“What every new mother needs is a nice cradle, so that she may rock her child and appreciate him, but not have to endure any suffocating personal contact.” -Jane Smiley’s, Mrs. Bell in Private Life.
Sissy is making lines, like blades of grass in multiple-colors on the easel. She’s left behind last week’s tight little knotted lines, flinging colors off the paper and onto everything around her, into her mouth, hair, arms and purposely aiming at our “no-no” places as she watches for me over her shoulder. I don’t expect the messy art behaviors to stop, but certainly appreciate this change. She lays down when things don’t go her way and kicks her feet. But not when we are together and alone anymore, that’s saved for caregivers and her parents. She takes liberties with caregivers. Pretending to get her foot stuck in the chair, unable to reach the sink, or to retrieve her blankie just 6 feet away. She is less focused on the remote control and more interested in using reachable kid tools, like little stools to reach high objects, then crashing to the ground rolling and knocking each sharp corner on her way down.
Liza is relentless, or is it called full of intention and purpose? She knows what her body can do more each day as she discovers what it can’t and how those little stools behave. She’s gathering information, double and triple checking it and finding moments when I answer the phone, to pee or simply blink to try things that I have told her are dangerous. The door to the outside, chair to the counter, squeezing in to share the dog bed while dog is in it sleeping, pushed chair to get in hanging swing, standing on rocking chair. Kaboom. I shout. Please climb down and stop trying to die! I really hate this. I really do.
Making goo. What are you doing? I ask you. Making a a special goo. I excuse myself from the carpenter planning session and run into the library-to-be and find the whole room dusted both of you up to your earlobes in powdered grout. I see myself tuning the hose on both of you, as you stiffen into plaster people of Pompeii. Don’t you dare laugh, I stutter venomously at the carpenters. Not funny.
Swimming lessons. “No. Liza sayed, No!” She’d been so excited, “… swimming, swimming”, recalling Grandpa tugging her around in the Seattle pool last month. She reluctantly sat on the concrete step. Okay, I thought, day one. Then the instructor (I have another name for her), pulled her in and dunked her. Anyone say “swimming” now, she runs, “NO!” Oh, well. But then you screamed (the only two in the class) No, I don’t want to. UGH. I should have used the $240 for a massage and a case of wine. But today, after my call (describing the inadequately prepared swim teacher and offering a few suggestions for simply helping my grandchildren enjoy the pool and cultivating willingness to learn some new ways to move in the water and stay safe…) I hope after today I can breathe easier. You can too. After the next class you ran in and told me that you got your eyes wet and that you cooperated with your teacher. Did you have fun? Yes. I am proud and it was fun. I am almost a swimming guy!” So we hike down to the creek alone.
Nanny Nina took them to swim. I couldn’t stand another minute with you today after the powder, a plate of eggs tossed off the tray to the dog, the entire box of wipes flung all over the bathroom, the toothpaste tube walked on (no lid) and the floor gummed up from room to room and water from the toilet everywhere. And the unyielding hair-pulling that pins you to the floor. Sounds like lack of supervision. More like lack of interest.
You see, I really don’t care about any of this stuff. I resent negotiating for services I paid for with the swim teacher, hate the cute shananigans of toddlers and can barely appreciate the sweetness of her walking away, pulling my panties over her head, diaper off and doing a shakey shakey dance, as you call it. People laugh at these things. I refuse. I stiffen and work hard at staying her unlovable grumpy gram. She has to go away some day. And I better not fall for her. I Won’t.
What is this all over here? (The lichen green couch that I’d never had bought with small children is smeared with bright red splotches.) (complimentary color)
Blood. A meat eater took a little bite of me. A compy did it.
A compthagnasus? A pretend dinosaur bit you?
She ran in here and tried to get the stego and I fought with her. She’s not pretend. I’ll clean up the blood, Grandma. She just got a tiny bite of my meat.
What are you doing up on the couch back with two fingers out on each hand?
I’m a T-rex.
Get down and help me clean this up.
I’m sorry. Really I picked a scab again. (we go thru boxes and boxes of band-aids)
I resent telling sitters and house cleaners that lining up the plums just out of reach is absolutely necessary (so that each one doesn’t get bitten and grow mildew before we can eat them) and that the dog must be able to get in and out or he will howl during Ellie’s nap and awaken her then she will scream for at least an hour. And we have to use only Sleepy time tea at nap now or she won’t accept it and that you are hoping to stop wearing night night dipes, but really haven’t been dry more than two nights in a row yet. And that the kids cannot go in the garden unattended because each green tomato and every unripe berry, and all flowers will be picked and or bitten off and ruined. You can eat bok choy leaves. Its all too much. I have become a systems and procedures analyst, an environmental and schedule control freak, a sheriff and a monster much of the time. So I hate me a lot of the time. I imagine you don’t notice. Because children absorb. And that’s really the shame of it all.
Dad t-rex’s really take care of their kids. Do they? Maybe it was archaeopterix that does that. Maybe its just the Grandma’s. Are you my grandma archaeopterix?
I will always be your grandma.
Haven’t seen mom or dad for over 10 days. I wonder what you make of that? What Liza feels.
Still struggling here, gma. As you become who you will be and thrive in who you are. Wonder what the bones don’t tell us about your dinos?