Scrambled eggs

“Gotta make you happy.” he says to a floppy handful of daffodils, ruffled caps had dipped heavy with rain into the soil.  What makes them happy?  I ask him.  “Me.” He inhales,”I do.”  He confidently marches their fancy little heads into the house where he asks for some thirsty water for them. In Montana he comforts his sister, 6 month old Liza, with songs.  He gives 4 month old Clare a toy.  He has learned to help. He cries and folds up with worry when Metro seems to move too slowly as a truck comes up the drive. But cry-laughs with relief when I insist he watch the dog move fast when necessary. He’s safe.  You are safe and I am, too. See?  We all got out of the way.  And the truck stopped.

You are doing pretty well little guy.  I am impressed with your parents’ (mommy’s) efforts to engage you in managing the chaos of a busy life in your little shared trailer home.  You willingly take a nap in the old brass bed, go to bed at night, telling me to leave the room after I turn off the light.  I sneak a peek through the crack in the door to see what you will do…you talk to yourself, sing a song’s chorus over and over and wind the music box again.  You stay in bed, slip under the covers and go to sleep.  This amazes me every time.  Self-comforting is very important.  You are good at it, little one.

You painted a picture with 3 year old Shelby from next door (next mountain top) and ran through the house squealing delighted with yourselves and one another.  Last night we left late to walk down to the barn to feed the horses.  Grandpa is out of town for work.  We bundled up at 9, and flashlights in hand, hiked down the hill.  “The animals can see us.” you whispered.  What animals? “Tigers, wolves and raccoons.” you answer.  “I hear something.” Its the deer resting in the trees and watching us walk by.  They are snoozing and when we leave they get up and eat grass.  As we get to the barn and turn on the overhead light you say, “I’m not scared of deer.” Of course not.  I watch you heave a sigh. “No, don’t hold my hand,” you say as we trudge back up the steep hill.  And you walk ahead.  Its a long walk, its late and you sing twinkle twinkle.

You shook the flour onto the small cubes of meat for beef stew, dropped in the potatoes and added the salt.  Mmmmm.  I make good stew you said after two helpings. The carrots were your favorite. You push the kitchen chair, back against the counter the way I always do, slide up to the sink, turn on the faucet, dispense a mound of foamy soap, wash and dry your hands.  “I’m done, Grandma.” Yes, you did it by yourself.  Self-reliant. Some parents have to be reminded to give their children space to become self-reliant.  Let her be, we tell them, let her try it, fall, get up, and figure it out herself.  I am remembering how children like you buddy, whose parents are sometimes neglectful, can result in this kind of skill-building, figuring things out for yourself.  I am learning so much from you.

Today you are sleeping late.  Its after 7.  Its sunny and warm already.  We will go visit your old school and play with your friends.  Today I will watch you with a group of children.  Today I’ll sit close.  I noticed you had a bite wound on your tummy, scabbed over, Nathaniel bited me, you explain  He’s 2.  Your eyebrows pull tight, “No, I sayed. It’s mine!”  We’ll see how it goes with the twins, and eight other 2 and 3 year olds. We’ll see.

Up now.  Off to a busy and Wonderful day, I think as you get the egg carton from the refrigerator.  Hungry?  and hand you a bowl.  You still break a perfect egg!  Love this guy, gma.

Taking care of babies

A Moment of Silence. The tea kettle steam breathes to my right. I can think for a moment as I listen for you on my left.  I consider things besides easel paper, muddy shoes, matching games, where your tiger is NOW and when does Grandpa come back and can I have a cookie and some juice, please. I trimmed your nails then read you a story.  Now you are napping.  It was hard to stick to the napping plan.  Never my favorite thing to insist about, but necessary for a guy who was awakened by the dog barking before 6 am. You rarely stop moving.  You run and squeal for the dog to chase you and she does. You grab a puzzle piece and notice the easel and put the piece down on the tray to pick up the brush one arm hugging your tiger. If you don’t hide or carry the tiger, Georgia the dog or Metro the beagle get it.  You shout, eyebrowns squinched down, NO, that tiger is MINE!

You sing as you play, any song we have just sung. You move every object in the house from one place to another place; every hour on the hour. I have discovered many teachable moments already and you look at me strangely when I remind you, lets put these away before you dump these  others out so you don’t step on them. “No, I don’t think so,” you say.  Then grandpa stepped on one-OUCH… he growled. Little red things and yellow, called Zoobs, I think.  Now you pick them up each time. (Just this toy). You love the tiny rubber babies, setting them in small wooden bowls I provided and tiny carpet squares I used for one-to-one correspondence games with them years back.  Ella liked them, too.  You both talk to them in adapted voices, high and sweet saved for babies.  Its very sweet.  People in Montana must show lots of special attention to the babies.  You are kind kissing one after you drop it on the floor.

