Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Hoppy Easter!

I usually start a blog with a bit of an idea that hopefully grows into something useful and then add a picture.  Sometimes a picture reminds me of a story.  Fear not!  There is plenty of material for this Granma's Tuesday morning Snippets!  It seemed appropriate this week to have an Easter story.  But I couldn't think of one, at least not one that was developing into something useful.  But I have the perfect picture!

Three years ago, we moved into a new house, boasting a rather large crawl space.  It was also a cold Easter, so the egg hunt was held indoors - in the crawl space, to be exact.  Being no fool, I let Court hide the eggs - I try to stay out of those cramped quarters as much as possible.  That fact would be obvious to anyone who dared to look around in that receptacle of can't-quite-discard memorabilia, which tends to gather near the entrance.  Actually, even Bryce doesn't want to go in there any more - not that I blame him.  So those of us too wise (read "old") to enter got a good laugh at those who did.  And those who did, got candy and coins - a good trade all in all.  Sorry, that's all the better that story gets.

But the picture has been one of my Easter favorites ever since.  I can't decide if Bryce's expression says:  I just saw a cotton tail disappear around the corner!  OR I just stepped in something that might have passed close to a cotton tail.  Either way, it makes me smile every time.

So - aren't you glad a picture is worth a thousand words and that I'm not going to actually tell you what those words might be?  Please join me in enjoying a Granma memory and maybe a grandboy nightmare quickly banished by hugs and chocolates.

Happy Easter to all!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Rock a bye Baby

Is there anything better than a wee one nestled in your arms, snuggled down and drinking a bottle of nutrition in a vivid shade of white?  Peach fuzz over drooping eyelids topping a full belly - so peaceful, so innocent, so blessed!  A little burp complete with a bit of a tip for the server - also in white liquid form.  The stuff of a perfect day - or 30 minutes minimum.

The other night I babysat for grandboys three - another one of those perfect day (or when Momma and Daddy return - whichever comes first).  Elijah at six months gave me some of those perfect minutes of baby snuggling, albeit with 2 and 3 year old brothers vying for attention the whole time.  It is possible to cuddle and discuss Thomas the train and referee pillow sharing all at the same time.  It helps, of course, when you are cuddling a number three child.  He has never really understood undivided attention so doesn't miss it or demand its implementation.

So after Elijah, now safe from the threat of an up-close vision of Thomas, opted for a visit from the sandman, my odds improved.  Never one to leave dead air wanting, Aidan was engaging me in an active but one-sided conversation about Legos.  Josiah, almost two, was topping off his own nighttime reserves and nearing the end of the contents, which makes for more difficult wandering owing to the angle of the bottle.  Being a little shy on the Grandma cuddling scale, I picked him up and rocked him, kissing toddler curls for good measure.  As he finished his bottle, older brother Aidan ran to get his sippy cup and announced that he, too, wanted to be rocked like a baby.  Does my heart good - though my back wasn't as sure.

Just a couple of weeks earlier, I had been dining in a fast food establishment with Tyler (4) and Bryce.  As luck would have it, "House of the Rising Sun" was playing in the background as Tyler, meal complete, sat on my lap.  It's not quite Rock-a-bye-baby, but it will do, so I rocked a momentarily non-squirmy little boy as I sang about a house in New Orleans.  We were both smiling, though I didn't get a good look at the guests at the next table.  My apologies to them...  The song ended and squirmy returned as anticipated.

Unexpectedly, though, a certain nine-year-old brother had a request, "Rock me, Granma.  Sing to me."  So there, in Culvers, my original grandboy sat on my lap, my arms wrapped around him, as neighboring guests heard me sing about that Southern house at sun rise.  The background music was not keeping time or key or wording with me.  But Bryce and I swayed and smiled and went back to our roots, sans bottle.

There is nothing better than a grandboy nestled in my arms.  No matter how old that grandboy gets, he's still my baby.  And so far, he still knows it.  Love and cuddles to all my grandboys!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Music to the Ears

Being a toddler means play, right?  Their play is the stuff of learning, so really, their play is hard work - probably harder than most adults work. With any luck, they sleep hard, too.  At least parents certainly hope so when they tuck those little formerly busy bodies with eyes that droop and sometimes leak.  Bed is often the best place for a whiny toddler, and it is certainly a parent's best friend.  Well, bed or Granma's house - but even Granma magic only works for a limited time against the deeper necessary magic of sleep.  (Side note:  the real problem is when the toddler grows up and exceeds Granma's bedtime, but that is a blog of a different color.)

Toys come in all shapes and sizes: from Lego fashioned into stairways or cars, to boxes with a myriad of uses, to the grandest toys of all - TA DA - a grand piano!  A piano is like a grandboy magnet.  The force of the attraction between fingers and keys is equal to the enjoyment of little ears and opposite to that of big ears.  Loud and repetitive - oh (grand)boy!

