All the favorites. All the traditions.
It’s hard when my immediate family is now so far apart. When we get together, we tend to try to do too much to make sure we at least touch on everyone’s favorite thing.
And try as we might, we can’t all seem to get together in one place ever anymore. Someone always can’t make it. A few are gone from us in all but spirit. In one sad way, they’ll be making more family get-togethers than before.
This Easter weekend, my daughters, one son-in-law, my sister, and of course my incredibly sweet, beautiful, handsome grandchildren are spending approximately 30 hours together at my father’s house.
My step-mom is not in the best of health right now, so us young ‘uns are doing the work: planning, shopping, cooking, etc.
Planning! How can we fit 50 years of holiday traditions into 30 hours? And that’s just the menu…
So far, we’ve eliminated fried shrimp, hash browns, and homemade bread… but added mushrooms, steak, bearnaise sauce, and Lucky Charms. (I’m in charge of the Lucky Charms. I even volunteered for the job.)
My youngest grandchild arrived September 26th, 2011 at 8:50 am. Henry checked in at 6 lbs, 15 oz. and 20 inches long. And handsome!
He was 19 days early and there’s no doubt that his due date was calculated correctly. Though there was some careful watching for jaundice due to ABO incompatibility issues, Henry did not require treatment.
Henry’s father says his son takes after his mother — aces all the tests and finishes early.
These photos were taken when he was 13 days old. Since then, his arms and legs have filled out a lot. He’s got a good appetite and has had very few nursing issues.
His Mom & Dad are pretty awesome also. They were so calm and laid back that some of the hospital staff thought this was their 2nd baby.
Not only that, but my daughter simply never had the appearance of just having had a baby. I won’t say her labor was easy. It wasn’t. But most women don’t look as good as she did after having been up for 24 hours even when they didn’t give birth during that time. Makeup or no makeup.
Now I understand that most of you are going to say that I’m just a besotted grandmother when I tell you how exceptional Henry is. That’s OK. I know better. Even his pediatrician noted at his 2 week check up that he’s focusing and tracking movement.
Henry has his parents’ laid back attitude. The only time I heard him cry the first few days I was there was when his diaper was being changed… and I think that’s entirely attributable to temperature and expertise of the diaper changer. He didn’t like the cold wipes. And he didn’t cry as hard when I changed him. (Probably because I held the wipe in my hand long enough to take the chill off it, but I’m still chalking this up to he just loves his grandma.)
By the time I left, Henry was expressing himself through crying a bit more forcefully. Though he’s easily pleased (food, warmth, cuddles) he is already teaching his caretakers how to know which one he wants.
My daughter jokes that his expressions in the last two photos are variations of him thinking “do you really know what you’re doing” and “so, there’s really no returns or refunds on parents?”
I’m impressed by how often he folds his hands together as he’s doing in the first photo. He expresses himself with his hands and let’s you know he doesn’t want them confined even if they do feel cold. (The old “I’m cold, you need to put on a sweater” maternal reflex.) Unlike the other newborns I’ve held and loved as a grandmother, he doesn’t often clench his hands into a fist though he does love to grasp a finger or toy.
Though I insist I’m not simply besotted, I concede that I’m easily impressed.
Of course, I’ve heard that babies this young appear to be smiling when they have gas. Henry is (of course!) different. He smiles when he’s drifting off to sleep. I know this isn’t a smile in response to any outside stimulus but I do think it’s a harbinger of his personality — it’s going to be easy for him to smile and be happy. Twice, he’s made a sound that sounds like laughter… or a chuckle.
OKAY! Maybe I am besotted. I’m fine with that. It’s not the first time, you know.
UPDATE: How could I forget to give kudos to the photographer. These photos were taken by Henry’s aunt — my oldest daughter… I mean “older”. And just a tad bit older. Not much.
