Tag: grandkids (page 1 of 2)

Summer 2015…13 days down

13 days down; 41 days to go. Day 27 is the halfway mark. Not sure of the exact hour. Probably around 11:00. Not that I’m counting or anything.

So far we’ve been bowling, to the library, swimming, and to a BMX pro show at the Food Truck Rodeo where I spent $21 in Italian Ice because I did not want to have a kid admitted to the ER for heat stroke on my watch. What happens to them after I leave, is not my concern. Okay, maybe a little. Okay…I’d be right there with them pacing in the ER but as a grandmother, not the nanny.

















Just some random dialog heard so far, 13 days in. Not that I’m counting or anything.

Emma: (screaming) We have a bleeder! We have a bleeder!

  • Aiden was running in the house—which he wasn’t supposed to so—and caught under his eye/upper cheek bone on the corner of the table. Thinking he’d get in trouble for running, he ran into the living room, bleeding pretty good. High adrenaline, sweaty, facial area + sharp corner of table = lots of blood, but little damage.

Paisley: (to Aiden) Do you ever shutup?

  • You’re wise beyond your years, Paisley. But always remember, unless they’re asleep, you should always, always investigate when they get too quiet.

Ivy: (when asked what she wants for lunch) Macaroni & Cheese

  • So you fix mac & cheese. Then she says she doesn’t want mac & cheese. She wants cereal. So you fix her cereal. Then she doesn’t want that kind of cereal, she wanted the other kind. While your eye is twitching and you step outside in 98 degree heat to take a deep breath, she magically eats the mac & cheese.

Casey: (said with a half smile) Hey grandma.

  • I can only see half of his smile because that’s all the previously closed—now open bathroom door will allow me to see as my foot is blocking him from opening it more while he peers through the crack while I’m sitting on the toilet.

Ireland: (shrieking in eardrum splitting decibels) Bug! Bug! BUG!

  • It was a fly.

Ava: (asked with the slightest bit of upturned lip) Are we going to do anything today? Like, fun?

41 days to go. Not that I’m counting.


The Top 10 Reasons They Fight

Last week was a mind-numbing, eardrum shattering, nerve wracking week of keeping the little lovelies. The older ones were out of school three days. Instead of sleeping in, like, oh maybe until 8:00, they all wanted to make the most of every hour of every day. So they were wanting to shake it a little, or a lot, to Just Dance before breakfast. Before my second cup of coffee.Shaw Photography Group

My Granny Nanny daycare consists of two different age groups. Landon, Emma, Ava, and Paisley are in school. Aiden, Ivy, Casey, and Ireland are not. Some days the kids in the younger group fight enough to earn spots in the UFC. Some days the older kids have more drama than a high school prom. Some days, when both age groups are together, they dance together, play together, sing together…and some days they don’t.

The Sharks and the Jets. The Montagues and Capulets. The Hatfields and McCoys. They would all be envious of my grandkids’ abilities to make mountains out of molehills, lay blame, and scatter like rolling marbles when something gets broken. My grandkids are the champs. I need one of those bumper stickers to proudly display these abilities. Right along beside the ones that read “My kid can beat up your honor roll student.”

Just kidding about that last part. The school age kids are honor roll students.  The fact they can defend themselves too shouldn’t be held against them.

The good days, when they’re all getting along, or even just getting along in small groups, does outweigh the cat fight days. By a slim margin. 1374328_10203101440438798_5484075955927398661_n

I made a mental list last week of the things they fight over. Yes, these are actual reasons. They may not seem important to you (trust me, they’re really not but I have to at least act like they are) but they are life and death issues to a three, four, seven – take your pick on the age – year old. Here’s what I came up with:

1) Fruit snacks. It doesn’t matter if one is puking, or have just finished eating everything on their plate plus any of their siblings or cousins’ plates, if one kid gets a pack of fruit snacks, it’s a chain reaction. You might as well give in. You will not win that battle. Save the breath.

2) Vanilla wafers and/or animal cookies. The Jones’ have animal cookies, the Willis kids get vanilla wafers. Except the Jones kids eye the Willis’s vanilla wavers with watering mouths, while the Willis kids look lovingly at the Jones’ animal cookies. Switch them up, you say. That’s good until one of them gets fruit snacks. See above. 10701960_10203028462174387_6190323071891812217_n

3) Shopkins, My Little Pony, and Hot Wheels. These have been known to incite near riots. Hair pulling, pinching, ear-splitting screaming…but they’re sooooo much fun!

4) Just Dance. With me! No me! I want to do it! My turn! Okay, you’re on my team. How come I get stuck with Casey?

5) Minecraft. See above. Except add he burnt my house down! Stop following me! Press X…Press X! PRESS X!!!

6) The playground. Four slides. Three clubhouses. Six swings. And they all want to slide down this slide, not that slide. At the same time.

