Pulling An All-nighter


When my three beloved babies grew up and moved out, I was devastated. Bereft. Heartbroken.

I told myself that I would spend the rest of my life missing every beautiful moment of motherhood. “Oh, woe is me!” I cried to the universe and my every patient husband, “How I will miss those little moments of mother love!”  I just knew, with every fiber of my overly emotional soul that I would miss EVERY SINGLE THING about spending time with little ones!

I was, of course, completely delusional.

In my grief over missing the hugs, kisses, and bedtime stories, I forgot about the fevers, tantrums and midnight pukies.

But guess what?

Now I remember!

Yesterday my grandkids were here, as they are every weekday while their parents work. Two year old Ellie wasn’t looking so good in the morning, as pale as milk and droopy eyed. She wanted extra hugs and snuggles, though, so I didn’t make too much of it. Her baby brother, the red cheeked, ever grinning Johnny, was as robust as ever.

Then their Mom texted to say she was heading home from work. She was sick herself, so could I keep the kids until the end of the work day? Of course I could! I was happy to watch my beautiful little ones so Momma could get over her norovirus. In fact, I had an inspiration!

“Why don’t we keep Ellie here for the night?” asked the generous and kind Nonni. I pictured us snuggled up under the covers, her arm around my neck. I pictured her eating breakfast and chatting with me and Papa. Visions of happiness danced in my head.

Mom and Dad agreed to my plan, with gratitude, and I cheerfully made dinner for Ellie, Papa and I. We ate, we baked butterscotch cookies. We watched a movie, got our pj’s on, and snuggled into bed.

Perfect. Just absolutely perfect. Right down to the goodnight kisses and that little arm around my neck.

Then reality pokes its grimy, nasty head into the room.

The little body next to me turned as hot as a stove. The arm around my neck became a vise. The “I love you, Nonnis” turned into “I want you to walk away RIGHT NOW!”

The next 9 hours consisted of taking her temperature (“OWWWWW!!!! YOU’RE HURTING ME!!!”), giving her Tylenol, (“I want MORE tasty medicine!!!!!”), and trying to decode the meaning of the sob coated screams (“PICK! UP! MY! BLGHRUMNAH!”)

Every once in a while, we’d both fall asleep, and then the neck choking and fever rantings would start again. Ellie would whimper, “I need water…” and I’d fumble around on the bedside table, invariably knocking over the water bottle. Plop myself out of bed, find the water, hand it to her, try to stay upright while she drank, put the water back.

Repeat.

Sometimes it would seem as if we’d been asleep for a while. When Ellie’s whimpers would start again, I’d think to myself, “It’s OK. We’ve probably been asleep for a few hours.” I’d fumble around for the phone and my glasses, and check the time.

“Gah!!! It’s only been 13 minutes!!”

That must have happened at least ten times. There was the time when I had to turn on a light to locate the missing Elmo (hiding from all the noise under the quilt). And the moment when she kicked me in the chin while trying to figure out why she was all turned around.

We made it until morning, when I was awakened by a warm cheek on mine. “Wake up time now, Nonni.”

It was a long and grueling night, that’s for damn sure. But I learned a few things during those uncomfortable hours.

I learned that there are definitely aspects of motherhood that I do not miss.

I learned that the old adage about grandparenting is true; one of the best parts is that you get to send them home.

I learned that taking care of little ones is a young woman’s game.

Now I’m sitting here in my flannel pants with a plate of butterscotch cookies, enjoying the silence and wondering how many naps is too many for one day.

 

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Jeez, what a jerk


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Do you ever have those days when you know, with absolute certainty, that you are a big fat jerk?

I do.

More often than I like, actually.

I mean, I try to be a good person. I try to be kind, to be generous, to be welcoming. I do. I try.

But sometimes in the middle of a visit or a social event, I step back just long enough (like 2 seconds) to listen to myself, and I have to think, “Oh, my God. What a JERK.”

Sometimes it’s because I’m not listening well enough. Sometimes I catch myself doing that awful, selfish thing. I sorta, kinda listen to the other person just because I’m dying for the other person to pause so I can respond.

Awful.

And then there is the whole “I know everything” syndrome from which I have suffered for years. I HATE people who answer every comment with how much more they know about everything than I do.

