Showing posts with label Grandchildren. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grandchildren. Show all posts

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bah? Is there a bug humming?

Still sitting here waiting for the departure of this cold.  It is a moving target.  Fever and scratchy throat and malaise have given way to chest congestion, cough, runny nose and grumpiness   Taking various PM drugs to sleep, but decided to try without last night and now realize that getting about 4 hours of sleep does not put me in the best mood.  (Don't you just hate when bloggers whine about their winter colds?)

Speaking of wine, even that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  I seem to be able to eat cookies and cupcakes rather easily, though.  And Lindt chocolate truffles go down without a whimper.  I am living in stretch pants this week.

I have finished my Holiday newsletter and will print up a batch and distribute them to one and all who might scan them before tossing them in the trash.  There are only so many news notes on travels and photos of darling grandchildren and brags about adult children that my friends and relatives are able to endure before pouring more bourbon in the eggnog and watching a rerun of Miracle on 34th Street, or National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation or the Muppet Christmas Carol while wrapping some odd shaped item that was on sale and will find its way into the back of a relative's crowded closet.

Yes, I am grumpy.  I am heading back up to those darling grandchildren to babysit once again this weekend...unless I find my illness does not go away.  Then it will be up hubby to hold up my end.  It is only the baby that needs to be watched as all four other members of the family have different social obligations on Saturday.  They have full calendars most days.  Hope the baby can keep up!  Below is the command center that was recently installed.

I have finished much of my holiday shopping for them, but it is a bit of a challenge.  Just a photo or two of my granddaughters room is an example of holiday shopping headaches for those who are grandparents to over-privileged children.  (For the longest time I shared a bedroom with my brother AND sister until I was a teenager!)

Yes it does look like someone threw up a strawberry milkshake in here and one can get a headache if staying too long!

Oh well, I do not want you to think that these over-privileged children are spoiled.  They do their chores somewhat faithfully and seem to get along with each other phenomenally well.  I am blessed and will be in a better mood to realize that when this damn cold departs!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Summer Reruns#

The smooth face of a butter-cream surf-sanded shell
The marvelous smooth pre-kissed cheek of a grandchild

The starfish shaped prints in the sand after flight of a watchful great heron
The tiny hand print in sand of an elated child who came later

The familiar hand-hold of your husband at the end of the movie before you enter the car
The rose petaled floor of your son's well-planned engagement evening*

The feathery drift of dozens of yellow butterflies against a blue sky
The last smell of a sunset peach rose before the first petal fall
The earthy taste of a sun-kissed tomato

The icy sip of a glass of something cold and bubbly
The scattered song of a teenage titmouse dancing on the roof

The giggle of a toddler dancing in the grass
The jazzy rhythm of bold cicadas hidden from view
The gentle burr of a hummingbird at your back

The magical sparkle of an ever higher climbing fairy flight of fireflies
against the black silhouette of a tree before the blush of the moon.

 #Perhaps a little sweet gooey like too much pink cotton candy at the fair...but it is honest, honestly.
 *Details, perhaps, in another blog post.

(In answer to the prior post she was most amazed that the statue did not wear underpants!)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bawdy (Body?) Personality

Here is another sculpture from that sculpture garden that I visited with my grandson earlier in the month.  This garden was created as a lovely quiet place by parents to honor a special daughter that had left them way too early,  so it was with great thankfulness that I followed the paths.

I brought my granddaughter when it was her turn to visit us.  She came primarily for the little fairy houses that had been created by various people in the community.  But she also loved the paths and ramps and ability to kick up her heals in a big open space.  Running is one of her favorites things to do.

Below is a photo showing her reaction to the same statue of the girl in pigtails that my grandson saw (That photo is in a prior post in case you missed it).  Her response was very different as you can see.  I think this says something about her personality and perhaps something about the fact that she is very familiar with the female body and not so much in awe as perhaps my grandson was.  (I will tell you that her comment was on a different part of the body than would be most obvious.) What do you think about my thoughts?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

That Talk We All Avoid

My 7-year-old grandson is visiting us this week. He had a free week from his summer schedule and we are thrilled to be able to share this time with him. Seven is a magical age. I had forgotten how wonderful it is to pal around with a seven-year-old! There are a few things we have to push him to do and others which we let him opt out of as his days are super scheduled most times. This generation rarely has time to do nothing. We give him that and unlike his sister, who has to be endlessly entertained, he can amuse himself for hours with a Lego kit or a craft project.

