Grandparents are like a lithium vacation


I’ll bet you never noticed that in the stars.

Two out of Boobaby’s seven grandparents visited this weekend. Boo around houseguests is like someone suffering from mania going off their meds: from her typical, cheerful self she morphed into supertoddler. Her highs were very high: she was completely ecstatic about everything. “We’re going to the hillside playground today,” I’d tell her, and she would shout back, “YAAAAAY! IT’S CHILLY THERE!” A scarf was cause for celebration, and a card game put her high on glee mountain.

Whenever we have visitors, Boo starts talking more lucidly. She may find it necessary to articulate because grandparents don’t understand her clipped toddler shorthand as we do. Whatever the reason, grandparents somehow manage to elicit lengthy and bizarrely comprehensible dialogue from this two-year old: “That pizza’s a little too hot. Grandma will blow on it and I’ll eat a pretzel. Do you want some salt?”

On the other hand, having visitors can make the low swings really, really low. Boo rarely acts out, but today she was just too excited playing with her grandparents to eat or sleep well, and as a result, fussed and cried until I could finally get some avocado down her. Bedtime, too, became an ordeal, although that’s pretty normal for poor Boo now that we’ve interred her in Sleep Reeducation Camp.

Have you heard the theory that some bygone genius artists were actually untreated manic depressives? The idea is that Van Gogh wouldn’t have cut off his ear if he were medicated, but then again, he might not have painted “Starry Starry Night” either. Interesting guess, but I wonder if maybe his grandparents were visiting, too.

So I’m ambivalent at the grandparents’ departure. On the one hand, Boobaby enjoys them tremendously. On the other — well, it’s a relief to return to the everyday chaos I’ve come to think of as “normal.”