New arrivals

Today I feel like I did when I could finally bring Baby AJ home to our house after his birth and his short hospital stay.  I was high, elated and twirling with joy and unbelievably unaware of what was to come .  I knew that things would never be like they had been.  I had your Grandpa Pete, your 2 yr old daddy and life was simple and sweet.  And it would never be that way again.  I knew that much.  I worried I’d be overwhelmed, Grandpa Pete would not want to come home to noisy babies and this needy mom.  I worried that the sweet times I had all alone with your daddy were forever gone and couldn’t imagine loving everybody enough.  It was in fact a joyous and a scary time for me.  But it was great, fund, hard and sweet. Today is a little like that.

We have hoped for you to come back so we could look after you. You came back.  Daddy seems relaxed and happy. Now mommy gets to return too.  And our little Liza. Everything will be different.  The balance of the teetering and bobbing mobile tips and at times re-balances.  But it is sometimes so out of whack and costly, painful, hard and messy.  Your mommy brings Liza, your baby sister and that is so wonderful.  Today we will get her some little clothes for camping life.  You and I will choose them.  We are helping ourselves get ready.  Mommy needs some things too.  Daddy has no money.  Mommy has a toothache.  Daddy needs surgery.  Is this my life now? Yours? Ours? Is it? My life is theirs? Or is their life mine?

I guess bringing daddy home from Connecticut was the biggest change of all. Yep.  The biggest of all.  He was my baby like AJ my first one. And we are still feeling the wonder of that event from 29 years ago. Today is yet another chapter, another adjustment, set of responsibilities and challenges.  Oh my.  I want to rest a little.  Not now.  Not yet. Buckle up, Buddy, let’s go for another ride.  gma

So many changes

Your mommy and Liza will be here on Sunday.  I sent mommy a ticket after she told me what a hard time she is having at the trailer with her mom and family.  Her feelings are hurt, she’s confused and needs to see you and daddy.  The good thing is that your daddy has a job, the tent will be done and he had an appointment with a doctor. Daddy promised to make no more babies. But the doctor will help him keep that promise. I agreed to pay for it when he found out that he also has a hernia that needs immediate attention.  Oh, dear. And oh, goodie.

So, little guy, more changes coming.  So many changes in such a short time.  I am so happy you play out all your questions.  Three’s a good age for changes I think. You will be happy to have Mommy back and to see your sister, but it may be hard to go sleep in the tent after having slept here with me and Grandpa for nearly two months.  We’ll help you figure it out.  Today I watched you lay down on the floor of the tent, pretend to snore-sleep and get up and run around again.  You repeated this with silliness over and over. I asked you where Liza’s crib should go and you had some good ideas. Today Jim set up the kitchen counter, Nathan put in the stove and they moved the tent stakes and ropes higher up into the trees.  I’ll take a picture soon.  I’m too tired to walk out there tonight.  But I know that my friends will be pleased to see it come together.

Getting ideas is rewarding, but then when the plan actually happens; oh my, Joy!  A tent for sleeping and living and a kitchen and bath in the old hoop garage. Cool, really cool.  Our old tile counter is in your hoop kitchen, the wood stove in your tent, the bathtub, your bathtub, is in the hoop and the sink too.  And the couch from Grandma Brown in Oregon is in the tent along with AJ and Daddy’s old toy cabinets.  You are using so many things your daddy and you used to use.  Also, we are recycling other things… there are lots of windows in the old house that Jim is taking for a friend’s greenhouse, and the toilets and the cabinets.

Next week the porta-potty arrives, the telephone line gets set up and your family will settle in down near the shop.  The old road is providing the perfect place for your tent home.  This seems pretty fine to me.  Pretty fine. I hope Mommy likes it. Liza, too.  Daddy and Mommy will do laundry over here, but everything else should be set up in the tent.  I don’t think I forgot anything.  Did I? Oh, yes, I did.  Today is Grandpa’s birthday.  OOPS.  You know how I found out?  Uncle Dean sent us a funny card with Grandpa dancing in someone else’s body.  Thank you Uncle Dean!  Thank you.  Better pay some attention to Grandpa. Okay, buddy?  love, gma


I am out of town, at an important meeting, but I wanted to take a minute to remember with you about the bird nest.  Three tiny birds hatched in a small horsehair nest, one blue egg lay un moving off to one side. Grandpa moved his trailer to take Tony the mule on a camping trip and the nest fell to the ground.  These is not birds, Grandma, its worms.  They are pink and have no feathers.  They are made of skin like worms, I offer. And they just came naked out of their little eggs.  They’ll grow feathers soon. No, Grandma, they don’t.  They’s worms.  And they’s dead.  They died, now, you tell me.  They can’t see and they can’t walk or eat their food.  Cuz’ they’s dead.  You took the nest and set it on the deck and went to the sandbox.  Moving on.  I heard you singing a made up song about birds missing their mommies because she had to get some food and forgot to find her nest. You repeat the refrain, “cuz’ you died now” over and over until your song faded.

