The Right Attitude

As a grandmother, I have much more time to observe the children in the family than I once did as a harried mother. I am constantly amazed by their imagination, which just shows that a lot of expensive electronic gadgets is not always the answer to boredom. They can devise their own entertainment.

The activities during this past Tuesday’s playdate showcase two prime examples. I know now that when Lily is visiting I should never make my bed because that is a fun activity for her—and not just the basics of arranging the sheets, blankets, and pillows. Her latest game involves making a mountain of all my pillows and shams, climbing to the top of that mountain with “the girls” (aka Miss Ruth and Raggedy Ann), and then having me push her and the dolls to the floor, with the object being trying to catch one of the dolls before they hit the rug. She calls it “fall down kids.”

Lily loves “the girls,” and I have been working on explaining who they are, particularly Miss Ruth. I have told her that Miss Ruth is a real, very important person, and her job is to make sure all the rules in the country are working correctly. For now, I think that’s enough for a four year old to know. Lily knows she is special, so on Tuesday, we worked on the second activity, which was to make a necklace for Miss Ruth to wear. Each month we will make another one.

Today is Lily’s birthday, and I know she will be excited to bring in her birthday treats to her class: mini cupcakes and applesauce, which were her idea. I guess she is like me in that I loved eating applesauce with everything. I can just picture that big smile now which almost always graces her little face.

“What makes you happy?” I asked her.

“Everything!” she responded.

I sure hope she does not lose that cheary attitude. Happy Birthday Miss Lily!!

Who is Naughty and Who is Nice?

Tonight Santa is coming, and I know nerves are frayed with Bryce as he worries about his sister. “At least you’ll get something from me,” he told her one day after observing her increasingly bad behavior.

It did not help when Santa told them both that they were on the “nice list,” and I think that Bryce was more excited than she was about this erroneous pronouncement by the jolly old elf. Their mom responded by reminding Lily that “he’s making a list and checking it twice.”

So they will don their Christmas pajamas and put out their cookies and reindeer food for Santa. Thankfully, Mommy was able to clean the blood from Bryce’s pj’s after an out-of-control nosebleed, but he was not worried. “It doesn’t matter how I look. It matters how I feel. And the blood would have added a Christmasy look.” Jamie, the nosebleeder of our family, would never have acted so calmly if her special pajamas had been afflicted by a blood explosion!

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Happy!



Not on the Basis of Sex

When you were little, I was very crafty. Among the crafts I made were homemade Christmas ornaments, a plethora of ceramic decorations, and that Halloween ghost. I don’t have a picture of it, but I found one on the Internet that resembles my homemade creation.

As you recall, it remained up after Halloween and became a multi-holiday decoration—the best being the ghost of Christmas past. Now I am resurrecting that activity.

I recently purchased a Ruth Bader Ginsberg doll, which was initially meant to go to Lily if she liked it. Miss Ruth, as I like to call her, is very soft and cuddly, so I thought it might be a nice bedtime pal. Before Lily’s next visit to my house, I placed Miss Ruth on the windowsill in the living room and waited for our playdate.

I borrowed a book to read to her—I Look up to Ruth Bader Ginsburg—and introduced her to RBG. Although I thought the book seemed boring for a three-year-old child, Lily did not agree. She wanted me to read it over and over. She learned that “Ruth is strong,” “Ruth is a leader,” and “she believes in her opinions and shares them in a way that people understand.”

I decided to keep Miss Ruth, and if Lily wants one of her own, I will purchase a second doll. I went out to Michael’s and purchased supplies to decorate Miss Ruth for Christmas. She now sits on the windowsill alongside a Christmas gnome I believe I acquired from my friend Wendy and a snowman made by Casey many years ago.

When the Christmas decorations are packed up, I will return to Michael’s to choose my Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day Miss Ruth decorations. I look forward to fun with Miss Ruth as well as finding more strong women to introduce to both children, because I want them to know that they can be whatever they choose. Their careers should not be on the basis of sex.


Let’s Talk Timor-Leste

We all learn something new every day, and I am especially excited when I learn about a new discovery or hear about a fact which one of the kids tells me. Now that we have two “yutes” in the family (see My Cousin Vinny for context), we are continually being enlightened and challenged to keep up with them.

