Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Shape of Things

As every parent knows, in the event of a minor scrape or fall, Band-Aids heal almost as fast as kisses.  I have a theory about that: Band-Aids hold in the kiss so the love can heal the wound.  Mind you, this theory only applies to scrapes of the non-oozing variety.  In the case of more serious injury, kisses must be applied to alternate locations, and they (both the love and the sterile adhesives) must be applied more frequently.

Band-aids also make quite the fashion statement.  Just try telling a toddler that you are out of Sponge Bob as you stick him with Elmo instead.  That will require quite the sales job, I assure you!  One year I bought Band-Aids for everyone’s stockings.  Bacon was my favorite, though I never saw them actually aiding in any healing process.  Hmmmmm

Aidan arrived late last summer (still shorts weather) with harrowing stories of injuries, and a badge of honor on his knee to prove it.  A “circle band-aid,” as he pointed out, which was probably the perfect size to hold in a kiss or two, and doing its job quite well.  There was no sign of limp or wince of pain to be seen.  Five minutes later, I picked up a spent circle from the floor, and went about other granma-ly duties.

Five minutes after that, it appears that the kisses wore off as well.  Suddenly the pain returned to that grandboy’s joint.  This is a difficult juncture for parents:  their child didn’t really need a band-aid originally, and they didn’t bring their stock of circular sterile adhesives with them.  However, said three year old was quite taken by the miracle of band-aid love, not feeling completely healed AND is had personal anecdotes espousing the medical effectiveness of a circle.

Seeing the opportunity to come to the rescue, I offer my assistance.  I had also spotted the opportunity to rid myself of a circle band-aid, which come in those assortment boxes and have no practicality for anyone over the age of four.  We walked hand in hand to the medicine cabinet, super Granma and a limping Aidan.
Here is where my brilliant plan hits a major snag:  peeling away the protective paper, it is clear that this band-aid is actually square – a shape difference that does not escape little boy eyes.  He objects.  I offer him a rectangle band-aid instead.  He suggests triangle.  Eventually, thankfully, we circle back to square and make it stick.  (Apologies to the reader.  I couldn’t help myself.)

When the little family left an hour later, Aidan was still lamenting the circle, expounding on the square and anticipating a triangle.  I carried him out to the car (not that he couldn’t walk, but all the better to kiss those cheeks) and locked him in his car seat.  Smiles, giggles and waves later, I return to the house – and a small square adhesive patch on the floor in the foyer.
I wonder if they keep a supply of triangles at home?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Let Them Eat Cake!

There are a dozen or so birthdays to celebrate in our Harris niche.  Nothing like a great reason to gather - food, laughter and general bedlam.  Admittedly, the coordination of schedules to allow for the gather is the most challenge.  Between work schedules (one on night shifts), school schedules, and life in general, it almost takes an act of congress to get all of here at one time.  It doesn't stop us from trying!  Nor does the lack of complete availability stop the march of time.  Sometimes we just have to celebrate down a man or two.

Last week we celebrated Christine's birthday.  That would be Christine of mother-of-three-of-my-grandboys fame.  I love watching her with the three boys: 3 years, not quite 2 and 6 months.  She has just the right amount of twinkling exasperation in her voice.  If you don't know what that is, find a mom with 3 boys. 

So as we are finishing up her birthday dinner - "Adian, take a bite. Josiah, sit down in the highchair." while Elijah vocalizes his dismay at his obvious lack of fan club - when someone at the table utters a sentence that includes the word "cake."  Aidan counters with his offer to take a bite of cake instead of those items currently located on his plate.  Josiah immediately turns around, sits himself down in the highchair and says with absolute clarity, "CAKE!"  We have a winner!  Except for Elijah, who is still vying for attention of his own.

There might not be anything better than watching the shear joy that is Josiah eating cake.  While any food is his second favorite, cake is in a class by itself. There are a few things that must be mentioned in any discussion of Josiah and cake:
1.  If the fork doesn't function flawlessly on the first try, fingers will.
2.  As is the custom of all my grandboys, start at the frosting and work your way down.  Stop when you reach the cake - except for Josiah.  He doesn't stop until the crumbs are too smashed for little fingers to grasp.
3.  There is a quilt rack in the dining room.  Measure the child's wing span, multiply by three and place the highchair no closer.
4.  And finally, never ever order a cake with blue frosting - or red - or purple - or chocolate.  White is good...

Stay tuned for April when Josiah has a birthday of his own.  Cake and Candles - that should be really interesting!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Hide and Seek

I grew up in small-town Iowa.  What a great place to call home!  I remember rushing through dinner on summer nights in order to join the neighbor kids for a game or two before bedtime.  Baseball, kick-the-can, hide-and-seek…  Good times!

I remember once my brother’s friend laid down to hide in the lengthening shadow of a tree.  Apparently having enjoyed a rather large evening meal, he fell asleep.  Our seeking couldn't find him, and like all kids, our attention span is only so long.  We moved on to another game.  When he woke up and found us, he declared himself the winner.  You should have seen his bug bites!  Winning is subjective.

A couple of years ago, Bryce suggested a game of hide-and-seek.  Obviously, with a Granma's keen power of observation and vast experience with the game, a seven year old would not be a problem.  Ok – bring it on!  I hid my eyes and started to count.  How far can a child get in the count of twenty?

As I searched high and low for one very quiet and very still child (quite uncharacteristic of him, I might add), it occurred to me that the world had changed in the intervening decades since my childhood.  Bug bites aside, my son would not be amused if I delivered back one less child than was originally entrusted to me.

My search became more desperate.  “All-ie, all-ie, oxen free!”   Kids today don’t say that, or don’t recognize it as a slightly panicked Granma call – or he’s asleep somewhere.  “Bryce, you win!  We have to get your brother home for a nap!”  That worked!  The pride on his face matched the relief on mine.  Losing, it turns out, is subjective as well.

Maybe I’ll introduce him to kick-the-can instead…

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Send in the Clowns

You know the thing that's best about grandboys?  Their style masquerades as slovenly, silly or out-right ridiculous.   Their clothes match their rooms match their pre-bath coloring matches the ring left around the tub.  But make no mistake, they know exactly what they are doing.  And they are out to revolutionize the world.

Little girls wear headbands until they graduate to barrettes and then rubber bands.  Little boys disappear when a comb is present.  Little girls use napkins.  Boys use their sleeves - IF it occurs to them to use anything at all.  Little girls pick shoes for their outfit.  Little boys don't wear "outfits" or shoes if they can get away with it.

Boys have their own sense of fashion: jeans, sweat pants, t-shirts, Dad's t-shirts (especially to bed).  Moms of boys do not change outfits on their progeny in the middle of the day - unless there is excessive ketchup, mud or bodily fluids making it a necessity.  Even then, she must corner the giggling gamester to achieve her objective.

Moms must work their way into the automatic acceptance of boyhood chaos and calamity.  Granmas, especially if they raised boys themselves, not only come by it naturally, but like to join the parade.

My Granma (2 sons, 5 grandboys, lots of greats and great-greats!):

My Mom (3 sons, 6 grandboys, 6 greatboys to date):

Me (3 sons, 5 grandboys): 

Yep, yep!  We love a circus!