We stopped and took Grammie some lunch and a pot of spring flowers.  Uncle Mike made some warm cookies and they were still warm.  We went to the hardware store, stopped in at the shop and the rental to get construction reports.  Today the overhead door installation is happening while the paint is getting finished up, named “sublime”, and the rental cabin got its wall insulation installed and you told Jim the wall was really nice. We had to remind you not to touch it.  Jim’s making me a new house, you told me, with soft, fuzzy pink walls.

I’m going to pick up a few toys, take the 20 tiny rubber dolls out of my bed, scrub the paint off the floor and remove the red pegs from the freezer.  I can’t recall your idea about that.  It had something to do with strawberry popsicles. Then I will write for a moment before I forget all of the delightful things you do.  I was so exhausted that I forgot to notice.  A nap is important for for you and helps me enjoy you, too. I handed you my wooden music box and pulled the door closed. Then after about five minutes, I peeked back in-you propped a big baby doll on your chest, “Baby Lindsay,” you said, “let’s trim your nails, it won’t hurt, honey.”  And one by one, on each of her miniature fingers, you planted a kiss. Ten kisses and then ten more for her toes.  And you rolled over and into sleep. Some good things are happening to you, little guy.  I feel encouraged and the twenty minutes respite helped me notice.  Let’s do it again tomorrow.


I’m in a meeting eating dry cereal and drinking coffee while people are talking I see you pulling your rolly cart along the linoleum floor in the airport, daddy putting it in the stow-away, strapping you in….then I say, “I want to share several considerations…” And daddy says, here we go.  He’s very nervous and you are excited and now a bit nervous because daddy is. Grandpa left really early from Washington D.C. He’s flying and you’re flying.  I’m at a meeting. “Maybe we have regions that align with…” I hope you ate breakfast and daddy remembers not to leave the concourse.  Stays in the security ck in zone.  Don’t ride the fast trains in the Denver airport.  Stay at the United area. Hello, I say to your daddy, he is confused about where grandpa will arrive.  Your daddy needs help to find the monitor, its called Arrivals, daddy, find Dulles-“its alphabetically organized, find the “D” words”.  He finds two that say Dulles and says he sees an empty airplane.  Don’t worry, daddy.  Hold his sticky hand. 10:30 arrival-it hasn’t come yet. What time zone does it arrive? Ask the person at the counter if it will be on time. These are all good questions for someone who doesn’t fly; navigate the big busy world.  I hope you see daddy relax on this little adventure.  “The business model may not represent our working styles…” Have fun on the moving sidewalks.

Here comes Grandpa. Bye daddy.  I hear daddy on the phone tell me that you left with your grandpa.  Now I can breathe. “This Council dissolves barriers between the two higher ed segments and….”

I land back in my seat in the cool meeting room that smells like coffee as you take off with Grandpa.  See you in a few hours, buddy. gma

Tomorrow, buddy

I am working in Sacramento today.  Remember the long drive to the mountains, past the windmills, the big water tank that you said looks like a baby rattle, past the stinky cows, over bridges and all those antennas that you and grandpa love talking about? I drove there a few days ago and will turn around and come back tomorrow to come home to see you. Grandpa will strap you into the carseat in his big truck at the airport.  He forgot to take it with him so I stopped at the airport and put it in the truck , so you can sit up high on your way home.  It was a little funky.  The spots along one side made me remember when Kalen threw up on the way to the airport last month and another time that you dropped an ice cream cone into your lap.  I’m glad I didn’t clean it up.  I like thinking about that ice cream day on the way to Echo Lake. (not the throw-up day). Maybe grandpa will get you some snacks for the road, too.

When you go up, up, up into the trees, like we did through your babyhood, you are going to have your eyes filled with green.  I know what its like after going to Boulder or that time in Billings, I notice how special the many trees are where we live.  Fill your eyes with lush beauty.  It may be rainy, but we have a raincoat and boots. We’ll do a rain walk with the dogs.  Georgia looks funny with wet, floppy hair.

Whew, do you hear how I am rambling all over the place?  I am so excited about your visit.  Breathe, grandma.   Yes just one more day.  Tell your mommy to tell you about the trip.  Say, “Please tell me today!” I want to think about you with pictures inside your head, behind your eyes- Bonny Doon, doggies, horses, toys, cooking lessons, hiking and snuggles with grandma and grandpa- and a little peace for yourself.

Okay, buddy, see you tomorrow! gma

Consider staying on?