No kidding. I can’t STAND that. I mean, maybe I mention something about making homemade ravioli and the other person immediately jumps into a long lecture about the proper ratio of semolina to whole wheat flour. It does not matter if that person lived in Tuscany for a year studying under a master chef. It still just plain pisses. me. off.

So why do I do the same thing to my own friends and family?

I don’t know.

The other day I had a rare and very treasured visit from two family members. Two wonderful women who I’ve loved for 40 years. Women who are kind, smart, funny, loving, and (thankfully) forgiving. We started to talk about the medical issues that face us in middle age. You know, aches, pains, insomnia….I should have listened. I should have asked how they were feeling. I should have commiserated and made supportive sounds.

Instead I launched into a stupid lecture about medical treatments, benzodiazepine dependence and the benefits of cannabis butter.

Seriously?

Even as the words were flowing like a backed up sink right out of my big mouth, I was thinking, “Shut up, shut up, shut up!!!!”

Sigh.

I guess its a good thing to recognize my weaknesses and personal foibles. That way I can a) keep myself awake for three nights in a row telling myself that I’m a horrible person and am totally undeserving of friends and b) work toward being a better listener, friend, relative.

It also helps to put these thoughts into a little blog that is rarely read. That way I’ve thrown it out there, given it to the universe and possibly garnered a few supportive comments.

BUT: tell me the truth! Don’t you just HATE those know it all types?

 

Caviar on a POTATO CHIP?!


No.

Nope. Nuh, uh.

I am NOT going there.

What the hell is wrong with foodies these days?

I used to be a devotee of all those wonderful food magazines. Some of my very favorite recipes (“John’s Apple Cake”…mmmm) came from Gourmet or Bon Apetit. Back in the 80s, both magazines used to be full of useful cooking tips and interesting recipes.

Recipes that you’d actually want to eat.

No longer.

I subscribed to one of these food magazines a few months ago and I am completely bewildered. I suspect that the editorial board is now filled with geeky High School kids in skinny jeans. The kind of kids who spent 45 minutes arranging each piece of hair to look perfectly messy in the hippest possible way.

I’ve gotten used to monthly photo shoots of some allegedly famous chef whipping up a little something for 5 gorgeous friends in a “rustic” beach house. Everyone is smiling while sipping cocktails made of bamboo shoots, tequila and some kind of Peruvian berry. The chef poses with one hand on his bony hip while stirring the “quick sauce” he’s making out of duck blood and mango peel.

Or something.

I can usually flip through the pages, gag a little and move on.

Not. This. Time.

I just opened my new copy of Bon Apetit and what should meet my jaded old eyeballs but this:

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This horror is supposed to be the latest thing. It is expensive caviar on a potato chip.

Quelle horreur!

This is NOT cooking, folks. This is not good food. This is just plain yucko.

So I’m skipping the rest of this issue. I’m going back to cookbooks I can trust. The ones with easy to follow recipes using real food, preferably cooked by chubby women who know their way around a nice butter filled pie crust.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!! May your crusts be flaky but your relatives not so.

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My old standbys.

Feeling Very Raw


Raw. Raw is in.

My human vegan friends often talk about the benefits of the raw diet. Raw veggies, raw fruits, nuts and seeds. Supposed to make you so healthy you might live to meet your great great grandchildren.

It sounds great, even though I haven’t personally adopted that particular diet. (Because cake. And bread. You have to cook them.)  At this point in my life, I am not at all sure that I want to live that long anyway. Who wants to turn into the scary old lady that the kids are forced to visit on holidays that are supposed to be about the candy and presents?

Not me.

I also have no desire to outlive many more dogs.

If you’ve been around here before, you probably know that we have had to say goodbye to two canine companions in the past year. Not in a hurry to do that again.

But back to the raw diet.

Even if this grandmother isn’t willing to go that route for the humans in the house, I’m willing to try it with the puppy.

This would be our Lennie, named for my Uncle Lennie Merullo, who was the last surviving Chicago Cub to have won a World Series. Uncle Lennie died the season before the Cubbies finally broke their curse (we believe he was pulling strings in Heaven, but I digress.)

Our Lennie, our sweet, slightly hyperactive, never-met-a-lab-in-my-life Lab rescue has been giving us some trouble around eating.

He hates dog food.