We have a local sculpture garden (out here in the boonies) and they have an annual "Fairies in the Garden" exhibit. They make it fun for the kids by creating puzzles and mazes along with the fairy houses.

I took him once again this year, because I know he soon will be too old for such silly stuff and I will be too old for the more exciting stuff he will want to do.  ( I have little desire to shoot down a zipline.)

He is now of an age where he notices more things in this sculpture garden beyond the fairy houses, and that has led to greater discussions...such as "What is a torso?"  and comments such as, "She looks scary without her arms, don't you think?"  This sculpture below almost led to another whole new discussion for which I had not prepared.  Grannies, beware!

I love how intrigued he is by this magical girl in pigtails.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Falling in Love Again

Two days of intense and painful swollen neck glands and a knife sharp pain on one side of my throat when I swallow has been the way Thursday and Friday have gone for me.  Heavy doses of pain killing PM sleep drugs to get me through the two nights.  I am home alone as hubby has headed to the city for a meeting and a doctor's checkup and a toddler's graduation.  Impossible to figure out how I caught this as my exposure to small children was not intimate at the seedling booth that I worked last week and I used the bacteria wipes at the grocery store as I always do...although I did sit with hubby in a doctor's waiting room, but never touched the magazines!

I am missing the toddler's (little gal) graduation from preschool with regret but was feeling so sick the regret is small.

On the third day I ate a sweet peach for lunch and then took a long afternoon nap.  When I woke at 4:00 PM it seemed the fever had finally lessened and my throat pain was no longer impossible to endure. I could actually swallow without thinking I had a knife plunged through one of my Eustachian tubes.

I pulled myself out of bed at long last.  Thinking my weekend visit with the kids coming here may get off to a great start after all.

Then just as I stepped out of the shower and dried my hair and put on fresh new clothes my best medicine cure arrived on dancing feet.  My 6 7-year-old grandson who came back with my husband ran into the house to greet me and see how I was doing.  He has lost both of the two front top teeth and both his bottom teeth and this toothless silly smile and lispy dialogue fills me with indescribable joy.

We had a 20 minute conversation about the loss of his teeth over the last few weeks,  the economics of the loss of teeth (such as daddy dropping one of the four teeth down the sink and they calling plumber to retrieve the dropped tooth).  I certainly went wrong in not teaching my children how to remove the elbow joint beneath the sink!  Then the next tooth was lost on the playground at school.  Several green bills later the fourth tooth is left with the tooth fairy and grandson has 12 dollars in his bank!!  Then our happy conversation drifts on to Harry Potter and how at 6 he has already read a shortened version of the first book and has brought the DVD with him so that he can finish seeing the visual of the story.  I ask if it is not too scary for him, and he insists he just gets scared at certain parts like where the troll is, but he knows it is just a movie.

Then with the twists and turns of magical conversations with young folk we talk about how he used to love Thomas the Train and how that time has passed so rapidly that he has forgotten the names of many of the trains which results in a brief search on the Internet down memory lane.

Then as I lay back on my sick bed, not really feeling sick anymore, he heads off to the kitchen where grandpa is making a grilled cheese sandwich with carrot sticks and freshly picked raspberries for dessert and the chore of picking more raspberries after dinner.

Remember when you fell in love and you could not do anything without working that person's name into the conversation, or working it into doodle or a daydream?  Well, it does happen again in old age.  I am so absolutely, positively lucky that this young boy has a happy and rich life and that he loves sharing it with me!  I do not deserve this, but I will not give it back!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I just noticed that my last post on this blog was the 1,000th.  Quite the journalistic diarrhea I have going on here.  I didn't notice or I would have made greater use of the milestone.  Certainly it was worth a poem, but it appears that both you and I dodged that bullet.

This week I am breathing and eating slowly and catching up on all those murder mysteries that I missed watching when my grandson was here.  I did get him introduced to the Narnia series and now have purchased two other DVDs for when he returns for a few days this fall.

While I was breathing like a yoga instructor and sitting in front of the computer upstairs the house began to sway and jerk.  I did have a small glass of wine at the computer, but I knew it was not that, and instead, hopped like a crazy bunny outside.  I could see the bird feeders swinging dramatically from side to side in the back yard and I waited outside at least ten minutes before going back inside.  I am alone this week as hubby is on a business trip.  I figure I would not be found beneath the rubble for days!  5.8 on the earthquake scale and the largest since 100 years ago.  Everyone up and down the East Coast felt it.