Only one handful of days to go-five more days until you arrive with Grandpa. He’s working on the east coast this week and will meet you at the Denver airport. Daddy will fly with you from Billings.  I will be waiting for you.  I made the bed, put some fresh clothes in the dresser, put a pair of shoes on the floor and laid your blankie on the pillow.  I will dust the toy shelves, get some juice and a gallon of milk.  And we’re set.  You are not our guest, but like your daddy, AJ and the other boys (men, now) you are family; coming back home.

This week your daddy found the webcam that I sent for you to SKYPE with Grandpa and me.  Your Billings Grandma was certain that I wanted to spy on her and hid it away.  Daddy got it back and set it up in your bedroom.  Wasn’t it fun to see the dogs, your toys and Grandpa eating his weanie and pickle sandwich?   I loved seeing you.  Thanks for trying to give me a bite of your apple.  I had to get one, too- it looked so delicious. Then we pretended to eat each others’ apples and put our teethy faces right up to the camera.  We are sillie-nillies.

On Right-hand pinky day you will get up early and go to the airport with your daddy. I hope the weather is sunny. Yesterday Shelby was out in the meadow with her mommy and her mini horse grazing. (only the horse was grazing) Shelby took all her clothes off in the sun.  I hope you can get sunned when you are here.  You need the air and freedom to move. You know what?  I am not going to want to send you back. I’ll want you to stay a bit. I have had this idea for a long time, and wonder if your mom and dad will let you stay until they get settled.  I asked before-(when you moved)-but your mommy said no because she thinks its bad for a mommy to give her child away even for awhile.

I wonder if your mommy knows that my mommy asked her own aunt, my great aunt Mildred, to take me for awhile until she got settled back in 1950?  I think I am okay for it.  Probably my mommy’s idea was a good one, and maybe I wouldn’t be so fine if I had stayed while she was trying to figure things out.  Those times can really confuse and worry children. She knew our aunt would take good care of me.  And I think she did.  I feel loved and secure from those early days.

Auntie Robin and I had fun choosing the shirts, pants, sox and jammies for you.  I took off all the tags and labels so you wouldn’t get itchy and folded them and put them into the small set of drawers in the brass bed room.  Maybe you can keep your things in there, and sleep there too, if you’d like.  We’ll try it.  Uncle AJ lost his job, so he may be visiting, too.

Okay, buddy, I’ll see you on Saturday.  I sure hope your mommy told you that you are having a vacation.  But if she didn’t (she told me not to tell you), maybe she’ll tell you soon.  She needed to be the one to give you the trip, and decide when and maybe doesn’t want your eagerness to make life a little hard with you asking and asking.  That’s okay.  She’s probably right.

Saturday is right hand pinky day! See you then. Love,gma

Thoughtful consideration.

Call when you have teeth

They pulled four of mommy’s teeth today, two last month and three when she was here in SC.  How many teeth does mommy have left?  She can’t come back with no teeth.  She’d have to get a job and no one hires toothless mommies.  Really. I hope you still have a few teeth.  They took so long to come in-those tiny little saw edged things. We tickled your toofers everyday when you were here.  Do you still do that?  Brush your teeth with that little song? Maybe you do nothing like before.  Maybe that’s why you wake up every night at 2 am. You play and what else? What do you need, buddy?

Mommy told me she thinks you have mental problems.  That’s what she said.  She says you don’t know when to stop eating and that you wake up to look for food.  I get a stomach ache thinking about the stresses around food and that waking up stuff.  It is something to figure out, that’s for sure. You ate half of your vitamins, daddy’s tums and drank soda again. Maybe they could put that stuff away. How old are you again?  And your mommy?

I wonder what it will be like here.  Maybe you have some kind of OCD like your mommy’s hoarding and ADD. Maybe your issues stem from food deprivation.  Now I feel nutty.  You are only three.  Tell your mommy to get some new teeth on that dang medicaid and get back here.  I can’t take care so far away.

I saw a calf once calling to her mommy and the mommy bawling for her calf in another pasture.  The sound was painful, loud and haunting.  I’m that mommy cow tonight.  “We didn’t want you to know how bad it is.  He’s got some issues,” your mommy told me.  Get some teeth, I thought.

Hey, by the way, what happened to daddy?  Does he still have any teeth?   Pacing gma

The same as before

Clearing my calendar for your visit.  That means that I will be ready for you, to watch you dig through the baskets on my toy shelves and set up play scenes; horses in the barn, the chickens and ducks, mommy and baby cow and the kids in the dollhouse.  We’ll have a tea party, take a hike or two (or five) and visit your grandpa at his office.  We’ll just hang out.  That seems just right, but for some reason, just for a minute, grandpa and I tried to think of something really fun, a trip to someplace warm, a vacation for you.  We were thinking of us not enough about you.  Why do we do that?  Silly.  I really get how daddies become Disneyland fathers.  It’s tempting to make a special time better.  Well, we caught ourselves.