We’ve tried a whole range of dry dog food, from the good stuff to the better stuff to the how-can-anyone-afford-this stuff. Lennie would ignore a bowl of this stuff for up to two days, at which time he would look at me with those big bulgy brown terrier eyes and carefully pick up one little chunk. He’d chew it for a full minute, force it down, sigh, shake his head and take a drink of water.

This did not seem like normal doggie behavior to me.

Then I saw Facebook post from my friend, Karen, who is a professional dog trainer. It was all about the virtues of a raw diet for dogs.

Raw beef, raw chicken, raw pork. Give ’em the livers and hearts and brains and pancreas. Give ’em the bones. Let them be the wild canine carnivores that nature intended them to be!

It made SO. MUCH. SENSE.

I was so excited.

I pulled out a package of chicken livers and plopped the whole bloody mess into Lennie’s bowl. “Hey, boy!” I called. “Come get your actual, real, I’m a hunter, my great great grampa was a wolf dinner!”

He trotted into the kitchen, wearing his bright yellow collar. He sniffed the bowl. He sat down so hard his license and rabies tags jangled. He looked at me, and (I swear this is true) his mouth was open.

“What the absolute F*&*# is this?” his face asked. He was aghast.

He left the room.

I threw away the bloody mess.

But I would NOT give up. We moved on to ground beef.

He sniffed, tasted, backed up. Slowly approached, and then he ate it! VICTORY!

I was so excited to know that I was about to have a healthy, shiny coated, no allergies, clean toothed canine who loved me to pieces but who was still only a step away from his wild roots.

I did what any good Momma would do. I researched all over the internet, watched 163 YouTube Videos and learned all about what I needed to do. For example, I learned that my doggie needs BONES!

Just like in all those old cartoons. Doggies need to eat bones. That’s how they get calcium and how they keep their digestive systems healthy.

So. I bought some chicken legs.

Woohooo!!!!

Tonight, we gave Lennie a nice raw chicken bone. Now, we were both scared of him choking, but we have been assured by all 500 blogs, articles, reports and videos that raw bones are fine.

So, we gave our boy his chicken leg. He was thrilled! He ran down into the backyard (warning, do NOT feed the meaty bones in the house unless you want to sit on meaty schmeers on your sofa). He ran in circles. He barked at the bone. He flipped it in the air. He yipped at it in what I can only imagine was his best wolf imitation.

Then he buried it under a bush.

So. I tried again. I am Momma. I will not be denied in my efforts to feed! (Just ask my kids).

This time I put Lennie on our deck, where he couldn’t get to the yard. I gave him a new chicken leg. Repeat the above performance, minus the burying part.

This dog had NO idea of what to do with a chicken leg.

I began to wonder if he was actually descended from a stuffed animal. But I persevered.

I went onto the deck myself, with a pair of kitchen scissors. (Do. Not. Laugh.) I cut meat off the bone. Lennie gobbled it right up off my fingers.

I handed him the now mostly meatless bone. He dropped it.

I handed it back.

We looked at each other.

“Listen, kid” I said. “This is a bone. You are a dog. You are supposed to eat the bone.”

I was pretty let down, I have to be honest. I left Lennie with the chicken bone and went inside. I poured a glass of wine and took a sip. I glanced out the window to check on him.

He was chomping away on what was left of the bone, held between his suddenly wolf like paws. As I watched in amazement, he gulped down the last bit, lifted his head, and I swear to you, he grinned at me.

Raw diet all the way, now Lennie! You wild thing.

 

The Theories of Pleasure


I was only a small child when I realized that there were two kinds of people in the world. Those who chose to carefully and slowly dole out life’s little pleasures, and those who simply devoured the good things when they showed up.

It was, of course, the twin candy orgies of Halloween and Easter that showed me this key life lesson.

On both holidays, kids like me were amazed to find ourselves suddenly surrounded by piles of candy. As children who lived with a health conscious, thrift conscious Italian mother, candy was a rare treat for us.

I learned pretty quickly that I was one of those undisciplined hedonists who tried to eat as much candy as possible in as short a time as possible. I remember counting every piece, lining them all up in order of deliciousness and then attacking the pile like a girl on a mission.

My little sister, Liz, was the opposite. Liz was the calm, self-disciplined one out of the two of us. She would carefully go over every piece, arranging them in her own order. Then she’d eat them one at a time. Slowly. Slowly.

So slowly that I have a vivid memory of her crying once because her Halloween candy (in January, maybe??) had turned all white and we thought it was ruined.

