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I seem to be very emotional today. I’m not sure why. We had a very good trip. We spent the day in Tacoma with the boys’ other grandparents before heading home. All is fine here. The kitty missed me and is letting me know I should not leave her alone again.

And yet, I find myself getting teary with almost everything. A post on FB; song lyrics; a movie I put on to get over my emotional state (White Christmas). Everything. It might be because it is getting to me that I won’t be spending Christmas with two of my kids. It might be because I will be turning 60 in a couple of weeks. It might be because I want the whole world to be a better place. It might be because I’m tired. It might be because of the season. It might be because I miss my sisters and because although my three brothers have been gone for years, this is the first Christmas without my dad and the combination of all of them being gone is getting to me.

It has been a very busy, emotional, scary, and exciting year. Things seem to have happened on someone else’s plan, not mine. There is also so much that is unknown for me personally right now.

I think it has all snowballed from last January when I first started to feel sick to now when I don’t know where I will be this time next year.

I wanted to write a happy post; a positive one; but it just isn’t happening today. I’ll try to turn that around for tomorrow.

Do you get emotional at Christmas time? What do you do to “fix” that?

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Last week, although he loved school, Anderson did have one instance in which he was sort of reprimanded by the teacher.  He says she was talking and he was talking and she told him not to talk so he stopped.  We asked him who he was talking to and he said “to myself”.  I had to laugh at that.  I had told his mom that they should talk to him before he started school and tell him what was appropriate for kindergarten and what was not. Kindergarten is real school and he’s not used to that. He’s used to preschool where they pretty much “suggested’ that he do things and if he didn’t want to, it was okay. Kindergarten isn’t like that!

The talking to himself is interesting, too.  When he first started Head Start the year before last, the teacher was concerned because he was too quiet.  She said he didn’t talk to anyone and he didn’t  “pretend play” she had him checked out by the district psych staff.  Of course, when they observed him one-on-one, he was fine.  They were actually very impressed with how advanced he was for his age.  The 2 hour observation period was cut short after just a half hour because they felt it was not necessary.  He was, since then, encouraged to “pretend” and talk to himself in his pretending.  He’s gotten quite good at it.  He plays a game on the Kindle tablet called Mixels.  It’s a Lego program in conjunction with the Cartoon Network.  The good guys are Mixels.  They’re colorful and each has a different power.  The bad guys are tiny figures that are multi-powered and are black.  They are called Nixels.  The Nixels chase the Mixels all over and they gang up on the Mixels.

Anderson’s thing now is that when we are someplace and there are a lot of people around that we don’t know, he says they are Nixels coming after us and we have to hurry and get out of there!  He pretends to talk to the Mixels.  He does it all the time. I think he was probably talking to the Mixels when the teacher asked him not to talk.  He doesn’t quite understand why he can’t talk to Mixels when he needs to get away from the Nixels (which is really anyone he doesn’t know and he doesn’t know anyone in the class).  His mom and dad didn’t have that talk with him.  I guess I’ll have to be the bad guy and talk to him about that.

I think it’s going to be an interesting time getting used to kindergarten and real school!

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Well…

( I wrote this on Tuesday night and tried to post it but I haven’t had a good internet connection that lasts long enough for it to upload from my phone to the blog. I’m home now.)

If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m traveling.  I have spent the last couple of days driving between Portland and Seaside.  It’s a 2 hour trip in each direction. It was a spur of the moment thing. My daughter and company decided to go overnight and invited me. I had a doctor’s appointment so I declined.  But I really, really wanted to go, for a number of reasons.  So I  went with them.  Then I drove back to Portland for my appointment (which went fine btw) and then I got a text from my daughter saying they decided to stay another night and I was included. So right after my appointment I drove right back to Seaside. 

This is important for a number of reasons.  The most important of those reasons is that my daughter has made the trip prohibitive for me. She keeps saying I can’t make the trip because it’s a hard drive.  It is but I’ve done it now.  Over. Back. Over. And today, I’ll do it back again.  It’s not that bad. I CAN do it.

In the meantime, I’ve been able to experience and enjoy a magnificent sunset.  And today, an amazingly quiet moment at the mouth of the Columbia River.  I won’t forget either.  And I’ve enjoyed my grandsons.  They are amazing.  I wouldn’t trade the time for anything.  Anything.   

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Today, I have a couple of silly things to share about my grandsons, one from each of them.  I don’t think I have written a post that is exclusively about one of the grands in a couple of months so hopefully this doesn’t bore you.