She’s been working on her skills this past year and these were taken without the use of autofocus, autowhatever, etc. The most amazing photos aren’t posted here because… well… I don’t know why, but I don’t post (recognizable) photos of my grown children. It’s a privacy thing, I suppose.
I’m really good at breaking promises to myself. One of them was that I wasn’t going to post more photos of my grandchildren. Oh, don’t think I worried about boring the internet… I worried about overwhelming it with cuteness.
But then I got this photo in an email today. I bought the doll she’s chewing on for her before she was born, hoping… no, intending, that it would become her “lovey”. I accidentally stumbled upon the doll that serves as her older sister’s “lovey” and it has meant a lot to me that she loves that doll so much.
“Lovey” status isn’t quite there yet, but I’d say maybe it’s well on the way!
My 3 year old granddaughter visited a fire station today. This is an account of the conversation with her Mom on the way home:
I asked her what she should do if her clothes are on fire, and she said “put on different clothes and put the other ones in the hamper!” When I asked her if she’d like to be a firefighter one day, she said “no thank you, I’m going to be Sleeping Beauty because I already have that dress.”
Now, you must admit there’s a certain practicality in her thinking.
I’ve let this place go, haven’t I?
Usually when I do this it’s because I’m vacationing in the comments on other blogs, but that’s not the case this time. I’ve actually been away from home for 10 of the 20 days since my last post. It’s not that I’ve lacked a connection to the internet, but that I really really am not flexible when it comes to using laptops or other people’s computer setups.
Oh yes, I am spoiled by my messy, but convenient for me, little office space.
I’ve also read four novels recently. Don’t worry; nothing particularly uplifting or literary. It’s just that for the last 10 years or so, I’ve read mostly non-fiction and a lot of that could be considered educational. That was a major change from my previous habit of consuming 3 or 4 novels a week.
I spent the Labor Day weekend with two of my grandchildren. It’s so very, very nice to have them only a 3 hour drive away instead of 20 hours. The 5 month old is just the sweetest baby. She’s fun and easy to care for. When she’s awake, she’s constantly cooing, laughing, or enjoying her new found manual dexterity.
The 3 year is not so easy, but she’s definitely fun. The theme of the visit was words beginning with P. She put together a 24 piece puzzle by herself. Her parents didn’t believe that I didn’t help her beyond verbal suggestions, but they should have. Did they really think *I* was going to actually get down on the floor with her? HAHA!
The other words were Papa, pizza, and piano. She has a little notebook that she wrote all those words in. There’s still a little work to be done in always pointing the z in the proper direction. I like the notebook because I found out that chalk dust really does a number on my nose and throat. She tends to erase her work with enthusiasm.
I was home for a few days and got word that my father was in the ICU with pneumonia. He’s 87 and a two-year lung cancer survivor, so that was scary news. I thought my step-mother would need help caring for him when he got home because he seemed really weak in the hospital.
Well, she didn’t because by the 2nd day he was home he had pretty much resumed his normal activities. Though the bug he got knocked him down quickly, modern antibiotics knocked it out almost as fast.
One of his current normal activities is running for mayor of his small town. I stayed another two days caught up in those discussions and helping a little with the campaign.
That reminded me that my husband and I have to get absentee ballots this year because we’ve got a wedding in S Carolina to attend the weekend before the election.
One of the best parts of my trip was seeing my 3-year-old granddaughter’s reactions to her new baby sister. I wondered if she’d be jealous, would she want to be treated “like a baby” or would she imitate her mother’s behavior with her dolls?
Issie is, I think, the ideal Big Sister. Here she is holding Little Sister:
Awe is the best word to describe most of her reaction. Her first words upon seeing Penny were “She’s so cute!” These were followed soon by “Can I hold her?”
The first time Penny was laid on the playmat on the floor, Issie immediately got a book (about princesses, of course) and read it to her.
Issie also tries to comfort Penny when she’s fussy. This is so sweet to watch… but Big Sister doesn’t go overboard. When her efforts failed one day, she said “Bye bye” and walked away. I guess you would have to have been there to get how funny that was.
