Yep, I was the Grandma who said she would never be locked into a day for babysitting.I hate driving to the city, and so I was OUT.
I have always been available for emergency babysitting, and my initial offer was to be the Friday overnight drop off babysitter for any of the kids. They could go out and not worry about early Saturday morning. Steve works hard these days: he rejoices in being stapled to the home front on Friday night: Undercover Boss, Shark Tank, Blue Bloods, Malnati’s and bed. The addition of a few babies would double the fun. No one ever took us up on it: it was a hassle to come to Western Springs then ricochet back downtown.
This year brought Pat and Rachel to the suburbs, and their child care needs pivoted. They were in residence with the Donaldsons for the Autumn, and with me in the winter. (Steve hung out in Florida until April- a genius.) At any rate, it was “all hands on deck” time for childcare. I took Tuesdays, and Rachel’s folks continued with their Fridays. I was a little insecure about this new responsibility: Henry is a bolt of energy and my failed knee replacement makes me wobble when I should be sturdy. Hearing a two year old say “Bye” as he unlocks the front door strikes terror into any Gramma. But a Gram who needs to make a pup tent to get off the floor has a distinct 3 second disadvantage.
I should not have worried. Henry has been patient and gentle with good old Gramma Janet. Things are going swimmingly. Our current rage is Henryville, a play mat for cars, planes, helicopters and emergency equipment. He loves being the Fire Chief.
Henry has trained me well. Yesterday he and I had a solo morning while Rachel went to the doctor. His goal for the day was elemental: he wanted jello, a forbidden food that caught his eye the week before as we passed the take out section of Marianos. Of course I bought it. And he polished off the tub. Those jiggly red cubes represented an exotic unknown entity in his organic life. To compound the adorableness of his request, he pronounces jello with the Spanish “l’s” and the j becomes a y. Sure, it’s fake food. Mabel the wise dog would not accept his proffer of a cube last week, though Milly was grateful to share. This week, he wanted to expand from fake cherry to fake orange. Done. Popcorn for Grampa Steve, and off we went.
Part Two of our day expanded to Baby Violet. I was babysitter in chief for the afternoon. It’s been a long time since I juggled an infant and toddler. I am happy to report that all survived. Steve was a little jealous (or worried) and so he popped in to visit. A girlfriend also came by to check out the new baby. Naps were taken, a bottle given, the baby was comforted to wait for Mama to feed her, and Henry and I made believe we were firefighters. We saved babies and kittens. He then morphed into an UPS man, and delivered books to me to read. We are emphasizing sharing with Clark the Shark and Llama Llama.
Early Tuesday, he discovered a relic of a camera in my purse, and he insisted on documenting our day. His little fingers were determined to master the buttons, and he was dogged in his focus. His results are variable, but he is only 3 after all.
Below, for your viewing pleasure are some highlights of Tuesdays with Grammy. We led with my manicure, hit Mariano’s, returned home for lunch, nap, special guest Grampa and imagination time. I told him to ask his Dad for a Nikon.
I’m not sure what the future will bring for my Tuesdays. It has been a dose of joy. The world a child sees is pure. The questions they ask are innocent and lead an adult back to a gentler day. I have answered “What are angels?” and “Why do birds eat bugs?” as well as “Does Gramma Kathy see the same moon in Maine?” I treasure every moment, every song, every story. When his sweet heart sends love to the moon so Gramma Kathy can grab it from the night sky, I want time to stand still.
I am sad that it will not.
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