GRANDPARENTING 101, cont.
Day One (Friday, May 9)
A four-hour drive to Brooklyn that included a 10-mile backup in CT on Rte. 95 to visit son, Koji, Maiga (my DIL), and grandson, Sean, now 16 months old already. After a Mother’s Day lunch, we took Sean to the park so he could run off some steam. And me, too.
Après naps, off to an indoor playground before meeting Dad at the commuter ferry. Here’s a photo of me cramping Sean’s style. (Don’t forget to click on photos for the full effect.)
On the way home, Koji took us out for a lovely Mother’s Day dinner! 🙂
Day Two (Saturday, May 10)
I left Brooklyn after breakfast, and what do you know…someone had stolen the GPS out of my car…with no trace of a break-in. Luckily I know the way and made it to Long Island easily to visit my other two grandchildren, Max (age 5) and Zoe (2 1/2).
I took care of the chicklets while their Mom (Nicole) was off doing volunteer work, literally helping to build a playground. The kids and I first played in the back yard while I pushed them on the swing. Zoe laughed and laughed when I pulled her legs and let her go.
We discovered huge puddles of water left over from a recent rain storm on a walk around the block. Zoe started to step in them gingerly. It wasn’t too long before both kids were running and splashing through the water, saturating their shoes and Max, his pant legs. In no time, shoes discarded, they were running barefoot through the puddles. After repeated invitations, I joined in.
When it came time to walk home, we started out sans shoes. The kids’ feet were so tender, they ended up putting their shoes back on. I told them about how I used to run around in bare feet when I was a kid all summer, which toughened them up. They were mildly impressed that I could walk home without shoes.
After lunch, Zoe napped, and Max and I opened his birthday presents together. (He turns 5 on Monday.) Before opening them, he said he hoped they wouldn’t be boring. (He cracks me up.)
One was a build-your-own bird house, which we did. Except Max didn’t want me to put glue on the nails before pounding them in. “No glue,” he said. He was adamant. So, I left the almost-finished project for his Mom or Dad to add the glue later, otherwise it won’t be sturdy enough. I hope they finish it and put it outside and that some day the kids can enjoy watching a little bird move in.
Another was a scratch art set, which he had already played with at his other Grandma’s; but, luckily, he was fascinated with it. We hung each design on various windows throughout the house, and they looked so decorative with the sun shining through.
Phooey, I wish I had taken photos of the finished projects.
Since I only see the kids every 6-8 weeks, I can particularly notice changes as they are growing up. On this visit, Max used the word “basically” in just about every sentence; I melt when this precious, munchkin expresses himself in such grown-up words.
I sleep with Max when I visit. I love talking with him as we fall asleep together. I also love watching him wake up. He waits quietly for me at the top of the stairs in the darkness of the 6 a.m. morning while I get dressed, and we walk downstairs together. We then sit in silence on the couch with my arm around him, as he wakes up slowly.
Day Three: (Sunday, May 11, Mother’s Day)
When I fixed my morning coffee, I noticed ants all over the kitchen counter. As if this weren’t enough, Max’s cup leaked a strawberry-milk circle the size of a basketball on the living room couch.
The kids were painting and playing so nicely after breakfast while I finished making them Rapunzel-inspired wigs out of yarn. Nicole (their Mom) came down and was horrified to discover that Max was playing with an ant cup in his paint water. And here I thought I had been constantly checking on what they were up to. (Would I be fired as a babysitter?)
(The day before, Zoe had spilled milk on the cable box, and so the TV didn’t work. Actually, I enjoyed the kids more without it. Please note that this particular debacle wasn’t under my watch.) 😉
We made plans for the day. I waited until Nicole had finished her coffee before mentioning that there were ants all over the kitchen counter.
“Happy Mother’s Day!” I said.
It took some extra time for her to deal with this situation before we left for our outing. (BTW, the ants were gone upon our return. Max commented that his Mom was a genius when it came to getting rid of them.)
Our outing for the day was a trip to a local farm. The kids happily checked out the chickens. Zoe was disappointed she wasn’t allowed to climb over the fenced-in area to join them.