Josiah, in particular, loves the piano.  He gets a serious, reverent look on his face as he approaches the keys.  But when he tickles the ivories, they tickle him back. And when his Grampa plays a duet with him, it is pure magic.

I guess that one of the grandest parts of the instrument is the way it can span the generations.  And it is sweet, sweet music to my ears...

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Food For Thought - and other purposes

Even if I haven't mentioned it lately, surely you have already assumed I have children of my own - three sons, as a matter of fact.  Over three decades ago, they were born in rather quick succession:  Colin, then Corey 50 weeks later, and then Court two and a half years after that.  Looking back at my first 5 or 6 years of motherhood, I see some specific image snapshots in my head punctuated by long periods of blur.  I'm sure those unfocused images were my head snapping around like Linda Blair in a vain attempt to corral my precious little boys blue.  Perhaps the best part of being a Granma is that even without my requisite glasses, the blur is gone.  I just get to enjoy every minute when I am with the grandboys and then hand them back to their parents.  But I digress.

I remember doling out cookies to anxious angelic faces and filling their cups and bottles with milk.  There was a second refrigerator in the garage that held extra gallons (plural) of milk in an attempt to avoid the grocery store more than once a week.  Some of those afore mentioned non-blur moments were running out of milk and having to take three sets of chubby reaching hands to the grocery store to restock.  Be assured, when the milk that was spilled in our house was the only milk in the house, there was every reason for tears - my tears.  Groceries with three pre-schoolers was worse than herding cats - herding octopi, maybe.

Whenever possible, I would tuck three little boys into their beds, kiss their father goodbye and head to the grocery store BY MYSELF.  To this day, the fruit aisle is my happy place; I automatically slow down and breathe deeply.  Even the canned music punctuated by advertisements and announcements is relaxing while walking down the those hallowed halls without continually counting (and wiping) noses.

So last month when Christine asked me to watch three little boys while she went grocery shopping, I jumped at the opportunity - not just to spend time with three sets of grandboy arms perfect for hugging, but also to give my daughter-in-law the opportunity to slow down and smell the oranges.  The day, however, developed into a longer trip than expected.  In order to keep the blog space to a minimum, let's just say that the shopping trip that started at 1 pm didn't conclude until almost 5:30.  Sometimes, though on fault of your own, life calls for a clean up in aisle 12 at unexpected times.

I only tell you this story because it was probably my all time favorite grocery trip - EVER!  Not only did I get extended playtime with three loves of my life, but I got to read the entire My First Hard Book Of series. I am now well versed in colors, shapes, numbers, the alphabet, words around the house and vehicles.  We also built with Duplos, sang the ABCs and played hide and go seek.  OK, some of the smells were not as "fresh" as the fruit aisle, but that was to be expected.

And in the end, I was presented with these (see picture):

Christine, you didn't have to, but thank you!  It was my absolute pleasure!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Come Fly With Me!

I have always wanted to jump out of a perfectly good airplane.  Well, maybe not "always" but for several decades.  It looks like it would be so peaceful gliding along with the birds, suspending by an updraft.  I would have put it on my bucket list, but my husband was fairly certain he would need the bucket to pick up the pieces after I came crashing back to earth.  So, alas, no skydiving for this Granma.


As contemplation of flight rattled around in the back of my head, I happened into Costco - where they were selling half price coupons for indoor skydiving.  Clearly it was confirmation to seize the day! No plane, no parachute, no bucket needed!  Though I did need a compatriot  to join me in the adventure: someone willing and excited about the prospect  - a flight plan partner.  I needed a GRANDBOY - and lucky for me - I have five of them!  And lucky for Bryce, having experienced Granma for almost a decade, he was the logical choice.

As a side note, you can fly as young as three, which means I could have taken two other little boys with me.  However, the thought of herding nine, four and three year old grandboys into a wind tunnel in order to experience two one-minute flights did not appeal to me.  I am Granma.  I strive to stay just south of certifiably crazy!

Last week, Bryce and I reached for the heavens!  We arrived an hour early, as required, for a training that took ten minutes.  We suited up in some rather stylish suits, took our place on the bench and waited in rapt anticipation while watching an exhibition featuring our fellow novices in their preliminary aviary attempts.

One minute in a wind tunnel is longer than you might expect while trying to hold your body in a certain pose absolutely twitch-free.  I cannot explain the physics that drew me up or down or toward the side or in a circular pattern.  Fortunately, the instructor is a better science student than I.  He also had a watchful eye and a guiding hand that protected the surrounding glass from my intrusion.  All the while, my cheeks, exposed to the rushing wind, were trying to duck behind my ears.  It's best not to try to imagine what my upper arms would have looked like had they not been encased in a flight suit.

So here is the really good news:  Bryce and I had an absolutely wonderful, memorable day together.  We learned that defying gravity for even just 20 vertical feet made us appreciate birds without longing for feathers of our own.  We have decided to leave the jumping from perfectly good airplanes to the rest of the crazies out there.  And if they need it, we will even loan them our buckets.