I told the kids that opa would be staying with us for the weekend. They were happy to hear it. But of course, I told them there are rules...
1. Always put on their house shoes as opa hates it when they go around barefoot. There was a sudden scramble to find the right pair of house shoes for the next minutes.
2. Make sure their toys, especially the real tiny ones, are not lying anywhere around where were we expect the opa to be walking and spending his time while he's staying with us. They immediately started tidying up their rooms and gathered those scattered toys around the house.
3. Opa would have the remote control when it comes to television time. They took turn to asking opa's permission if they could watch their own shows.
4. There are scheduled times for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We couldnt be simply spontaneous with our dining hours as opa needed his meals and his medicines. No problem with the kids, they find it a great adventure having opa on the dining table.
5. Be there to help opa and if possible, keep him busy. This was answered with enthusiastic 'yes' as they hauled their toys, their homeworks, their art books to start keeping the opa busy.
And there were even those unspoken rules that the kids, in their sensitive souls, took to heart such as:
1. They never left him alone in a room. Even if the opa is busy with his puzzles, with his newspaper, with his tv watching -- they were around him, quietly playing in a corner. They even sat on his lap while watching opa's favorite folk music shows and opa watched with them their Barbie shows :)
2. MC, upon hearing that during opa's first time to bath with us had difficulty getting out of the tub, started waking up earlier than usual. In the hope that he'd call her for help.
3. There were much cuddling between them, I cant even believe it myself. Opa waking up with kids ready to cuddle with him and keep his bed warm. Opa always sorrounded by the girls that he sometimes almost stumbles on them in every turn.
4. MC started getting ready for bed earlier than usual as she wanted to be there when opa started to get ready for bed. She takes of his socks, brings his pajamas, prepares his clothes for the next day, etc.
5. It was a friendly fight between them on who would give opa his house shoes. They never did this to their papa nor to me!
6. IC made sure that opa took his medicine, morning and evening. She would whisper to opa everytime it is time to drink his medicine.
We brought opa home yesterday morning. As MC's got a one week break from school, she readily assigned herself to helping opa settle back home.
MC proclaimed herself available for opa. She carried things for him, she helped opa cook (while I had to pick up IC from kindergarten), she prepared the table, etc. In the end she said, 'Mama, it is fun to help the opa.'
The visit was not only good for the opa but for the girls as well, not to mention for my husband and me. It was actually a breath of fresh air.