Playing shops with Lily (age four-and-a-half) is an entertaining occupation. First, she sets up all the goods (toys) for sale on the lounge then she designs a front counter with flowers and two fairy figurines. She tells me exactly where I must sit (I am to be the shop-keeper although I only find this out by default).
Rosie (age eleven-and-a-half) is, of course, intrigued with what her little sister is doing but she is determined not to show it. I see her rolling her eyes as Lily issues multiple orders to her gran.
Once everything is ordered to her liking Lily disappears into her room and comes back wearing a fairy dress. “Hello” she says, “My name is Binnie Riddle.” This is when I discover two things; one: I am the shop-keeper and two: I’m glad I’ve got a pen and paper to write down her name.
“Hello Binnie Riddle” I say, “My name is Poppy Macaroni. What can I do for you today?” Binnie Riddle chooses some toys and pays me with imaginary money. I say, “Here’s your change.”
“What’s change?” she asks. Never one to miss a chance to enlarge her knowledge I explain. Massive eye-rolling from Rosie.
Lily runs off to her room and comes back in a different fairy outfit. “Hello!” says she, “My name is Bung Bunny and this is Sophie” (a rather moth-eaten teddy bear). Another transaction takes place and off she goes again.
Each time she reappears she is wearing a different outfit – a long scarf wound around her body, a funny hat, a big pink coat (the temperature is well into the 30sC); and each time another name: Poodley Bum, Happy Bibble, Kinley, Ballerewa, Lily Explorer, Mermaid Star, Wan Hot, Fat Rat Person, Sleepy Head, Hansel Hunter, Chinkle, Lady Cherlotte and finally, Owie Person. Each name is carefully enunciated and I have to repeat it back to her so she can make sure I’ve written it down correctly. I slip up with Ballerewa because I say, “Ballerina”
“No, Gran, not Ballerina, my name is Ballerewa.” (much eye-rolling from Rosie).
Then, quite suddenly, the game is over.
“Are you looking forward to going back to school Lily?” I ask.
“No” she replies with some emphasis and adds, “I only want to go to parties.”
Being a grandmother has untold rewards and I have two of the most delightful grand daughters I could ever wish for.