Sunday, May 27, 2012

Conversations with Two Fours

Four year olds can be so much fun, or not.  But when they are, they really are.  Lately our conversations (or theirs, as I listen in) have been the kind that need to be remembered.  Thus, this post, for myself.  You can listen in, if you please.

We were driving past the lake in the middle of our town, which is really low right now.  I commented on it, more or less to myself.  They discussed the situation at length, and alas I forgot to write it down as soon as I could.  But later that day, we were driving again, and had been following a truck with a large opaque container of liquid, probably chemicals, sloshing back and forth.  After following it for several miles, suddenly Katie piped up:  "I see a truck with water in it.  I think it's taking water to the lake so the beach won't be so down."

Another day one of them commented on a pretty tree that looks "like broccoli."

The logic of their little minds astounds me at times.  It had rained during the night, and on the way to take the big girls to school, my tires spun a bit as I was leaving a stop sign.  Again, I believe it was Katie who said, "That must be because of the rain on the street."  

Emma:  "Did I cry last night?"  
Me:  "Yes, you screamed your head off."
Emma:  "I screamed, but my head is still on.

In the school bathroom:

Emma:  "Where's the bath?"  Good question!  Guess we should call it "rest room" instead.

Another conversation in the car:

Emma:  "Grandma, is my peanut butter sandwich going to turn me into a grownup?"

Katie:  "What about me?  Will my peanut butter sandwich make me big?"

Emma:  "I don't think you ate enough to get big."

We were attending an awards program at school.  Emma was sitting on my lap, facing me.  She caught a glimpse inside my shirt neckline and said, "Grandma, you have a black bra."

Then she turned to my former work friend, who is considerably older than I, and I run into her at school functions where she is watching her great grandchildren, who are the ages of my grandgirls.  Emma pointed to her and said, "Does she have a bra on?"  Yikes!

And then there was the day we were checking out at Sam's - the young man at the next stand was sporting not one, but two, flashy earrings.  I hadn't noticed him until Emma blurted out, "Boys don't wear earrings!"  He and I had an interesting conversation after that.  

I know you remember when Katie cut Emma's hair - it seems lately as though Emma is saying that she did it to herself, but I find it hard to imagine that she could have done that to herself.  Regardless, they are both looking forward to their hair being long again.  In fact, everything that we're discussing from the past, near or far past, Katie will say, "Was that when my hair was long?"

Have a wonderful Memorial Day, and a great week!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

When a Grandma is Not Just a Grandma

For those of you who have been keeping up with my cousin Ann's adventures in Africa, I wanted to let you know that their team and one of their daughters and her husband have arrived back in Mali this week.  The other daughter, husband, and two little boys have come back to the U.S.  This does not mean that things are really settled there, and I am anxious to hear from her again when they get settled back home in Mali.

Based on the title of my blog, and the pictures I post most of the time, you know very well that a lot of my time is spent with my grandgirls.   You know that I love them all dearly and that there is nothing I wouldn't do for them, if I could.

But - in the interest of full disclosure, there are times when I wish I could just be the grandma, and not the stand-in mommy.  I sometimes envy those grandmas who are so excited that their grandkids are coming to visit rather than saying, "Boy, could I use a day off!"  

"According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nationally there are 4.5 million children living in grandparent-headed households (6.3% of all children under age 18). This represents a 30% increase from 1990 to 2000." (2009 study at Ohio State University).  Thankfully, we aren't technically part of this statistic, but we do have the girls a lot of the time.

Naturally, because we have them so much, we often act and react more as a parent would than a grandparent who, according to a common, normal statement you hear, "The great thing about grandchildren is that you can love them, spoil them, and then send them home."  Not so much!

This last week, I have felt like (in the words of the legendary Yogi Berra), "deja vu all over again."  It reminded me of the time Kevin came from home from school one day and told me, probably after dinner, "Oh, Mom, I'm Thomas Jefferson in a play tomorrow and I need a costume" (breeches, no less).  I've never been great at costumes.  In fact, Halloween is my worst nightmare.  But I did my best, and punted more than once.  

So - Tuesday morning (after they spent the night here), Livi presented a huge poster she was supposed to have turned in on Monday (in her defense, we were all gone Friday night and Saturday, including Kristen).  It was a poster about herself - she is the Student of the Week, since her birthday is on Saturday.  It required some pictures, a lot of info about herself, and some coloring.  Needless to say, it was a mad scramble to get that done, and everyone dressed and out the door for school within an hour!  Whew.

The girls' art show was tonight, and fortunately I looked at a hand-out from the teacher which reminded them (and parents/quasi-parents) that they needed to come up with a costume for the "Colorado History Museum", to be held during the art show.  Thankfully we had more notice this time, and since Kristen has been working lots of evening hours, it fell on me to come up with said costume.  Hayley had done her research project on the Unsinkable Molly Brown.  Tonight, the kids were in their classroom, standing with their informative posters, sharing their knowledge in the first person.   I may be prejudiced, but I thought Hayley had the best costume.  The dress is one Kristen had in high school, which I was able to cinch up in the back, put a lace shirt so she didn't look like a saloon girl, and borrowed a plain black hat from a lady at church, adding a feather from Hobby Lobby.  

But the hardest part of this dual role happened this week in the most dramatic way to date.  I had to deal with an act of naughtiness head on.  I had made a threat which I thought would defuse the situation.  When my bluff was called, and the child in question didn't shape up, I had to take away a privilege which is so dear to her heart that her wails of "I'm dying," just about did me in.  I have high hopes that this incident will have a lasting influence on the thought processes of this child, and that maybe the other 3 might have learned something from it as well!