Thursday, November 09, 2006

On Being Grandma Dawn

I have a split personality. I am "Mother Dawn" half of the week, aiding MSW applicants and students through the graduate school process (which can be quite tedious and unfriendly). I become very attached to these students, as I have mentioned in the past.

The other half of the week I am "Grandma Dawn" for Anakin, Care Bear, and Feisty (as they are blog-named by Kristen in Throw in "mom" to two grown children and their spouses, and it's no wonder.

Kristen and I split job time when Feisty was born. She had already been working half-time in her job at our university since Care Bear was born and Anakin went to kindergarten. When Feisty was born, the cost of day care was absolutely prohibitive. I needed a change in my job as well, since I had lost my beloved boss to retirement. Several things led up to the need for a change. I decided to offer Kristen my services as caregiver the other half of the week. I proposed the change to my boss and I believe she was as eager for a change as I was. I kept the part of my job that I loved and was really good at and eliminated the other. Can't get much better than that, eh?

I've explained the "Grandma Dawn" moniker previously - it began when Anakin entered my life at age two as Kristen's stepson. He eased us into the grandparenting life a little bit at a time. When he was 4, Care Bear was born, and 20 months later, Feisty entered the mix.

Silly me - I thought if I stayed home half time, I might actually get something done while I was caring for the kiddoes. Silly me!!! They are a full-time job and I go to work to rest up! I truly get it that God planned on children being born to young women for a definite reason. But - I do have much more patience with them than I had with my own - spilled milk on the floor just doesn't bring the reaction it did for poor Kev, who spilled almost every meal.

I love these children with every fiber of my being. They make me laugh. They keep me on my toes. Anakin is ADD, so presents patience challenges every day. He is so very smart, but has so much trouble focusing and remembering his lunch box, homework, coat, backpack, on and on and on. But when he comes up with an observation that just zings me, I tend to forget those other things. For instance, the other day we were on our way to school when he noticed the sun was not shining here in Colorado, as it usually is. He said, "Grandma, look, the sun is hiding behind that big cloud up there. But it's starting to come out a bit more. It's like God's holy spirit shining down on us." I love it!

His biological mother has been picking him up on Saturdays, so he's missed church and dinner with us every Sunday for weeks. She has had a change of schedule recently, so he has been to church and SS the last two weeks. He has a fabulous singing voice and they really need him in the Christmas musical. Two weeks ago, he came in my house, plopped the CD into the player, sat on the couch, and proceeded to sing every song, right on tune, after the first time he'd been to rehearsal. I hope this new schedule continues so he can sing in the performance - and that his mother will come to see him presenting the story of Christmas. He has to dress up as some sort of toy, so that is presenting a bit of a problem. I suggested Woody from Toy Story, but he wasn't interested. Any good ideas? Keep in mind that Kristen and I are both costume-challenged.

Then there's Care Bear. Oh, my goodness, what an amazing little person she is. She chatters and sings non-stop all day long (except when she's in a program where she's supposed to sing - then she totally clams up)! But she has such an understanding of life and the way things work. She uses words that I can't believe she knows, and she uses them in the right context.

Yesterday we were driving down the road. Feisty (age 2) noticed that I did not have my seat belt on yet and called me on it. I said, "Oh, no, bad Grandma!" Care Bear piped up, "You're not bad, Grandma." I replied, "No, not bad, just forgetful." She said, "Yes, Grandpa P. is forgetful, too. He forgot his coat at our house." For much of the afternoon she was singing a made-up song about "surfing the web." What in the world does she know about surfing the web??

Feisty is living up to her name, big time. We thought at first that she'd be the calm, submissive third child. Uh-uh! She can hold up her end of the sibling rivalry just fine, thank you very much! But what a doll. She also sings in the car - they have 4 Christian children's cd's in my player in my mini van (which I bought to transport them, because it's so much easier on this grandma's back!) We have discussions every day about which cd is playing when - they each have their favorites. And they have their favorite songs on each cd, and I have to keep those track numbers in my head - for instance, Care Bear wants to start at the beginning of her favorite one every time, and Feisty wants to go to #20 - Who Did Swallow Jonah (whale did, whale did. . . Jonah wasn't an airy bubble, caused great pain to Jonah - hilarious!) So it goes on and on. I was actually singing that sing in my head during the night recently - couldn't sleep! Yesterday as we were walking to the park in the double stroller, Feisty was making up a song, "We're going to Grandma's park." Precious.

Well, that's a day in my life - it starts when I go 3 doors down to Kristen's house so she can head for work. Then we wrestle with getting Anakin ready for school and there by 8:10 (so he can play a few minutes on the playground before the bell); then home for breakfast, frequently baths and unwanted hair-washing, reading books, maybe watching a video from the library.

Every other Friday we go to the library and stock up on books and videos. The original intent was to go to story time, but Care Bear prefers to just do the art project while the story lady is reading the stories and doing finger plays. So sometimes we skip story time and just go get books and videos. On the way home, without fail (because I did it once and now it's "routine") they begin to beg to go to Kamp C (KFC - but it's too cute to correct, since it's one of the very few things she still says incorrectly). They each have a bowl of mac and cheese and split a caffeine-free soda. Because we went to the Dairy Queen one time after mac and cheese, they want that to also be part of the routine. Sometimes I give in.

They are little creatures of habit. They are gorgeous. They are fun. They are exhausting! I am blessed. And I want to believe that they are, too, to have Grandma Dawn in their lives so much of the time.

standing in matching outfits
anthony playing with spaceship


Pamela said...

