In your own time

“Stop saying that!” You shout at daddy who is leaning over the gate in the play yard with the phone to his ear.  You are unaware that the shouts and swearing are directed at your mommy in Montana.  He’s filed for divorce.  He’s tired, overwhelmed and seems clear that he’s finished with the relationship. But never finished with kids that they share.  I told Mommy that I can’t talk to her about any of this.  I will talk about you and Sissy, I tell her.  I am sorry buddy that she never even asks. She says she will come back on Halloween.

Because of you and your sister, daddy can’t really close the door to mommy  as he tells me he wants to do.  Not all the way anyway.  You knew that he was mad and that’s what you want to stop.  It worries you. You may even know its about mommy. Each day you are ready to understand more about this complicated life. You ask important and big questions, and small ones, too.  In the car you ask them,  What if a meteorite hits the earth today?  How come the fog is on the sea and not up here? Why do I have to wait to be five? How many days is Halloween going to be here. Hours? Seconds? Why don’t boy birds have a penis? Why do I?

This is your first Halloween.  The first one you can claim as yours.  Your school has a spooky potluck on Friday; a costume party. We found a used dinosaur costume. I started planning your sunflower costume until daddy suggested you be a dinosaur.  Sissy is happy just being Liza, but I found a tiny triceratops hat and jammies, so she can choose to wear it if she wants. She won’t.

She has a cold; drippy, cranky, tantrum filled days and sleepless nights.   She’s cutting teeth- 2 yr old molars.  Sharing a room leaves you sleepless, too.  In the old house, when we return, you’ll have two beds, not bunkbeds, but still share.  It will be fine, the sharing.  The beds were delivered last week, set up and mattresses ordered.  To keep them clean, I covered them and to keep the covers clean, I put on the sheets and to keep the sheets clean added the spread.  So now your beds are fully made. You both snuggle in whenever we work there, Sissy chanting “mine’s” as she dives into the soft colorful flannel sheets. We brought a play table, some toys and games from this house to occupy you as I work.  I vacuumed and washed out all the drawers in the kitchen, bathrooms and put towels in the cabinets.

You two took a bath there the other day.  The tub is in the main bath and originally a jacuzzi for me to get a soft massage.  But its your bathroom now. The machine roars to life and the bubbles massage and pummel your skin. You say they tickle.  Not so for Sissy.  They make her scream. Separate bath times from now on I guess. Towels washed folded now damp on the new towel racks.  Its begun.  Our living in this house again has begun.

We hope to get the stove in and have Thanksgiving at the house.  Ellie’s favorite hide spot will be filled by a dishwasher next week. As I wash, vacuum and survey the new spaces, My palms and fingers trace each baseboard, knob, pull and finished surface…an act of bonding.  You seem to be doing the same with all of the new buttons, switches and handles installed to operate water, lights and locks. You teach me what to watch out for later; keep an ice pick handy, a bobby pin and screwdriver, install some door protectors, safety latches.  Mostly I don’t think while in the space, I feel.  I feel the new air captured by the multi-dimensional structure we built here, the envelope of color, natural materials and the layout to cocoon us.  Wrap us in warm woods, bathe us in light and shower us with bigness of tall living space. Its the same size by clean and updated. Tall ceilings give us abundance of area, the space we’d lived for 11 years.  But new. You must feel so small in there.  You dash and climb making it yours in your own way. In your own time. Sissy sits in the cupboards.  Size-appropriate bonding.

You eat your jam and peanut butter sandwich, beans soak for tonight’s dinner and Lizzy thankfully snoozes.  Things awaken her too easily.  We are quiet, you with a planet earth DVD, me here pecking and the chickens struggling for nest box turns. They each lay an egg a day now, big healthy fluffy girls.  We need to finish their coop at the new old house before we move.  Aubrey, age 29, her daughter, age 8 and son age 18 mos will move in and help with the kids.  We are all practicing for those days now with play dates and school pick up turns.  I am so happy that you and Liza will have Aubrey in your lives.  She refers to herself as a mama bear.  And she is.  We are so luck to have found her.

I am babbling here a bit.  So I’ll close and eat something.  I sometimes forget to do that until I get dizzy.  Losing weight is good, but I have to work on my diet.  Eating better, not more.  Let’s stay on track for healthy foods, buddy.  As we talk together about choices for meals, you learn.  Now you can help me to eat all of my food, too.  (Sometimes while you two eat, I dash around and get things done).  Talk later gma

Jack o’ Lanterns

Let it go, buddy

You pulled at your paper napkin when your teacher told you it was time. You dropped the pieces one by one on the floor. Clean up your teacher reminded. You missed lunch play outside time. On your mat you kick and sputter hateful words. Spent, you fell asleep.

Communities have to work together, teacher reported. Your not cleaning up was hard for all of us. Next time let’s make it work better for all of us. Let’s….

I’m tired, grandma. Let’s go home now.

Okay, buddy. I am glad you blew out some feelings today. You must have a lot of them stuffed inside. (The teacher can manage and support you)OplaysatPS.jpg

Yes, I do. Now I’m sleepy again.

We all need teeth

Mommy was the cutest little baby anyone ever saw.  Round blue eyes, artificially blue, like swimming pool coating, dimples on both her cheeks and her butt, too. Then the bumps and bruises started. Willful, her parents said.  Headstrong, stubborn. Beat it out of her. Soften that hard head. A baseball bat took it public.  Foster parents took all of them in.  Her two older brothers and the baby brother, too. The nurses lied, her parents said.  They just don’t like poor people, think we’re stupid. Twice more, but the family managed to come back together, and after awhile dad left and mom moved to Montana. This mommy, a young woman, in her early twenties, had two kids of her own a few years back, never could find a job,  and has taken the Greyhound back to Montana.  She has no teeth.  The trailer’s tight, all of them still there.  Today her oldest brother was taken to jail for battery of a police officer and fleeing the scene.  Today she called me and wants to come see her kids.  I said no.

The kids are at daycare, dad took them them so I could tour the worksite with Grandpa who just returned last night after a ham radio contest in Red Bluff.  We kicked butt.  Great, I say, the stucco is on the garage.  Looks good. Guys return today.  They knocked out some stones in the wall with their truck. It may rain later today.  Get the stuff out of your truck bed.  On Wednesday we expect hard rain. Put booties on your feet and come see the finished floors.  They’ll be cured by Friday and I will start moving in shelves and bringing things over.  We hope to move in by mid-November.  November is quite a month for our family.

The gutter welder came on Sunday.  He’s too busy to work for us on the weekdays.  The plumber should come this week because some of the appliances need water and the shower in our bathroom was never completed.  Shall we have he and his wife for drinks and dinner on Tuesday? We promised to take our grandson to Lawrence Hall of Science to see the robotic dinosaurs.  Can you get a day off?  Maybe we can stop in Fremont to look at some stone for the peninsula in the kitchen.  Oh, the painters come Tuesday and I have to get the garage sorted out so they can put two coats on the baseboard in the shelter of a dry space.  I have to make 8 feet from side to side.  I’ll get your daddy to help.  Oh, and your mom says she’s coming back.  Then our son has to leave here.  He’s been sleeping in the garage.  We are not starting this all over again.  Right.  That’s what I said.  Raising you kids is us doing our part.  I know.  And its too bad because Dad has been so helpful around here.  I like having him around right now while all this construction is going on.  She really should stay there and get some new teeth.  The baby is really talking well these days.  Oh.  Says Grandpa. It’s my birthday today.  Happy Birthday.  I’m going to my office.