Beware the little mouth…

Every day I am surprised by the continuing development of the kids around my house.

I know I should never be surprised by it, but I am.

Bam Bam has been testing the boundaries lately. Something so very normal for a child of two and a half.

It’s a bit of humor that I get to share with his parents when I give them the daily report.

The other day, I had to correct Bam Bam. He likes to play in the doorways, but with pinched fingers…well, I try to discourage playing with the doors.

So I first told him not to play in the doors. He proceeded to play in the doors.

I told him a second time not to play in the doors. He continued playing in the doors.

Finally, I used my stern voice and made myself undeniably clear in what my expectation was regarding him playing in the doors.

“Nana,” said Bam Bam, “you don’t tell me ‘no’. You say ‘yes’ to me.”

At that moment, we enjoyed a very up-close and personal “eye to eye” conversation about who says yes, no and makes the rules and who listens and obeys.

We settled the issue of the doors…and have now moved on to the next one…sharing. Sort of a revolving door around these parts, if you will pardon the cheesy play on words.

Don’t you love it when a child instructs you, the adult, to share?

Yes. I share all my toys with everyone. But when the turn taking gets out of control and the midgets forget who OWNS the toys…well, they shouldn’t tell ME to share MY toys.

Cookie has come into her own in terms of fighting, and I truly mean fighting, for what she decides is hers. She and Bam Bam had a number of issues sharing the toys today.

I frequently had to remind the kiddos that I share all of my toys. They always look at me the same way.

“These are YOUR toys, Nana?” Why they say it so incredulously still amazes me. We have this same discussion each and every day.

“Yes. They are MY toys, and I SHARE.”

“You share with me, Nana?” asked Bam Bam.

“I share with ALL of you.”

“You share with ALL of US, Nana?”

“Yes. I share with ALL of you. But when you aren’t nice and don’t share My toys, then I have to put the toys away.”

“That’s not nice, Nana. You have to SHARE. Sharing is nice.”

Ummmmm, that sort of was the point. All that repeating our conversation to each other a gazillion times…

“Nana, if you put the toys away and don’t share, you will need a time out.”

Sigh. Will someone PLEASE give me a time out?

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Playing Favorites

I refuse to post any pictures.

I don’t want to take any and I don’t want to share any.

BUT, I do want to know if any of you are guilty of playing favorites. Come on. Be honest…

Do you try to give the impression that all of your children or grandchildren are equally loved? That none is more lovable than another? Uh huh…

Well, today I have a confession to make.

The plumber is my favorite.

He comes when he is called. He isn’t afraid to do the dirty work. (And I do mean dirty…). He doesn’t leave his tools out…when he is done, he leaves.

And I don’t even regret the exorbitant price I have to pay to get rid of the toilet paper clogging the pipe.

I know. Couldn’t it have been a toy? Or…rag or something? Did it really have to be toilet paper?

I told him we use Scott tissue. We even use the kind that is suitable for septic systems. He nodded. Complimented me on our choice of tissue. (Yay for me…)

When you have a bunch of little people…well, let’s just say that the plumbing can take a beating. I told our friendly plumber that I have had to call for de-clogging services at least three times since January.

Sigh…he told me that the roots are generating a separation in the sewer line…and that will need to be repaired…ugh…

I can now anticipate the digging up of my front yard. (Hopefully, my garden that wraps and winds around the yard will be spared…but who knows?)

But there IS a silver lining…since we live in St. Louis County, the repair is covered.

See why the plumber is my favorite?

 

Transitions

I do not like them. Nope.

Transitions are not on the list of my favorite things. I imagine I could find a way to make it seem like a positive thing, but really, don’t all transitions really have one thing in common?

You know…loss???

Each year, I seem to go through a transitional period with the little kids who joyfully come to my house so that I can coo with them, cuddle with them, teach them how to go potty, how to share, how to play nicely…you know…all that stuff that we do to with small children.

About the time the kids have learned to share, wash their hands independently AFTER going potty like such a big boy/girl, they are out the door and headed to pre-school.

Great. I do all the hard work, and those lucky pre-school teachers have it made in the shade. What do they DO all day?

Just kidding…believe me, I really am just kidding!

But the truth is that every day, I do my job. I love them and nurture them…cleaning their dirty bottoms and wiping their boogie noses. I sing and play and get all crazy with them. It’s my job and I love it.

But then we come to the transition.

At this point in life, they can talk, walk, self-feed, go potty…and some of them even get pretty good at talking smack and having a certain je ne sais quoi about coming to Nana’s house.

That is the transition. They are ready to move onward and upward. No longer is Nana’s house the magical place. They have outgrown their need for Nana.

It is a bittersweet period. While I am thankful that they have reached the pinnacle of life at Nana’s, it is still truly a sad reality that they are moving on and away from my care.

I am so proud of the big boys and big girls who are “leaving the nest” and going to the big school with the big playground and lots of toys and making new friends and learning even more about life and how to live it.