I walked carefully around the house when I got back inside and found only one broken wine glass that had been hanging in the rack beneath the cupboard.  It seems that Colorado got a similar earthquake just a short while ago.  Here in the East we rarely get quakes, so they can be very startling.  Mother earth is settling down after all the water, oil, gas, and shale we have been taking from her layers.

Next week I get the 4-year-old girl for a week.  She is much more clingy and far less in love with the great outdoors  Maybe baking, making cookies, tea parties...!  Then we are off to Colorado and Utah for two weeks.  I will be taking the laptop and hoping to post and looking forward to some dramatic scenery to preserve with my camera.  I sure hope what I have to write about is of more significance and readability than these last few weeks.  I just need some Rocky Mountain air as my gray matter has been very sluggish these days.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Something Good

The morning has been washed with last night's rain and the air is cooler than it has been in almost a month.  One might actually think that autumn is waiting somewhat impatiently in the wings.  I am sitting out on the deck with beach towel covered chairs watching my grandson build animals from "play doh".  Towels keep the dampness from our legs.

Due to summer scheduling my grandson has no where to go this week, so we are attempting to provide some activities that can compete with the activity filled summer camps he has been attending since regular school was out.  Parents who both work spend hours in the spring signing their children up for this and that greatly enhanced babysitting service that can safely and expensively keep children occupied.

Weather has generously decided to be on our side this week and it does not look like we will have to spend hours the week heats up again, we will see.

In the background I hear our little water fountain gurgling away on the patio below, my grandson is humming to himself ( a sure sign he is involved in something he enjoys), and the sea gulls are laughing back and forth across the river.  High in the wet tree leaves some bird is singing a joyful song with several movements.  As I type these words a hummingbird graces us with his presence, hovering at the edge of the patio umbrella and checking out our activities, adding another layer of perfection to the morning.

Then my grandson decides to share his latest escapade with Mario and Bowser (do not ask) and it takes some lengthy repetitive telling to reach the end of the story, which after twenty minutes he never actually ends, just stops talking from exhaustion and a need to visit the bathroom.  I realize that no one has probably ever listened to him for twenty minutes any time recently, and I ask questions and add comments, pretending this is the most amazing conversation I have had in days  Being a former teacher, I realize that allowing him to expound is good development towards future communication.  He does not have all of my attention, because I am distracted by the joy in his face and the twinkle in his eyes.

Mornings like these I pause in thankfulness for the reward, and like Julie Andrews, I keep thinking I must have done something good.  ( I do not even mind that my coffee has grown cold.)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Essential Things You May Have Missed Out On

It amuses and amazes me everyday how I have become that old person who looks back on life and wondered how I ever got through it without all the aids, gadgets, networks that are available today.

I raised two delightful and complicated children back then.  We did not have seat belts in cars and my friends who smoked were allowed to smoke while we went somewhere.  Miraculously my children survived both these dangers.  I unknowingly fed them foods in containers lined with carcinogenic plastics or probably sprayed with dangerous pesticides.  School lunches included the vegetable ketchup to balance the repast.  Abandoned refrigerators and mean dogs were the greatest fear in neighborhoods.

Because I am a technologically savvy grandma, I purchase gifts from my grandchildren via that new magical mall, the Internet.  These companies then automatically assume I need paper versions of their inventory as well and my mail box begins to regurgitate colored catalogs of items beyond my wildest dreams.

There are gates and locks and containers that even an enterprising raccoon would have difficulty surmounting.  Children now have their own luggage when they travel, and sunglasses and helmets when they are out riding in that dangerous but very comfortable stroller.  With the added cup-holder and side music speakers, as Fran Lebowitz says, they are never leaving that stroller.

In the latest version of one of these missives offering "thoughtfully selected products," I have the opportunity to purchase a Potty Watch that alerts small children with lights and music to remind them to go to the bathroom at preset intervals...I cannot help but think of a child who would become dependent on this and could not go to the bathroom without the know, that idiot CEO at the board meeting!  I could buy a pillow that supports good posture in small children when they sleep...unless they sleep sideways across the bed as does my grandson #1 or with the pillow over their head as does my granddaughter.

There is even a strange device that one uses to remove mucus from the noses of little ones who have not mastered the art of blowing.  The mother puts it against the child's nostrils and then puts a little plastic tube in her mouth and proceeds to suck on the tube.  The text assures us that the mucus goes into a tissue and not the mother's mouth.  It still looks very unsettling in the photo (above) of mother and child using it.  The real clincher is that the publisher claims it has been used by European parents for years.  (They probably write in the European version that it has been used by North American parents for years.)

