On the wall outside the Petite Pommes bedroom at the ApplePieParentals there are a bevy of family photos. There’s all the usual shots – including a hilarious one of my parents dressed up for Ascot in the Eighties, of which it is fair to say my mothers outfit has not stood the test of time – and old school photos.
The Petites are fascinated by these pictures, and frankly who can blame them. We’re a good looking lot on the whole. But the ones they are most interested in are of me and my mother as babies. One of the Petites is the spitting image of both of us. The other Petite is the living reincarnation of her father as a child. You could say we got one each! Even now you can clearly see family mannerisms which are inherited (or learned behaviour) which makes for spirited debate about who, exactly, has taught them to do something. Safe to say they have yet to be taught the art of making a G&T, although it won’t be far off. We’re just waiting for them to be able to reach the ice cubes and then we’re in business.
Living in close quarters with the APPs for a fortnight has made me ponder my relationship with my grandmother. I would say grandparents, but I only grew up with Granny around as sadly three of my grandparents died before I was 18 months old. I had a very close relationship with Granny, helped in part by the fact she lived with us for six years, from when I was seven until she passed away. She was a marvellous lady, with a penchant for a nightly schooner of Croft’s sweet sherry and a demon with a pack of cards. She used to dry out teabags on the kitchen radiator to use them again – and again – and often started conversations just as my mother had put her head in a kitchen cupboard or moved to another room. I was reminded of this last night when my mother did exactly the same to me, three times in a row. The cupboard conversation thing, not the teabag drying, that is. Fortunately rationing is now well and truly over in Yorkshire.
The APPs have adored having the Petite Pommes to stay (although the male of the species has run away to spend three days on a golf course, and frankly, given the noise level, I can’t blame him). They have been extremely supportive and helpful since the Petites were born, and believe me I know just how fortunate I am that this is the case. You only have to look at some of the stories on Mumsnet or other parenting sites to realise that there are many grandparents who, for whatever reason, neither wish nor want to be involved in their grandchildrens lives. The Petites are so lucky to have marvellous grandparents who are interested in them, and whom they clearly adore. The same goes for my lovely mother in law, by the way, just to be equal. She may live further away but thanks to skype and my ability to take wonky films with my iPhone, she’s fully involved in their little lives.
I hope that the Petites grow up to have a great relationship with the APPs and with Granny Norfolk. I’ll do all I can to foster it. Just so long as I can use a fresh teabag for every cuppa.