Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Lessons Remembered

There is nothing like a week in the trenches to remind one of where they came from.  And I got just had just such an adventure last week with a near four year old, a two year old and an 11 month old.  It was like a time warp - going back to when my three boys were roughly the same ages.  I rediscovered some things forgotten, and learned a few new wrinkles, too.

1.  Cheerios, the unsung hero of yet another generation.  Bless you!
2.  One of my favorite adages from my early motherhood days is this:  nothing makes a child more thirsty than to move their cup back from the edge of the table.  There is a corollary to that rule:  nothing makes a toy more desirable than putting it away, except, that is, seeing a discarded toy in your brother's hand.
3.  This leads to the next truism:  little boys can scream like little girls - loud, high and piercing.  You think you can ignore him and out last his efforts.  You cannot.
4.  Some babies HATE blow driers, well, one in particular - Elijah.  Fortunately, hair dries faster with a screaming child in the background - though certainly not fast enough.  The vacuum has the same affect on Sir Squirmy, not that I can blame him for that one.  I'm not particularly fond of that implement, either.
5.  Soon to be four-year-old's love to help, meaning every task will take
twice as long as it should.  However, there is no better way to increase the enjoyment of dusting, vacuuming (when Elijah is sleeping like the dead upstairs), and cleaning glass.  Bonus streaks in the glass make for beautiful sunsets.
6.  When throwing a ball, a two year old's directional compass is suspect.  This improves substantially sometime around age four.  However, the age at which he can successfully aim the contents of a container of water when playing in the pool develops much later in life.  Sometime after they hit double digits, maybe?  Cell phones beware.
7.  Baby tummies stretch to take in an amazing volume.  Visualize an 8 ounce bottle in a tummy that has already had lunch!  Sometimes it is necessary to relieve pressure with a burp.  Regardless of how loud, this is preferable to the liquid variety of release, which can, on occasion, reverse the entire digestive process.  This sad fact has not changed in the intervening 30 plus years since my babies were babies.  It is not any more cute now, even when the perpetrator smiles his most winning grin after the fact.

And finally, my favorite piece of new wisdom for generations to come:

8.  When a near four year old announces, "There he is!  Kill him!", he is probably talking about his aversion to flies.  Prudence dictates, however, that you lay eyes on each of his brothers post haste...

POSTSCRIPT:  Sisters Faith and Naomi were born last Tuesday afternoon weighing in at 1# 5 oz and 1# 4 oz, respectfully.  They are beautiful and impossibly tiny and intricate.  They are doing well for their size, but as you can imagine, there are many hurdles to overcome in the next few months.  Naomi, in particular is standing in the need of prayer this morning.

Updates are available at  http://www.carepages.com/carepages/FaithandNaomiHarris/.  Thank you for your prayers for their continued health and development.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Fourth Dimension

Girls, I've heard it said, can be a bit unpredictable; they change their minds at the drop of a hat.  Personally, I've never noticed, which might be due in part of the dearth of females in my family tree (between myself and the next generations - heretofore).  But such was the case with my baby grandgirls last week.  They decided to make an early, Early, EARLY arrival.  Fortunately they listened to their elders and decided to stay put.  Their Mama is also staying put, in the hospital, until they are born, hopefully in October.  This is called a change of plans in a family way - extended time and family, both!

My initial plans for this week had included a bike ride across the state of Iowa with my brother Bruce and my son, Corey.  As a Granma, I was planning to remove my hearing aids and cast off my walker and show up the younger generation.  One place where I can still impress my 9 year old grandson is on a bike.  I have to take advantage of that while I still can!

But five days before my departure to the cornfields of Iowa, my grandgirlies changed my plans.  I am so excited to be watching three grandboys (the girlies' older brothers) for the week instead, while their Daddy goes to work.  My brother (got to love him!) is biking with a 2D version of me across the state of Iowa and having way too much fun - much of it at my expense, I might add - while this 3D version runs around after 3 toddlers and waits anxiously for nap time.  (True confessions, on my first day, yesterday, while Aidan watched Chuggington, Josiah and Elijah napped and Granma dozed. :-)

Happy peddling, Bruce and Corey!  I'm picking up toys and changing diapers.  So here is a picture that proves that I am pulling my weight, though not on a bike.  You really should be jealous!  This is the 4D version of me - the fourth being love.