Spencer turned 2 on April 3 so he’s still a relatively young 2 year old.  He thinks he knows everything and has seen everything but he hasn’t.  The other day, while looking through some of the clothes that didn’t fit before my surgery but might fit now, I found one of my favorite Tshirts.  It is the concert shirt for a show I went to a few years back (2006).  It was Rod Stewart.  I love Rod Stewart, the old stuff and the new stuff and his covers of others’ work.  So I pulled out the Tshirt and washed it and wore it the next day.  As I walked into my daughter’s house, Spencer heard my voice and came running to see me.  Then he stopped dead in his tracks and stared…not at my face but at my shirt which looks like this…

Rod Stewart shirt

Rod Stewart shirt

I talked to Spencer but his eyes were fixed on my shirt and his face was kind of puzzled.  Then I realized that he was looking at a picture of a whole person’s body on my shirt and figured he must be wondering if it was a real person.  I said, It’s okay Spencer, it’s just a picture on Nana’s shirt.  See?” And I pulled the fabric away from me and kind of waved it so he could see it was just a shirt.  Then he smiled and walked up to me and touched my shirt.  Then he was himself again, hugging me and looking in my purse to find the lollipop that is usually hiding there for him.

Then there is Anderson who is 5.  He loves milkshakes.  When we go to the drive thru Starbucks by my house, we also have to drive thru Jack In the Box which is in the same lot.  He gets a milkshake and we get our coffees (Spencer gets a milk with a bit of whipped cream so he thinks it’s a fancy drink).  The other day, when I was at Safeway, I bought some vanilla ice cream and a can of the spray on Cool Whip stuff.  When Anderson came over the next day, I fixed a pitcher of milkshakes in my blender and poured some in a glass for me and some for Anderson in his glass.  I put whipped cream on his and took it to him to surprise him.  He said, “What’s this, Nana?”  I told him it was a milkshake I made specially for him.  He looked at it and said, “Oh man! You can make milkshakes at home?  That’s crazy!” then proceeded to drink his shake.

I guess it all goes to show that we often forget that young children have limited experiences on which to draw so when they come across something new, no matter if it is a picture on a shirt or a treat fixed at home, it is a new experience they are adding to their memory and it might seem a little strange to them at first.  And of course, it makes me laugh at their wonder.

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My grandson is having a friend over to their house for a sleepover on Saturday.  The boys are both 5.  It will be the first time a friend has stayed over without a parent there and it will be the first time the little boy will be away from home for the night.  It should be interesting.  I am sort of, not more than sort of, glad that I won’t be the one watching them that night.  I watched the little boy this afternoon while I was babysitting Anderson and Spencer.  He’s either a lot less immature than Anderson (and even than 2 year old Spencer) or he is borderline ADD.  I think it is the latter.  The good thing is that the boy’s family live here in the same mobile home park, just around the corner from my daughter’s house so if there is a problem, it is easy to get him home.

This all reminded me of the year my daughter, Tina, had her 6th birthday party.  She was in kindergarten.  She invited 6 girls over for dinner, cake, a movie, a sleepover, then breakfast before going to afternoon kindergarten the next day.  I knew all the parents except one set.  I spoke to them all on the phone and offered to have them come get their little girl just before lights out so they wouldn’t miss anything if they felt their daughter could not be away from home.  The all understood that and no one took me up on the offer.  All the parents said that if there was any problem, I should call them and they would come get their daughter.

The party was a blast but when it came to going to bed, one of the little girls began looking sad and sort of freaked out.  I asked what was wrong and stayed close to her for extra comfort and support.  She finally said she wanted to go home and see her mommy.  She had never been away from her parents for the night like that.  She was a little younger than the other girls, having just turned 5 (the others were all just about to turn 6).  I called her parents.  It wasn’t that late, maybe just before 10.  I explained what was going on and the mom said her daughter had to spend the night away from her sooner or later so she wasn’t coming to get her and if she cried, let her because she had to grow up.  Well, I understand the concept but I also think that was more than a little unfair to the rest of the girls who had to sleep and get up and go to school the next day, not to mention me!  I had to supervise them all and keep them happy and then get my son out the door for school by 8.  Well, as luck would have it, the little girl cried all night long.  Did I say ALL night LONG?  Yup.  All night.  I sat next to her and rubbed her back and cuddled with her when needed the whole night through.  I managed to keep her from keeping the others awake all night but she whimpered and sniffled all night long.  When I got her quiet and tried to leave to my own bed, she grabbed my arm and began to cry again.  So I was stuck.  The next morning, about 8, the mom called to check on the little girl.  When I told her how she had cried all night, she said she would come over and pick her up so she could sleep.  And she did.  She stopped by about 9 that morning and picked up her little girl and took her home and kept her home from school so she could sleep.  The rest of the girls, went on to have a fun Denny’s breakfast then to school, even though they had not slept well because of the other child’s crying.

