I Can Handle That!

fireflies, grandparentingWe’d be happy to watch the kids for an hour tomorrow night,” I said to my son.

As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I wanted to jump after them like fireflies in a dark sky, placing them in a glass jar with the lid shut tight.

Instead, the offer to babysit flew away from me and into my son’s grateful hand.

“Thanks, Mom. We’ll drop them off at 6. We won’t be more than an hour. 7:30 okay?”

7:30? What happened to an easy hour with three little boys: 1½, 3, and 4½? Just enough time to give them a cookie, read them a book, and offer a bottle and a sippy cup before their mom and dad retrieved them.

“Oh no!” I said loudly on his way out the door. Continue reading

Back to the Future, 1968

back to the future, babysitting, 1970I needed the money, so I accepted the request. The two little Beemer boys were hellions, but the good news was that Dr. Beemer and his wife didn’t need me until 7 o’clock. I’d let the kids watch their favorite show – Gilligan’s Island – feed them some cookies, and then get them to bed by 8.

Gulligan's Island, babysitting

So this is the tale of our castaways,
they’re here for a long, long time.
They’ll have to make the best of things,
it’s an uphill climb.
(Gilligans Theme Song Lyrics | MetroLyrics)

I walked over to their house at 6:55. Hard to believe that that they lived right next door. Once I went inside that house, it was if I were miles away. Mrs. Beemer came to the door a second after I rang the bell. I was sure she couldn’t wait to get out of there. She was not in control of that household. Neither was the good doctor. Continue reading

Adventures in Babysitting

babysitting, grandmother, granddaughter, flyingTraveling with a 5-year-old is not for the faint-at-heart.

My Boston granddaughter visits my man and me for a wonderful wacky week, but now it’s time for me to fly her back to the “right” coast.

Because of a planned 6:30 a.m. shuttle for a 9 a.m. flight, I urge my rosebud to bed early the night before and warn her that “I’ll wake you up tomorrow so we can make our flight on time!”

Every other morning, the sleepy princess slumbers past 8:30, and her devious grandmother (yes, that’s me), anxious for the day’s fun to begin, releases the button to her air mattress, deflating the bed and waking the befuddled girl.

So on flight day, I wake up at 5 a.m., figuring I have 75 minutes to shower, dress, and pack before the little one is woken.

But at 5:15, I hear a noise in the child’s room and find her dressed (including headband, shoes, and bracelet), ready to “help” her Madre.

Have you ever packed with a 5-year-old? Each item is lovingly petted, then thrown into the suitcase with wild abandon. The child practices bouncing and jumping on the said suitcase so that it closes properly.

However, her red carry-on case is cajoled to close too aggressively, and one of the side locks suddenly appears in the girl’s hand. Her wide blue eyes express the perfect sentiment:flying with child, granddaughter, suitcase, grandmother

Whoops.

We swirl to the airport and stand in line at security, me handling my suitcase, her suitcase, my carry on and her carry on,  while simultaneously holding granddaughter’s hand.

The line is long, the wait interminable for a wide-awake little girl. “Mommy always lets me sit on my carry on,” she explains patiently.

Well, Mommy wasn’t missing a lock, I mumble to myself, but for the sake of happiness, I let my sweetuns sit (softly! I admonish) on her hard red case.

But the damn lock is missing, and with 10 people ahead of us, and 98 behind, the red case explodes open.

child's medical kit, security lines, airport, grandmotheringOut pops 6 My Little Ponies; 1 toothbrush; 4 headbands; 1 long-legged, pink-clad doll; 3 Fancy Nancy books; and 1 kid’s medical kit that includes a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, 1 thermometer, and 1 reflex hammer.

The security guard barks, “Keep it moving!” as I frantically throw the items, now spread out on the airport floor like ants on a picnic table, into the red case.

“Hurry, Madre,” my granddaughter exclaims, probably hearing the exasperated sighs behind us.

Miraculously, I jam it all in and snap the case (sort of) shut, leaving out not even one little pony.

We make it to our airplane seats unimpeded, although I admit my grateful sigh is loud enough to induce some chuckles in the rows in front and behind us. I pray that the little one is as tired as I am after our early morning trials, but she proceeds to talk, and talk, and talk the entire 5 ½-hour-trip! Not that her conversation isn’t fascinating, but halfway through I suggest it’s time for us to take a nap.

I could have suggested we take a flying leap out of the airplane at 3,000 feet in the air.

“Madre! Did you forget I don’t nap anymore???!”

Two hours later I suggest we close our eyes, just to give them a rest.

“I’m not tired, Madre, but you can close your eyes.” She proceeds to examine me with her medical kit, stethoscope on my chest and thermometer on my lips, to see if there is a medical reason for my fatigue.airplane, pilots, flying with child, female pilots

And then, she asks to go to the bathroom, noting that the “pilots” seem to walk to the rear of the plane often (she doesn’t understand the difference between air flight attendants and pilots, and I’m so impressed that she thinks it’s normal to have three female pilots for one plane, I don’t try to explain).

But when we make it to the back, my granddaughter is shocked and dismayed at the “pilots” sitting in their seats, facing the wrong way.

“HOW CAN THEY STEER FROM HERE???” she screams in concern.

Philosophically, I think sometimes that’s exactly how it feels in life – we steer from the wrong end of the plane.

But I ditch my ruminations, buy her a ginger ale and a box of raisins, and we read “The Night Before Kindergarten” until the plane gently lands.

Facing the right way.

granddaughter, flying, airplane, grandmothering, traveling, adventures in babysitting

Appreciation

appreciation, blog, readers, writers, daughters, babysittingWhat does it mean, to be appreciated, or to appreciate something? Dictionary definition says:

 [uh-pree-shee-ey-shuhn]

1. gratitude; thankful recognition:

2. the act of estimating the qualities of things and giving them their proper value.

3. clear perception or recognition, especially of aesthetic quality: a course in art appreciation.

4. an increase or rise in the value of property, goods, etc.

5. critical notice; evaluation; opinion, as of a situation, person, etc.

      I like the #5 definition best, and it reminds me of the time I babysat for my daughter – her 1-year-old and 1-month old babies – for 8 hours, yet she picked them up after a long day kind of grumpy and well, non-appreciative, in my mind.
     So, being exhausted after the day, and feeling a bit weepy, I told her straight out as we strapped the kiddies in her car: I DON’T THINK YOU APPRECIATE ME!
     And you know what? My daughter stopped in the midst of the babies crying and asking for their bottles and dinner and stared me straight in the eye – her blue intensity gazing into my green regard and said strongly and full of love, “Mom, yes, I do! I do appreciate you!”
     I believed her. And felt loved and appreciated, and I let go of my tiredness and instead appreciated how much I loved and enjoyed these grandbabies, and how much I loved my daughter.
     That was three years ago, and still on every birthday card and Mother’s Day card and Christmas card my daughter sends me, the botton line always, ALWAYS says: I Appreciate You!
     So that’s what I first thought about when a fellow blogger nominated me this week for the “READER APPRECIATION AWARD.” She didn’t know how much this sweet award would mean to me – much more than the one word seems to imply.
     We all love to be appreciated, and I thank you, my readers, for enjoying my posts, for commenting, for smiling when I say something funny (or even when I don’t!), and mostly, for being here, allowing me to enjoy my weekly wighting writing.
     Besides telling you something about myself (see above) to accept this award, I also have the honor of nominating six other blogs. Here they are:
THANK YOU – I appreciate you all!