I haven’t really thought about this dichotomy for a long time. Now that I’m an adult, with good reasons to pay attention to my health, I eat my treats carefully. I am now able to exist in a house with a candy dish, filled with M&M’s or other goodies. I eat a couple a day, usually with my granddaughter Ellie and only after we have achieved something wonderful. (Like pooping in the potty).

But I’ve started to think about it again.

Not because of food pleasures this time, though. No, I think I’ve got that one covered.

Now I think of whether or not I want to indulge and get all the fun out of the way when I contemplate Netflix.

I mean. Wow. Sometimes you get a rainy weekend day when your back hurts and you think, “I should just settle in with some good TV.”  Right? So the question becomes vitally important.

Do I binge watch “Stranger Things, Season 2” or do I slowly dole out each episode, so I can think about them between viewings. Should I wait for my husband, and watch together? Should the two of us grab a pizza and a bottle of wine and watch them all?

If we do, how will we go on? We’d have to wait another YEAR to find out what the hell is in the upside down! But….

Do I have the internal fortitude to let the cliffhanger hang for a week? Or two days?

Well, do I?

In our house, this is still an evolving issue. We have so far come to a middle ground of alternating shows in the evening. We go from “Bloodline” to “Madame Secretary” to “Grace and Frankie” to “Stranger Things.”

Paul is the slow and steady spreader out of the joy.

I am, naturally, the one who wants to pull the curtains and watch the rest of any of one of those series with a bowl of popcorn and a chocolate bar.

How do you approach the amazing wonder of a complete season of drama at your fingertips? And does it match the way you ate candy?

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Grace, and Frankie, and Women Friends


I’ve been watching the Netflix show “Grace and Frankie” for the past few weeks. It was recommended by a bunch of my women friends.

I love it.

You know why? Not because of the great writing, the wonderful acting, the humor or the gorgeous beach front location.

Nope.

I love it because it captures the evolving relationship of two women who have been in each other’s lives for years without truly connecting. It shows the tender dance of two women who are thrown together through an unimagined tragedy/comedy. It looks at the special bond between women who have always focused on their differences, but who suddenly find a need to see their similarities.

I love it.

I love it because many years ago, when I was young and the world was full of promise, I was lucky enough to be surrounded by loving women friends. Oh, sure, we weren’t actually “women” yet. We were adolescent girls, complete with acne, insecurity and remarkably uncontrollable hair.

But we found each other. We supported each other. In spite of the occasional boyfriend spat, we held each other up and helped each other to grow.

Those women overlooked my self-absorbed rantings. They pretended that they didn’t see my social struggles or my complete lack of fashion sense. They were my team.

The years went by, we went our separate ways. We married, or we didn’t. We went to college, or we didn’t. We were financially successful, or we weren’t. There were babies, divorces, illnesses, deaths, losses.

For a few decades, we barely knew each other.

But. Here we are now. Together once again.

After years apart, different paths, different stories, different experiences, we find ourselves connected once again.

And much like Grace and Frankie, we are finding our commonalities. We are rediscovering our shared experiences and our shared triumphs. We are able to look past the old comparisons and find the best in each other.

After many decades of defining myself only in terms of my ability to nurture, to mother, to teach, I am in absolutely desperate need of these women who knew me when I was just the goody-goody girl with the big Italian family and the mediocre alto voice. I need the shared jokes, the stories from our past. I need the love and support of women who can look at me and see the me that hides inside the Mom/Nonni/wife/daughter. I need the women who see the girl inside.

And I’ve found them.

That’s why I love “Grace and Frankie.” Because it gets to the core of female friendship.

Thank you, women of RMHS!

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Pretty sure I’d be Frankie.

Oh, Stop Pretending!


I really want my daughter and her husband to trust me with their kids.

I mean, right now, I’m all they have in the way of day care, and I know they aren’t looking to make a change, but still. I want them to look at each other every night and think, “Gosh, that Nonni is just the best thing ever! Wow! What a woman!”

I know. Gross, right?

This is the same internal dialogue that has me cooking a fresh, home cooked meal with all of the major food groups every single night. Every. Night. For 39 plus years.

I know. I am still desperately trying to be a “good girl.” I still want approval every day.

Anyway, I want my daughter to be in awe of my fabulous maternal skills.