Overall, Issie has been much more interested in imitating her mother’s behavior than in wanting to be treated as a baby. She’s shown no signs of feeling that she needs to be a baby to get attention. And… while her imitations of her mother are hilarious, they just won’t get any play on the internet from me! Let’s just say boobs are involved and leave it at that, OK?
It was difficult for me to leave both these babies after having spent over a month with them. There’s nothing so sweet as holding a newborn or having a 3-year-old whisper a secret in your ear.
I am bothered that I have 3 other grandchildren that I’ve not been able to spend as much time with. This will have to change!
My youngest grandchild, Penelope, was born on April 6 and I think she’s beautiful! That’s a completely unbiased assessment.
Along with more photos of the baby and her big sister, I’ve got stories about my Amazon account being hacked, my car breaking down, a stinky motel room, a horrible hospital stay, rigid unreasonable health insurance rules, my husband’s 27 hour Greyhound bus trip. Let’s just say it was all interesting.
I’ve been doing more reading than posting lately. And now I’m getting ready to take a trip. Arizona is nice this time of year.
There will be a new baby to cuddle soon and a three-year-old that needs some serious grandma spoiling, so I’ll be far too busy to blog.
There might be a cute baby photo now and then, otherwise check back mid-May.
My granddaughter, Issie, just had the perfect birthday celebration for a princess-obsessed 3 year old.
First, getting to spend three days at an amusement park with the undivided attention of both parents is pretty awesome. What child wouldn’t be having fun? Add to that the attentiveness and playfulness of the Disney character actors.
Here are some of my favorite photos from the adventure:
I thought it was pretty awesome that she wore her Halloween Cinderella dress on one day. I wish I could have done that! I plan to ask her to wear it and tell me Cinderella’s story when I visit next month.
Her favorite rides were the Tea Cups and the Ferris Wheel. I never liked the Ferris Wheel because I didn’t like getting stopped on top during the loading and unloading. This one had a cage, not like the old (ancient?) ones I remember, so maybe it would be better. But I always loved Tea Cup rides.
And it’s such fun to see how much she’s grown On her first birthday, wearing the cake was more fun than eating it!
Last year, when UT won, she charmed the Texas Poms. It could be that she’s a year older now, or that the TCU women are more trusting since they actually let Issie hold the pom pom.
Funny how quickly the young pick up on that possession is 9/10ths of the law thing. Mine! Mine!
It’s up to UT to win the BCS National Championship game tonight, or my granddaughter’s mommie is going to be sad. Both her schools can’t let her down in the same week can they?
Hook ’em Horns!
Sometime around the 7th of April, I will be the fortunate grandmother of a newborn granddaughter.
Her 19 week sonogram showed her to be perfect and healthy. I’m anxiously awaiting my grandma cuddle time with her as well as wondering what joy I will experience in watching her 3 year old sister interact with her newborn baby sister.
Until today, we all wished for a baby boy… but we all wished for that perfect and healthy even more. And now, after a few hours I find it difficult to think of this child as anything other than a perfect and healthy girl, though as recently as last week I thought of a perfect and healthy boy.
It does not matter. The most awesome and inspiring thing about having a child is the inability to imagine life without them. Once born, once cuddled, once held it is as that child has been a part of your life forever.
So, even though in reality it’s been only 30+ years that my daughter has been in my life… it feels wonderfully as if it is forever. And with each child my daughter bears, forever is extended exponentially, geometrically, and beyond.
Love cannot be explained by science.
Halloween just isn’t a big deal for us since we have no young’uns living here and have had no trick or treaters in the last 5 years. The last thing we need is a bowl of candy sitting around for us to eat. And we would. We are not that strong.
This year of not having Thanksgiving or Christmas plans is an example of what’s going to happen occasionally since we share our children and grandchildren with other families. It often works out that we get one or the other and we have no problem exchanging Christmas gifts at Thanksgiving.
