Mom’s Day is for Grandma, Too

In honor of Mother’s Day — which is Sunday, May 13, for everybody slapping their foreheads and saying, “Uh-oh. Mother’s Day is coming? I knew it was sometime in the spring.” — here’s a conversation Older Daughter reported to me the other day. Because Mother’s Day is sort of Grandmother’s Day, too:

Older Daughter was driving with her 4-year-old son/our grandson Nolan in the backseat.  Nolan asked his mommy if she would hand him one of his Cars books to read. “No,” she said. “Remember that looking at books while you’re in your car seat makes you throw up sometimes.” He considered this for a moment and then asked, “Mommy, do you feel like you’re going to throw up right now?” Wondering where this was headed, she said, “No. I don’t feel sick at all. Why?”  Explaining his well-thought-out plan, Nolan said, “Well, if you did throw up then we could go home and you could get in bed and Daddy could take care of you and we could call Kacky (Note: That’s me!) to come take care of me and you could throw up with Daddy and Kacky could play with me.”

Genius child! So, to recap — I’m the first person our grandson Nolan thinks of when the subject is being sick and throwing up. Which is exactly what we grandmothers want.

Happy (Grand)Mothers’ Day!

 

Responsible Concern for the Environment v. Grandparenting


Hmmm ... “Toy Story,” “Cars” and Angry Birds. Must have been 4-year-old grandson Nolan’s birthday — with presents from Kacky and John wrapped in all his favorite things. And even though I believe in minimizing consumerism (except for shoes, of course, and the eternal quest for the Perfect Pair of Jeans), ignoring commercialism (but I really want to try the Cover Girl makeup that both Ellen and Sofia Vergara like), reducing waste and refusing to buy into the must-buy mentality (although I’m on the lookout for a simple yet flattering khaki skirt so please let me know if you stumble across one), none of that matters when my grandson wants the latest Cars play set. Grandparenthood triumphs — trumps green living. On the other hand ... it did feel pretty good when Older Daughter and I decorated a plain and basic bakery cake with Angry Bird toys Nolan ALREADY HAD to create his asked-for Angry Birds birthday cake. Recycling does have its place.

Because It Was There

"Oh, hi, Mommy! I didn't see you standing there. Tree? What tree? Oh, you mean THIS tree that you happened to have found me in the middle of. Uh ... I guess I ... uh ... I thought maybe Baby Brother was up here and I'd better check to make sure he's okay. Yeah, yeah, that's it."

Signs of Fall

Everybody here in the South agrees that this is one of the best falls ever. Usuallyf we go straight from summer into winter, but this year we’ve actually had the warm days & cool nights of autumn.  The leaves are getting gorgeous, but there are other signs of fall. Such as scarecrows, as pictured on the left. And you thought that was a photo of me on my daily walk through the forest! You should know that I never would pair red devil horns with a red handbag AND red shoes — too matchy-match. No, this actually is “The Devil Wears Prada”‘s Miranda Priestly on the Huntsville Botanical Garden‘s annual Scarecrow Trail. Created by the Women’s Business Center of North Alabama,  Ms. Scarecrow Priestly accessories her Halloween look with a zebra-print blazer — and until only a year or so ago I owned an almost identical blazer. You know you need a closet redo when your outfits show up on a devil scarecrow — albeit a stylish one. Fall also is the time when autumnal art work shows up on refrigerators. It’s been a long dry spell between our now 20-something-year-old daughters bringing home their falling-leaves pictures and our 3 1/2-year-old grandson Capt. Adorable adding to the collection. The Captain stayed with Husband JP and I a few days ago, and I went through his backpack a couple of his papers from Spanish class fell out of his backpack, so I claimed them.  To finish off the refrigerator decor, Capt. Adorable arranged the alphabet magnets into a train, which I thought was very creative and brilliant of him. Genius baby!

More Random Thoughts, or This Is What Happens When I Break My Computer

Well, okay, I haven’t actually broken my computer. The universe broke my computer — that’s my story, anyway. What happened is that a week or so ago, I noticed it was ssssllllloooowwwwiiinnnggg down to an excruciatingly painful crawl and with my computer savvy born of years of unwittingly inviting viruses to take up residence I correctly deduced that I had acquired a bug. Took it to a computer place, they cleaned it up in a few days and gave it back. And in my eternal quest to save money, I vetoed the security package upgrade the computer guy offered me and simply said — and I quote — “Oh, just go with the basic free one and I’ll buy the upgrade later.” Yes, I actually said those words. Learn from my mistake, friends: NEVER do that.  Because, in the karmic way of the universe, three days after I got my computer back and before I could hand over extra money for extra protection, I got hit with an even more vicious bug that effectively blocked me out of everything but endless games of Spider Solitaire. So my long-suffering beloved laptop is at another computer place for thorough cleaning — and I’ve already told the guy to load it up with every piece of security he can.  And although I believe in the mantra of “never explain, never complain” — – No, really, I do — I wanted you all to know what I haven’t posted lately. My equally long-suffering husband is graciously sharing his laptop with me, but it’s just not the same. So, what’s been happening around here the past few days?