7) Reading time. Rarely do they choose the same book so rather than reading one story, we must read four. Except, most of the time we can get away with three because by the second story Casey’s wandered away and is stashing the shopkins in his backpack while no one is looking. 10671364_10202855696655357_587792342953513918_n

8) They all have to touch the book. See above. Each one has to be the one to open the flap, pull the tab, turn the page, etc…

9) Running time. Yes, I let them run in the house at a designated time when it’s too cold or wet outside. I give them ten laps to run off some energy. Works great until one of the faster ones gets behind one of the slower ones (Ireland, not to mention any names). The slower one will get pushed down, knocked aside, and ran over. 10730897_10203057513900662_7782004996232389269_n

10) Helping. Yes, they fight over this too. No one wants to help until one wants to help. When I asked one to hand me a diaper, I get five. When I tell one who has finished their lunch to clean their place at the table and put their dishes in the sink, I get fourteen forks in the garbage and a trail of spilled milk from the table to the sink. But they helped. And they were willing. Even if it was only because a sibling or a cousin did it first. But I’ll take it.


Why I didn’t get my grandkids anything for Christmas

Yes, you read that right. I didn’t get the grands anything for Christmas. Not even a candy cane. First year ever. Lack of funds was only one of the reasons — I mean, seriously — there’s nine of ’em and at $20 a piece, that’s a good chunk out of a tight budget.

I worked the numbers every which way I could, $20 for those eight years-old and over, $10 for the younger ones. But then the younger ones’ options were slim at $10 or under. I considered going to the dollar store or the one-step up, Five and Under store, but then thought…why am I throwing even a dollar away for something that’s going to break, tear up, get lost before the end of the day?

Then I started hearing bits and pieces of what the kids were getting from their parents, other grandparents, and that jolly ol’ elf. After spending a chunk of back-breaking time every week day picking up pieces of play castles, toy cars, microscopic swords and tea cups, Barbie shoes and dresses, stuffed animals ranging in size from the hand held to the giant furry things…I decided there wasn’t a darn thing they needed coming from me that would come from a store.

So I decided to give each one, individually, my time.

I know — being with them sometimes 12-hours a day seems they have enough of my time. But honestly, they don’t. They don’t have me. They have grandma the waitress — which I’m quite good at if I do say so myself — I can balance six plates filled with PBJs on both arms and only drop the occasional chip. They have grandma the disciplinarian — which I’m also very good at. I get tickled at people who say they could never spank their precious little grand. Spend the amount of everyday, regular ol’ time with them that I do and see if you change your mind.  They get grandma the diaper changer or bottom wiper or nose wiper or pick me up from school taxi cab.Shaw Photography Group

But they don’t get grandma.

So my gift to them is my uninterrupted time and my full attention. One at a time. One on one. Emma’s looking forward to a mani/pedi, Landon, a movie, Ava, maybe one of those painting dates…whatever they want to do (within reason — yes, I’m still the grandma that puts limits on things). Even the little ones. A picnic at the park sounds good to me. It may take half the year to get these Christmas presents delivered, but I’m looking forward to each one of them.


Memories snob


Ava making snow angels, and memories

We had a decent snow a few weeks ago. The kind where you can actually bring out the sleds. It was a magical time for the kids.

It brought out a lot of comments on Facebook about “when I was a kid, we used to…fill in the blank.” Was the snow better back then or what?

I’m finding that as I (clears throat) get a little older, my friends around the same age and I talk about our childhoods a lot. We did have great childhoods. We grew up in the 60s and 70s with 3 channels on black and white tvs, vinyl records played on something called a record player, and the ice cream man wasn’t on a national registry.


The Willis kids’ snowman

I must confess it irritates me a little when I hear people my own age compare the magic of our childhoods to the childhoods’ of  kids these days. Who died and made us the ‘my childhood was better’ gods?

My grandkids play Minecraft. A lot. They play on ipads, Kindles, and the Playstation. I don’t even pretend to understand the game. But it’s okay—it’s their memories. We played Life, and Clue, and Masterpiece. Our games weren’t better. They were different.

We danced and acted silly and made up dance routines to the music of The Beatles and The Monkees. My grandkids do the same to the music of someone named Lorde and a group named One Republic. Thirty years from now their kids will be doing the same thing to music of an artist not even born yet. And it’s not wrong. It will be their childhood memories. Not wrong. Just different than mine and yours.


Aiden and Jeana’s pup, Wrigsley

They have Nickelodeon on demand. We had Bonanza on Sunday nights. Technology doesn’t make their childhood any less significant or wondrous. It just makes it different.

When I was a kid, my favorite meal was broiled hamburger patties, fat steak fries, and field peas. I still fix it sometimes and think of my mother fondly every time I do. Ava’s favorite meal is kielbasa, dirty rice, and green beans. One day she’ll fix it for her own kids and think of Nina when she does. Her childhood memory of her favorite meal will be just as sweet as mine, though it’s two different meals separated by several generations.


Emma making her own snow angel

Looking at the pictures of the grands playing in the snow made me laugh. I couldn’t help but to think of comments from my age group about the depth of snow when we were kids. “When we were kids, it snowed up to our knees!” Well, yeah…the knee-to-ground ratio of a six year-old probably hasn’t changed much over the years so don’t slight the grandkids’ snow memories because you think your snow was deeper.


