Fairy Porta-Potty

A little three year old child has an interest in the toilet feature of his living arrangement, in your case its a porta potty.  I recall reading once a set of stories called Outhouse Tales.  After reading that series, it sank in what a critical role the outdoor toilet plays in children’s (and adults) lives.  A place for lurking creatures real and imagined, nighttime events, happenings, accidents and issues were played out in the toilet around it and about it.  It seems to be so for you, little one.

I seed a real snake in my porta potty.  I missed the part that I spose to sit on and peed on the gravel. We have a spidey living next to the toilet paper and its our friend. Maybe I need a night-night diaper a little while longer. Its okay to wear one when I’m five.  its okay, really.

Maybe you do, fella.  It is okay.  It must hard to unzip the tent, wiggle out, shove feet into chilly crocs, slog across the gravel and then still mostly asleep, find the courage to open the green plastic door of the thing with the only light a tiny push light so dim its nearly dark.  And if its been six days with no empty, ugh.  Forget it.  That’s what mommy’s are for. (Changing pants in the middle of the night.)

You build a porta potty into your block structures, your drawings and today told me that you wanted me to Google a porta potty for your fairies- the ones that mommy made out of beads and fabric. I looked at the Lego and the Playmobile websites and actually found a picture of one.  I had just thrown away a small box from face cream that would have been perfect, but as I said, I threw it away.  So in town you asked the lady at the toy store “please, do you have a porta potty for my fairies?” What? bending down low as if her hearing was poorly adjusted.  After you repeated your request louder for her and said that your grandma Googled it. She asked me what company and Guess what?  She had one!

You put it together before we got home and now the playmobile fairy we added to your homemade collection sits here  doing her sweet little delicate, wing flapping thing in there.  I noticed that you carefully reposition her wings so she’d fit.  I hope you let her in on the secret: That magic, pretend little bottoms are well served by a fake little plastic roll.

You and Delphine play fairies at school.  I guess its a thing now with little girls.  And the boy play is about shooters and stabbing things and its too scary you told me.  (ha, wait until you’re four) Well, Delphine, I wonder where you get your fairy info.

What do fairies eat, I asked.  You explained more about them than I ever knew. “Grass and bugs, grandma!  Of course.” After all that flying around, supping nectar, eating bugs and a blades of grass, porta potties are quite handy placed along the flight pattern, I guess.  “The finding of dragons that want to chase princesses and pretend eat them with their hot fire teeth makes them so tired.  That’s because mommy and me made her a bed to rest.  And I take off her wings for sleeping. And sing her a song and she’s asleep. ”

Does she need a night night diaper?

Of course not.  She’s pretend.

Of course.  Like the fake TP roll.  I get it.

Are there boy fairies?  Oh, never mind.  I’ll let this one spin itself out.  gma

Feed the banana slug


I walked to the barn this morning a misty and chilly Fall Saturday.  Its time to feed the banana slug.  And while I was there I fed Tony the mule, Roxie our young paint horse and old Chief, who eats two flakes of grass to fill his big warm barrel of a belly.  Slug has been slipping in under the back barn door to visit the dry powdered dirt floor and suck at grass hay and floor droppings for over a year.  You and I feed her kitty kibble and horse chow. Today I carefully placed a pellet of chow at her front (the place with the snail-like feelers…the other end was pushing out a dark mass; clearly not the eating side.)  When you come with me on these morning feeding trips, you set a kibble too close to her bony yellow mouth and frighten her feelers back in.  But after a few seconds she dares to check what you delivered.  She must be able to smell it (see it?).  Then you flatten yourself and lie close to listen.  Munch, munch.  Yes, we hear her chewing. (really, try it) She grates at the tiny kibble and slides slowly toward it as her beak pushes it away with each bite.  She can eat the whole thing and travel as far as six or ten feet to finish it.  She’s grown quite large and I hope is healthy eating these occasional treats. Cholesterol a concern?  I’ll ck to see if there is a research project going at UC on the topic.

A few weeks ago CPS was here to visit after receiving a complaint.  I was off working that evening, but Grandpa was here. You showed them your paining easel, your tent and the food hoop.  Your mommy was worried and daddy was angry.  This is hard stuff.  I’m glad that your grandpa could hold you while the officer and social worker talked to your mom and dad.  I wish you could have show her your pet slug.  And described to her which end eats and show her the sound they make with their jaws. You have support here.  People love you and some of us know how to take care of you.

While auntie Robin is away we have been visiting with Grammie every week.  We went to the beach where you confidently jumped in the waves, keeping your eyes toward the sea for rogue waves.  I tried to use surf language and we laughed as I made up terms.  Hey, that’s a tunnel curl, cool.  Here comes the surge, swell and spill, you said as we left.  We are too cool for our own board shorts!