And mostly, she is. She’s quick to praise me and to thank me, and I know they really do appreciate having me there to care for their babies every day.

Today, though? Oh, today.

Let’s just set the stage by saying that last night was Halloween. And Paul and I went out to Trick or Treat with the kids and their parents and a bunch of friends. I was dressed like a witch. I walked up and down the street, often carrying Ellie in my arms. I was freezing. I got home with a cramp in the back of my neck and an ache in both calves.

Today I was tired, achy, a little bleary eyed. I was on duty for two over-tired kids. One wanted candy, more candy and maybe “a little tiny bit more”. At the tender age of two, our Ellie has become a better negotiator than D. Trump ever was even in his best delusional dreams.

She has learned how to pull on my heart strings. For example, when her baby brother cries and needs to be held, she has learned to wail “I need you, Nonni! I need special Nonni time! NOW!” She gazes up with her dark, dark eyes and lets her lower lip tremble, just a bit.

You’d have to be made of granite not fall for it.

And she knows that if I do anything she doesn’t like (like brush her long, curly hair) she sobs as if her heart is breaking, “Oh!!! I want my Mommy! Mommy, I miss you!!!”

I wasn’t born yesterday, and this ain’t my first rodeo, but Holy Crap, that’s hard to take.

And then there is our beloved little man, Johnny Jump Up. Aka: Johnny NoTeeth, Johnny Knuckles, Johnny Tank.  The boy is five months old and wearing 12 month clothes. He’s all smiles, until he isn’t.

Today was one of those days. He was either sound asleep or screaming and arching his back. He didn’t want to be held or rocked or sitting up or lying down or on his belly or drinking a bottle or in his bouncy seat or in his swing.

Every time Ellie stopped asking for “Nonni time!”, Johnny was screaming.

By noon, I was soaked in sweat. My heart was skipping beats. All I wanted from life was five minute alone. I put Ellie in front of a movie and Johnny in his swing. I put the puppy on the deck.

Then I went into the bathroom and locked the door. I turned on the fan and the water. And I sat with my head in my hands.

But that hurt my neck, so I went back out there and tried to face it all with a smile.

Kate gets her to pick up the kids between 4 and 4:30. By 3:30, both of them were awake and both were cranky. The dog kept charging at the living room window trying to attack the squirrels on the lawn.

Nonni was getting desperate.

I finally settled Ellie down to finger paint, and tried to jostle Johnny in my arms. At one point I found myself with John on my left hip, trying to vacuum up the popcorn (from Ellie) the torn paper (from the pup) and the leaves that had blown in. Ellie was demanding that I clean up her finger paints and wash her hands.

My blood pressure was rising. Johnny was whining. Lennie the puppy was demanding to go back out so he could start tearing apart the screen and demanding to be let back in.

I faced a moment of decision.

I could just let everyone moan and wail and cry and wait till Kate got home.

But then she’d know that I was on my last nerve. She’d know that I was asking myself what the HELL I’d been thinking when I signed up for this gig.

Instead of waiting it out, I put Miss Ellie into a nice bubble bath and settled John into his bouncy seat in the bathroom doorway, with his favorite toy at hand. I joked and smiled and waited.

And waited.

No Kate yet.

Ellie looked up at me with her big dark eyes. “Oh,” she said. “I feel a poopie.”

ANNNNND.

Empty the tub, put away the toys, wrap Ellie in a towel. Quick! Plop her on the sofa, grab Johnny and put him in his swing. Ignore his immediate sobs of rage.

Dress Ellie, while repeatedly asking, “Do you need to poop? Do you want to go on the potty?” Get her dressed in record time, throw the towels into the bathroom, grab the screaming baby.

Look out the window.

See the sweet sight of Mommy’s car coming into the driveway.

Think. I should greet her with a smile, show her the finger paints and the nice clean toddler. Smile about the baby.

That’s what I thought.

Here’s what I did.

I met her at the top of the stairs, handed her the screaming baby, told her that the toddler needed to have her hair brushed. Then I growled out the one word that was really on my mind.

“Wine?”

So.

I felt a little bad about the fact that I was not up to my Nonni best. I hated the fact that I had added to Kate’s stress by telling her that I was ready to jump off the nearest bridge.

Know what she said when I apologized?

“Ma, it makes me feel better to see that I’m not the only one who is driven crazy by the two of them!”