  • Younger Daughter turned 25. This seems extremely unbelievable to me –that my baby girl is 25. I’m beginning to understand why my parents look at me and say, “We cannot believe you are 54.”
  • As a result of being too enthusiastic and optimistic stupid, I agreed to write press releases for several non-profit events within the span of one week. Luckily, none of them got shorted — I procrastinated equally on each of them.
  • Husband and I were scheduled for health screenings at his workplace, and as we were getting ready that morning and he caught me weighing my clothes, I had to explain to him the fine art of dressing for the scales. He was impressed horrified.
  • Here in Mississippi, we’re watching the disintegration of our two SEC football seasons while in neighboring Alabama the Tide rolls on. I am not happy.
  • With the arrival of our second grandson — 3 1/2-year-old Capt. Adorable’s younger brother — a mere month away, I keep a packed ready-to-go bag in my car at all times and am in constant Grandma Alert mode. Every time Older Daughter calls, she says, “It’s not time yet” before she even says “hello.”
I’ve taken some awesome photos with my new camera that actually works and doesn’t eat batteries, so as soon as I get my laptop back, I’ll share. Thank you all for your patience. I now am going back to playing Spider Solitaire and sending disruptive mental messages to N. Saban.

Jonah and the Baby Hat

Oh my cookies! I am so glad that I have such talented friends. Can you believe that someone just sat down and whipped up this precious work of art? I’ve tried to knit before — Older Daughter patiently attempts to re-teach me every couple of years or so — and even my incredibly-simple-and-anybody-can-do-it scarves end up wonky. This baby hat is so cute I just want to play with it — I adjust the size and tie the ribbon and imagine this on a sweet little infant head. My friend Sherry Campbell, whose current work exile in Louisiana has significantly reduced the fun factor here in northwest Alabama, made this for our Grandbaby No. 2, expected to arrive in mid-November. I love how the colors and patterns and ribbon all work together in perfect adorability. I remember when Sherry first discovered knitting and took to it with dedication and passion, as she does everything. Then there was the famous road trip where she stopped at every Tuesday Morning for hundreds of miles so she could collect enough of the same type of yarn she needed for a special project.  But who can argue with talent such as this? And seeing this hat makes Grandbaby No. 2’s arrival seem all the more real. Well, that, and Older Daughter’s growing tummy. Bless her heart, she says she is sort of getting tired of 3-year-old Capt. Adorable always giving her the role of the whale when they play Jonah.

Capt. Adorableland

Oh my cookies. I cannot believe it’s been a whole week since I’ve had the chance to sit down at my laptop to blissfully and abundantly waste time write thoughtful and meaningful blog posts. But when I tell you what I’ve been doing instead, you’ll understand: Being a full-time grandma. Yes! Our 3-year-old grandson, Capt. Adorable, stayed with us for several days while his mommy and daddy (Older Daughter and our son-in-law) did a major kitchen renovation and baby-nursery redo (in preparation for the Captain’s baby brother, who’s planning a mid-November arrival). And you know that I absolutely and positively adore being with the Captain 24/7 and if it weren’t for pesky obstacles such as having to work a little bit to make some money and wanting to spend more time with my husband than a quick bleary-eyed good-night kiss, I’d do it more often. At least, I think I would. This visit was actually the Captain’s longest here at our house by himself, and I did learn a few lessons.

A) You know how everybody says, “Aw, you don’t look like a grandma!” when you meet people in your normal life and they learn you have grandchildren? That’s because in your normal life you’re able to spend an hour on your hair and makeup in your by-now-perfected daily age-defying routine and spend the next hour in your closet choosing a coolly chic not-too-young but not-too-old outfit that hides and smooths and camouflages and flatters. When you actually are on grandmother duty, nobody says that. But it’s not your fault — it simply is because you have no time. No. Time. No makeup. No hair styling. No color coordination. You’re lucky if you can swipe on some deodorant, zip up the jeans you’ve worn for five days and find a T-shirt without chocolate-milk stains. Young-mom grunge is cute when you’re a 26 and look adorable in a pony-tail. Thirty years later? Not so much.

B) Stock up on whatever your pain-reliever of choice is — and I’m talking aspirin or acetaminophen or whatever here. No matter how fit you are, no matter how much you work out, no matter how many mountains you’ve climbed or marathons you’ve run, nothing compares to spending 24/7 in grandchildren-land. Especially if your grandchildren’s parents encourage those wonderful modern concepts such as Using Imaginations, Turning Off the Electronic Devices and Learning by Doing. The days of spending summer vacation parked in front of the TV are gone. Children today Get Out and Engage in Active Playtime. The result? A well-rounded and happily grounded child. And a sore and exhausted grandparent.