Postscript:  between the writing of this blog and the publishing, the girls have changed their minds again.  Please pray with us for God's hand on them and on Christine and for wisdom for the doctors as they assess the situation.  Updates to follow on Facebook.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Sugar and Spice and Everything.... Else...

There is a new store in town!  It's a kid magnet and a Granma trap.  Mind you, I went willingly into the trap - even suggested the trip, knowing full well that blog material was behind those doors.  Of course, it would not be sporting at all if you went into the store by yourself.   Join me, won't you, for a trip to Rocket Fizz - the soda pop and candy store!

Rule #1:  Someone under 4' tall must accompany you.  For the extreme novice, you may stretch that to under 5' tall.  For the more experienced/foolhardy, you may bring multiples.  I will let you judge my relative bravery vs stupidity:  I brought three - 2 under 4' and one under 5'.  If the gender mix matters (and I assure you, it does not), there were two blues and a pink with me when I entered the store.  The more observant of you who counted noses in the picture, are coming up short a blue one.

This leads to rule #2: don't even think about taking pictures in the store.  I doubt the proprietors would object; I didn't ask.  But those among us with noses residing closer to the ground can really move - not necessarily in the same direction.  And they move with outstretched, grasping hands.  It's not that I had time to think about snapping a shot, but if I had, it would have been a blur - much like most of the adventure.  I had to settle for a picture after the fact, and I still couldn't round them all up at the same time.  Of course, by then, they were well sugared up, so that might explain some of the logistical problems.

Rule #3:  Sugar gets expensive quickly.  Remember penny candy?  Yes?  Then you are old, too!  It doesn't exist anymore.  Therefore, each child was allowed to choose three things - plus Pop Rocks just for Granma's amusement!  Oh, and a soda each - wash down sugar with sugar I always say.  If Rocket Fizz can lure in enough repeat Granmas, they well make a very good living indeed!

Rule #4:  Avoid the check out line at all cost.  I realize that is absolutely counter-intuitive and bordering on cruel after herding three munchkins through the gauntlet.  So since you will not be able to follow rule #4 and still retain the title of Granma, repeat after me, "No, put it down."  If that fails, in your sweetest voice try, "PUT IT DOWN!!!"  Repeat frequently and good luck!

Rule #5:  I am Granma.  I get to send said sugar deluged love bugs home to Mom and Dad.  It's in my contract, and it's one of my favorite clauses.  It's especially rewarding when their Dad starts a sentence with "you never let us..."  True enough.

Have I mentioned I love being Granma?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Ketching Up

When I was in junior high, our family added another brother in an unconventional way.  Kwame joined us as an exchange student from Ghana.  He was the kicker on our high school (American) football team.  Our small school didn't offer soccer, where he would have surely been a star.  We teased and laughed and occasionally fought with Kwame.  In other words, he fit right in with the rest of us.

With a core family of seven plus Kwame on a pastor's salary, we didn't go out to eat often.  But there was once we all went to a fancy restaurant together.  You know, the kind where a waitress takes your order and the ketchup and mustard have their own special holder at the table.  No individual packets there!  I don't remember what our newest family member ordered, except that there must have been french fries.  What we all agree upon, is that he had to ask for another bottle of ketchup.  I swear, he could drink it straight from the bottle!  We might have egged him on a bit, but he would have found his way to the same result even without our encouragement.

Last weekend, my kids and most of the grandkids gathered for a cookout at our house.  There were eleven of us.  I know because my husband and I kept asking each other, like maybe the number was a moving target.  Eventually we all gathered around the same table, where the eating and the talking and the laughing mingled together.

I was seated with a grandboy to the left, one to the right, and the loan grandgirl just around the corner.  Maybe I was supposed to be keeping a better eye on the lot, but I was really just making sure the dogs didn't look too happily overfed at my end of the table.  So when Josiah asked for more "sauce," I correctly assumed ketchup and obliged.  Presumably he was dipping pieces of his burger into the tomato staple.  Two minutes later, he asked again - and then again almost as quickly!  Now he had my perhaps belated attention.

Apparently the love of tomato-y goodness runs in the family - it just skipped a generation.  Josiah has never met his great uncle from across the pond, but the two of them are definitely related.  Forget the burger, that grandboy was shoveling forkful after forkful into his mouth: just ketchup with just a fork!

When we go out to eat, Josiah, I will order an extra bottle of ketchup for you as soon as the wait-staff first greets us.  French fries will be optional...