Monday, January 18, 2010

Babysitting Hints

What to do with a very active granddaughter (3 1/2) when her mother is in Berlin being extremely chic and Euro:

Pick up Litter.

You probably thought I was going to suggest indoor polo or making birdfeeders with pinecones and peanut butter or reading the oeuvre of Beatrix Potter.
But as it turned out, litter collection our favorite activity. We live on a busy street, and though we are far enough away from the road not to be troubled by it, this does mean that on the other side of the stone wall there is Litter. I hate litter. Of the many ills that plague our world, it seems to me entirely preventable and unnecessary (Arguably, right up there with malaria and female genital mutilation). Not that the folks who drive by and toss out half-eaten burritos inside their plastic clamshells, or light beer cans, pay me any mind.

So once a week I take one of my recycled grocery bags and head down the driveway and walk along the road picking up the discarded treasures.
This past weekend, I took along beloved granddaughter. She insisted on her own recycled grocery bag. I insisted she wear her mittens. And she loved picking up litter. Nothing pleased her more than pouncing upon an offending plastic wrapper. I picked up a soggy newspaper; she thought we should share in this bounty. From there on, every piece of litter had to be divided in two. (Note: Good for the environment; good lesson about sharing.) Since much of it was soggy, ripping or tearing in half was not a problem. I ceded individual soda cans to her. Then we got to the torn porn. Rather than having been tossed from a moving vehicle, I assumed this was flotsam from a neighbor’s recycling or garbage bin. There were several pages torn from a magazine that apparently featured naked females in a variety of creative positions in unlikely settings. Granddaughter thought we should divide these as well. I had qualms about which half of the naked female anatomy should end up in her trash bag. (I decided on the top half.)

I just thank the Litter Gods that on that particular outing there were no used condoms.


Diggitt said...

Oh, how delightful! My grandmother Lydia used to do exactly that with me. She lived across the street from the junior high and high school, which meant -- in those innocent days -- lots and lots of cigarette ends. I loved picking up litter with Grandma.

My mother's sisters did many sports, so inevitably those old-fashioned ski poles lurked. We used them to pick up extremely noxious things, which -- again, those were innocent days -- meant Popsicle wrappers and other sticky stuff. What a great memory!

Thanks for sharing -- in the unlikely event that I become a grandmother while still young enough to be vertical, I will do just that.

Mickey and Flea said...

Another reason we are superior beings. We Don't litter. We just sent the young uns off after mice.

katie hyena said...

This is seriously the cutest thing ever. I swear when I have children this would be something I'd do with them. Little kids are goofy and can find enjoyment in the littlest things. It's good exercise, good for the environment, and something more bonding than a movie or cartoons.