By Jerry Zezima
Of all the memorable things that happened during our granddaughters’ first sleepover in two years — getting vanilla frosting all over the kitchen table after making cupcakes, almost freezing to death in an inflatable pool that promptly deflated, and eating charred popcorn while watching “Encanto” for the 87th time — the one that will go down in family history occurred when my wife, Sue, had to sit on the bathroom floor with a glass of wine because one of the girls wouldn’t get out of the tub.
Grandchildren can make you deliriously happy, as ours always do, but they can also drive you to drink. And not from a sippy cup.
“Lilly,” Sue pleaded, “it’s time to get out of the bathtub.”
“I want to stay in, Nini,” replied Lilly, who at nearly 6 years old is a pistol (in this case, a water pistol).
So Sue did the only thing a grandmother with melting patience could do: She went downstairs, poured herself a glass of wine, came back up and sat on the bathroom floor with her much-needed sustenance while Lilly splashed, soaked and sang until she was finally ready to emerge from the soapy tub and dry off.
Water dripped onto the tile. Fortunately, wine didn’t.
Lilly and her big sister, Chloe, who’s 9, had been looking forward to the sleepover. So had Sue and I.
The girls arrived (with their daddy, Guillaume) a little past noon. After scarfing down pizza for lunch, the first of our weekend activities commenced when Sue let Chloe do a load of laundry.
“Nini never lets me wash clothes,” I said.
“Maybe you don’t do it right, Poppie,” Chloe suggested.
With Sue’s guidance, Chloe did it perfectly.
She also did a great job of helping Sue make cupcakes (opening and closing the oven door was the extent of my assistance), after which they had to be frosted.
Here is where things got a tad messy. The frosting may have been the icing on the cupcakes, but it also managed (again, with my assistance) to get onto the tablecloth, which went directly into — that’s right — another load of laundry.
Much of the creamy confection ended up on Lilly, who had it all over her hands, on her arm (she licked it off) and even in her hair.
“You need a bath,” Sue declared.
Before that happened, however, the girls put on Sue’s makeup, including lipstick and nail polish they applied themselves. It went beautifully with the frosting.
Then I joined them outside in the pool, which was filled with water so cold it could have caused coronary arrest in a walrus. Luckily for me, the pool had a leak, so we had to get out.
The swim was a lot faster than Lilly’s bath, which turned out to be a marathon in which Sue washed the remainder of the frosting off the giggly girl but needed a cocktail to tide her over while Lilly created tides of her own.
After watching an animated show called “Veggie Tales in the City” (my fumbling with the remote prompted Lilly to ask, “You don’t know how to work your own TV?”) and eating hot dogs and hamburgers for dinner, we sat down for a viewing of the girls’ favorite film, “Encanto,” which I have probably seen more than any adult in America. Putting a damper on the proceedings was the popcorn I burned to a crisp by leaving it in the microwave too long.
Halfway through the movie, the girls dozed off. Upon being roused, they went up to bed, putting the sleep in sleepover.
The next morning, they helped Sue make pancakes — with rainbow sprinkles! I must have eaten half a dozen of the heavy flapjacks. They are still in my digestive system.
After playing hopscotch, swinging in the hammock and having a lunch consisting of chicken nuggets and leftover burgers, which now had the consistency of hockey pucks, it was time for the girls to go home.
“Lilly and I had been looking forward to this for years!” Chloe exclaimed.
“My friends’ play dates aren’t exciting at all, but this sleepover was the best!” Lilly chimed in.
After the girls and Guillaume left, Sue and I sat down to catch our breath and savor the memories of a wonderful weekend.
“Care for a glass of wine?” I asked.
“Yes,” said Sue. “And I’m not drinking it in the bathroom.”
Copyright 2022 by Jerry Zezima