Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wednesday: first day at grandma's

[Please take note: my next four days will be full of Snowdrop and Ocean posts will surely reflect this. Apologies to those who are not enchanted with an overabundance of grandmotherly notations. Second point: if I write words here that I impute to Snowdrop, do remember that it's just a guess. No, I cannot read her thoughts!]

Well, it was not to be a fitful sleep. Hoping to wake up this morning fresh and full of vim and vigor, I woke up instead in the way you do after an overseas flight -- feeling grateful for what little sleep you got, wishing it had been more.

I blame the cheepers.

Ed had zonked out before putting the brood away (who can blame him -- they aren't ready to turn in until it's pitch black out there and each day, that moment comes later and later) and I spent a good many hours nudging him to get out and lock the coop (I'm incapable of putting Oreo away -- you have to pick the rooster up. I wont do it -- it's hard to carry a water gun and reach for him, even if Ed swears he is in a dozy state then, oblivious to the world).

I settled in to get much needed sleep once Ed left, but out of the blue, the fire alarm started its beeping noises -- the irregular kind you get when the battery is about to die. Climbing up on a high stool in the stairwell to disconnect the darn thing took the last strands of sleepiness out of me. This, then, was my night.

We are up early. We're always up early. We're incapable of really sleeping in. But this time, I am up and hurrying. My goal is to get the chili started -- chop the onions, garlic, sausages, tomatoes -- those time consuming tasks that I think would be better completed before Snowdrop's arrival. And so at a cool and gray early hour, the house is filled with the aroma of onions.

Finally, breakfast. I tell Ed this will be the last time for a while that I am willing to fuss with his morning meal and so he chooses pancakes. Good. We need some relaxed moments in the sun room, even if there is really no sun today.


Time for one photo of a blooming perennial: we're entering the period of irises -- a flower I once snubbed but now adore. With age, I've grown to like delicate flower heads and pastel tones. And of course, I'm thrilled that they start blooming so early in the season! (Most of the ones I put in are repeat bloomers, coming back with a few buds in the fall. It's a heavenly show of subtle color.)


And finally at about 10:30, Snowdrop arrives, still woozy from her night of sleep. I'm to wake her, bathe her, feed her, dress her. Yes! I've done it before. I curse Amazon Prime for messing with my delivery of the cool baby tub, forcing me to make do with the bathroom sink a few more times. Ed hears my cooing and comes up with the camera (where the pics are taken -- if not edited -- by him these next few days, I'll include proper credits.)

(by Ed)

Bathed, dressed, fed. Ready to go!

(by Ed)

But go where? It's so cool and uninviting outdoors! I had made a mental list of places to take Snowdrop and here I am ignoring the whole thing, opting instead to stay indoors. And she's happy to engage her toys (and me)!

...while the sloth watches

After a solid late morning of play, I put her in her crib, where she will chat to the musical mobile (and here comes the funny red elephant! and the yellow zebra! coo, coo!)...


...until her vocalization sounds more like a child winding down, getting ready to drift off into sleep.

While she naps, I finish off the chili and now the house smells of simmering onion, garlic and tomato. Not unpleasant for a cold May day.

A commenter noted that the last time I minded babies round the clock, I was also attending law school. Yes, I smile at the recollection of those days. Law school, dinners to shop for and prepare and, too, my babes never slept through the night until (it seemed to me) they were in high school! And what do I have now, in these four special days? All my time given over exclusively and unilaterally to Snowdrop. Oh, there'll be chili to reheat and a salad to toss -- small things that I can do blindfolded.

And Ocean: there is the post writing that I must fit in.  But writing here is so ingrained into the fabric of my day, that I no longer worry about it.

I am set.

In the afternoon we begin to cycle through the same activities as in the morning. Eating, playing, some dancing thrown in too. And the weather remains cool, cloudy, with a threat of rain. I'm  thinking -- is the weather really going to stand in the way of my adventuring with Snowdrop?

Snowdrop, let's go!

I consider my options: winter babies are often walked at the mall. Am I ready to stoop that low? Take Snowdrop to the largest of our malls?

I am not. I take her, instead to Trader Joe's.

This isn't her first trip to a grocery store -- she has been to one with her parents -- but it is the first time with me and at Trader Joe's and she is both alert and fascinated by it. I don't need anything really -- well, maybe some bananas and a bar of their truffle chocolate. (The piggie is her own.)


I remind Snowdrop that I once dropped a mushy banana on her head, but she doesn't remember. Instead, she chooses to make friends with one of the clerks here.


Liking our stop at Trader Joe's, I push on to explore other stores along the same block. "Wild Child" is an obvious choice. It's a funky children's clothing store -- it opened just as my girls were born and I loved it then because it seemed to be the only place within spittin' distance that actually sold all cotton clothing. Oh, they leaned toward tie dye styles, but nonetheless, they were a spectacular alternative to stuff you'd find on the mall racks -- shirts and dresses sporting messages like "mommy's little princess." I mean, you could argue that my girls were my princesses, but I preferred to be a bit more modest about it.

One of the owner's was working the register at Wild Child and I told her I was an ancient customer. And then Snowdrop and I looked around. Of course, it being grandma's day with the little girl, there would be a purchase. Or two.

which one, grandma?

which one??

And I grasp how very special it is to do this without great regard to one's future, or more importantly, to her future (in the past, every unnecessary purchase had to be weighed against depleting the college fund). Oh, you could argue that I could -- I should -- still worry about college funds, to say nothing of ancient people care for myself, but grandmas are freer to choose indulgence over reason. I know my own grandma did that with me, sending me ten dollars "for a treat" every time she painstakingly scrawled a letter to me. For an ice cream, she'd write sometimes, even though as an adult, I could probably afford that ice cream cone more than she could afford to send me the $10 for it.

As Snowdrop issues her millionth smile, the Wild Child owner has to comment -- how is it that she is so happy?! 


Well yes, she is that. It's true that she sometimes will sport a pouty, teary face, but you'll rarely see here. I'd like to think she prefers it this way - a record of her truest moments which are full of the grins she so generously and trustingly bestows to those who take the time to smile at her.

The evening comes quickly. I reheat the chili, Ed goes off to bike his Wednesday evening bike ride. Snowdrop, who never sees the TV screen at home, is mesmerized by Modern Family. Just the two of us. Snowdrop and me. I take out some grandma books...

Grandma, do you have a babushka kerchief? I do, Snowdrop, I do.

She squirms. Motion, she wants to lose herself in motion. I rock her a little to take her mind off the fact that she is not at home. I watch her. Her face relaxes. Bedtime. For both of us.