Then this week, in the cold and chilly weather, we visited a pumpkin patch.  Grammie pulled Ellie over the bumpy rows and you sought the perfect fairy house pumpkins.  We loaded a few white, orange and one green squash into the car and went to the park.You came home and reconstructed the patch, but added a train going around the fenced patch and a construction site playground in the middle. Liza kept crashing through it making you so mad that I put her in the tub to play for awhile. She sure loves everything you do, buddy.  She watches you all the time; and just began calling your name. (sounds a little like Ori)

Today is Saturday, you are home with mommy for the first morning in 5 days.  Nice in your snuggly little tent.  I’ll see you later.  Today we’ll write a book.  I have the pictures all ready for you, building site, sluggy, Tony, pumpkin patch and a horse that can crack eggs!  I’ll write what you say. Love gma

Thinking about things

Why are you sad, grandma?  I didn’t think I was sad.  I must have looked that way.  I was thinking about things.  I realize that was true.  Earlier, when you were at school I was listening to the radio.  A report detailing the lives of  Iraqi women and their families slithered into a sad place deep inside me.  It helped me bring up a little packet of pain that I keep tucked away so that we can play and laugh together.  The little package is bundled and protected to make our life possible.  Inside I hold the Iraqi’s, children in Mogudishu, in Somalia, Pakistan, anywhere where there is daily and relentless hunger, pain, worry and fear.  Lack of safety and death each and everyday hurts so deeply and permanently.  People suffer.  The human condition includes misery and pain for so many.  I cannot bear to carry it around open and exposed, none of us can.  It has to hide away unseen for those privileged; like us.  Those of us who expect safety, food, shelter and freedom.  We are so fortunate, little buddy.  Just lucky that’s all. You and me and your sister and your mom and dad.

When Mia was dying I recall feeling raw each day, hour and every minute.  As if my skin was peeled back. It was my own sadness and also the awareness that each moment there are so many people who live daily with grief, pain and worry about an ill child, a dying child, a terminally ill loved one.  It is too sad to keep that knowing right out front.  I tucked it away.  I told myself to push it away so I could remain standing.  Its like that gets opened up a bit when I really listen to the news.  When I heard the woman talk about her friends, family and her daily life.  I felt it spilling out.  All of it.  But then I was going to see you and I pushed it into a ball and shoved at it.  I thought it was gone.

You saw it.  You knew I’d been visiting a sad place.  Its important to stop in on it now and then.  To remember the suffering and pain of others.  I appreciate our being here with you in a safe and wonderful place.  We might be able to take a few steps to help out the others.  Do something.  Whatever it is.  They are us, too. Maybe speak out for peace, for justice for children all over the world.  Because it serves you.  You and Liza. Its the way the world is.  We hear a message every now and then, really hear it and it calls us to act.  I was thinking about what I would do.  I was in deep thought.  And yes, my face looked sad.  Its good to visit sadness from time to time. Let yourself open that little packet and have a peek.  And do something if you can.  Thank you for asking.  I was just thinking about things.  A little fragile-gma

Horsey Boy

OonTony.jpg“I’m a horsey named Mozie.  She died, but I am Mozie now.”  You were wearing a costume.  A likeness of Mozie.  You told the lady at the market, the guy at the coffee shop and the man at the car service dock.  “I ride Tony the mule, but I am a horsie named Mozie.”  The costume came from the used kids clothes store.  I picked it up and handed it over last week.  Not sure if you’d like it.  You do. “Ryan, you say.  That’s my boy name.”

You have been wearing your costume since you got it last week.  You are a horse.  Pull it on, zip it up, pull up the hood and whinnie.  It is horse boy.

We stopped at the post office, the feed store and then for an oil change, Mr. Horsie.  Mozie.  You gallop[ed into the store and asked for food for your polly wogs.  They want to be frogs, you said.  I’m a horse.  I like to ride Tony the mule. This is good hay, grandma.  You decided.  We got 40 bales.

At the car repair we bought our coffee, hot chocolate and blueberry muffins and sat at the table in the waiting room.  Watch those hooves, buddy.  Oh, dear.  Chocolate milk everywhere.  Splash, splat, splatter and slip in under the glass table top in that flat puddle that forms under glass.  Have a rag, mam? I asked. Sticky stuff everywhere.  Sorry gma.  I have to go potty.  So we do.  But your hand sticks in the horsey costume.  Your hoof doesn’t guide the pee.  Oh dear.  As you try it sprays to the left, right and all over.  UGH.  The bathroom is a mess.  Like the hot chocolate.  Horses are messy.  So are kids.

