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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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

Conversations with Froglegs, Dancing Eyes and Curly Top

Superman has the habit of helping calm down the midgets at bedtime. He waits til the storms are over and then goes down to their “home” and spends time with each child, talking and praying for their needs.

Papa is a very special man, and I am blessed to be able to say HE IS MINE. Today we celebrate 33 years of belonging officially to each other. I think I got the better side of the blessing, and believe me when I say HE has been the one who has loved me through it all…and that ALL has been a lot over the years.

Back to the present…

Curly Top OWNS Papa. Not that we all don’t, but she has a very special position in the family…and we ALL know it.

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When Papa went downstairs, Curly Top was contorted upside down, feet up the wall…wiggling around and Papa sat down. Now this child is named Curly Top for a reason, and she loves to suck her thumb and twirl a curl into a knot. To her mama’s great frustration! So as Papa sat down, she took her thumb out and said to Papa:

Here Papa, my hair is tangled.”

“Do you want me to untangle it?”(as she pulled it around for Papa to reach. It took all of his skill from untangling fish nets to have success, and by that point she was almost asleep.

As soon as he finished the tangle, she sleepily pulled out another knot and said, “Here Papa, another one…”

So Papa untangled the second knot, and by the time he finished, that precious little girl was asleep.

Papa kissed her good night and moved on to the next bed…

Meeting the Ocean

Meeting the Ocean

It was Papa’s turn to talk with Froglegs…whose heart’s desire is to have a real dad. {I just cannot believe a man (questionable that he qualifies as a man based on his behavior) would abandon these bundles of love and joy.}

Papa, I really wish I had a dad. But I don’t have one. But you’re kind of like my dad. And Nana is kinda like…my UNCLE!

Okay…is being an uncle a GOOD thing if you are a Nana??? My head is cocked to the side and I am wearing a very puzzled expression, even now as I think about it.

But the conversations continued as Papa moved on to the next bed…occupied by Dancing Eyes…

Those eyes...

Those eyes…

“Papa, I watched this movie all about Noah today! There was this big, big, big, big, BIG whale! God made the whale eat Jonah (ok…probably the movie was about Jonah and not Noah). Then Jesus told the whale to spit out Noah. (yep…definitely mixing the names up a bit).

Oh, you mean Jonah?

Man, I always get those two mixed up.

But the conversation with Dancing Eyes continued onto several other topics…the boy was full of the need to share his many thoughts…at bedtime. Before Papa prayed with this delightful boy, he asked what things made him thankful?

What’s that song? Oh yeah…(and he started singing … perfectly in tune)

Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is STRONG.

Yes, Jesus loves ME! Yes, Jesus loves ME! Yes, Jesus loves ME! The Bible tells me so!!!

At which point, he jumped up and pointed to the map of the world hanging on the wall…

I know where WE live (pointing to the exact spot on the map, in the near darkness).

Papa, where do Jessica and Eric live (our neighbors who live two doors away)?

I would imagine that he will learn about maps as he gets older, but Papa got a sweet chuckle out of that conversation.

Little Dancing Eyes has a habit of needing to have total seclusion in the bathroom. Door locked, stripped to the skin head to toe…not quite sure why, but what we hear through the door is amazing…he composes original music with lyrics.

It is like listening to what is in his heart put to music…how much he loves his mommy, his friends and family, but more importantly, how much JESUS loves all of them. He sings his little heart out…all behind the locked bathroom door. (I really need to capture some of these songs before he quits…). His mommy used to “compose” songs exactly like this…that was how she put us all to sleep at night…night owl that she was and still is!

We have learned a lot about parenting as we have grand-parented our four grandchildren. Little Mini Mohawk lives so far away that we don’t get as many opportunities to physically share in his life like we do with the ones who live downstairs…but all of them are the beneficiaries of what we have learned and how we have grown through the years.

We are so blessed!

Dancing Eyes, Froglegs with Mini Mohawk, Curly Top

Dancing Eyes, Froglegs with Mini Mohawk, Curly Top

Sew…Curly Top Turned 3…

Yep, made her tutu ;)

Yep, made her tutu ūüėČ

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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…

 

 

 

Conversations with Froglegs and Superman

Today is the last day of 2012. I would love to share something poignant. Awe-inspiring. Even memorable. I apologize in advance. You see, I am being regaled by gross sounds that obstruct my thinking process.

Froglegs is the only grandchild awake, so far. And we have been conversing.

(Yeah, that is a bit of an overstatement.)

“I had the best dream ever, last night,” said my gangly-legged Froglegs.

“Really? What was it about?” I asked with excitement. Hoping it would be blog-worthy.

“I don’t remember. But it was the best dream ever.”

Uh huh…and then when I laughed, he erupted with an assortment of increasingly disgusting imitations of boy-noises punctuated with a personalized version of a ¬†Mario and Luigi soundtrack.

I pressed him, trying to pry the dream out of him.

More grunts and grossness. He is, after all, going to be seven.

Further attempts at picking through the recesses of his memory were met with even greater success at grossing out Nana.

So…I walked over to the front door and stared.

“A snowflake,” I noted.

Superman made an indiscernible reply.

“Ohhh, another snowflake!” now stated with a bit more enthusiasm and inflection.

At this point, Superman became almost eloquent. “If you keep counting, pretty soon you’ll say it’s snowing.”

(I married him for his brains and stellar communication skills.)

And now, it’s snowing. And those of you who know me well, know how happy this makes me!

I have not disappeared from the face of the earth…yet

For those who follow my blog, you will notice that I have been MIA for the last few weeks.

It is not writer’s block.

Nor is it due to a lack of live writing material taking place before my very eyes.

It really isn’t even because of the chaos of the holidays (although there was a LOT of chaos).

No. The reason is actually quite mundane.

My laptop screen fried.

Again.

For the second time in one year. (And no, it is not under warranty.)

I managed to cobble together a system that worked…sort of. By hooking up the laptop to a traditional (old) ¬†monitor, I was able to use the laptop.

Yea, yea, yea.

But…there is always a “but”, isn’t there?

The contraption was set up in my so-called sewing/craft room (that in itself is a topic for another day). The room also serves as sleeping quarters for a napping toddler.

Hmmmm…access was an issue.

(And at this point, I will digress momentarily.)

Yesterday, we took down the Christmas tree and packed away the decorations inside the house. This freed up a wee bit of space in our not-so-spacious living room.

As a person who strives for perfection, this defect also applies to the positioning of furniture. Somehow I keep thinking I will find the perfect configuration for all the necessary pieces…if I just keep trying.

So, Superman helped me. With a smile, I might add. (Those of you who know him have never seen him without one, so it won’t carry the same effect as those who don’t. So don’t tell them, ok?)

Given all the things that go on in my house (gymnastics, battles for the highest spot in the room, trapeze flying, fort building, building block olympics, camping, dance competitions, along with an assortment of other activities that should probably not be enumerated), a good flow and jumping capabilities from sofa to love seat to whatever is essential.

I should probably add that I have long since given up on the “no more monkeys jumping” rule…enforcement became a full-time job. I know, I failed.

Sooooooo, we shifted our furniture around. And lo, and behold, there was just the perfect spot to move a desk that could house my laptop contraption in the living room!

Joy, joy, joy!!!

So, I am back. I bet you were all just holding your breath!

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?