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Build-A-Bear With the Grandkids

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Though it was truly Gemma’s second Christmas, 2013 was really the first one she would start grasping the concept. She was barely a month old the previous year. Linda and I got both Elliana and Gemma something they could unwrap and gift certificates to Build-A-Bear.

It was time to cash those in a week or two later. Candace, of course, wanted to be there to share her baby’s first experience making her own stuffed animal.

Elliana had been there before, so, like the pro she was, she went to the rack and selected a pink kitten to make.

Candace was certain that Gemma would select a unicorn if they had one, and a horse if not. She loves stuffed animals, and had always seemed to prefer unicorns and horses.

However, Gemma is both unpredictable and her own person. She chose the panda bear.

Elliana was already having her pink kitty stuffed by the time we got to the machine with Gemma. Gemma grew a bit timid when it was her turn, so she watched with amazement as the young lady running the machine made her panda bear turn from a flimsy piece of material into a real live stuffed animal!

It was time to get the clothing and accessories, but there was one stop Gemma was determined to make on her way over there. She had, apparently, noticed the stuffed baby animals on the way in, and picked up the baby panda bear to go with her big panda bear.

Candace helped Gemma select an outfit for her panda.

Elliana, though, was struggling between a couple of outfits for her pink kitty. Of course, with Papa around, there is an easy solution for that dilemma - get both outfits. Candace rolled her eyes at the suggestion, but Elliana agreed that it was a good solution.

With the accessories now selected, it was time to go check out and pay the difference between the gift cards and what it really costs!

On the way up there, Candace took the baby panda from Gemma and put it back in the bin. Gemma was having no part of separating her mama panda from her baby, and sat down crying.

I asked Candace what she was thinking taking the baby panda from Gemma.

"Dad, she has so many stuffed animals at home. She doesn't need the baby, too," she told me.

Now, I understand that logic, but I have a grandchild to spoil and that logic isn’t helping. "I want to get it for her," I told her.

Candace asserted herself: "I’m the mom, and I say no."

There was only one way for me to handle that. I sat down next to Gemma, and started kicking my feet yelling "we want the panda! We want the panda!"

Everyone in the store stopped to look at me throwing my tantrum - except for Linda; she was pretending she did not know me. Even Gemma stopped with her tantrum and watched me throw mine. I’m not certain if she was taking lessons, or was simply amazed at how immature my behavior was.

Candace was a little upset, but was way more embarrassed than upset. She finally conceded: "Fine. Get the panda."

I stood up, got the panda, and handed it back to Gemma who gave me a look like "what just happened?" I gave her back a look like "we have just defeated our common enemy."

Linda, still pretending she didn’t know me, sent Elliana to the counter with her goods. The young lady there rang up the purchases, deducted the amount of the gift cards, and ran my debit card for the $70 or so that exceeded those.

The grandkids were happy on the way home. Gemma was hugging her pandas. Elliana was putting one of the outfits on her pink kitty. Candace was rather quiet, probably still a bit upset at how immature her father can be when he puts his mind to it. Linda could finally drop the act that she didn’t know me, and said she could not believe what she had seen there and how I could usurp Candace’s authority.

"Candace will understand when she is a grandparent," I told her. "She may not believe me now, but she will when that time comes." And she will.

She is too much like me that way, and had just learned a lesson about grandparenting that will stick with her for the rest of her life!

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