Grandparents are made of chocolate. How else do you explain how your child is instantly covered in warm brown dribbly chocolate within minutes of seeing a grandparent?! Both then instantly become the centre of attention for every wasp within a 2 mile radius. Mum's have to magic up some wet wipes, a bin for used wet wipes and perhaps a change of clothes before more fun can be had. And boy, with Grandparents, there is definitely more fun to be had.
Grandparents are full of ideas and enthusiasm to keep their grandchild(ren) as happy (spoilt) as possible. “Oooh come and have a look at this, [insert name of grandchild/grandchildren here] will love this!” and off they totter to the nearest china shop with porcelain dolls /pet shop with puppies / Steiff bear shop with large teddies at 100s of bucks/euros/pounds a piece [delete choices as appropriate]. The chocolate covered [last wet wipe session has worn off] grandchild does indeed think it is great, as sticky handprints provide a gingerbread trail for the Mummy to follow.
So imagine my trepidation yesterday when Oompa Grampa said 'I've phoned my friend Markus and he'll open up his wood workshop for us, you'll like this”. I had several images flash before my eyes, most of which were of beautiful carvings all covered in little chocolate handprints and a stern German man asking us to leave his farm before he lets out the dogs. GULP, did I pack enough wet wipes for this holiday?
We drove through the Teutoberg Forrest to a large farm building built in the 1800s and still looking very agricultural. The authentic cobblestones leading to the barn doors were a handful for the toddling DangerBaby but holding on to Oompa's hand we were able to step over the old fashioned threshold into a brightly lit modern workshop.
We were warmly welcomed by a lovely lady who spoke some of our language (not that strange OompaLand one) and she opened up a small stable to the side for DangerBaby to go and have a look. This small stable resembled an elven workshop preparing for Christmas... it was the place of dreams! Rocking horses, xylophones, dolls prams, cookers, bikes, decorations... A world of wooden play heaven for one little girl. Toys on shelves and on the floor, all lovingly handmade in wood and waiting to be played with.
We were trying to take it all in, when in walks the grey haired Markus – complete with spectacles to complete the 'Father Christmas' look of his workshop (minus the beard as it is Summer!). Within 5 minutes my daughter was sat on the floor playing with a wooden horse making purring sounds. Much to the amusement of Markus and Britta.
Both Markus and Britta believe strongly that wood enriches peoples lives. They try to preserve the wood's original character in each and every product they craft, thus each piece gains a distinctive uniqueness. They still use traditional methods to carve the wood and each piece is smooth and almost warm to the touch. Each and every piece an instant delight with our newly appointed u-ni-k chief tester (DangerBaby) and her financier (Daddy DayCare).
Thankfully this workshop nestled in deepest darkest OompaLand has kindly agreed to supply u-ni-k gifts, so we will be able to share some of the magical joy that these pieces have brought to our family. As Daddy DayCare said "This is what I dreamed Santa's workshop was like when I was little!".
So dreams can come true for young and old alike, a world with Grandparents in it is truly magical indeed.