the weather with strep throat, my wife and I were called on to watch
her for the day.
It’s amazing how a visit to gramma’s house has a profound healing
affect. Almost immediately after my daughter-in-law Casey dropped her
off did the healing process commence.
I would ask her throughout the day how she was feeling and her
response was clear: “I’m fine… when can we go swimming?” Your mother
would have my head.
Part of the deal when we watch Ava is that we insist on an hour of
silence, preferably involving some form of sleep, i.e. a nap. Ava’s
definition of a nap is to occupy space on Jiddo’s (Arabic for
grandfather) bed. It has nothing to do with sleep, rest or a nap.
For the first 30 minutes, Ava laid quietly on the bed watching
SpongeBob SquarePants, Peppa Pig or Dora the Explorer. I have to be
honest; my mind goes numb when I have to lay there next to her
watching cartoons. Occasionally, I have to ask Ava who the characters
are, to which she responds “Get real Jiddo! Everybody knows who Dora
Thinking that Ava was on her way to the early stages of a quiet nap,
evidenced by heavy eye-lids and cuddling up to get warm, I mistakenly
tried to slip out to give her some quiet time. Big mistake!
The next 15 minutes, Ava did her very best gymnastics session,
tumbling and doing flips on what she refers to as the Jiddo
trampoline. Our deal was clear; she could not leave the bedroom until
the big hand got to Mickey and the little hand got to two. “Do you
mean two o’clock Jiddo?” Why am I naive enough to think she doesn’t
know how to read a clock?
The next 15 minutes required my presence once again. She asked me if
she could borrow my cell phone. I figured it if would quiet her down,
why not? The next thing I know, she’s watching cartoons on my
telephone. I didn’t realize my phone got cartoons.
I asked her how she did it and she showed me but went so fast I
couldn’t keep up. She’s five; she isn’t supposed to know more than I
do, but she does!
“Do you want to know where I live Jiddo?” I responded, “I know where you live.”
“Do you want to know how to get there?” Again, I responded “I know how
to get there.”
“Do you want me to show you?” I figured this line of questioning would
go on forever so I said, “Okay, I’ll bite. Show me.”
She proceeded to point out a little triangle on the phone, which I
later learned was a navigation app. I’m not the brightest light on the
string. My old flip cell phone did three things- it made calls, it
received calls and took messages.
Ava is five so she can’t really spell her address, but since she was
old enough to speak, her mom and dad have drilled her to and from
school every day. What’s your name? What’s your address? What’s your
phone number? What’s your daddy’s name? What’s your mom’s name?
“Do you see this little microphone?” she asked. I nodded. “You have to
speak the address clearly. You can’t speak redneck! You have to
enunciate.” I’m thinking to myself, “How do you know what the word
enunciate even means?”
For the record, I personally resented the fact that she characterized
my language as “redneck” but understood that you had to speak the
address clearly to get it to come up. Walla… a map to Ava’s house
I’ve been using that navigation app all the time now. Who needs a
TomTom or a Garmin?
I finally insisted that she lay quietly on the bed until the big hand
got to Mickey and the little hand got to two. I slipped out of the
room hoping that she’d doze off. Big mistake!
When my wife checked in later to see what she was up to, she had moved
to the bathroom, where she located some of my wife’s super expensive
$12 a can smell-good powder. As Christine walked in, Ava was doing her
very best LaBron James, hurling the powder into the air. “Look
gramma… I’m making powder clouds.”
So much for quiet time!
* * * * *
Michael Aun is a syndicated columnist and writes a weekly column for
this newspaper. To contact Michael Aun, email him at