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Wanna’ Play?

images “Gran, come on. Wanna’ play balloon?” my 3 ½ year old Grand said. Play balloon? “I don’t know how to play balloon,” I said. Dean grabbed his blown-up orange balloon and ran into his family’s living room, turned playroom.

“Come on. I’ll show you,” Dean said. He stood, with stiff legs spread far apart, in the middle of the room and held the balloon tightly between both hands. “You stand over there.” He nodded his head toward an empty floor space just a few feet away. “I start!” my Grand said as he tossed the balloon above his head and when it floated down to his arm reach, he smacked it toward me. “Hit it, Gran! Hit it!” he shouted. I did. He swatted it again and it landed on the floor behind a chair. Dean crawled under the chair, retrieved the balloon, and hit it into the air.

We swatted and smacked and hit and we laughed when the balloon landed out of our reach or onto the floor. Dean held the balloon out to me, “Gran, you want a start turn?” A treasured turn when you are three years old. I accepted Dean’s gift. “Next start is mine,” he said.

The following day Dean and I played with orange yarn, my Grand’s favorite color. We wrapped yarn around a napkin holder and around our fingers. Then Dean’s mother said that she’d bought the yarn to make pompoms to play with but hadn’t gotten around it. I cut a strip of cardboard, about 4” x 8”, from a gift box and began to wrap the yarn around the cardboard. “Dean, would you please pull the yarn out of the skein?” I asked. He did. Yards and yards. I couldn’t possibly wrap as fast as he pulled so I asked Dean to hold the yarn so it would be straight and easier for me to wrap. That lasted about 15 seconds. “Gran, your turn to hold!” my Grand said.

Wrapping yarn around cardboard wasn’t easy for Dean so he discovered that he could flip the cardboard over and over and over and over. Finally we had enough yarn to make a pompom and I tied the strands together with a tight knot and started to cut the yarn. “My turn to cut!” Dean said. A quick chore for me, but his is little short fingers didn’t fit the finger grips well. He twisted his body. Cocked his head. Moved the scissors from his left hand to his right hand. And after many tries, he snipped every strand and the pompom fell to the floor.

Dean grabbed the yarn pompom and ran toward the playroom. “Come on, Gran. Wanna’ play yarn?” he shouted. He tossed the yarn ball above his head and laughed when it smacked his face before falling onto the floor. “Stand over there, Gran.” I stood a few feet from him. “Are you ready? Hold your hands.” Then Dean tossed the pompom toward me and we played a game of catch. Then we took turns throwing the pompom toward a big empty cardboard box and high fived each other every time the ball landed inside the box.

Dean is all boy. Play balloon. Play yarn. My Grand’s versions of play ball.

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