How did our baby "animals" survive without this stuff?  What new wonders will be available to my grandchildren when they begin to raise their little ones?  All of these do not belay the real dangers of global climate change, air pollution, water pollution, crime, drugs and daily stress that our little ones have to battle.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Swimming in the Gene Pools

I am certainly blessed with the presence of my daughter in my life.  We live an hour and a half away, but do manage to see each other as often as possible.  I rewarded her with a belated birthday weekend at a B&B and wine tour recently.   I was pleased and somewhat surprised that we still are so in sync with our personalities and interests.  We are more alike than different.  I know this is not true with many mother/daughter relations and therefore I am truly thankful.  This weekend together flowed just like honey.  There were no glitches or differences of opinion or problems.

Her daughter, on the other hand, is very different from both of us and we recognize this in her even though she is only three.  She complains each morning about what to wear and changes at least once if not twice, even if clothes have been chosen and laid out the night before.  My daughter and I are social animals, but my granddaughter takes sociability to the top.  She calls across the street to perfect strangers telling them she is going to ballet,  this time she will not be afraid to participate and look at the nice PINK dress she is wearing.  My daughter and I did not talk to strangers so easily when we were children and we both could care less what we wore.  It was only when we discovered we were girls (probably around 13) that we decided to try to dress nicely.

She was bold and loquacious during her open house visit to her new pre-school.  She met the teachers, told them about her clothes, how she couldn't wear her Princess dress to the open house (school rules) etc.  

She is strong as steel and knows how to get what she wants.  She reduces her 5-year-old brother to tears by killing the line of ants in the backyard.  When her mother tries to get her to stop stomping on them she looks up full of conviction and says, "I don't like them!"  She is all girl.  She favors her two grandfathers over the grandmothers, and the old-timers melt like chocolate drops in the hot sun when she turns on the charm.

My daughter and I smile knowingly, but also know she will use these charms to get what she wants from men throughout life, and we hope we can provide the skills of caution in this art of trade.  We are both fascinated by her because she is so different from us.  When I left her yesterday after dropping off her mother she asked if I was coming to see her at her swimming lesson.  I explained I had to head home to meet grandpa.  She looked down at her pretty pink shoes and then up at me and said, "But, I love you!"

The photo above is my daughter taking a picture of the impending storm as we were dropped off at the fourth and last winery of the day.  Even after drinking wine most of the day, we still managed to stop and notice the changes in the Earth.  (This post was written before Father's Day...sort of incongruous in posting it now!)

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

A Puzzle for You

Discovery and serendipitous cleaning are some of the hallmarks of the time spent in wandering one's house post-visit of toddlers.  One cannot just wander through the familiar hallways or saunter into the bedroom as you normally do.  Make sure that you have shoes on.  Make sure you have your glasses on.  Make sure your hands and pockets are free to collect treasures.  Do not be squeamish.  One child's treasure is ... well, never mind.

If barefoot crossing the kitchen floor you will encounter surfaces that grasp your toes and heels with ardent stickiness.  You cannot see where this sticky surface rests, but it is there and will grasp every bit of dust and dirt in the days to come, revealing its presence unless it is scrubbed away right away.

One cannot just vacuum a floor without the same careful perusal of the areas that one uses before mowing the lawn.  Something will be camouflaged within the pattern of the Oriental rug or slipped just out of sight beneath the edge of the sofa.  Something will stymie that vibration brush on your vacuum or cripple your barefooted arch and leave you limping for days as you step upon that first stair. 

The expertise of looking for tiny fairy slippers, pointy plastic swords, and teeny legos is something that must be practiced and learned well.  Impatience in this arena will punish you.  I have learned this the hard way.

Yet, even I can learn something new.  I had collected all the sheets, pillow cases and assorted bath towels and had begun the first load of laundry.  When it was done I pulled the heavy damp sheets up into the dryer.  Within minutes I heard a clanging noise.  I stopped the dryer and pulled wet heavy fabric right and left and found nothing.  I continued the dryer again and heard that odd noise.  The photo of the metal hoop above is what I finally was able to retrieve from my damp laundry but only after it has torn a small corner off the sheet.