I need to stop trying to always be the good girl. I need to admit that sometimes lunch is a bowl of goldfish, that a movie is sometimes all I can manage and that locking myself in the bathroom is probably keeping all of us safe.

OK. Going to bed. Tomorrow is another day.

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The Gentle Aromas of Childhood


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I was a lucky, lucky Mommy. All three of my children were born healthy. All of them thrived on the breast milk that I was lucky enough to produce for them. They grew, they matured, they got stronger every day.

I was SO. LUCKY!

I mean…yeah, I was lucky that they were healthy. I was very lucky that they were able to thrive on breast milk. I was lucky that they were able to latch, and that I was able to provide what they needed.

I have always known how wonderful and blessed those early days were.

But now I have an entirely different perspective.

Now I understand that I was one of God’s chosen people because none of my children….not a single one of the three….was a puker.

Of course, they would occasionally burp and give up a tiny little blop of milky goop. But it was so insignificant that we were all able to politely ignore it and just move on.

I never had one of those babies who gurbled out 3 ounces of cheesy milky slime for every 5 ounces consumed.

I mean, I knew about those kids, of course. I remember when my first nephew was born. My sister-in-law described having to turn over her rocking chair once a week to chip away at the dried crud. I have always known that super pukers exist.

It’s just that I have never before had to deal with one!

When Ellie was a baby, she was a delicate, gentle, once in a while regurgitator. The kind of baby that needed a tiny little hanky to handle her rare blurps.

But now we have Johnny.

How do I describe my sweet, happy Johnny?

I love him! I adore him! I exalt at his very existence!

And yet…..

Johnny is a BIG BOY. He weighs almost 18 pounds at four months. He eats. A lot. Some days the little guy sucks down 14 ounces of breast milk, pumped by his goddess of a mother.

Then he joyfully squeezes his eyes shut and poops out 6 ounces of yellow slime into and out of his diaper, and right up to his armpits.

And that’s OK. I can handle poop.

But after every 4 ounces of nice warm Mommy milk in a perfectly sterile bottle? The little monster  boy immediately pukes up a stream of warm, stringy, mucousy milk. All over whatever clean shirt he is wearing.

Nonni then scoops him up, washes him off, puts on new clothes and settles back into her rocking chair.

Where said adorable boy pukes up a pile of yogurt all over the two of us.

Back to the bathroom, back to the washcloth, back to the bedroom for fresh clothes for both Nonni and boy.

And into the chair we settle, very, very gently. We sigh. We snuggle.

And approximately 10 minutes later, something that smells strangely like feta cheese comes flying out of that sweet little mouth and coats the two of us.

What can I say?

I love my grandson more than I could ever explain.

But I can no longer eat goat cheese. Or feta. Or brie.

I can no longer tolerate the smell of butter or cream. (gag) Or the thought of blue cheese dressing.

Cottage cheese? Fuggetaboutit.

I plan to steam clean my living room furniture and rugs with vinegar this weekend.

I am considering the idea of a cork for next week.

Gosh, I love this little guy!!!!

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Do I smell cheese curds?

 

The Pros and Cons of Being a Childcare Nonni


I am the luckiest woman in the world. Bar none. Honest to goodness, I mean it.

I have been given the huge honor and privilege of taking care of my grandchildren Monday – Friday while their parents are working. It’s been a blast, and I love it. I do!

But you know what?

Now that I am home every day with a smart, sassy, articulate, imaginative two year old and a chubby, happy, drooly 4 month old, I am realizing that there are HUGE pros and cons to this whole thing. Upsides and downsides to being the primary daytime caregiver that I never even thought about when I first told my daughter that I wanted the job.

I mean, if you have ever been a parent, you will know that there are at least a million tiny details that you never anticipated. And they hit you in the face every single day.

From the point of view of a grandmother, these details can make or break your child caring experience.