The kids were their usual active selves as we tried to savor Mother’s Day lobster sandwiches (mac & cheese for the kids) at a nearby Panera for lunch. When we finished, I asked Nicole if she was able to taste her food.
Later in the afternoon, Nicole went shopping for Max’s upcoming birthday party. I stayed home with the kids while they played with their Rapunzel wigs. (Originally, I was only going to make one just for Zoe, but Nicole said that if Zoe liked hers, Max would want one, too.) I had hoped to get a photo of both of them all dressed up together, but, alas, Zoe would have no part of that. Max sensed how upset I was that my photo shoot plans were thwarted and tried to comfort me. I told him not to worry and that all was well.
Nicole came home to Max and Zoe eating dinner to music blaring from a CD I brought with me, Laurie Berkner’s, Whaddaya Think of That. Zoe was transfixed. I wish I had taken a photo of the expression on her face as she sat for an hour and a half, requesting certain songs over and over. She even started to pick up the lyrics. I hadn’t realized she was so passionate over music. We made a new connection.
Nicole cooked a delectable lima bean/brown rice dish full of veggies for dinner. Seasoned perfectly. Another one of her pressure cooker masterpieces. She bought me the book, Pressure Perfect, by Lorna Sass for Mother’s Day. Yes!
Monday, May 11
Time to drive home after breakfast. The kids were asking when I was coming again. I told Max that he was invited to visit me any time. He told his parents, “Grandmummy said we can visit her any time. She welcomed us!”
It was such a delight crossing the Throgs Neck Bridge in gridlock traffic because the Whitestone was closed from a truck fire. It was also a delight buying a Dunkin’ Donuts ice coffee (which was DELICIOSO) at a road stop and for the first time in my life, benefiting from a senior discount the cashier gave me, without my even asking for it.
I came home to a Mother’s Day plant of pink roses from Koji that now sits out on my deck and are enjoyed by us all when we are relaxing in the living room. It’s awfully quiet back home, though…
Yours in aging with class,
Jane (alias “Gummy“)
(May 17, 2014)
VISITING THE OLD FOLK
Little treasures come to visit,
Four and two and one.
Energy abounding constant,
Forts to build, such fun!
Dyeing colored eggs for Easter
Yello, red, and brown.
Baskets full of candied chocolate,
Hunting all around.
Weekend over rapidly,
All packed up and gone.
Quiet house is deafening,
Sadness lingers on.
Back to former work and life,
Routine settles in.
Cleaning up the odds and ends, but
Remnants found within.
Where’s the doorstop to our room?
Clay smushed on the floor.
Happy memories abound,
Yours in aging with class,
(April 26, 2014)
GRANDCHILDREN SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS
4-yr-old Max to me, “I love making you laugh, Grandmummy!” And he succeeded when he visited us last June.
In fact, I just came across a notebook of his “pearls.” I would love to hear some treasures your grandchildren have spouted forth. Please share them with me. In the meantime, here is more of Max’s erudition:
1. On the couch Max asks — “Hey, Grandmummy, are you going to hang out with me?”
2. Out on the deck, Max is yelling out words and hearing them echoed back — “Why is the whole world copying me?” he asks.
3. Walking into the bank while running errands Max shouts, “Where’s the waiting room?”
4. When I said I needed to go to the ladies room, Max remarks, “Try and hold it before you go to the bathroom.”
5. Jokes Max liked: “Why was the skeleton afraid to cross the street?…because he didn’t have any guts.” And also, “Why did the dog chase his tail?…to make ends meet.” (Max answered the 2nd joke, “to make two ends and one meet.”)
6. With reference to muting TV commercials, Max said, “Why do you always make it quiet?” And once when the commercial ended, he said, “You can make it noisy now.”
7. Max, Dad, Roy, and I were together in the living room. Dad and Roy wear dentures; Max and I don’t. Max’s observation: “There’s two people in the room who have teeth that can get out, and two people with teeth that can’t get out.”
