Yesterday, I babysat my grandson Sam while Elaine and our daughter Sarah went into Roanoke for the day. Sam is now nearly 19 months old and I can see the changes in him. For example, when we were walking down the sidewalk next to our house, I pointed out the chicken run to him, and Sam immediately took off for the henhouse. He would not have been so independent a few months ago.
Back in the summer, I gave Sam some bread to feed the chickens, instead he ate the bread himself. This time, when I told him to feed the chickens (while I was picking clover to give our birds), Sam gathered up dead leaves and stuffed them through the chicken wire. Our Rhode Island Reds were eagerly eating the clover I offered and, of course, rejected Sam's dead leaves. Nevertheless, a delighted Sam continued to stuff leaves through the wire.
Later, local trapper Gary Guilliams stopped by with three dead coyotes he had caught that morning. Gary is one of the sources for a coyote story I am writing for Virginia Wildlife, and I had asked him to bring by any song dogs that he caught so that I could take pictures of them for the story.
Sam was thrilled to see the coyotes and wanted to touch them, which I discouraged of course.
But the most interesting thing Sam did all day was tell me that he wanted "crack-ers" as he says. I gave him some saltines, but he rejected them by more insistently repeating "crack-ers" and going to the pantry door and pointing upward. It was only after I called Elaine and asked what was it specifically that Sam wanted did my wife tell me that our grandson had developed a fondness for graham crackers. "Why," Elaine said, " would he want saltines when he knows graham crackers are in the house."