The Terrible Affliction of Grandchilditis
Grandchildren - those 'little dears' that turn mature adult males into beaming, boasting, uncharacteristically soft old teddy bears while at the same time causing mature adult women to metamorphosis into mushy, gushing and doting old chooks.
I have a mate - 6' 4" and with a face that would make the Grim Reaper run in terror. I have always believed that he eats anvils for breakfast and considers cleaning all the patrons out of a waterside bar as a light warm up. Then, his first Grandchild arrived on the scene - just your typical ugly sod of a thing that had two functions in life - to constantly shit it's nappies and wail from dawn to dusk and, mostly through the night as well. My mate turned to water! Every where he went he wanted to take the little monster - the babies Mother had to wage war to get her child back for a feed.
He went to the pub - the kid cleaned the pub out even faster than my mate could - grown men ran in horror as this huge Bear of a man walked through the doors and invited all and sundry to look at, and pay compliment to, his new grandchild - God help the man who expressed indifference. He went to his local RSL (Returned Serviceman's League) - the kid went; he went fishing - the kid went; he went walking - the kid went; he went to the Supermarket - the kid went. Pretty soon those of us who knew my mate had no social life - we were scared to go anywhere because there would be my mate - and the bloody kid. We stayed at home - with the blinds drawn, because we'd run out of nice things to say - and we didn't want to suffer the consequences of not having a compliment to pay. His wife was worse! The local Pub damn near went bankrupt because she stopped playing the one arm bandits. Every cent she had was spent on some new trinket or gadget for the kid. The kid's Mother was near going round the bend - if she asked the Grand Parents to mind the kid for an hour it took her a week to get the little shit back.
You'd think that the novelty would wear off after a while but I have reason to believe it never does. Just down the street and around the corner from me are an elderly couple who are bringing their grandchild up. The Mother is ill and cannot cope herself. Said grandchild - a boy - is now fourteen years old. Like a lot of fourteen year old's these days the kid is twice the size of his grandparents and has a double sized chip on his shoulder to match. Any request by the grandparents for him to do anything constructive is met with a round of abuse, accompanied by something being smashed, broken up or otherwise destroyed. A simple request by the grand father for him to mow the lawns was met by an attack on the only family vehicle with a sledge hammer! Needless to say the Police are frequent visitors to the premises and the betting up and down the street is that the boy will be in jail before his sixteenth birthday.
The opposite approach, usually practiced by the female of the species is driving another near neighbor to distraction. The female, a sixteen year old child with an acid tongue and a bad attitude suddenly becomes all sweetness and light when her grandparents are in her sights. This is usually when she wants anything that her parents cannot or will not provide. On such occasions this mini "Lolita" descends on her grandparents, suitably attired in a demure flowery dress, and manages to produce a copious flow of crocodile tears while sobbing out her despair because her parents will not provide the this or that that she "just has to have or she will surely die". Needless to say the poor bloody grandparents dip into their meagre pension funds to satisfy the child's demands.
I don't know if there is a cure for this particular affliction, and it's almost in plague proportions, nearly every grandparent suffers from it to some degree. A mild infection may have relatively simple after effects -some loss of self image and a realisation or suspicion of being taken advantage of. However a serious infection may result in life crippling consequences. Among the confirmed after effects are terminal financial damage, personal conflict - in rare cases even extending to actual physical injury, and of course the high possibility of domestic turmoil resulting from differences of opinion on how best to treat "Grandchilditis".