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Grandkids are gift you can return – but no refunds!

Grand Central column
Grand Central column

Good grandparents ... what are they? Fair question, much sager minds than mine have long considered.

René Descartes to Danny Dyer, philosophers of their day have ruminated on what Russian families poetically call Dedushka and Babushka. Ya ya!
​Author Adriana Trigiani attests “our faces are works of art our grandchildren will treasure”. In which case, possessing features folk politely call “full of character” and “lived in” – clock that works well on radio and looks like it has literally launched a thousand ships – my mug means they’re quids in, possessing distorted masterpiece absinthe-addled Picasso would be proud of.
So, seamlessly, let’s flesh out bare bones of past musings with précis of grandchildren who share our home and thoughts, we their hopes and dreams.
E​va’s world is awash with social media, make-up, Primarni and peer pressure, a 15-year-old womanfully getting to grips with a society making increasingly exacting demands on female teens with unrealistic body image role models who simultaneously raise expectation and lower self esteem.
Noel is 13, proving unlucky for his blonde barnet that overnight changed colour, courtesy of hair dye likely marketed as Goth Noir. It didn’t last long. Not much does in an ephemeral world where he’s constantly trying to find himself. Pushing boundaries, pulling no punches and, if all else fails, virtually retreating to solitary comfort of computer games console.
Ava is a sprightly six-year-old who was a whirlwind in a past life. She’s non-stop in her infectious and non-exacting search for joy. It’s the little things that mean most. All she wants is your time. ​And beloved bike, pimped with ​bespoke​ spoke clips, handlebar tassels, bell and basket, overflowing with a few of her favourite things from pink crayons to pine cones.
And Ella, well Ella! ​What’s a doting granddad to do when a two year-old, beautiful and bountiful in equal measure, excitedly calls to declare she wants cuddles and kisses? Melt, that’s what. Like a midsummer Magnum (Mivvi for older readers). More infectious than measles or mumps, her tinkling laughter – truth be told more 40-a-day throaty guffaw – ever sweet music to my cauliflower ears.​
The younger pair, sometime wild child soul mates, unruly as their tousled locks, get on like a house on fire. And that’s why we never let them play with Swan Vestas.
Youngsters oft attract undeserved bad press, we in media circles increasingly inclined to tarnish their image from troublesome twos and terrible threes through​ rites of passage to problematic prepubescents and tiresome teens.
But, to quote rock 'n' roll royalty, "the kids are alright" – despite The Who wordsmith Townshend’s spelling being all wrong. Blatantly ​biased, maybe blinkered, I believe not my generation – but theirs – is genuinely gift that keeps on giving.
One that can be returned. But, ever pliant to spoil ’em all with grandparental treats aplenty, never ever requesting – or expecting – cash-back refunds.

Ava and Eva (Noel is camera-shy!)

Ava and Eva (Noel is camera-shy!)