Thursday, March 20, 2014

This and That

I sit here with a little boy carefully *erping* his cookies into a garbage can. I wipe his little mouth. He's pretty laid back about the whole thing. He's watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates on television.

I see that Fred Phelps has died. It's something that I've always wondered about; what does God do with people like him?

I'm reading a lot of comments. A lot of people want to go and picket his funeral. A lot of people are glad and celebrating. A lot of people are calling for his passing to be ignored since the church thrived on publicity. There are funny cartoons. Sarcastic comments.

I don't know. I look at the pale little boy sitting on the couch, and it makes me glad to know that when he grows up, he won't know who Fred Phelps is. It makes me sad to know that when he grows up, there will be others who are just as hateful.

It is the first day of spring, and once again it is snowing. Will this winter EVER end?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Nice Weekend

Planning for Dylan and Brittani's wedding has kicked into high gear. Dylan found the song for their first dance:

The plans for the rehearsal dinner are complete, and ready to be paid for, just as soon as we receive the final tally.

Our wedding gift is the trellis that they have chosen to speak their vows beneath. They will be able to transport that back home for their large and beautiful backyard. I have two stone look pots for ferns and calla lilies. My big fear is timing, that I will plant the bulbs too early or too late. I really want our small part in their big day to be perfect.

This weekend I discovered that I have a very special talent. I am good with a sledge hammer. I was breaking concrete like a woman afire. We're going to remove it from a house and bring it home to make a broken stone patio outside our bedroom french doors.

That was not the end of the surprises. We got home to discover that Cara had called. She's been away. She went to Wisconsin for some interviews. She came back and left for Disneyland, supervising some kids from college. "Are you back from Florida?" I asked. "Yes," she replied. "What are you doing?" "Nothing much, just catching up on laundry." She said, "Well, here's the deal. I'm going to need you to empty out the washer." She was on her way home with two weeks of laundry. It was wonderful to have her home, even for 24 hours. The end is in sight. Her comps are done, and she's finishing up the last two classes for her graduate degree.

It's a marvelously soul satisfying thing to watch your children becoming themselves.

Friday, March 14, 2014


It was a beautiful day today. Leaving school, William begged to go to the playground across the street. "Please, PLLLLEEEEEAAAASE Gramma, just for a liddy bit." Yeah. Okay. So we went to the playground, just like you all knew that we would. I said to him firmly, "When it is time to go, it's time to go. I don't want any tantrums. Deal?" "Okay, Gramma," the little critter lied, running off to examine the climbing wall.

William ran, and screamed and climbed and swung, and slid and bounced. We listened to the church bells. After 45 minutes, I told him that we would have to go, and that we'd go to the playground again tomorrow. He had a meltdown. Just like you all knew that he would.

In a very no-nonsense way, I said, "That's enough now," and I buckled him into his car seat. He stopped screaming, but he was still whining when we got to the store. I unbuckled him, and took him back out. He resumed his fit. I told him to stop. He did. Temporarily. Once we were actually inside the store, it all started again.

I got down on one knee and looked him square in the eye. "William," I said. "We went to the playground. We had fun. Now it is time for groceries. You are going to stop this tantrum this very minute, or I will have to give you a pop on the butt. Do you understand me?" He stared into my eyes intently for a few seconds and then said, "Okay, gramma." I said, "Nicely done, sir. Now do you want macaroni and cheese for supper?" And he said, "Macaroni and cheese!!! Yay!!!"

When we got home, he was delighted to find that his wobot had returned from outer space. Today he figured out how to argue with it. He talks about "my school" The wobot says "My school" and he says, "No it MY school, etc. etc. etc. He was beside himself with joy. They argued all night long. Blessedly, although things got pretty heated, there was no screaming.

Life is good.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


William discovered that his little computerized robot has a wonderful feature: It records him and plays it back.

"Hi, wobot!" (robot answers, "Hi wobot.") Small boy giggles hysterically, and it was funny to watch him practically ROFL as they say.

Soon that developed into "This is little cat." ("This is little cat.") Hysterical giggles. "This gramma's clock." ("This gramma's clock.") "This gramma's kitchen." (Ditto.) This 'nuther one gramma's clock." and so on and so on and so on. Every time the robot spoke, William would burst into hysterical laughter. This went on for hours, and he was the happiest kid you ever heard, laughing and laughing and laughing.