So, for me there is no big Thanksgiving celebration to get in the way of Christmas shopping. It will all have to be done in time to allow for shipping, so I might as well start now.
Especially, since I got a call this morning from one daughter who informed she’d just found the perfect Christmas gift for me and already purchased it. Another daughter sent out the Christmas/birthday wish list for a granddaughter today too. I really appreciate these lists because it’s hard to keep up with what they already have and neither set of grandparents or aunts and uncles want to send duplicate gifts.
Thus I have been wasting time perusing Amazon and other toy sellers. And you know what? I’m not that impressed by most of the items. Far too many of the toys for the 3-5 age range are not interactive, or would likely be boring after used once or twice. Far too many of the toys for 2 year olds are still listed as appropriate for 5 year olds.
Also, just how comfortable should a parent or grandparent be purchasing a puzzle of the U.S. that contains only 45 pieces??
I am having fun. I’ve found the absolute perfect gift for one grandchild and some pretty good ones for the others. Of course, I’ll keep looking because that’s my gift to myself! That, and trying to figure out just how much I can get away with in the way of musical instruments and chemistry sets.
Having just awakened from one of my infamous 15 hour naps, I find I have nothing important to say. I know that surprises you.
Get used to it, OK? Even the President has mostly nothing important to say. What I lack is his ability to say nothing eloquently.
What could possibly be said meaningfully or eloquently about poor Meghan McCain’s twitter castastrophe… and why is everyone so upset that she has boobs? I have boobs. Some people are boobs. Boobs are ubiquitous, right? Then… the feminist side of me jumps up screaming why are boobs associated with foolishness and ignorance, er… I mean dumb and blonde?
Is there an actual association between hair color and boob size? Or is there an association between women of average or better intelligence who happen to be blonde and have big boobs who have “made hay” of a perceived link?
As a big-boobed blonde of above average IQ who has given birth to a redhead, blonde, and brunette of above average IQ (and I won’t comment either on the boob size or gender…) I gotta ask… does penis size correlate with IQ? Is smaller smarter?
If I remember correctly, women with bigger boobs have more trouble breastfeeding than to do women with smaller ones. In some way this makes a lot of sense since lower primates and mammals do not develop big boobs. So is this smaller breast size and greater ability to breastfeed a sign of greater evolution or a sign of the productivity of lesser evolution?
At what point in human evolution did the appearance and associated utility of mammary development become important? If only nourishment of the next generation were considered, small breasts with large nipples would be the norm.
Where did humans go ‘wrong’ in their preference? And did males have anything to do with it?
And what are we to do with the incredibly stupid JP in Tangipahoa Parish who will not marry “mixed” race couples? It’s fairly obvious that this man opposes only black/white marriages. How would he decide on an Asian/Caucasian marriage or on an Native American/Caucasian marriage? An Hispanic/Caucasian marriage?
While we are given little information on his opinions of “mixed race” marriages not of the black/white type, I am not reluctant to “guess” at his opinion of other mixed “race” types.
And… once again, I am compelled to remember my sharing of photos of grandchildren with a black woman. Her grandson had blue eyes and blonde hair while my granddaughter had black hair, near black eyes and “much darker than white” skin.
It’s rather ironic that my caucasian genes might lower the IQ of my Asian granddaughter and that the caucasian genes might raise the IQ of the black woman’s grandson… theoretically, at least…
And while we’re thinking about racism and it’s incomprehensible negative effects, do not forget those who think that Barack Obama’s black heritage is of a higher intelligence than those whose black heritage is through slavery.
There is a cognitive dissonance thing going on among those who think Obama’s blackness is more “pure” because he is descended from an “actual” African and those who think his “African” descendance is less pure than an American African descendant.
Frankly, as “post-racialist” I think it matters not at all. He chooses the background that most helps his agenda. Unfortunately, his lack of understanding of history confuses him in identifying his agenda.