So instead, we’ll go to the store, visit Shelby next door, see your other grandpa, great grandmas and auntie.  We’ll eat and sing, walk and paint and draw and dance and play. We’ll sleep and read stories.  We’ll watch grandpa make pancakes, stir the mix and drop in the blueberries. We’ll make tea each day.  We’ll talk and snuggle.  I am a good grandma.  The  hard part will be saying bye and taking you back.  Let’s make a book about your visit, for you,  your sister, mommy and daddy.  They can read about our visit.  You can share it when you want.

The count down starts in 10 days!  Whoopee. Get your hands ready.  gma

Gearing up for the storms

Good Morning little buddy,

Its rainy here today, the trees, driveway, roofs and even the dogs are wet.  The horses are wet, too; they like to stand outside in the rain to listen to the night.  It’s so noisy in the barn with the rain tapping, banging and spattering on the metal roof.  It sounds like a rock band percussion set in there.  So the horses like it outside better.  It says drip, pitter-pat and whooshes through the trees. It’s much sweeter on their tall furry ears. Whoosh. Storms in Bonny Doon are rainy, Montana storms are snowy, too.  Did you know that people are stormy sometimes, too? You can watch people-storms brewing on their faces, in their bodies, voices and the way they breathe (or don’t). Did you see that in your mommy last week?  I heard a mood change in Montana.  A storm was brewing.

Hey, I said hello to you yesterday.  Grandpa did, too.  You said you wanted to see Bonny Doon.  We said okay.  Pretty soon your mommy and daddy will be able to talk to you about our planned vacation.  Maybe not until a couple of days (one?) before Grandpa picks you up at the airport.  Did you get the letter I sent you with the pictures of you playing?  I wanted your mommy to see them too.  All of you to remember the sweetness of your relaxed and uninterrupted play. I hoped to cheer her up.  To change the course of the storm.  To be a strong wind blowing in some fresh and replenishing air. I thought your mommy was mad at me. Actually, she was. Remember last week when she was so angry at you? I think she was just grumpy, grumpy with all of us-with herself, too. She wrote for help-that was good, but so hard for me to read…

“I am lost when it comes to his behavior. I cry myself to sleep every time me and him crash heads which has been an every day thing, since your visit. (me) No fault to anyone, no blame neither but it is frustrating….VERY frustrating! He is more than obedient with Dad and he has never told him things that he’s said to me. What am I doing wrong to make him say that he hates me, that his daddy hates me? Why does he call me names and disobey me every moment of every day? Nasty looks, hitting at me, telling me no, ignoring me, telling me he wants to live with his grandma and grandpa in Bonny Doon and not with mommy, saying that he doesn’t love me…..What am I to do?” I’m his mommy

I wanted to help, fly out and get you until mommy got counseling, help, found friends…call the police, someone; I was pacing.  I made myself sick with worry.  Then I remembered that I had friends.  Oh, buddy, the right friends are like having fresh water to drink.  Essential.  That means, absolutely necessary. Some very good friends of mine helped me think about how to help your mom and dad and think differently about your behavior.  About their behavior, too. It was the right thing.  You are complicated, buddy.  Aren’t we all? Anyway, this was what my friend Janis said to your mommy and I thought she was right.  Isn’t she clever with putting her insights into understandable words for you and your parents.

“I’m so sorry your son is saying hurtful things to you. We both know that he does love you. Many kids say hurtful and angry things to their parents when they are stressed, upset, confused or sad. They are trying to figure out the right words to express their feelings and I wonder if he is trying to say, “I don’t quite understand this new life and this new place. I miss my old life. I don’t know how long it will take to adjust to my new life and I’m confused and sad and a little worried because I don’t know how the people in my old life will still be included in my new life.”

Whew.  I am glad that the worst of the storm is over for now.  But keep your gear ready, buddy.  I hang mine right next to the door. And, in Montana- storms are just around the corner.

I hope your mommy and daddy can find a place to live.  Mommy said that is the biggest problem now.  That’s how the storm began. Daddy can’t stand it there she told us. But they don’t qualify as renters, but she keeps trying.  Oh, dear.  Mommy’s hopefulness is good, may be helpful, but I think a miracle is what’s needed. And that is hard to conjure up,  all the way from California.  But I’ll work on it.   Maybe my friends can help. Or maybe you’ll just come back.  Hey ,why not?

Love you, buddy . Kisses to your sister and mommy and daddy, too. gma