Two days later: he has discovered that if he screams at it, it screams back. That seems to be even funnier. He's howling with laughter, and 'wobot' has become the best friend he's ever had. 'Wobot' and he are inseparable. At bedtime it is taken away and he is desperately unhappy about this.

Gramma's a fairly patient woman, but yesterday she woke up with a headache so violent that turning her head made her really, really sick. It's been going around, but I thought that I'd missed it. I came to the couch in the middle of the night and lay very very still. I was too sick to take aspirin. I woke up to one small boy holding his beloved 'wobot' and screaming in his little 'wobot' face. He laughed and laughed and laughed. Feeling like the party pooper of the century, I said, "William, please don't scream anymore."

Bless his little cotton socks, he tried. He'd whisper for a couple of exchanges but unable to contain himself, he soon was screaming in the robot's face again. It went on all day. Even after my head finally stopped, and my stomach settled, he was still screaming. If the robot was taken away, he screamed even louder. He was given time-outs. He screamed.

This morning, I woke up and felt much better. Not 100%, but definately better. Good enough to go to school, but I knew that it would be a rough day. I said to Brianna, "You know, if that robot comes up missing today when we come back home, it would not be a bad thing."

We got home tonight and the very first thing that William did was head off looking for his wobot. Bless her heart Brianna has hidden it very well. We told him that the robot has taken a trip to outer space and that he will be back tomorrow night.

The little stinker is pretty upset about that. I feel sort of guilty about it. But sane.

Monday, March 10, 2014


Today was a beautiful day. William and I left preschool. His mother was at work so we had a stretch of time to fill.

We went to the library, and for the first time William rode his birthday bike. He was thrilled.

The problem is that William does not yet peddle, despite repeated attempts to teach him how to move his little feet on the peddles. Calling attention to his feet caused him to slam on his coaster brakes since he seems to peddle backward. Grandma was awkwardly leaning on one side, keeping one hand on the handlebars, and using that to push Mr. I-Do-Not-Peddle. Slamming on his coaster brakes was not cool.

I finally gave up on teaching him how to peddle and just pushed him along. We met a couple walking and they were charmed by his huge grin. "I riding my bike," he proclaimed, waving. I said, "You know, this little bike rider isn't getting much of a workout."

After our trip to the library, he came home and helped me put together a crockpot of soup, adding the corn, the chopped peppers, chopped onions, beans and tomatoes. He continued to chatter away as he worked. He heard the train whistle from across town and said, "Listen, Gramma! That train say hi to me."
Once the soup was assembled and in the crockpot for tomorrow's meal, we sat down and ate our supper. He ate his ravioli with a hearty appetite, asking for seconds. I had yogurt for supper and he had a few bites of that as well.

I cleaned the kitchen and did the dishes while he played with playdough, and we sang the alphabet, and made letters with playdough strips.

Such a simple little day, but when we picked up his mother, he was excited about all of it and couldn't wait to tell her. It's easy to forget, isn't it? You can make a memorable day for a child and never spend a dime. Ironically, you can make a memorable day for grandma for the same low price.

I'm glad we got outside today. They are calling for 5-8 inches of snow to begin tomorrow afternoon. Visibility will be poor because the winds will be powerful. I'm sick of winter, luckily, William and I have a nice pot of soup all put together.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Paddy Cat

Last night, I woke up suddenly and in the dark, right there at my side, I was shocked to see, in the glow of the gas heater, a rounded shape bobbing stealthily right at the side of my bed.

I have pretty good reflexes for a woman of my age. I immediately leapt for the opposite side of the bed and nearly fell over the edge.

Turns out that Paddy has become acquainted with a leftover helium balloon from William's party. It has lost enough helium so that the string dangles enticingly on the floor. He's been happily toting it around the house all morning.

Friday, March 7, 2014


After what seemed like 11 years of bitter cold alternating with a snow storm before switching back to bitter cold (let's hear it for polar vortexes ~ or vortices ~ the temperature today reached the 50s. Perked me right up!