Vidalia grandmother enjoys her newest ‘hobby’

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 9, 2004

Toni Lemoine has a new hobby, and it takes most of her time and energy to keep up with it.

But the Vidalia resident, who once spent up to 12 hours a day making Pilgrimage dresses, wouldn’t trade this new activity for anything.

Lemoine spends every weekday afternoon with her grandson, Bryce McCarthy, a 3-year-old, blond-haired bundle of energy.

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&uot;He’s all boy, and then some,&uot; said his &uot;Nanny,&uot; who picks him up from nursery school at Vidalia First Baptist every day. She cares for him while Bryce’s mother, Donna Lemoine, teaches at Vidalia High School.

Keeping up with Bryce means Lemoine doesn’t have time to make dresses &045;&045; &uot;Have you ever tried to do anything around a 3-year-old boy?&uot; she asked &045;&045; but she knows the years he is young are precious.

&uot;I enjoy my grandson, and he won’t be a little boy long,&uot; Lemoine said.

The house Lemoine shares with her husband Donald on Terry Circle is filled with toys &045;&045; a Winnie-the-Pooh tent in the living room, a pile of trucks in the front room, Matchbox cars stored carefully in plastic boxes.

But Bryce, who carries a worn stuffed &uot;Bunny&uot; nearly everywhere he goes, is just as comfortable playing with the furniture, and the family cat, as he is with his real toys.

Lemoine doesn’t mind.

&uot;I let my house be and let him be a little boy,&uot; she said.

On Sunday afternoon, a suddenly shy Bryce hid from visitors behind fluffy couch cushions, squirming his way behind where his grandmother sat and poking his head up with a mischievous grin.

&uot;He’s never still except when he’s sleeping,&uot; Lemoine said.

Donna Lemoine said having her mother baby-sit Bryce is a big help.

But unlike his mother, Bryce gets a bit spoiled by Donna’s parents.

&uot;You love your grandkids different than your kids,&uot; Toni Lemoine said. &uot;I let him get away with things I never would have let my daughter do.&uot;

Perhaps, Lemoine said, it’s because she learned patience the first time around. &uot;You think you enjoy your children, but you enjoy your grandchildren even more,&uot; she said.