Sometimes parents really amaze me.  Yes, there are different styles of parenting and no one way is correct or incorrect, however, in my opinion disturbing others for one’s own convenience really isn’t very considerate to others.

We’ll see how Saturday goes!

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Is there a book that you read as a child that has stayed with you over the years; one that you have recommended to othrs and/or given as a gift to a child?

I can think of a few but one that I had forgotten about until I saw it on my bookshelf last night is a very special one. It’s called The Hundred Dresses and it was written by Eleanor Estes in 1944. I read it in fourth grade when I was about eight or nine. It touched me then and it still does. I’ve had a number of copies of it through the years as I tend to buy it to keep then give it away to a child or to a teacher. The one I have has managed to stay on my shelf for about eight or nine years.

The 1944 Newberry Honor recipient is the story of a little girl named Wanda Petronski who is different fromm all the other kids in her school. Not only is her name different, but she lives in the poorest part of town and she has no mother. Every day she wears the same blue dress to school. While it is always clean, it’s also always wrinkled and doesn’t hang right. She’s very quiet and hates to speak in front of the class. Outside of class, she is always alone and even when she tries to joing a group of kids, they never notice her. The only time the others notice her is when they want to tease her. One girl in particular, Peggy, likes to ask her how many dresses she has and Wanda always answers that she has a hundred dresses all lined up in her closet, all colors, all different kinds. They ask her about her shoes and she says she has sixty pair of shoes in her closet, all colors and all kinds, all lined up.

One girl, Maddie, feels bad about teasing her and she doesn’t want to participate in it but she also doesn’t want the others to turn on her because she’s from a poor family, too. So even though she feels wrong about teasing Wanda, she doesn’t speak up. She just goes along with it.

When Wanda doesn’t come to school for several days, her father sends a note to the teacher saying she won’t be coming to school anymore. They are moving to the big city where there are other “funny names” and lots of other Polish people and where they won’t be teased anymore. The letter from Wanda’s father arrives on the same day that the winner of the drawing contest is announced. The girls’ winner (for designing and drawing a dress) has drawn not onlyy one dress but one hundred different dresses, all kinds and all colors. The winner is Wanda. That’s when the girls realize that Wanda wasn’t lying about her hundred dresses. She really did have that many, only they were drawings.

I like it because it shows how Wanda is ignored and teased, making her feel isolated. And it also shows how Maddie knows it’s wrong yet doesn’t speak up. She just goes along with the teasing and bullying. I think it speaks volumes to kids. Although The Hundred Dresses is 71 years old, it still has a very valuable lesson to share with our kids…and with adults, as well. Before writing this post, I read a little about Eleanor Estes. I learned that she wrote the book out of guilt and a desire to somehow apologize to the little girl that Wanda was modeled after. She modeled Peggy, the bully, after herself because once the “Wanda” in her school moved away, Eleanor Estes realized that she had treated her very badly and had been a bully. I think that’s a valuable lesson, too!

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I have kids music CDs in my car.  They are on all the time, except when I realize that they’re on and there are no kids in the car!  Then I take them out and put in Rod Stewart or The Beatles or The Beach Boys (because let’s face it, you can take the girl out of California but you can’t take California out of the girl!) or one of my Tex Mex CDs.

Both Spencer and Anderson love to have the music on.  Spencer starts dancing in his carseat.  Anderson enjoys the music too.  He lip synchs to the songs.  Sometimes he’ll sing with it but that’s more rare.  I’ve noticed in the last two or three weeks though, that Anderson is now singing along.  I think he was waiting to learn all of the words before actually singing.  He did that when I first put Raffi CDs in a couple of years ago.  So he learned the words to this Kids’ Music CD and started singing along…at the top of his lungs…on the way to school.  I was listening to him sing, smiling as I drove him to school then I heard what he was singing.  He was substituting the word “body”  for “bonnie”.  Instead of singing:

My Bonnie lies over the ocean
My Bonnie lies over the sea
My Bonnie lies over the ocean
Oh, bring back my Bonnie to me…

he was singing…

My body lies over the ocean
My body lies over the sea
My body lies over the ocean
Oh, bring back my body to me…

Then he goes on and makes up words saying something about “thank you for bringing my body back to me”!

I cracked up.  He was having such a good time.  I am not correcting him.  It’s too cute.

Now he has moved on to Michael Row the Boat Ashore and shouts out “Hallelujah”  everytime the word appears in the song!j

I love “four years old”.

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