For example, here are some of the positive daily events that I could never have predicted:

  • The unexpected grins of joy that flood the babies’ faces when they see me. There is nothing on this beautiful, green earth that matches the feeling you get when your grandchild’s face lights up at the sight of you.
  • That moment when your grandchild asks for you to provide the only possible comfort. “Hold me!” “Snuggle me!” “I need you…”  Sigh…… A person could live off this feeling without ever resorting to actual food for sustenance.
  • Potty training is hilarious. Today Ellie and I had this exchange as I tried to put her into bed for her nap. “Hey, Nonni! I feel a poop in my belly. It feels like a big one! Let’s go, hurry!”  Off to the bathroom we went, and she sat herself on the pink princess potty, where she narrated the events. “Oh, I feel it! It feels like a big one! Here it comes!” Then she stood up with pride to look over her product. Alas, she was a bit let down. But it was still hysterical. “Oh, you’re just a little guy! I’ll pour you out, into the toilet.” (And she did) “Bye, bye, little guy! I’m sending you home!”  Who ever thought that poop would be so funny?

But of course there are the cons to think about, too.

  • There are moments when your grandchild looks at your much beloved face, then wrinkles his face into a mask of horror and cries like his heart is broken. This may be due to the fact that you can’t actually provide breast milk direct from the source. Or it might be just because he or she really, really, really wants Mommy, and for all your loveliness, you are. Not. Her.
  • Sometimes the exact moment when your best beloved grandchild wants you to snuggle/cuddle/warm me up/hold me happens to be the exact moment when you finally have a chance to heat up that burrito. Or worse yet, when your laxative has finally kicked in. (You are, after all, getting on in years.)
  • There are times when nobody in the entire neighborhood seems interested in a nap except for you. You will, to your great shame, find yourself gently placing the baby in the swing and turning it up to 5 while you whisper a prayer to Winken, Blinken and Nod. You will also find yourself skipping entire pages in the nap book just so you can get the toddler to lie down before the baby wakes up. If you are not careful, you will also find yourself snoring on the couch with a dirty diaper on your chest for the entire 7 minutes while both babies are napping.
  • Toilet training might be funny at times, but it is also disgusting, frustrating and filled with moments of wicked nausea. There WILL be pee on your rug, your couch, your bed, your newly washed laundry and probably your dog. There WILL be poop on the floor, the pants, the edge of the toilet and in many many of your daily conversations. Get used to it.

Child number one will no doubt move past the toilet issues just in time for child two to take them up.

But rejoice! You will still get the hugs, the songs, the angelic smiles and the sweeter-than-any-honey kisses.

And they will erase every muscle ache, every yawn, every poopie rug and every toddler tantrum.

You’ll be exhausted, but you’ll be happy.

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Eventually, they all sleep.

 

 

Love Makes Fools Of Us All


Ah, love.

Is there anyone alive who hasn’t fallen victim to the whims of love?

When we fall in love, we give up our ability to make sane choices for ourselves. We see our beloved through misty eyes. Every fault is airbrushed out, and we only want more. More time with our beloved. More closeness. More intimacy.

When we truly fall in love, we let go of our own egos. We allow ourselves to make decisions that are not in our best interest. “But it will bring me closer to my beloved,” we tell ourselves. “This is going to be great!” All we want, when we are flushed with love, is to be near our beloved. We want to touch, to kiss and hold and nuzzle and dream.

Ah, love.

You lead us all astray. You take away our ability to do what is truly best for ourselves. When you have stormed our hearts, we care nothing for ourselves.

How do I know this, you ask? Ah, I have a confession for you all.

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Who, me? Ruin your sleep?

When we lost our beloved Wolf King last month, Paul and I found ourselves with a big, huge hole in our hearts. To say we miss the old fool would be the understatement of the century. Paul, in particular, was absolutely bereft without his best buddy sleeping on the dog mattress on his side of our bed.

So.

I invited Lennie to come and sleep with us.

See, up until that point, Lennie had been sleeping (all alone) in the living room. That just seemed too sad to me. So I got out some doggie treats and coaxed him into our room, and onto the newly abandoned dog bed.

He wouldn’t stay.

So.

Um.

I coaxed him up onto our bed. With doggie treats. It took some time and some effort, but….I was falling in love with my puppy! I needed him! I wanted him nearby!

The mists of love covered my eyes, and I got the (not so) little guy to stretch out on the bed between us.

He liked it!

And there he has stayed. Every night. Stretching his full length with his head on my hip and his butt on Paul’s shoulder. Or vice versa.

We now attempt to sleep in a queen sized bed where a 50 pound dog has half the mattress and the humans have about a quarter each.

On a good night.

This is not the best situation for aging humans who need our rest. It is not best for our creaky backs or our stiff spines.

But we won’t be changing it any time soon.

Love hurts.

What can I say?

Love makes fools of us all.