Early in the morning, the tiniest sounds reverberate through an otherwise-quiet house.
Ezra, my grandson, and I discovered this fact when he and his mom—Lindsay, our older daughter—visited Joanna and me for a few days.
The alarm went off at 5 a.m. I dressed in the dark and slipped out of the house to work out at the gym. When I got back home around 6:20, I immediately heard a 3-year-old’s voice chanting from the middle bedroom.
“Jody, where aaaaare you? Mommy, where aaaaare you? Marvo, where aaaaare you? Jody, where aaaaare you? …”
Immediately, I considered three possible outcomes from Ezra’s continuously looping incantation:
A. He could keep it up, and we would have two groggy women on our hands.
B. I could implore him to hush.
C. The boys of the house could eat breakfast together.
Breakfast with Marvo
Ezra smiled when I poked my head inside his room. And before you could say, “Jody, Mommy, Marvo,” he was out of bed and trotting toward the kitchen. Apparently, grandsons and grandfathers share the same thought at the crack of dawn: “Where’s the food?”
Ezra chose yogurt, which he scarfed down before I could finish pouring my cereal. But he sat beside me at the kitchen table, plying me with questions as I ate.
Ezra: “Where’s Jody?”
Marvo: “It’s still early. Jody’s in bed. That’s why we need to be quiet.”
Ezra: “Where’s Topanga?”
Marvo: “She’s in her bed in our room.”
Ezra: “Can we go get Topanga?”
Marvo: “No, we might wake up Jody.”
Ezra: “Can we play basketball?”
Marvo: “Basketball makes a lot of noise, and we need to be quiet so Mommy and Jody can sleep.”
Ezra: “Can we play bowling?”
Marvo: “Well, bowling makes even more noise than basketball, so we better wait for bowling until later in the day.”
Ezra: “What’s on PBS?”
Marvo: “Oooh. The TV would make a lot of noise. Maybe you can watch TV later.”
Ezra: “What can we play?”
Marvo: “I need to get ready for work. Do you want to go to the bathroom and whisper to me while I shave and take a shower?”
Ezra: “What can we play?”
Marvo: “Uh, let me think. …” (By this time, I was shoveling down the cereal, figuring little boys don’t sit quietly for long at 6:30 in the morning.)
Ezra: “How ’bout we play with my cards?”
Marvo: “You’ve got some cards?”
Card game option
Ezra hopped out of his chair and ran to the den. In about 10 seconds, he came back carrying three decks of large cards. They were instructional games: Small-word flash cards, Mickey Mouse matching cards and the ever-popular Go Fish.
“Jody got these for me yesterday at the store,” he explained. “Want to play cards?”
We spread the matching cards out on the den floor. Then we began flipping them over, two at a time. We tried to remember which card showed a picture of a bow, and where Goofy, Pluto, Minnie, Mickey and Donald were lying. Did you know an uncluttered 3-year-old noggin possesses far better short-term memory than a crowded 57-year-old cranium?
Ezra asked about playing basketball again. I don’t think his short-term memory failed, but I do think he wondered if mine would fail me. I reminded him basketball would make too much noise. Then he suggested football and soccer. We settled on Go Fish.
The best way for a 3-year-old to play Go Fish for the first time is with the cards face-up. However, this gives a competitive little boy a decided advantage over an indulgent granddad. Through it all, Ezra kept his celebrations to a tiny roar, and I don’t think our game-playing had anything to do with Jo and Lindsay climbing out of their beds and eventually joining us in the den.
All this took awhile. So, I was about 40 minutes late for work last Tuesday morning.
It was worth it.