At home you tell grandpa that you want to ride barrels with Tony.  Go fast and around the barrels.  Okay says Grandpa, good idea.  Maybe we should practice keeping the pee directed at the potty first, or the hot chocolate in the cup. Funny Grandpa.  gma

Yestermorrow ago

You are getting so tall, so full of ideas and reliably share your thinking in such clever ways. Today I took you to school; and after letting you sleep in after our late sleep over, you making pancakes, cracking an egg and adding it even though the recipe didn’t call for it, feeding the dogs, the horses, getting un-sticky and brushing teeth…ahem, we were late and circle time already started. Teacher Robin was singing and the kids were jumping around and one crying and you couldn’t bring yourself to sit.  The teacher asked if you wanted to sing and you looked at me.  I’m feeling shy right now.  You said.  Are you smart about yourself, or what?  This is hard coming at circletime.  I know that.  You didn’t get your free and easy play outdoors, a chance out in the open to watch a bit from the corner of the sandbox.  I am so sorry, buddy.  But you know, you are just fine.  When I came to pick you up you were wearing fairy wings and playing with a few girls dressed in fancy clothes.  “I am going to get some nectar” you called to them flitting off as I arrived.

I want some time in the sand at your house okay.  Lets’ check the horses, I said then you can play there.  “Bemember Yestermorrow ago we builded that sandbox with Jim?”  I remember.  I remember so much about us.  I reminded you about the thistle seed with floaty white rays that you caught and put in a small jar.  You told me that she is a fairy.  I remember I told you that my sister and I used to call these fairies.  I told you that before you went to Montana.  Its sweet that you remember. You talk to the fairy in the jar and tell her that she can go back to her friends soon.  You want to look at her awhile.  Like we do with lizards and beetles. You took her to the honeysuckle vine and picked her a flower, sucked the end and offered her some, then you let her go. You looked pleased and a little sad.  “She was shy, grandma, so I let her go.”

Liza walks from the tent around the driveway and up the hill to the house now.  She goes fast clapping for herself along the way.  Her confidence swells with her new ability.  She talks, waves to people and scolds the dog when she knocks her down with kisses.  “No, Jo-Ja.  No.”  She scolds with her finger pointed.  Hmmm. Wonder where she gets that?

Tomorrow you will come play while mom is in school.  Its hot weather again, so maybe we’ll fill the pool.  When I spend the day with the two of you, I am truly retired.  I sit in the sand, make sandwiches and go on picnics.  Life couldn’t be better.  I am so fortunate to get this time with you and your sister. Maybe tomorrow we’ll go visit Grammie.  Okay?  We’ll give her a call.  Beach trip?

Wednesday is a parent conference, I was invited to go and mom and dad told me they’d like that.  My friend Madhu will be in the classroom while we talk to your teacher.  That’s pretty cool.  I hope mommy and daddy can hear how well you are doing.  I see it.  Social interaction was awkward at first, but I see you playing with children more and more.  And you told me today that sometimes kids hit.  Oh, dear, I said. ” I do too,” you volunteered.  “But it makes kids sad so I stopped now.”  What do you do when you feel frustrated? ” I stomp and say words about my mad.”  I love it.  You are working so hard. Its such good stuff.  Keep at it.  Teach sissy, too.  loving you gma Painting a picture of the newly erected trusses after the crane left.

Bring on my seventh decade

I had a wonderful party on Saturday.

Thank you for coming, buddy bringing your mom and sister, too.  We went to Natural Bridges Farm, http://www.homelessgardenproject.com, where they prepared a fresh organic meal from their garden during their twenty year celebration in the community.  I shared my birthday celebration with them, purchasing 20 tickets for guests.  We then traveled up to the house for spirits cake and cheese.  20 or so of us climbed into the construction site, inside the frames, trusses and perched folding chairs on the subfloor of the emerging living space.  My family set up all week long, lighting tacked along walls, clipped to beams and headers and ramps and handrails last minute built by carpenters on Friday afternoon. We set up tables, food, drink, flowers, Arts and Crafts idea books, a whiskey cave in the cellar and slide show on the plywood livingroom wall.  A small group stayed on own in the cave close to midnight.  A perfect celebration.

Then we pulled up Alex’s mattress into framed the bedroom, piled on the comforters and slept in the breezy hilltop.  You brought your crib mattress and sleeping bag, stuffed tiger and footie jams and joined us.  The dog beds kept the dogs close. We woke up early to the fog, empties, flowers, gift paper and ribbons and you dashed around to turn on all the lamps, then sat for the last piece of cake.

Uncle AJ called from Brazil and wished he was here.  You drew him a cake picture.  When we get his address I’ll send it.

We got books, fabric, photos an old blueprint and tile inspiration from friends.gma brown