My job, right now, is to take the sharpness off the edges of each day.
That’s what I wrote in my journal this morning.
Grandma’s job, when a new baby is born, is to be there; to just be there.
I try to remember back when my second child was born. Who helped me? My mom had died earlier that year. Still, I would not have reached out to her for help. She told me with my first “I raised my kids. I don’t want to raise your’s.” I am a different kind of grandma.
I am here…
This grandma learned, early on, that she needed to stay physically fit to keep up with growing baby number one. And, now that baby is two years old and we play together in bouncy houses and he challenges me to races in the hallway. “Run, grandma, run. Hop, grandma, hop. Roll, grandma, roll”. I get quite a workout from my little trainer.
I am here… to keep him busy while mama cares of the new baby.
The new baby had a need for doctor visits. Something’s not right. Mama and daddy are emotional and stressed.
I am here… to listen and encourage. “Trust that everything will be ok. Trust.”
Big brother doesn’t understand why things are different now. “Daddy, play!” Daddy is busy trying to help mama. Big brother gets louder and louder.
I am here… to give him another option besides screaming.
I try to remember how I did it when my two girls were little. How did I cope with the crying, the noise, the needs of two babies, and mountains of cloth diapers? How did I do it alone?
This grandma raised her children but has more to give.
I am here… to take the sharpness off the edges of the day.
The sun is out. It’s a beautiful day. Who says that a day’s event has to cost money? Instead, you look at me and make the back up sound of a construction vehicle. It’s “beep-beep-beep” but you make the sound with your mouth closed.
“Oh, you want to go to the construction site today?” You nod, “Yes”. It’s your favorite place right now; so many things to point to. So, that’s a plan.
It’s a busy place this morning. Lots of action.
“That’s a forklift, little man. See how easy it is to lift things that are heavy?”
“Look at how high it can go!”
Oops! Distracted by a siren…
Ambulance going by.
Now, back to the business of construction.
“Do you see those men way up high? Hmmm, can’t tell what they’re doing but it must be important otherwise why would they be in that bucket?”
“Let’s go to the other side of the project and see what we can see.”
You have the cutest little gasp! You see a digger just like your’s! Oh my gosh!
And then a cement truck and another forklift.
Every machine is busy. AND LOUD!
You add to the noise by making your own motor sounds and that back up “Beep-Beep-Beep”.
As long as they kept busy, you were entertained.
Placing a steel beam…welding…and then more heavy lifting…so much to look at…so much to see.
It was hard to see through the fence and around the posts.
Sometimes, that frustrated you!
But pretty soon you could see the forklift carry away the heaviest load of all.
And then you waved good-bye as it drove away.
Time to head home, but with lots of stops to say good-bye for the day.
One more look at the men up high. Now, they’re doing something but we still can’t tell what.
Then we counted the number of floors so far.
And then we headed home.
But not before we stopped to look at the motorcycle.
The best yet, though was when we walked up to a restaurant and you made the sign for “eat”.
Now, that’s impressive. “Mama and Daddy take you this restaurant, don’t they?” And…you’re probably hungry.
Before we leave, we have to stop and see the fountain and touch the evergreens – it’s tradition.
Then we turned the corner, the last stretch till we reach home, and what do we see?
Well, what a day!
So, first we watched them from the outside…
And then….we got to watch them from the inside!
I mean, really! Days with Grandma are full of adventure. One would have thought I planned all of this.
A cold and rainy Monday, do you want to hang around inside the house all day? No. Me neither. What to do, what to do! There is this place; it’s called “Chasing Tales“. It’s a giant playroom just for kids like you. We’ve been there before. The minute we pulled into the parking lot it starts; screaming joy from the back seat!
I open the door and the wiggling, squirming, twisting and turning starts.
“I have to pay. We have to take our shoes off.”
Well, go fast, Grandma!
And you’re off.
So much to do.