I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what it is, where it came from, or whether I should be a little panicked by my lack of knowledge.  I do not have one of those fabric tunnels that children can crawl through.  Everything is still working in the house.  Any ideas?  Should I worry?  Do you have one of these?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Catbird Seat

Since we got this bird theme going I will continue in that vein.  This is where I am on certain days, the catbird seat.  Days that I visit my grandchildren I am definitely in the Catbird Seat.  The grandchildren are of that age where they will race away from the dinner table to stand in the doorway allowing cold winter winds to blow around them and into the house as they wait excitedly for us to unload the car, bring in our stuff, and hug them.

The Princess has gotten new plastic shoes that sparkle blue in the dark and both she and her brother, the Prince, each had a shoe in their hand which they would wave high over their heads from the porch doorway while they screamed our names jumping up and down with glee.  Yes, this is actual glee which is not often seen at least by me in real life.  It is very, very cool, especially when you are the cause of it.  I do not remember getting quite so much glee from my own children, now that I think about it.

If this is not the catbird seat, I do not not know where that would be.  I know that the days are not far away when these children will barely raise their eyes from a television screen or a phone screen or a computer screen to greet us with a quick smile. Precious time races on.

As I enter the house, I am trying to avoid the ice patch on the walkway and trying to hang onto the two bags I have packed and trying not to knock over the two toddlers who cannot get any closer to my legs as they try to get my undivided attention.  I am being very careful.  One heavy bag has the gift of blood oranges and ice melt, both pretty heavy, for my daughter and the other has my overnight things.  As I set down the bags, I begin to hear the endless musical blend of toddler chatter...

"Neena, (that is the name they call me) we have pork chops and beans for dinner and Princess has these new shoes-look at me walk in my shoes and the lights go bong!-come see my ball with the arms which spring open if it gets attacked or if a rock falls on it like this it just goes CRASH and rolls onto the floor-I know that 3 and 3 are six and 3 and 4 are seven-Daddy is at the hockey game-I have ants on my pajamas-I have candy on my pajama pants-we have your plate at the table-see here is your fork-are you coming to my show tomorrow?-I can brush Tinker Bell's hair with this new brush-see, Neena, see-do you want me to brush your hair?-are your sleeping in this room or downstairs?-what is that green thing in your bag?-I have to go pee-pee..."
Since these little ones are talking non-stop I fail to hear any breathing between phrases and just let the words fall about my ears like colored gum drops as I smile and kiss and oooh and ahh in all the right places.
I could sit on this Catbird perch forever.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Lessons Learned as Summer Comes to an End

Grandchildren are loaned to us so that we can pass on our well-earned wisdom to their generation and make the world a better, more evolved place...ummm, well... not exactly. I've learned so much from this little soul this past summer that I often wonder if I have been sleepwalking through most of my life. Maybe I learned this stuff a long time ago and just forgot it as I grew up to battle adulthood?

Sometimes on a hot summer day at the pool you need to stop skipping and sliding and swimming and splashing your grandpa and just think about how the day is going thus far. You need to stop and think about all that you are enjoying so that you can remember it or focus on your next attack.

You need to Captain your Ship of Life if you want to end up in the best place for you. Don't be afraid to take the wheel, even if it seems bigger than you and you have to stand on your toes to see where you are going. Remember that those you love are still behind you to support your decisions and to help you on your journey.

Set your boundaries really wide. Your sand castles need moats that cover all the room that you can find on whatever beach you choose. This photo is 1/3 of the final sand castle that was created. It eventually included a mountain with trees and a volcano spewing lava red rocks collected from the beach. No project is too small for a creative soul.

It takes a lot of patience to wait for a fire to die down so that you can roast marshmallows and it is OK to wiggle and squirm when you are trying to be patient about something important. You don't have to look like a saint!

When you finally reach to top of the mountain (airplane, whatevah) remember all the loved ones and friends that helped you get there and be sure to help them all you can by sending your best as well as giving them a hand.

And, finally, throw out your arms in total abandon and don't forget to ENJOY the ride. It certainly goes by really, really, really fast.

(As I explained in an earlier post this is computer is in the shop and actually I am packing tomorrow for the trip.)

Monday, June 22, 2009

That Look

Remember that look that your mother gave you when you had stepped out of line? Remember that look that said 'I am NOT going to wait until your father gets home, kiddo!' It is the look of the 'all-woman/all-mother.' It is the look of fearless strength and defense-to-the-death attitude that women keep deep in the essence of their being. It is the look that clearly sends the message, "Don't make me go there." Well, it looks as though my granddaughter is already beginning to master that look.

And, of course, as every good grandmother knows, the best toys do not come from 'Toys R Us' or any other toy store.