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A Grandma's Day With A Toddler

A Grandma's Day With A Toddler

This week my good friend Mary shares about her days following along behind her granddaughter. Mary moved across the province to spend her days with one year old Andie. Thank you Mary for giving us some insights into toddler days.

Pandemic Pace

Mary Fairhurst Breen

Fall/Winter 2020


Nowhere to be, no idea what day it is, following closely behind a toddler on the sidewalk, along a walking trail, through a park, stopping wherever she chooses, to inspect whatever piques her curiosity. I am experiencing time in a way I haven’t done since before I had memories.
pandemic pace


No drop-in play groups, no library story times, no guppy swimming classes. No other children, except to admire from a distance at the playground (forever trying to get her to back up a little, with the offer of an especially good stick). And sometimes on the computer. She wants to show off how she can walk on her tippy toes, tries to hand the other boxed baby a Lego block or a raisin through the screen. Until some lightning-fast little hands hit the power-off button.

Who knows how newish brains process all this...

But I survived on video chats when we were thousands of miles apart, and she knew me whenever I appeared in the flesh. 


Now I get to spend every day with my granddaughter. I have lost interest in what we can’t do, because I am so enraptured by what matters to her at any given moment. Picking post-frost green cherry tomatoes and tossing them fervently into an empty plant pot. Pole dancing with stop signs. Burying balls that have sailed over the tennis court fence and landed in the sand box, her face pure delight when they are unearthed. Every single time. 
never hurry


Going up up up a ramp and down down down again with steely focus.

Forty times in a row. Puddles, obviously. And rocks. Oh, the rocks! Small, smooth, flat, bumpy, big enough to fill her closed fist, carried lovingly for blocks or stowed carefully in the wagon cup holder, to be re-examined again and again, investigated and organized based on criteria clear only to her, but very clear. 


My job is to wait. And watch.

Bring the snacks, sometimes hold a rock, sometimes shake a rock out of her rainbow boot. Keep her safe, occasionally push her on a swing, but mostly let her be. Tell her the names of all the things she points to (which is all the things). Take her hand when she offers it because she is in slightly unfamiliar territory.

The two of us never have to hurry. We never hurry. We are unhurried and unharried. 
pandemic pace a grandma's perspective

My mother used to say that my daughter would think her name was “C’mon Emma!” because I said it so often. I have yet to hear myself say, “C’mon Andie!” Chaos swirls all around us, but for now at least, we are keeping a pandemic pace.





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