You run from one area to another; touching, picking up, inspecting,
sometimes stopping to look at another child, briefly,
sometimes wanting to examine the very thing that someone else is playing with,
so you just take it.
They do the same to you as well.
Funny how kids your age don’t really care,
you just move on to the next thing to explore.
Oh wait, there’s another room It’s a giant gym! Running is easy: falling is no big deal. There are things to climb, balls to carry and throw and kick, riding toys; lots of riding toys, slides, a little house with a door that you can open and close by yourself. Ah, baby love!
The noise level is louder in this space, so first you just stand there and scream.
No one cares.
Scream to your hearts content.
Then you’re off: riding, climbing, running, riding, climbing, running.
And then you realized that you were tall enough to climb the biggest structure of all.
You have no fear.
Well, Grandma has a lifetime of fear, so the camera gets put away.
Oh my goodness, you are climbing up some high steps!
Grandma has to climb too. What?
Well, you are not going to fall on my watch!
And after running around and around, back and forth from room to room,
hitting (oops, sometimes it’s another little kid),
and climbing that structure again and again,
you stand outside of that little house and scream at a little girl, in your baby babble,
because she won’t open the door.
It was time to go home.
You didn’t complain. You were tired.
Still, you jabbered from your carseat all the way back home.
And when we got home, you slept…and so did Grandma.
You probably don’t remember but about 7 months ago, I took you for a walk in this woods? Same woods, same stroller, but now you are a bigger baby! It’s a beautiful spring day; the perfect kind of day for another walk in the woods with Grandma. Let’s see what we see this time, shall we? First, you are now 17 months old. You don’t say many real words but you communicate just the same. It starts with you pointing to things. So, I decided to take a picture of everything you pointed to. First were the branches way up high, then the trees and path straight ahead. I didn’t judge. I just accommodated, labeling everything that you pointed to.
With the next photo, you pointed towards the pond and said “uck”; your word for duck and goose. You couldn’t see them but you could hear them.
Remember no judgement!
You don’t say owl but you make an owl sound with you mouth closed. Try it. Say “Hoo-Hoo” with your mouth closed. That’s the word for owl right now; any owl, every owl you see. You seem to find them everywhere.
Time to get out of the stroller.
Last fall, you crawled into this little house. I think you stayed about as long this time as last time still.
10 seconds into the house,
5 seconds to look out the window, and
2 seconds to get out.
You were far more interested in continuing the walk. So, onward! Back into the stroller, you went.
A duck, a duck, we finally spot a duck.
Well, it’s a goose
duck, duck, goose…
one and the same.
Then, time to get out of the stroller again.
Now this is something more interesting than the “uck”. You spot a ramp!
Up and Down,
Up and Down,
the ramp you went.
I grew tired of this activity. You probably would still be there going up and down, up and down.
But with a bit of protest, I got you back in the stroller and in no time, your fingers were pointing again. This time…
Yea! Your way of saying flower is in sign language. You put your fingers up to your nose and sniff. Mmmmm, pretty flowers. Man after my own heart.
Then, you spotted a trail marker post. So, I pointed to both of the colors but then gave you a job.
“Which path are we going to follow, little man? How about if we follow the yellow. Can you be on the lookout for the yellow markers?” You were doing a great job until you became distracted with this:
You liked this…a lot! When I tried to move you away, you pointed right back.
Ok, finally on the path again and you are on duty, pointing to every yellow marker you find.
But then all of a sudden you GASP! This deserved a two finger pointing!
at the same time!
Ok, so it doesn’t take much to get you excited! But, that sure entertained Grandma 🙂
Now that we were clear of the water and big rocks, it was time to get you out of the stroller for the last time.
Time for a snack, Grandma. This fresh air makes me hungry!
And then it’s already time to find the paths back home. This was tricky but we did it!
After following all the different paths, we finally found our way back home. One last stop before we call it a day.
And then, you rang the wind chimes to let everyone know we were back home, safe and sound.
What a beautiful day with you little man. Let’s walk in the woods again real soon, ok?