Mama and Papa

Your sister may be asleep.  Night night she says, when she wants a bottle of chamomile tea and her blankie.  I still let her have a bottle 3 times a day.  AM nap, pm and night night.  She goes to bed so willingly.  I never want that to change. The willing part, but the bottle, I should tackle that.  I scoop her up, brown blankie in tow at 6 am and we walk past the kitchen counter, get a tiny bowl of o’s set up the night before.  I set her on the couch, feet covered and o’s on the lap and turn on sprout t.v., click on the coffee maker (ground and readied last night) and sleepily sit next to her for a few uncoffeed minutes. I try to remember to smile at her.

Metro still awakens 3 to 4 times a night even on 3x the recommended dose of Benadryl.  ugh… Time to make a donation to the animal rescue center for elder pets.  And a deposit-you, Metro! Sorry, buddy.  (I wonder if they need an ear pulling, slobber kissy, toddler-volunteer to remind the old dog why they left their homes?)

For your school carnival, I made 48 tiny cupcakes-organic chocolate with spring flowers and butterflies on top.  I made booth signs and direction ads and helped with a gift for the classroom gift basket. Then Grammie and I,  you and Liza went to the carnival/family day.  Where’s a nanny when you need her? Then a heavy weight perched itself on my shoulders thinking about dance, swim, music, soccer and play dates.  Grandpa and I want you to enjoy all of these things, but with us? We find these things…well, we are pretty well done with them. Can they go on a nanny list? We are never going to be your parents.  Or even try. You asked for dance lessons.  Hmm.  Any of your friends go to dance lessons?  No.  You tell me you just want to dance.  I can’t afford it now, I tell you.  And I really can’t.  The unplanned expenses have done us in.  $2500/mo. that we hadn’t expected for child care for two under five and that’s without dance, music, soccer and swim. Let’s get chicks, sell the eggs and I can get money, you suggest.  Cute.

The small coop we are building here with re-used lumber and wire is for 4 chickens.  Just the right size.  Grandpa insisted we not wait for next year because you talk about getting chicks all the time.  You draw coop designs, chicks and eggs and nests everyday on paper strewn about the house and car. So in a few weeks we will have them on the back porch in a box with a light before we transfer them all feathered up, to the coop.  Another thing for grandma to do?  Yep.

Some things drain, some feed us.

I wrote you a book and am working on illustrating it.  I think I’ll use sillouettes of photographs.  Not sure how to do that.  Here’s the text:

Last November, I moved to Grandma’s and Grandpa’s house.

Grandpa built a room for me and my sister next to the laundry porch. We have a really cool bunk bed. But my sister is only one year old and still sleeps in her crib. Someday (maybe when she’s two), she will sleep in the bottom bunk and I will move to the top one. The top bed is so high that I can see over the chicken coop and all the way to the horse pasture.

Grandma let me help her paint the new bedroom with a paint brush and roller.  I chose dark purple for the wooden panels and light purple for the walls. I count the lines between the wooden boards when I can’t get to sleep .  I’m still not sure how many lines there are.  But one time I got to 33.

Grandpa always liked to make blueberry pancakes with me on Sundays. But now we make them even on Tuesdays. I crack the eggs, add 2 tablespoons of oil, some flour and a teaspoon of baking powder and dribble milk until it’s just right.  Sissy likes to stir the batter, too. We eat blueberries while we wait for the pancakes to cool.

Grandma and I drive the tractor to the compost heap. I pull the lever back to raise the bucket and lower it into the steamy hill. Grandma presses the gas pedal to move slowly forward.  After I shove the lever to the left to scoop the load, she presses the pedal down again and we back up.  Compost helps the plants, vegetables and fruit trees grow.

After Grandpa goes to work each day he comes to get me.  We go to his shop and I get out my saw while he fiddles with his electronic radio receiver.  I am making a workbench.  It takes a lot of sawing, nailing and measuring.  I have my own saw, hammer and measuring tape.  Grandpa taught me to use them safely.

I go to the same school that I used to go to before I moved to Grandma and Grandpa’s.  I am glad, because I have friends that I like to play with.  Ellie is too little for school, but she has a nanny three days a week so Grandma can work on her projects; painting, digging holes, trimming trees and chasing gophers out of the garden beds.

Grandma says that she and the gophers are not on friendly terms. My grandma told me that she has done unspeakable things in her battle with the gophers. I don’t know what she did, but I know that she respects all living things.

Grandma and Grandpa run with us all the way down the road to the pasture. We roll in the grass and pick brightly colored belly flowers to put in jars back at the house. They tell us long listening stories; the kind not written in books, toss us warm pajamas, fresh out of the dryer, and sing all of our favorite songs. They even teach us new ones.

I have chores at Grandma and Grandpa’s- like carrying things in from the car, picking up toys, brushing my teeth and collecting the eggs.Ellie has chores, too. She fills the dog’s dishes with kibble each night and gives the chickens a scoop of mash in the morning. We all have to “pitch in” and “help around the place”, Grandpa says.

Grandma and Grandpa are like a mommy and a daddy.  Sometimes I call them grandma-ma and grandpa-pa. Sissy just says, Ma-ma and Pa-pa. If Mommy and Daddy come back, Grandpa and Grandma can be grandparents again.  But if they don’t come back, that’s okay, because we like it here with our Grandma-ma and Grandpa-pa.

Lovingly, Gma (see a copy of this little book in the handmade books on my website. Link to follow soon.)

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