Thursday, May 22, 2014

She's learning. And it's amazing.

The smartest grandchild in the world

The grandchild came over to spend some time on Sunday and again last night.  I get her approximately once a week for about a half day, and watching her grow is the most amazing thing I've ever seen. 

I think back to when I was a young woman and my children were small and I wish I could have all that time back.  I see Alyssa, my 13 month old granddaughter, doing these grownup things and I think, "when did my kids do that?"  And I DON'T REMEMBER.  It makes me sad.  I'm sure it was amazing at the time, and I bet I called my mom or my sister and told them what Child A B or C did, but I just don't remember anymore.  And those of you thinking, "look it up in their baby book"?  Well, I only did a few pages of each child's baby book, but lost all of them in the flood of 1996, when we were living in the Joliet area and the water in the basement crept up to almost the third stair from the upstairs.

Good times.  Lost in that flood were pictures, favorite toys, favorite blankets, ultrasound pictures, and all of my faith in storm drains.

While at my house, Alyssa left the living room to wander down the hallway toward the bedrooms.  Most of the doors are closed off to her because she certainly doesn't need to be in the bathroom (she throws everything she can find into the tub, and would play in the toity I'm sure if she got the chance) and there's nothing in the other bedrooms or closets she would be allowed to play with.  (besides our my husband's Sing-a-ma-jig, but she spilled coffee on it and Joe took it back.) 
Alyssa, Grandpa is keeping this all for himself.  Sorry.

I called for her and could hear her voice in "her" room, where we have her books, toys, and a rocking chair.  I came around the corner and she came running at me with her favorite Usborne book, smiling with anticipation, then ran back to the rocking chair and patted it with her tiny fingers, her book in the other hand.

She wanted me to sit down so I could read her a book.  She communicated with me.  Grandma, I would like you to read to me.

Ermehgerd. Alyssa has realized where we go to rock and read books.  She knows that Grandma loves to read to her.

My mother pointed out that Alyssa first communicated the second she opened her mouth and cried for the first time.  That is true, but this time she had purpose.

At what point do they eat people food? 

I did daycare for 11 years and took care of a lot of children.  (ah, those were the days.)  I can remember moms coming in while their children were in the high chairs and hearing them say happily, "hey, I didn't know they could eat that yet!" to cereal bars, or cut up bananas, or yogurt.  Last night Alyssa was at the house for dinner and I smashed up the corn, chicken, and potatoes from a can of Progresso Chicken Corn Chowder.  Smashed fine enough, it made the perfect dinner, with an accompaniment of a graham cracker and applesauce and a fine house juice.

When my oldest was 1, I had some friends over for dinner, and they noticed me feeding my son in a high chair.  I distinctly remember my friend's husband asking, "when do they start eating people food?"  It's been 25 years but I still remember that like it was yesterday because it was so funny to me. 

Grandma, I can reach up high now.  Watch out.

A lesson I learned last night, because I must learn everything the hard way, is that Alyssa is not only walking around (and has for three months now) but she can reach.  She stands up on her tippy toes in her pink sandals and her adorable painted toes, and reaches up onto the counter and table for everything she can get.  She also likes to open my drawers in the kitchen to get out items specifically not meant for children of her or any age...baggies and steak knives among them.  Looks like I have to do some baby proofing, I believe.  (she said, as she writes down outlet covers on her grocery list)

I'm not as young as I used to be.

After having her for only three hours last night, I was exhausted.  I harken back to the long, ten hour daycare days and now I realize why I was so tired at night.  I was licensed for 8 children, most 6 and under, and all day I ran after them, swept and mopped the floor a kajillion times, pushed on swings, played in the sandbox, cleaned off counters, faces and hineys all day long.  (not at the same time, thankfully.)  It was a lot of work. 

This is just one child and I was as tired as if I had taken care of 6.  It's why I work in an office now, and don't run a daycare. 

At my age, I have to save my energy for just the one child.  Because she sure is saving it up for me.

shall I talk on the phone, or bang my drum?  Or BOTH???  Let's do both.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Black Balloon Publishing. No coincidence.

To town

A few weeks ago, my daughter Annie and I went into Plainfield/Channahon for a visit.  We talked about everything and nothing, and as we drove into Plainfield and saw the “Welcome to Plainfield:  Mike Collins, Mayor” sign.  We joked about how surreal it was to see my dad’s name on the sign.

First to my mother’s house, where we admired her garden and visited with her and dad John and relaxed.  Then it was on to my brother’s new house in Channahon to visit with his kids and fur babies and my sister and her nieces.  It was unrushed.  We don’t often get to have visits like that one so we treasured every second.

Back to mom’s, where we had an amazing dinner of shishkabobs, all while having a watchful eye on the weather because it was going to pour later.
It was still light out when we departed for the 90 minute drive back to Rockford.  We headed back down route 126 heading to 47.

There are no coincidences.

As we’re driving, Annie looks out the window to her right and there is a solitary black helium balloon with a string floating across the field that will eventually cross 126.  If balloons could have intentions, I would say this one was determined to be seen.  As we passed it, we looked at each other, shocked. 

How random, Annie says.  What the eff was that all about?  What kind of sign was that supposed to be? 

Relax, I tell her.  It’s not a sign at all, just a balloon that escaped from someone’s Over the Hill party and happened to be blowing across the field right while we were driving.

But I can’t stop thinking about it on the way home.

Once there, I feed the husband and pet the dog; or was that feed the dog and pet the husband?  Either way, once I open my laptop, that black balloon is at the forefront of my brain and I immediately look up the term on Google.  It tells me there’s a song called Black Balloon, by the Goo Goo dolls. 

No, never heard of that song and I don’t like the Goo Goo dolls.  Next.

If I were dreaming, a black balloon would mean I’m depressed.  That’s not it either.

But then…guess what I came across.

Black Balloon Publishing. I click on it and the first thing I see is their motto:  “We Champion the Weird, the Unwieldy, and the Unclassifiable”.  In other words, stuff that I would write.

I don’t believe in coincidence, but I do believe in jumping to conclusions, and in this situation, I jumped higher than I ever have.

Immediately I “liked” their Facebook page and then went over to Twitter, where I began following them.  Unable to resist telling them how I found them, I sent a message.  What follows is pure magic.

And to rachet up the squee factor a little bit more, when you click on the YouTube video they sent me, it’s Mariah Carey’s song “We Belong Together.”

Like I said, there are no such things as coincidences.