I heard you singing yesterday in the bathroom.  Are you done, buddy?  need help? Not yet.  I’s singing to my poops.  Oh yeah? They’s sad.  Hmmm.  You peeked down through your legs into the potty.  Its dark and they’s worried.  Who? My little poops miss their daddy and mommy.  I only maded the little poops.  The big ones are in my tummy.  I can’t make the daddy one.  The little ones is crying now. You told me with concern as you look down. Sad?  I ask.  No, worried.  Worried about what?  Worried about the flushing down.    Hmmm. Are you worried, too?  No, of course not.  And you say good-bye and flush. Finished now.

The baby birds is alive, now.  You squeak and peep, cradling the nest.  You flap and fly and dig nests for a few hours.

Salvador left a gopher in the garden bed that he’d removed from the trap.  He wanted Grandma to see the result of his efforts. You were certainly impressed. Dang. Its died now Grandma. He getted the nasty gopher for us.  Can I have it?  I put it in a basket for you and you carried it to the dirt and we buried it.  A little while later I stepped out to see you cradling its body and holding it under the faucet.  He haded dirt in his eyes, Grandma.  I getted him all cleaned up.

Oh dear.  Its so complicated.  You are managing so well little fellow.  Your regard for the preciousness of life, even tiny little lives is honorable, dear and very sweet to behold.  I am confident that you will continue to find ways to discover your feelings, craft ideas, and provide voices to inanimate objects (evan dead ones)  Love you more each day, Buddy. gma

Big folded hand around your middle

Hold me tight, grandma.  You say as I set the story book aside and snuggle up for a nap with you.  As tired and sore as I am from keeping up with you, its these precious moments I hold dear.  My hand easily slips around your t shirted tummy.  My hand slides halfway around your middle, folding around.  The feeling is incomparable.  Its slides me back to years of cradling hundreds and thousands maybe of babies and preschoolers, then more recently your daddy, Uncle Alex, and baby you.  Familiar, comforting, special; the scale , the angle of wrist, warmth of your body on my fingers and bent arm.  I’m particularly aware of us as I fall into sleep next to you.  Tighter, you mumble. Ahhh. gma

Tweetie Pie

You sleep as the saws buzz and the hammers slam onto the house siding.  Jim and Nathan are here fixing the old steps and extending the porch overhang. I asked them to work on your family tent next week.  They will help daddy on Monday.  I have to go to LA for a meeting on Friday and be back on Sunday.  I don’t like leaving you.  Daddy’s work schedule is never planned ahead, so he will find help if he has to go to work. Grandpa will be horse camping all weekend. I am thinking more and more about little Liza, your Sissy.  We have to bring her here with us.  If the tent gets done, maybe next week, I’m thinking that I’ll have mommy and Liza fly here and Daddy can go get the car on his own. On whatever schedule works for him. You like me to read I’m a Big Brother over and over, Ten Kisses and Babies Everywhere

Last night you asked me if you could take your big airplane book to Montana.  I told you that you can live here in Bonny Doon now.  You scoffed, as if I had said something very silly, “No-o-o-o.” I could take it and read it on the airplane, you told me.  You live here now with Daddy.  Your Mommy will come and live here too in your families’ tent. Mommy lives in Montana, you explained.  That was enough. Let you get what’s going on in your own time. This isn’t an easy thing to understand, is it, Buddy? The other day I asked you if you wanted to play with kids.  You told me not Nathaniel. Crystal?  I asked. Your cousin?  Yea,  I like to play with Crystal.  I’m glad your school starts soon.  You will go only two days a week, during the summer, but you will have friends.  You will play with someone other than me.   Besides, I’m a little bossy, don’t you think?