But I am sad, too. Those little chubby faces and pudgy fingers and toes are now toddler faces, with not so pudgy fingers and toes. They are not interested in nuzzling into my shoulder anymore. When I pick them up, they squirm to get down.

In the last three months, I have said good bye to “Australia” and now to “Vesuvius”. In the not too distant future, Bam Bam will be moving on to pre-school as well.

On the flip side, a new little bundle has just been born, and soon she will start her own journey with me. This little sister of two brothers who have already moved on from Nana’s house to pre-school and kindergarten.

These transitions are emotional for me and the parents. Tears and lumpy throats as we say good bye. But we also share a certain joy at the successes we have had as we learned all about each other and figured out how to draw out the wonderful strengths of each child and found ways to temper the not-so-wonderful things, so that in the end, each child could transition into the next leg of life’s journey with a bit more confidence.

Tomorrow will be our first day without our little volcanic eruptions. I don’t know exactly how that will look or sound, but we will figure it out and continue on this path we are on…step by step, until it is time for the next transition.

Saying good-bye to my little volcano

Saying good-bye to my little volcano

Froglegs Had a Dream…

Froglegs is growing up. Fast. Way too fast.

The boy is seven now, and tomorrow is his last day of First Grade. I know…such a huge milestone. Do you remember all the things you learned in First Grade? What was the most important thing? For me, it was READING.

And for Froglegs, learning to read has been liberating and validating as the Big Brother.

Sean and Cadance

Somehow reading is a lot more fun when you read to your little brother…do you see a little bit of hero worship here???

Froglegs used to be a little stinker. He still CAN be, but he has adopted a new role…man of the family. Without a dad, he feels a lot of responsibility for his brother and sister. He almost panics when they are out of sight. That is an awful burden for a seven year old. But Froglegs is adamant about watching out for them and making sure that they tow the line on staying safe.

And how he loves his brother and sister…when he isn’t trying to throttle them for something. But somehow, he just needs to let them go to Sunday School without him…seriously, they will be ok.

But the reason I am blogging today is because of his dreams. For a little boy, he has some pretty mature dreams. And that is not really a blessing…

Last week, he had a very bad dream. Not the monster kind, or the zombie kind. No. This dream was very realistic and very bad. He dreamed that his little brother died. I know. What an awful dream, no matter how young or old you might be.

He was moaning and thrashing in his sleep, and breathing really fast. His mom was afraid he was having a seizure, but he woke up and out spilled the description of the bad dream.

My daughter tried to comfort him, but he was not to be comforted until both his little brother and sister were in bed with him.

He told his mom, “Put Dancing Eyes in bed, right next to me, not by the edge. I want to be able to check on him.”

So, all four “slept” the remainder of the night in that not-so-very-big bed…and Froglegs continued to check on Dancing Eyes until morning came.

When Froglegs woke up, he told me about his dream. This Nana gave him an extra big hug and reminded him that there is Someone else who truly watches out for all of them…his Heavenly Father.

Froglegs is learning that even in the absence of his earthly father, he has the perfect Heavenly Father watching out for him. He is omniscient–He knows and understands everything. He is omnipresent–He is everywhere. He is omnipotent–there is no end to His power. Those attributes bring a lot of comfort to a little boy with a big heart with a huge chunk of hurt.

As we discussed his dreams and how much his Heavenly Father loves my dear little Froglegs, he said very softly, “But Nana, I really want a dad.”

And I just hugged my little grandson a little tighter and didn’t say anything else.

Sew…Curly Top Turned 3…

Yep, made her tutu ;)

Yep, made her tutu 😉

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Can you believe it? That crazy, twirly-tomboy girlie whirlwind is now three years old. I am still trying to recover from her birthday.

You see, her mother likes BIG birthdays on the odd numbered years…for some reason my daughter has an aversion to even numbers. But she is absolutely in love with prime numbers.

So, Curly Top’s mama had some big ideas for this child’s birthday. Most of them involved me, my sewing machines, all my time and creativity for about two weeks.

Right before Valentine’s Day…

Problem. I was already making my little cherubs special pillows for Valentine’s Day…

You see, I like to do random little things that are somewhat unexpected (oops, that is mildly redundant), and I was trying to perfect my pillow-making, so they each got one that was specifically geared toward their room colors and interests…sort of.

What little boy doesn't love Lightning McQueen?

What little boy doesn’t love Lightning McQueen?

Bubba is really into Cars. Actually all the boys seem to like Cars…probably why they fight over Mater the Tow Truck and Lightning McQueen’s bright red car…

But even better is the screaming that takes place between Bubba and Curly Top when all the children are suppose to hail her as Queen and Bubba chimes in with his “I’m Lightning McQueen!” which is met with “No! I am the Queen!” and it just loops around over and over and over and over…

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Are you a morning person? Or a night person?

Are you a morning person? Or a night person?