C) Remember the Mommy Network? No, not a Facebook group. I’m talking about when you yourself were a young mom and everywhere you went you just sort of naturally gravitated toward other young moms in similar circumstances. Well, the same thing is true three decades later: Grandmothers intuitively identify each other and quickly band together to commiserate, complain and plan a margarita night intelligently discuss child-rearing issues of the 21st century. And of  course there’s bragging. It’s a given that grandparents can brag on their grandchildren, who, naturally, are the brightest, smartest, funniest, strongest, kindest, most talented and most creative kids in the whole world. Every single one of them. Learn to listen politely and smile courteously as others share their stories since, obviously, they’re just filling time with their averageness until it’s your turn to dazzle with exceptionality.

D) And, finally, when the visit’s over and your household routine’s returned to normal and the cats have come out of hiding and you’ve cleaned cookie handprints off walls and roller-skate marks off floors and gotten all the chocolate-milk gunk out of the shot glasses, take a deep breath and enjoy a minute of well-earned quiet. Because even as you’re enjoying the chance to sip a glass of wine and read something that’s not Dr. Seuss, you can’t wait to do it all again.

A Genius is Revealed — or, Why I Think Capt. Adorable Will Make Me Famous

This is one of 3-year-old grandson Capt. Adorable’s first attempt at actual photography. Genius! Brilliant!! Oh-so-talented!!! He’s sitting on his grandad’s tractor at his grandparents’ place in Tuscumbia, Ala. — which is about his top No. 1 thing to do, although we suspect that one day he’ll figure out how to turn it on and go plow the lower 40. On this afternoon, he’d gathered an admiring posse of girl cousins and their friends — another favorite activity — and then decided to round out this duo of red tractors and adoring females with another of his obsessions: Examining anything that clicks, moves and has tiny little parts — in this instance, my camera. So he leaned over from the tractor, grabbed it out of my hands and was snapping photos before I could say, “If you turn off the flash and use the ‘normal,’ setting, you’ll get a better shot.” He needs to work on lining things up and getting everybody in the frame, but maybe he was making an artistic statement here … you know, about postmodernism in an irony-less world and the interaction of our natural environment with human productivity combined with personal questions about the the supposed mutual exclusiveness of reality and representation. (I don’t know what any of that means, either, but thank you, Mr. Google, for teaching me how to talk like an art reviewer.) Of course, almost anything the Captain does is perfect to me, so I believe this is the start of a successful photographic career as well as the origins of a new style of photography that will come to be called the Hawk Pride Mountain Style and I’ll end up on the Today Show in 30 years saying, “Yes, I knew my grandson was a genius as soon as he grabbed the Canon PowerShot out of my hands.”

The Pirates of the Captain’s Backyard

It’s after Memorial Day. It’s the first day of June. College students are home. Teachers are done. So it doesn’t matter that the calendar insists on a June 21 starting date  — around here we know that summer already is underway. Luckily, I’ve got the best thing for summer: A 3-year-old grandson with a knows-no-limits imagination. And a big backyard. Here we’re playing pirates. His ship is the slide/treehouse on the left and mine is the slide I’m (uncomfortably) sitting on, on the right. First we had to run around the yard looking for treasure, with a lot of “arrrr, matey” and other piratey phrases. Then we got on our ships to sail toward Treasure Island, since the whole running-around-the-yard thing didn’t yield much, gold-wise. We did find a silver and red pinwheel, which pleased me much more than it did Capt. (Hook) Adorable. Since I was having trouble finding Treasure Island — didn’t pirates have GPS? — the good Captain literally jumped ship and came over to help me. Good thing, too. No telling where I might have ended up. But perhaps Treasure Island is there over that fence? Naw — it’s just the neighbors’ driveway.

And in more “welcome, summer” news, click here for some great Southern recipes for the best of hot-weather eating, from the blender to the grill to the dip bowl. No oven required.

The Captain and Tendrils

How 3-year-old grandson Captain Adorable went from hippie nature child to sweet little boy to cool rocker kid in 20 minutes …

We didn’t really realize how long the Captain’s hair was until the stylist combed it out — there was more than enough for a Locks of Love donation, which is what the Captain’s mommy wanted.
Oh so cute … this look says, “I use my inside voice and sit quietly in Sunday school.” And while the Captain can do those things (well, sometimes, anyway), they are not his favorite activities.
This is the Captain’s new look. It says, “I like worms, mud and climbing over anything that Mommy & Daddy say I can’t.” Bath time took care of the blue spikes, but they could reappear at any moment. 

The Captain’s mom, my Older Daughter, is having a hard time with the new ‘do. She was tired of people mistaking her little boy for a little girl — an understandable mistake, though — and going through more bottles of conditioner for his hair than she used on her own. But this is new. And different. It’s change. Her baby’s growing up. And mine, too. Sigh.