05 July 2012

Single Grandparent of Small Boy Maturing By The Day


We returned from our vacation in FL accompanied by our grandson, age 10 next month. This is his first extended excursion away from his family so this month-long visit is a grand adventure for us all. After a few difficult days of missing his family, especially his Mom, and adjusting to a new time zone he's now off expanding his horizons in this land were kids speak a language not his own. My Honey is gone for five days on business so I'm a single grandparent and felt daunted by the prospect.

Two boys upstairs in our apartment building became his first playmates and he's worked out some ways of negotiating the language hurdle. The older boy studies English at school and can do fine if speech is slow. The younger one has very little English so when playing games on their iPads they downloaded a translation app to talk back and forth. Good idea!



Yesterday we went to a beach with plenty of kids but no English speakers. My grandson, on his own, came up with a few clever ways to engage and end up playing with the locals. He was flying his uber cool bat kite and, when other kids looked interested, he helped them fly it as well. A steady light breeze off the water made it easy. But the kayak rides topped that. He reveled for awhile in being captain of his own boat and, after paddling around himself, he soon drew other eager young sailors for guided rides, either pulled along or as passengers.  No surf in the Adriatic and shallow waters even 30 feet from shore makes it possible and safe. And later, his pump action squirt guns scored big with the boys his age.











We had a grand day topped off with pizza and his other favorite local dish, arrosticini, at a restaurant with a play area. As soon as he headed over to play, a boy joined him for see-saw rides and swing competitions with accompanying hoots.  Can you tell he didn't want to take time out for photos?



He stepped cautiously, even reluctantly, at first but now I watch his confidence grow, his stride surer as he succeeds. Our neighbor and friend next door introduced my grandson to a boy who lives just one street over and who wants to practice his fledgeling English. My grandson came back from a visit to his house breathless: "I met his family and his mother invited me to come for pizza tomorrow evening the very first time she met me. Wow!"

As he told his mother on Skype later: "I'm really expanding my social network!" Indeed he is. I'm proud of him but more importantly, he's proud of himself.

24 comments:

  1. What a grand adventure, for both of you! I am always amazed at how easy it becomes to navigate a new country when you are outgoing and unafraid, as your grandson is. He is indeed "expanding his social network" and becoming even more of a joy for you. Thank you for sharing this!

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  2. What an incredible adventure! He'll be fluent by the time he goes home!

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    1. He's picked up some words but hasn't decided to learn Italian yet.

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  3. Kids are so adaptable! Isn't it wonderful? I wonder who enjoyed the day more? Your grandson or his new friends?

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    1. They all seemed to be enjoying their time!

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  4. Comment #2.... Last one just quit! Ha
    I would love to come to Italy and get away from this heat!!!!!

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    1. Well, come! I have a guest room empty on the 21st.

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  5. He'll be way fluent by the time he leaves!

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    1. We went to a family restaurant just down the street from us tonight with kids galore and he had a ball. Who knows who picks up what words but somehow they're communicating.

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  6. I think that is just wonderful. Good for him. And only 10 years old? Wow! I must also say that I love your photos of the Adriatic. In fact, I wish you would post more photos of Italy.

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    1. Okay- I will. It's a lovely part of the world.

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  7. What a wonderful experience for him. When my boys were small and we visited Italy it always amazed me how quickly they would end up playing with local children -- especially on the beach. Now one of those boys lives in Italy, speaks fluent Italian and teaches English!

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    1. You never know! For now, just expose them to as much as we're able and they put it together in unique ways!

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  8. How awesome for ALL involved!! My heart is smiling! I love you all!!

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    1. I love you, I love him, my heart is full!

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  9. Really! It's the best one yet!

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  10. This is fantastic. There is so much to like about this post. First of all, I love how adaptive you grandson is, and I also love how he is able to step out of his comfort zone to try and engage in meeting new people even with the language barrier in place. Aren't kids just amazing?

    I loved his comment to his mother. Yes, he is really learning some networking skills.

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    1. He has his teary moments at night before bed when he's missing his Mom and feeling sad. But from the moment he opens his eyes in the morning, he's pure boy exuberance grabbing this opportunity by the tail. Good for him!

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  11. seo adelaide

    Aw. Your good for him. You showed him how to expand his horizon and explore new things. Job well done.

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    1. What a nice thing to say! Thanks also for stopping by.

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  12. What a great experience for you both. And I love that he is using Internet tools to open doors. Also, gotta love that bat kite!!!

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    1. And that they came up with the idea of the translation app themselves. He bought the kite from a wandering vendor on the beach for 2 Euros!

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