Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Just Like Ridin' a Bicycle...
Chris, Sarah and Addison have been living the glamorous life, in NYC, the past 36 hours. I volunteered to watch the two boys while they were away. Yesterday started VERY early. I tiptoed downstairs at 6:15 a.m., hoping to get in some much-needed devotions. Pray up the day.

At 6:30 a.m. I heard a Very Cheerful Voice say, "Rise and Shine, Grayson." The next words out of my mouth were, "Caiden Pace, you get your skinny hiney back in that bed right this minute and don't you even be talking to your brother. It's way too early for you to be up." They stayed put, likely out of sheer terror, images of my eyes bugging out of my head flashing through their little minds, but they never did go back to sleep.

Caiden is 5 1/2 and Grayson is 2 1/2. Caiden is the easiest going thing, precious in every way, with the ever-so handy talent of asking about 99 questions per hour. Any answer brings up another question, til you think you may get brain freeze if you hear another one. Grayson's entire body weight is made up of precious greased lightnin'. Looking at him, you're easily sucked into thinking he's the calmest little thing. He is, in a perpetual motion sort of way. My goal for babysitting was simple: no reportable injuries. We had a couple of bumps, but I just told them, "rub it hard". I learned the first time around, if the kid's hurt, offered sympathy brings on a melt-down. Sarah had given me a schedule, and I'm all about that. Make me a list, bullet points on the important stuff, and I can do just about anything. Snack at 10:30 a.m., two cartoons, lunch at noon, naptime follows. When Grayson is back up, it's again snacktime, play for the afternoon, til suppertime, baths, books, prayers and bedtime.

Shoot, why do any of us ever want to grow up? Two snacks a day and a nap, play all day, someone delivers meals at regular intervals, spa treatments at the toddler level, then bed at 8:00 p.m. What's not to love about that?

I was also reminded, you never forget how to do some things, no matter how long it's been. I can still change a diaper with my eyes closed. Baths, lullabies, reading books with voices, I can still pull all those off with the best of them, especially if you're not offended by slightly off-key singing. I'm good enough at switching voices throughout the book, it should make up for the off-pitch crooning of Goodnight Sweetheart.

It's been a good number of years since I had a houseful of squabbling kids underfoot. We don't generally have much noise around here, unless our golden retriever decides to talk a bit. Any clutter is thought of as our personal treasures, so it doesn't really count. But today - it all came back to me. The minute I answered my phone, both of them starting fussing over some toy, and the words that automatically came out of my mouth were something like, "Do you SEE I'm on the phone. DO NOT interrupt me." I stared at them both with the hairy-eyeball look that stopped their conversation immediately. When I gave a command, and it was questioned, I heard some woman saying, "Do children argue with adults?" Then she stepped up to the plate and answered, "No" for them, just in case they were confused. A few times I corrected them, and they gave me that look I think Hansel and Gretel must have had, when they were in the ugly witch's house. You know, when she said, "I'll pick your bones alive." That look.

I've also automatically used their middle names a number of times, with that elevated pitch that sounds a bit like a pitcher winding up his arm, to throw a fast ball. Normally , I'd have to think a minute to even tell you what they are. (I'm not big on detail.) The minute I'm in charge, and they cut up, it just flies out - that two name thing that lets them know, "don't you even think about messing with me." I thought back to days when "Daniel Wayne!" flew out of my mouth more times than I could count. When the father of said Daniel Wayne finally walked in the door at night, he'd survey the top of the fridge, note the number of toys taken away for invoking the wrath of God that day. My husband knew, from the pile, how many times I'd gotten after his boy. HIS boy. On Double Name Days, he was his father's son, not mine. We finally put a round laundry basket on top of the fridge, to better contain all the lost toys. You could really pile them up that way. Anytime I see one of those inexpensive round laundry baskets, my mind goes right back to the top of the fridge, white plastic full of stuffed animals, G.I.Joes, trucks, blocks, balls, etc. in them, insted of the usual dirty socks, t-shirts, jeans.

At bedtime we had kisses, prayers, finding blankets and bunnies, tucking them in, followed by "Do not get out of that bed, not one toe. Do you understand? Two sets of blue eyes looked over the edges of the covers and said, "Yes, ma'am" I had a lot of patience with bedtime when our children were younger, but there was A Point, and when I reached it, they knew. Do not ask for water, for another story, for another hug. She's done. If you call her one more time, that other woman who lives inside her will come out. She didn't give birth to you, and she might put you out by the curb, free to a good home. At my age, she comes out more quickly than she did back then. She looks more wrinkly these days too.

Today, we started it all over again, and it was all of 6:45 a.m. before they got up. Apparently, they'd opted to sleep in. Breakfast, cartoons, snack, watching Cinderella even though Caiden tried to convince me it was a "girl movie" and I told him there were lots of mice and horses in it that were males, so it was okay. After snack I knew they'd had enough television. What to do? It came right back to me. Boxes. Kids love boxes more than what comes in them. I headed for the basement, retrieved three copy paper boxes, got out the box-cutter knife and we went to town. A bit later, they had three fine houses, with doors and windows that opened, and all of the little Fisher Price people had been dug from the recesses of the toy chest. Crayons and markers to decorate, they played for well over an hour, completely content.

Here's what the house looks like - apparently it slid back into the groove of parenting also. Gray's down for nap, Caiden is content with his Uncle D's old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle book, complete with sound effects, and I've cleaned it up, and mopped up all the crushed crayons, smushed playdough, etc.

Chris, Sarah and Addison should pull in any ole time, with tales of their adventure to the Big Apple. I've heard some snippets of what sounds like a magical, albeit fast, tour. I'm fully convinced we had just as good a time here. After two full days of grammy-hood, I expect I'll sleep well, but it was a great blast from the past. For a moment, when I looked in on these two little ones last night, and their faces had that soft, relaxed look of completely carefree sleep - I knew it was better than the closing act of any play ever done on Broadway.

I don't ride my now rusty bicycle without hands, like I did 20 or so years ago, but I can still pedal it down the trail for a good 10 miles or so. Apparently I can also raise a kid or two for a few days. Some things you just don't forget - the notes I took, way back when, they must have been etched on my heart.


  posted at 3:32 PM

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