I’m writing this week’s column from a huge house on a Sherwood Park acreage where I’m taking a shift babysitting Kade. I arrived about 9:30 Sunday morning to relieve his other grandmother and will leave early Tuesday morning to attend a 9 AM meeting about an hour away.
Kade, who is now about twenty-two months old is far easier to be with than when he was younger. Now he is beginning to speak, runs (doesn’t walk), can play independently, and understands virtually everything you say to him including ’you can’t throw a ball at Nana’s head.’ He is a perpetual motion machine who loves climbing, jumping off things, and just going, going, going. Maybe it’s just proud grandmother syndrome but it seems his hand-eye coordination is exceptional. He picks up tiny Playdoh crumbs and attempts to make a ball. He’s fascinated with all hoses, cords, and tubes?from tiny cylindrical Lego parts to the huge central vac hose. He’s a bit of a problem eater. Prefers the beige of bread, crackers, pasta to the colourful flavour of most fruits or veggies. Some days he doesn’t eat enough to keep a bird alive; others it’s non-stop. Luckily, I’m just a temporary caregiver and don’t have to fix the problem?as if there was a fix!
The reason for this tag-team babysitting is that Grady is playing in his second US golf tournament. This one is in Palm Springs and was an attempt to have him move up in the qualifying standings for the Kids World tournament in Pinehurst, North Carolina. His first nine holes played Saturday resulted in a personal best score of thirty-nine. Today’s round saw him shoot forty-one and drop to ninth position. Not the result any of us wanted but likely enough to get him a ’bye’ into Pinehurst next year. He competed in Pinehurst in this August in the six-year-old group; the third tournament of his life, whereas other kids had been in thirty or more this year alone. He was the only seven-year-old Canadian in this regional Palm Springs tourney that draws the cream-of-the-crop kids from all over California and elsewhere in the States. Most of them compete in tournaments every weekend.
Twice weekly golf lessons at his dad’s golf club this summer no doubt helped hone some innate talent in Grady. But how do you compete with the California weather that allows kids to play every day? I think Greg is planning to build a putting green on their acreage next year. And of course, competing in tournaments adds to a kid’s confidence level. Even coping with the plus 40-degree temperatures there this weekend takes some adaptation that California kids don’t need to do.
So, in my small way, I’m helping the cause by making it easier for Grady and his parents to see how far this dream can go. Plus, I’m building a relationship with kid number two. These are good things for all concerned, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.