushing was almost as important as the fact of toothpaste. Ellie brushed with plain water last night.
We have lots planned for Ellie’s week at Camp Mie-Mie Pop-Pop. A magic show at the Library. A trip to the Children’s Museum. Blueberrying at the local farm. Playgrounds, bike rides, restaurant lunches, and for sure, a trip to the store to pick up some watermelon toothpaste.