Uber son's family of five live in a city some 400 miles north of us. So it makes more sense for Paterfamilias and I to visit them, then it does for my son and daughter-in-law to drag three small children back to the family manse. Which is why it has been almost two years since they've been to our house for a weekend.
Rarity has its charms--and inspirations. My store of toys and amusements for children were in sore need of an update--the two "big" Grands have outgrown the Matchbox cars and play dough. Instead of just laying in a store of stuff for them to do--just-in-case rainy day amusements--I decided to try a variation on something I had read about and posted a while ago: Creating a special bag of stuff for each child--anything from a funny toothbrush to a word-game book to a box of crayons.
It turned out to be a more interesting way to shop for stuff--thinking about each child and what he or she would like. I ended up packing each bag with a few small items--from colored drinking cups with built in straws (one for each of them) to assorted small puzzles, a small board game, stencil kits and other art supplies. Bottom line: It didn't cost a lot of money but they seemed thrilled with having their own bag of tricks to rifle through. Especially the 2-year-old: She felt quite grown up being treated as an equal--especially since she got a page of stickers all to herself.