Daddy has a sunburn from his Amgen Tour guard work yesterday.  He was outside in the sun and forgot to use sunscreen.  He seemed proud to be working.  He said he met an important guy named Lance Armstrong. If you want to ride a bike far and fast like Lance, you’ll have to get back to your pedaling practice.  Your tricycle is nearly too small for your long legs.  Up here with our hilly driveway we have to practice on the lawn and over at the old house.  You seemed motivated until the rain returned. Maybe I’ll put it in my car and go to a park for you to ride and practice.  I get tired just thinking about all the play and practice you need.  My goodness.  I need your mommy here to help. And Daddy could help more, too. Did you know I am his Mommy. He never forgets.

I heard you calling me, “Grandma, I waked up.”  You call.  You report and tell me things all day long.  I was scared.  I feeled worried.  I disappointed.  You are funny that way.  I tri-ded to find you and you was gone. I cried a little bit, Grandma.   You can start a blog next week, Buddy.  Maybe you should start with tweets. gma Wait, what are Tweets anyway?

Getting up too early of minutes

You have been so much fun to have around, Buddy.  I tell you things like, Metro got me up earlier than the birds this morning. You ask, too early?  Yes, too early.  Too early of minutes, Tetro,  you tell him in a scolding tone, pointing a finger.  Metro is a problem as he ages.  He forgets that he ate, wakes up and whines for me to get up to feed him, lifts his leg to pee on the laundry basket, walks out the door to find a bush and stops at my garden boot.  His potty is an endless stream.  An endless problem, I fear.  He got up at 5:15, left the house and the gate was ajar so he walked out front. I heard him howling a few minutes later and stopped making the coffee to see what was the matter. (As I write this I hear a voice in auto mode say, “What’s all the fuss? I can milk the Mickey Way”). He was sitting outside the open gate, but unable to see in and was crying to be let in.  Oh, dear.  He seems so unhappy and confused. Dogzheimers, I fear.

You lie on the floor and draw pictures on the big pad of paper we picked up at Office Max.  You drew a railroad track in Reno, diligently working on intersecting lines, you put them on every tiny strip of available paper infatuated with them.  Then last week it was mandalas, a circle with rays stretching outward around its circumference.  I watched as you twisted and turned your wrist to pull each line from inside the circle outward all around.  Such effort and intent. Satisfied, you flip to a new page and make another and another.  You made a small one and called it baby Liza, your sister.  You suspended your whole family in the middle of the page.  Balloon people with the only rays their legs stretched from the bottom of each circle.  Large eyes, open pools with a long line stretched across for the mouth, she’s happy, you said, standing back in utter delight at your ability.  Next came airplanes landing, cars and cows, too.  The evening we went to see Vicky’s boys play music in Felton, you decorated each guests dinner place mat with multiple “spideys”.  You unfold before our eyes growing and changing.

You run down the driveway to feed the horses changing your gait to a gallop as your run gets you traveling too fast.  You climb the low hanging oak in the pasture, the one I had Salvador prune for you last Fall, clamor up onto the tire swing with eager confidence and make it all the way back up the steep drive without a rest.  You eat everything we offer and love fruit and tomatoes.  We planted tomatoes, peas and flowers in the garden last week and you water them even in the rain, “They’s really really thirsty.” you tell me. We may get lucky and get some food out of them, but it has to get very sunny and I have to keep the watering can hidden for a few days.

Last night we Skyped with Mommy.  She said we’d do it weeks ago, but never kept our appointment times.  We’d ring and ring and she’d never answer.  She’d say she forgot.  Maybe she did. I never told you though.  I just thought once she was on the computer with Liza I’d call you over to see them.  Last night she and Liza showed up.  And we discovered why she hadn’t made the appointments earlier. Your other Grandma told her to hang up.  “Why are you alone in here?  What are you up to?”  I am talking to my little boy, Mom.  She told her.  Hang up and get out here.  She shouted at your mommy.  Your mommy’s face looked sad, then very worried.  I have to go in a minute, she told us.  Daddy said, “Stay on for a few minutes”.  And she did.