Next on the docket is the country Timor-Leste—aka East Timor. I know little about this island country, and I bet none of you do either. All I know is that it is southeast of Indonesia and it has been a country for less than twenty years.

I will soon be presented with a Power Point presentation in which the story of East Timor will be told to me. I admit that I am blown away by the fact that a first grader knows how to put together a Power Point presentation, research the subject on the Internet on his own, and create a Google Doc to write or share the report with his teacher.

Apparently, while this is shocking to me, it is not unusual for young children today. But when I was a first grader, I was still struggling with “run, Spot, run” and “look, Jane, look.” We did not have computers or smart boards in our classroom or streaming televisions in our home.

I look forward to hearing about Timor-Leste. I am just sorry I was not part of the first grade class when a pumpkin/onion/beans dish was served, which is an example of a favorite food in this country. I wonder if the class was as enthusiastic about this dish as he was.

Where Was the Broccoli?

As you all recall, your elementary school did not serve lunch, so twice a month Margaret and I sent out order forms to each child in the school, calculated the amount of food and beverages to purchase, placed our orders, and bought the supplies from the vendors. One vendor happened to be a local nursing home, who had the best price on the hotdog rolls.

Reflecting back on those lunches, I am astounded that we were able to feed those young children such unhealthy lunches: pizza (not too bad) or hotdogs (bad, bad, bad), soda (so much sugar and no nutritional value), and potato chips. In my defense, I will say that I did not craft the menu. It was thrust upon me by my predecessor, Gladys. I naively agreed to take on the task for one year year but ended up cooking hotdogs and storing soda in our garage for years.

I bet a million bucks that those awful lunches that every kid loved would never pass muster today because those lunches were full of way too much sodium, sugar, and fat, and not a single carrot or piece of fruit to be found.

Now we are so much smarter.

Choose Your Campsite With Care

It’s time to pretend we are moving again, so I have been going through closets, cabinets, and various cubby holes deciding what stays and what goes. The first hit was a bunch of clothes which I donated to a local thrift store whose profits goes to a homeless shelter.

Next, I donated sixteen wine glasses to one of Dad’s golf tournaments, which he had a nearby printer engrave for him. That freed up a shelf in the kitchen.

Now I am working on organizing my photographs. I purchased a box which contains sixteen sleeves, and each one holds the contents of one album—minus duplicate pictures as well as just awful photos that have no idea why I chose to immortalize in a book. I have been referring to old school pictures to date them based upon hair styles.

One particular photo of Jamie appeared at first to be of her swollen little face when she had the chicken pox, but upon further examination of her hairstyle, I concluded that the picture was taken several years after that nasty illness visited us.

I realized it was when Jamie went “camping” in the backyard and decided to make a nest from a pile of leaves. I remember that she came inside and mentioned how she was relaxing in a cozy bed of green, which I later learned after her skin reddened with a horrible, unbearably itchy rash turned out to be poison ivy!

Poor Jamie! She could not bear anything touching her skin but a soft nightgown. The look on her face told the story of her misery!


Rated “T” for Toddlers

Warning: Rated “T” for toddlers. Adults may be offended.

Our daily trips to the bathroom are personal journeys—discussed with few (thankfully) except our physicians. This does not apply to three-year olds, who are quite happy to discuss their visits to the bathroom in great detail with anyone who will listen to them.

This week Lily was visiting us, and after several vigorous rounds of Candy Land, she headed off to the bathroom which did not contain the step stool. I followed and offered my assistance.

“I can do it myself,” I was told, so I turned to leave.

“Stay, Grandma,” I was instructed. Clearly privacy was not important, nor did she even consider filtering her thoughts on what she was doing. In fact, she preceded to describe her past toilet observations.

“Sometimes it looks like a snake. Other times, it looks like a hotdog,” she said casually. As she was speaking, I was thinking that Grandma will just love hearing this story.

After the deed was done and her hands were washed, we both had to do the happy dance. There was no arguing with her.

Doesn’t everyone  stop to dance after they poop?