NOWADAYS, days are long. Yet one of the highlights of our days comes in the afternoons between five to five-thirty. That is when one of our sons opens up the family group chat and all of us get to watch Marty, our granddaughter eats her dinner. Being seven months old, she can now take some solid food. Whatever we may be doing, they all come to halt because it is time to watch Marty eat her dinner.
The usual image is Marty in her chair with a bowl in front of her. Mushed vegetables and fruits are what she eats. She likes the avocado from our yard. But she likes getting messy even more. She begins like all babies do, with a clean shirt and a clean “desk.” For some reason, she likes to handle the spoon so her father gives it to her. And because babies are babies she just pushes it to her mouth regardless of the food splattering over her mouth, cheeks, hands, bib, tray, floor, dog, and of course her parents. She is silent when she eats maybe because she likes to eat. You take away her spoon and she starts to complain. It starts with some sort of whimper which gradually becomes louder and louder until she bawls out with gusto. And all of us, parents, uncles, and grandparents smile and laugh. Marty is the only one who does not find this amusing.
This goes on for about fifteen to twenty minutes and in the meantime while we watch her slurp her food we have our daily bonding kind of thing. Well, sort of because our family does not really talk that much. The conversations are short and sporadic. They range from the dinners we plan to eat to work to just stuff. I guess the topics are really not important though. We just drone while we watch Marty eat.
When she is done we marvel at the mess she has created. But we all smile because she is our grandchild and niece and daughter. Marty likes to smile when is done. I cannot wait until she can eat “normal” food because she would probably like buffets. (Well that would be the perfect excuse too for me.)
We continue talking while she gets cleaned up. Depending on her mood, she likes and dislikes being cleaned. After the cleaning is done, she sits there listening to all of us. She likes to listen. After a few moments, it is off to the second part of the Marty show. The bath.
Her father picks her up and they prepare the bath. And that is our cue. Her bath time is private as it should be, so her father says,” ligo na kami.” And with that, we all log out and say, “bukas uli.”
We have been doing this for some time now and it brings a sense of purpose really. And hope.