Your Mommy has no teeth in front.  Her mouth folds in and her face looks small.  An apple doll. She dyed her hair black and cut it short. Her broad shoulders were bare, rounded. She’s barely recognizable as your mommy.  Liza flopped in front of her, staring blankly.  Mom repositioned her sharply. Liza looked sleepy. We have to get that Liza some sunshine and play.  Walks to the mailbox and lots of time on the floor.  Liza has more teeth than Mommy. Let’s brush Liza’s teeth.  You can show her how to find each tooth; front sides and back. Maybe we’ll get to see sissy soon.  Go on the plane and get her then let Mommy and Daddy drive the car back.  Want to?  Let’s talk to Grandpa about that.  After Daddy gets the tent set up (Darn, yet another rainy day) he’ll go get her.  Let’s make a plan.  All righty, buddy.  Time for hot chocolate.  A special treat today.  Mmmm.  gma

Party weekend

It turns out that your daddy doesn’t really have a job.  I know because he hasn’t gone to work one time since he told us about the job.  Thing is…he has two badges and patched security guard shirts hanging near the bed.  I had decided not to ask Daddy anything about the job unless he brought it up.  He seemed happy but now is confused.  I asked him to borrow Grandma Jo’s car so I could have mine when he went to work.  He has the big Lincoln here, but it sits,  No money for gas and no job, I guess.  Today I finally asked.  He does not know why he hasn’t been called.  I wonder if he got mixed up.  Maybe he forgot to do something or misunderstood.  Why did they give him a shirt?

Today we are looking for something for Daddy to do with you so I can get the last things out of my office at the old house and move a small office upstairs above the garage.  Its raining this morning.  Snowing again in the Sierras.  Jim and Nathan might come to work on the deck or not.  Jim made a cool wall of our old doors for your tent house.  The tent can’t go up until we get the hoop arranged with the tub, sink, stove and refrigerator behind these doors.We’ll hang some “skeeter screen” around the doors and add a fan for hot days.  Your sleeping tent will be on the place that Georgia is standing.

We had parties this weekend.  We went next door to Cal’s wedding party, to Auntie Robin’s for Mother’s Day brunch and AJ and Daddy made dinner last night for us to celebrate Mother’s Day.  Now we are back to regular play, work and eating.  All the activity seems to stimulate you to run in circles. AJ wasn’t prepared for your interaction during dinner.  He wanted all of my attention.  It was funny to watch.  He finally said, “She’s my mommy and I don’t live here to talk to her all the time like you.  Its my turn.” Hahaha He’s here each weekend for three weeks while he takes a course at UCSC to get his ESL certificates.  He’s thoroughly enjoying being back in school and looking forward to going back to Brazil and teaching.  When he said “I have to develop a lesson plan for kids.  It has to include a warm-ups, use multiple modalities and be age-specific.” I was thrilled to hear him plan and think and saw him as a fine teacher someday.  His preference is to work with adults (for now).

Okay, buddy.  You and daddy have to get going. Me too.  Clean, clean, clean. While you play, play, play.  Gma


I am sitting on the queen bed next to you in the Silver Legacy Hotel in Reno.  I asked you to rest a few minutes while Grandpa hangs out at the fairgrounds event center here in Reno where cowboys and their horses and a herd of small cows are demonstrating traditional vaquero roping for ranch work.  You and I get out fill of this more quickly than Grandpa does. Your daddy has his first day of work today at a Quincenera celebration at the fairgrounds in Watsonville.  I slept just a few hours last night in between the sharp toenails and paddling feet in my ribs.  You are a sideways sleeper, did you know that?  In Sacramento you seemed more tired or something and lay straight and on your own side of the bed both nights in that hotel room.  I’m ready to go home aren’t you? Daddy says he’s feeding the horses and dogs, but I wonder if they are getting their walks.

Today we knew how to find the bleacher climbing cowboy kids in the arena so you could play.  You chased, shared popcorn and climbed on the metal rails.  The best part was watching you do what the bigger kids were doing; climbing, hanging and running together.  You wore the flat-topped straw Vaquero style cowboy hat  that Grandpa got you and looked like all the other kids.  Some of them were from Montana.

I heard from mommy that she is going to the doctor in Montana to get up to date care because it may take a while to get medical insurance here from daddy’s job. Mommy sold some of the furniture and got a little money for the trip out.  It may be a few weeks until Daddy is really ready to get them.  The tent will take a while to get set up with daddy working.  He hasn’t had any time for days now to work on it.  We’ll go home tomorrow and get him working on it again.  I hope it isn’t snowing on Donner Pass like it was on the way here.  It was cold and slippery each time you needed to stop and pee.  Take a nap, buddy.  love gma