I am the adopted grandmom of two kids, ages 10 and 12. They are the children of a colleague with whom I’m great friends and a while ago he and his wife asked if I’d stand in for a grandparent. The actual grandparents are far away in another land or not involved, so as I’m fairly nearby and the right age, I agreed to stand in. Besides, I like the kids. I sit in the back seat of the car on trips with them, though this will be ending, sadly, soon as they are getting as tall as me and I’m pretty tall. And they will be teens and that’s when independence and lots of activities take over.
One way to survive kids and their inevitable restlessness is to become adept and things that distract and amuse them. I have some skill in this despite my being childless. I was the oldest of three and my default job was keeping order among the troops. And my grandfather taught me one of his tricks–origami or paperfolding. We loved this as kids and it kept us quiet and fascinated for hours. I’ve used it for fretful kids on airplanes, too.
Always keep a supply of color paper squares in your wallet or purse and memorize some basic designs. This time, on the way to a big concert, I produced Japanese “kabuto” or Samurai helmets. The helmet (horned) can be converted to a goldfish with a flip of a fold and trimming one end with nail scissors.
The book I recommend most often is by master origamist Isao Honda. He often uses two parts to create zoo animals, but his methods are simple to understand and his models are lifelike and pleasing.