8. We were watching a hockey game on TV, and Max remarked, “There’s a warm one [meaning field hockey] and a cold one [meaning ice hockey]. This one [on the TV] is cold.”
9. Out of the blue, Max asked, “Why does everybody need beer?”
Be sure and write down and save all the words of wisdom that come from your grandchildren. You will be glad you did.
Yours in aging with class,
(Feb. 11, 2014)
Photos from Max’s visit:
*Max’s Smoothie Zipzicle Recipe – made from ingredients of his choice: spinach, strawberries, pineapple, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, almond milk
OUCH AND GUMMY
In just 9 weeks since my last visit to see the grandkids, Max’s (age 4) vocabulary has grown exponentially, and he now supplements verbal expression with his hands.
One of my favorites was sitting with him first thing in the morning when he was waking up. We were the first ones up, and we sat together in silence while I soaked in his essence.
When his Daddy, my son, got up, he only had time for a hug and a quick story, (a book of “knock knock” jokes I had bought the kids) before he left for a 12-hour shift in the E.R.
Max had a cold and was feeling out of sorts. Consequently, he was more needy than usual for his Mommy. When she was folding laundry, he kept pushing for her undivided attention. When she suggested he play with Grandmummy instead so she could finish the laundry, he shouted, “But I love you so much, and I only love Grandmummy medium!”
Max did enjoy playing doctor, however. Here he stands in his new garb in front of the stockings knit by yours truly:
In nine weeks, two-year-old Zoe went from saying a few unclear words to speaking in short sentences, and parroting back everything I say to her in understandable words. Although she can’t say “Grandmummy” and calls me “Gummy.” I love my new nickname.
It has become impossible to take photos because every time Zoe sees the camera, she wants it. “MY TURN!” she screams. The only way to snap her picture is when she’s distracted. Here she is at an indoor playground at cousin, Sean’s, 1st birthday celebration:
When Max and Zoe left, Max teared up and said, “I’m going to miss you, Grandmummy!” Phew! I thought I had been relegated to “medium” status. 😉
P.S. On my next visit, lunch with the DILs, probably in Manhattan. Just the three of us. 🙂
Yours in aging with class,
Jane (dba Gummy)
(Jan. 25, 2014)
P.P.S. Feel free to click on all photos for the full effect.
COMING TO TERMS
Yours in aging with class,
(Nov. 20, 2013)
DO YOU WANT TO BE A PART OF YOUR GRANDCHILDREN’S LIVES?
I do. Except, wouldn’t you know, my kids moved to the NYC area shortly after I left NY to return to Massachusetts. And, soon after, they began having their own children.
Well, I just got back from visiting them this past weekend for granddaughter Zoe’s 2nd birthday celebration. I try to make a trip to NY once every 6-8 weeks and have arranged my lifestyle to make it happen. I also take care of the grandchildren at my home when the parents want to get away.
This is the best I can do.
But it’s sad not to live nearby and see them more often. I know, I know, there are many grandparents who have it worse. At least I only live a four-hour drive away. But it’s sad for me, nevertheless. What’s fun, though, is that every time I see them, I delight in discovering how much they’ve changed and grown.
And we’ll start with Max, who is four years old already. Since it was raining outside, we spent hours the first day of my visit inside building structures with his Magna-Tiles. Later that afternoon, my son took this photo of us:
Zoe, Max’s sister, just turned two. These days, her favorite activity is taking off and putting on her pajama bottoms. You can see her determination and focus in the sequence of shots below. Max is also in these photos, displaying his own current interests:
I also spent part of the weekend at my other son’s home in Brooklyn. Grandchild #3, Sean, is ten months old already. The last time I saw him, he had two teeth and was starting to crawl; two months later, he has six teeth and is starting to walk.
We took him to an indoor playground,
I grew up in the same town with both sets of grandparents. Times have changed, though, as families now live so far apart. I Skype with Max and Zoe every Monday and with Sean, every Saturday. And despite the fact that we don’t have the opportunity to get together often enough, I would like to think that I still have a place tucked away in the corner of their hearts.
Yours in aging with class,
(Nov. 16, 2013)