And who could forget about Vesuvius? That Irish-Italian spitfire who cannot be adequately impersonated by a mere portion of the day–NO–for HIM the song “Night and Day, You are the One” comes to mind. He begins my child care day with his big grin (usually) and draws it to a close.

He shines like moon and stars and streams light…or maybe I should say ‘screams’ light…he is the most vocal child in my care.

Then there are the little girls…Australia and Cookie. One is graduating to preschool at the end of this school year, and the other is just this tiny wisp of a child. Australia loves purple. Also pink. So what could be more perfect for this little girl???

Sweetness with a vintage button...

Sweetness with a vintage button…

 

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Cookie has a room that is shades of pinks and blues…she is the prize of her family…you know, first granddaughter and all, I know you understand…I make fun of her dad all the time…slightly over-protective and all. And tonight…she is taking her first swim lesson. She just took her first steps over the weekend. Soooooo….

A rose is a rose is a rose...

A rose is a rose is a rose…

So I managed to get these all finished in time for Valentine’s Day, but then there was Curly Top and her birthday…ugh…

I owed her a quilt for her big girl bed. The fabric had been sitting around. I started with the squares right before Christmas, but I was sick for so many weeks and just couldn’t get to the quilt.

Even though the daughter of MINE nagged me about it…like every 10 minutes.

So…I got cracking. And I finished it. Not only the quilt, but just look and see…

Pillow case, Throw Pillow and Quilt

Pillow case, Throw Pillow and Quilt

IMG_2550 IMG_2554 IMG_2555 IMG_2557 Once I got the quilt finished, I decided to make a matching pillow case. I had already given the little pillow to her for Valentine’s Day.

I was pleased…she was pleased…and even the mama was happy. But her parting question to me was when was I planning to make HER a quilt?

Suddenly, I am feeling a little tired…

 

 

 

Today would be a great day if…

Remember this? Just give it a listen…

Do you have an ear worm now?

Well…that is how this day has been. It just has gone on and on and on…

Even now, it’s still dragging on. This will be one of those nights when I will ask if it’s late enough for me to go to bed. (And there will be a unanimous “Yes” from my family…)

Some days are like that…

Kids that just won’t cooperate…

A calendar that is just too full of “stuff”…

And a whole lot of “holiday cheer”… that really isn’t so cheery…

It is one of those days that a career change comes to mind…RETIREMENT in a seniors only community! Or living off the grid in an RV…

But then I think about it…do I really want to understand shuffleboard? Am I ready for my husband to wear white leather walking shoes? Do I want blue hair? (Actually, my son-in-law has a blue mohawk, so maybe blue hair isn’t so bad???)

But in all honesty, some days are just a huge reminder of the glorious future awaiting me in the presence of my King and Redeemer…far away from the trivial and irritating things that sneak into my day and try to steal my hope for the future and joy for THIS day.

I am hoping that I can correct my course now and try to end the day well…kind of the way I would like to see my life’s course at its end…ending well. Achieving that “well done, good and faithful servant”…

How do YOU handle those not-so-great days?

 

Boxing, Fencing, Star Wars and Froglegs

My daughter is the proud mother of three children. She is a single mom with an incredibly tough job on her hands. When you have to be both parents, sometimes life can be a little tricky. Especially if you have boys. Or girls. Or both.

Froglegs is almost seven. He has learned all kinds of cool things in first grade. And we do our best to broaden his horizons. You know…expose him to other cultures and foods and sports and anything else we can cram into his head.

He is generally very excited to learn things. Especially if it involves weapons or things that could BECOME weapons.

This morning I heard a tap on my bedroom door. I was still trying to grab a few more minutes of peaceful slumber.

“Who is it?”

“It’s me. Froglegs.”

I invited him to come in and cuddle with me for a few minutes. He chose Papa’s side of the bed (Papa was already up and leaving for work.)

I noticed that Froglegs had on his new boxing gloves. Hmmm…Must have been his way of protecting me in Papa’s absence. He went right to sleep and I finally got up and got my day started.

Now, you must remember that Froglegs has a “thing” for Mario. Also for Star Wars. And recently, he went airborne trying to slamdunk a basketball.

the boy can jump

Football is not high on our list of encouraged sports (even though I am a die-hard Packers fan) because of the risk of injury. But he has starred in soccer and baseball already, and well…he rides a bike and a skateboard…

But we were all a little surprised when he announced that he wanted to learn to FENCE. Seriously, how does he even KNOW about fencing??? That surpasses all of our previous deposits of other-culture-important-to-know experiences.

This afternoon, Froglegs had a conversation with his mom. Oh to have been a fly on the wall!!!

“So When I’m 10 I can fence?”

His mother replied, “Yes, but you know you’ll be using real swords. But they train you so you don’t kill anybody…”

Twenty seconds of silence. Something was ticking and blinking in that boy’s head.

” Whoa! Wait, so you don’t use a light saber to fence? Whoa!!! I will play basketball instead.”

So, the boy learned an important lesson today. Fencing is no good without light sabers. But maybe we should let him watch Zorro…