That’s me pictured above. On the left. Just to be clear. Seen right is reason for this column, my great granddaughter. Not third generation, you understand. But my granddaughter. Who’s great. And grand. In true Tyke terminology.
I would say that, wouldn’t I? But there it is. There she is. Ella, apple of my remaining good eye.
Recently turned two, going on 12, with sibling soon due. No, stop it, of course I look old enough!
It’s not just my dear daughter who’s expectant as our ever expanding clan awaits latest special delivery. Nappy days are here again. Skies above are clear again. Or they will be when autumn brings another addition to an already flourishing family.
Nothing, but nothing in my admittedly limited experience, prepares you properly for parenthood. Particularly when, like me, you didn’t know your Dr Spock from your Mr Spock. Highly illogical, I know!
Well meaning self-help manuals amounted to gobbledygoo-goo-gook, spelling floundering failure for a first time father. Torn ’tween Tommee and Tippee, this trad dad was as helpless as ... well, a baby.
Perplexed by Pampers and pull-ups, I was, if not handy, at least hands-on. I was the Changing Man. One who, quoting Paul Weller, was ’deed “built on shifting sands, I don’t have a plan”. But no more. Enter Supergran(father)!
Having lived and loved it before, I easily embrace grandparenthood like a familiar friend. But one that, should late fifties fatigue envelope like cloud of Johnson’s talc, you can bid fond adieu to.
Not that you ever do. Or want to. Why clamour for calm of Corrie and cocoa, when kids can rock your mid-life boat, keeping afloat and alive young at heart emotions.
Rather than submit to senility and Sanatogen, relive innocent pleasures of yesteryear. Show your true colours in wide-eyed world awash with vivid crayons and cartoons. Brighter, the better.
Enjoy not so much a second childhood, as third, after your own children’s. Carte blanche to crash Disney On Ice and Peppa Pig World without worrying about being an adult, albeit immature one. Although some of us still struggle to meet theme park height requirements. Even on tippy toes!
Such short stature serves me well when, oft the case, I’m directed in no uncertain terms to lie down in Lilliput. She wants to bring me down to size in what must be perceived, from her rug-hugging domain, as Land Of The Giants (childhood favourite US import from TV times past).
Almost involuntarily, I find myself increasingly covering the carpet or squeezing, nay jumping, through soft play area hoops, unintended for commodious beer bellies.
Rather a wild, than a mild, child, says I. But, beware, simply saying “you can’t wrap them in cotton wool you know” is not in itself excuse enough to share with pre-school tots thrills and spills of hang-gliding and scuba diving. Apparently!
Tetley’s taster and Silentnight tester come close, but being a grandparent is simply the best job in the world. A labour of love that will keep me buzzing. To infirmity and beyond!