Dawn, this was so delightful to read! It is wonderful hearing how you really are a full spectrum Gma in every sense of the word. Kids can be so adorable with the cute things they come up with. I can't wait for Ben to put a couple of years on him so he can converse with us! :)

For the toy, you can make a player piano out of a simple box. Bend the one corner in and paint the keys where they would go. Glue sheet music where it would go. Cut a hole out for his head. have him wear gloves and a hat if you can and have him play the keys like a player piano. The box need to be longer sideways and shorter in the front. It is so cute!

Diane said...

Oh, good gracious, I am about to OD from all the cuteness!! You are all blessed to have each other, Dawn. :-)

As for a about Raggedy Andy? Or an easy and appropriate one is, a gift! Just get a cardboard box that's just big enough for Anakin to fit in, cut out the bottom, cut a hole in the top big enough for his head to fit through, and then wrap and decorate the box. A big bow on the front really sets it off, and if you can get sweat pants and shirt in appropriate colors it works great. He can go as a wrapped gift. You can be as fancy or as plain as you like with it. Cheap, too, especially if you already have sweats he can wear with it.

Jessica is doing well, and I can't wait till my grandbaby is here!

Have a good day, Dawn. :-)

Diane said...

Oops, I forgot to mention, cut out arm holes for the gift box, LOL. :-)

Sherry said...

They are VERY lucky to have Grandma time each and every week (probably day too). We miss our grandma time so much! I'm glad Anakin is getting to go back to church. He fills in a definite hole for the children's choir.

Barb said...

What a wonderful post, Dawn. They are all three beautiful. And so sweet. You and I have a lot in common re grandchildren. Well, I only have one so far but I'm told they're working on a second one for me. Krissy lives three doors down from me, too. I take care of Cameron part-time to save them a fortune in day care. And like you, I am very aware that I am truly blessed to have my grandchild so close all the time. I can't imagine having to go months and months without seeing him.

Yes, I think your grandchildren are as blessed as you are. :-)

Nancy said...

What a great Grandma Dawn you are... your children and grandchildren are blessed! Thanks for sharing.

Linda said...

You are a very special Grandma, Dawn. I don't spend nearly the amount of time with my "grands" as you do. My daughters-in-law are both Stay at home Moms. I believe every minute you invest in their little lives is precious.
They are just darling. This grandma stuff is the best!!

Morning Glory said...

Aw, that's so sweet. It's hard to imagine what life was like before grandchildren. They bring such individual specialness! I know what you're saying about not being so uptight about the things I used to freak out about when my own were little. I'm so much more laid back about messes and manners and nonsense. Karen often says she should have been born a grandchild, because I'm more lenient with them.

Kathleen Marie said...

Awww! I can't wait (at times) for my little granddaughter to walk and talk and do all those wonderful little things grandbabies do...sweet! I can't believe she is almost 4 months old already! You have adorable grandkids!

Looney Mom said...

How sweet. I know those kids are VERY blessed to have you in their lives so much of the time. It's so obvious how much you love them. What a loving grandma.

Anonymous said...

they definitely ARE blessed! i am so thankful that my mom has been able to quit her job and keep my daughter. my grandmother did that with me and she was one of the most special people in my life. i know you are one of there's too!

you commented on my page about the cabbage patch dolls--i have heard the tmx craze referenced to the cabbage patch craze several times. it is definitely a fight for the things. i've read several things about people getting run over in the stores as the other people literally RACE down the aisles. it is sad, too, b/c most of those people are there just to buy them and sell them on ebay for 2 or 3x what they are worth. when my husband got elmo last weekend there were 3 guys who drove 2 hours to our store to try and get them. they wanted 2 each and then tried to get my husband to buy another one and give to them in the parking lot. they said "come on man, we gotta get in the game." that all american dollar is going to put us all in debt!!

Maggie Ann said...

Your grandchildren are beautiful and sound absolutely charming and I know they are. How blessed they are to have you for a Grandma! I know we will have a ball with our grandson next week...if I have any energy left after this week!

Praying for your Prodigal said...

What a fabulous life you live! You are blessed to have your grandchildren so nearby and so close to your heart!

I, too, am costume challenged......a toy.....let's about a jack-in-the-box.....or would that be too cumbersome to sing standing in a cardboard box? Or could you go to a costume store and find a Sponge Bob costume? Or for that matter...I bet they have a lot of toy could pick! Told you I was costume challenged.....I defer to the easy way out!

Great post! Enjoy your matter where you are! How do you keep it all organized in your head!


PEA said...

Not fair...I'm not a grandma yet and I want to be!!!!! My oldest son is getting married next April so maybe so I'm already bugging them to make me a grandma soon after! lol It sounds like you have a wonderful relationship with your grandkids and you are very lucky to have each other and to live so close!! My mom was very close to my two boys while they were growing up because we live near each other but her other grandchildren are all out of town and she only gets to see them once a year or so. Beautiful post Dawn...make that Grandma Dawn:-)

Yellow Mama said...

So, what do you do in your spare time? Ain't life grand! Don't have grandkids yet...our oldest hasn't been married that long, but I'll wait until they are prepared. Smiles and Hugs.

Lala's world said...

that is so amazing that you are there so much! a huge blessing I would say for all involved!

Jessica said...

It's GREAT that you are so active in your grandkids lives! Good for you!