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.
But first, I cried… as I took the empty carseat out of my car. I cried as I opened the back door only to see leftovers from breakfast: his favorite fruit yesterday was not his favorite fruit today. In the living room, there was a basket of blocks meant to stay at Grandma’s house. My home was now silent. I had just returned from dropping him and his mama off at the airport. They don’t live here anymore.
But, I smiled.
Now, I have nothing but time to retrace the days of their visit. It had been over a month since I’d seen them. I was thrilled that they were coming and they were going to stay with me! I bought books, and toys, and little boy pajamas with cartoon characters on them. I set up a Pack-N-Play in my spare bedroom with a fresh new crib sheet. I pulled out…
Your mama and daddy are going away for a little vacation. Oh what, oh what will we do?
It’s just you and me for the whole first day. You and I are used to be together on Thursdays but mama is home by 5:30 and daddy follows shortly after. You love it when they come home. Hmmm, what will we do to cause a diversion from that routine? Were you up for an experiment? I knew that you have gotten a little fussy about eating vegetables so I had a plan to make you a different kind of dinner. I hide vegetables in turkey meatballs and in the spaghetti sauce. You sat on the floor, getting kind of fussy until I let you taste test the sauce as it was getting ready. Now, that was fun. Then, when it was ready to eat, I let you mess around with the whole thing on your tray. You scarfed down all the noodles, sauce, and two meatballs; vegetables and all. It was a glorious mess but mission accomplished. You ate the vegetables and didn’t even know it. And, you hadn’t noticed that mama and daddy hadn’t come home.
In fact, you were enjoying the whole thing so much that you thought a little sauce in your hair would be even more fun. While, you were patient while I cleaned up the mess, your patience was gone when I tried to change your diaper afterward. You got away from me and thought that was really funny.
When trying to put your pants on yourself didn’t work,
you opted for just foregoing pants altogether.
Go with the flow Grandma. It’s just easier that way.
Before your legs got too cold, we headed to the bathtub. After about thirty minutes of water play, I was maybe just as wet as you but you were all shiny clean again. We both slept really well that night. How do parents do this every day?
Day Two: Sunshine and Bubbles
Auntie E came to spend the day and you two found the upstairs balcony…and bubbles!
You loved both the balcony and the bubbles so much in the morning that you wanted to show me again at night. Bubbles are magic. You sign “More, More” over and over again. Easy, good, CLEAN fun.
It was a beautiful day, maybe because I took some time off and went to get a manicure and pedicure! And then, after you showed me the bubbles, we took you out to eat.
You had pita bread and tomatoes. We had wine. Ok, well we had a little more than that but we had to eat really fast because you were tired. We left a really nice tip because you left your mark…all over the floor. Sorry, nice waitress.
Day Three: Why is Food So Messy?
Nobody told me that I needed have you practice eating, on your own, from a spoon this weekend. Call me crazy, but I just thought that it was time. Why do I do things like that?
Yogurt stays on the spoon, right? Well, sort of. And you patiently worked to get some in your mouth, bit by bit. In the beginning, you were amazing, trying so hard, seeming to enjoy this new independence. Some went down your bib but a good share made it into your mouth. But then you got tired of the “fun” and started shaking the yogurt off the spoon and into the air. Now you thought that was really fun! I grabbed the spoon as fast as I could but then your hands went into the yogurt bowl and into your hair, again before I could stop you. What is it with that food in your hair thing? Your just smiled at me and I melted into laughter. Life isn’t that serious, Grandma. Floors clean up and hair does too.
You sat, patiently again, and watched as I cleaned up the floor, your tray, your face and your hands, and your hair. Then up went your arms, your sign for “all done”. And, yes, you were all done and so was I. Whew!
When does Auntie E come back?
Off To The Children’s Musuem
The day was beautiful, a perfect day for a walk. Auntie E came and we packed you in the stroller and took off for the children’s museum. Lately, you are all about buttons: on the stove, refrigerator, washer, dryer, anywhere and everywhere you see a button, it just has to be pushed. So, stop number one, at the museum was the buttons. These had a purpose. They were supposed to light up a dancing floor. You didn’t notice the lights on the floor. You didn’t care about anything but the buttons. Best part was that no one cared that you didn’t care. Do what you want little one. Push those buttons to your hearts content.
Then there were more buttons on a make believe bus. You never noticed the bus driver seat, steering wheel, or other passengers. Once again, you just pushed the buttons. Over and over and over again, until another little someone came along and actually wanted to play bus driver. So we had to leave to find other buttons.
Instead, we found the slide. Oh my goodness! You had been pointing to slides in a book lately like you actually knew what they were. So when, you saw this slide, it was a done deal. You had to try it out. With no fear, you climbed the steps to the top along with Auntie E. We both think that if she hadn’t been up there to tell you to sit down, first, you would have walked right off the edge. But, with her guidance, you sat down and made the rest look like you had done it your whole life. Exactly when did you learn how to go down a slide?
Up and down you went, until Auntie and Grandma were tired and wanted to sit down. Luckily you let us. Mostly, I think you were getting tired as well. It was time to eat something and start the walk home.
What a great day. Your mama sent a message and asked if I wanted to stay longer tomorrow and get a massage. My response: “That sounds lovely but I will be very happy just going home to my couch. And the weekend isn’t over yet.
I mean what’s more entertaining than folding clothes? Best part was, the first thing you did was take some socks and throw them in the trash. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera. But I think I laughed out loud! Then, I got my camera. You tried, you really tried to help fold the clothes…and then unfold them and put them on. What you didn’t do was push the buttons on the washer and the dryer so…score one for Grandma. I found something that diverted your attention from buttons!
We ended the day with more bubbles and a push toy on the balcony. I think I need to get a chair out here!
Mama and Daddy Come Home Today
We have settled into a routine. You with me – Me with you. Still the minute the phone rings, you say “Mama” and every man we look at, in a magazine, is “Dada”. I think you are ready for them to be home. Still we have to fill the time with something.
You woke up early. Your crib is up against the wall and you had already turned on the lights. Guess you were ready to get up! I made one of those frozen toaster waffles. You were not a fan but you did like the strawberries that I gave to you. It was too cold to be on the balcony but you wanted to try anyway and you have taught me this weekend to go with the flow so I opened the door and let you venture out. This is definitely your space. You love watching the birds and squirrels, shouting out to anyone who will listen and pointing to the sky when a plane flies over. Still it was cold out there, so I forced you in, against your will.
You went to the closet door. In there, I store our “arts and crafts”. When you go to that door, you want the colored markers. I get out the markers and paper but truthfully you basically like to just play with the markers. In and out of the bag, rolling around on the floor, carrying them around and throwing them off in different directions. Sometimes, you attempt to take the top off of the marker and we get a little mark on a piece of paper. It turns into “art” by a 15 month old.
We filled the rest of the time by taking a walk to the store for a few groceries, and then having an early lunch. Then finally, the time had finally come. We heard the door open. “Who’s there?”, I asked you. Your answer, “Dada”. And you were right! And there was your mama as well. She picked you up. You snuggled into her and just stayed there. You were so happy to have them home. She snuggled so close to you and you said “Mama” so sweet and loving, and it was time for me to go home.
So much love for one little man. What a great weekend. What a special little man. I am one lucky Grandma.