Paisley. Making memories.

It’s their childhood. It will be their memories. And they will be just as wondrous and magical as ours.

What’s in a name?

Shaw Photography Group

photo by Shaw Photography Group

Had a friend recently comment on granddaughter Ireland’s name and asking about the history of it. Well, yes—it does have a history. And like almost everything else involving my grandkids, it’s kinda funny.

But first, here’s a list of the other eight grandkids and the story behind their names.

  • Jeana Ajaanna: A good example of what happens when teenagers have babies. I was a teen mom too and my son’s name is spelled funky so I’m just as guilty.
  • Landon Allen: Daddy Allen vetoed Garrett so Nina went with “Landon”. It fits.
  • Emma Rose: Garey and Ellen were in the old fashioned phase. Never known a name more suited to a child than “Emma”. Gorgeous name, gorgeous baby, gorgeous kid.
  • Ava Hailey: Allen wanted to go with Hailey but I asked him which name was more in tune with a CEO of a major corporation—Ava or Hailey. And, knowing he was a huge Sinatra fan, I threw in the fact Ava Gardner was the love of Frank’s life.
  • Paisley Rae: Brad Paisley’s song “I’m Still a Guy” was popular at the time and Ellen thought Paisley would make a cute name. It’s cute, quirky, unique—just like our Paisley.
  • Aiden Chandler: Garey and Ellen had his name picked out with their first pregnancy. Three daughters later, they were able to use it.
  • Ivy Leigh: Ivy was a somewhat difficult pregnancy which put Nina in the hospital a few times. During one of those emergency visits, a nurse told Nina she had named her daughter Avery and Nina and Allen kinda liked that. They liked that it was similar to Ava, so they changed it to an “I”, shortened it to three letters to match Ava’s and, there you go.
  • Casey Allen: Casey is daddy Allen’s mother’s maiden name and Allen liked it because it was a wee-bit Irish. Yes, Landon and Casey share middle names, named after their dad. By this time, Nina and Allen had run out of names.

And now for Ireland Chandler…coming up with a baby’s name is never easy but when you have twins, it’s double the anguish. We went back and forth with the twin cliche options—should they sound the same, begin with the same letter, compliment one another, be totally opposite, etc…

I suggested Casey and Chandler—the maiden names of each of the grandmothers. Nina and Allen liked the idea and decided that was what it would be. Casey and Chandler. Shower invitations were sent for Casey and Chandler. Everyone was excited about Casey and Chandler. Nina’s best friend Sananda McGehee made beautiful wall hangings for the nursery, one for Casey and one for Chandler.

And then sometime between the shower and the first labor pain, Nina confessed she didn’t want to name her baby Chandler. She really liked the name Ireland. She had heard it used before, and well, we are a wee bit Irish, right?

And that’s how our Ireland came to be Ireland. Possibly the only child with a wall hanging proudly displaying their middle name.image (4)

Playing favorites

I’ve been asked by different people on different occasions which of the nine grandkids is my favorite. Certainly you have a favorite, they say. It’s okay for grandparents to have favorites, they say. Well, the answer is rather simple. And may even be shocking to some. Yes I do have a favorite.

And my favorite is the one who needs to be grandma’s favorite at that time.

I’ve always been a believer in the who-needs-what-the-most form of parenting, and in this case grandparenting. Some days it’s Jeana, some days it’s Landon, other days it’s Emma, or Ava or Paisley, or Aiden or Ivy, or Casey or Ireland.

Shaw Photography GroupJeana is a teenager. Sometimes she needs a sounding board. I don’t mind listening. She takes school seriously and makes terrific grades. She doesn’t mind walking away from stuff or even friends when she’s uncomfortable. When she needs someone to sound off to, she’s my favorite “what’s it all about” teenager.




Shaw Photography GroupLandon is ten which is the new thirteen which is mega confusing. He told me the other day he used stick deodorant that day but wasn’t sure he was supposed to – “I don’t even have hair under my arms yet,” he said. So that day, he was my favorite “I’m not sure I’m ready to grow up” kid. He kept me and Ava and Emma laughing with silly jokes on the way home from school that day.




Shaw Photography GroupEmma has a way with words and at eight, she’s at the awkward age where we have to tell her sometimes it’s best to say nothing rather than always tell the truth. Like grandma’s car stinks. So Emma’s my favorite “tell it like it is” kid. Sometimes she needs grandma to help her find alternative words that don’t carry as much stink, er, sting.




Shaw Photography GroupAva is my walking medical condition. She had a broke arm, you know. Every day when I pick them up from school, I ask how their day was. One day last week, Ava’s answer, in one breath, was, “I had a migraine in the morning, threw up at lunch, and now my leg hurts.” She’s seven. I asked if she told her teacher and she said no. She ran off to play with Emma as soon as we got home and I don’t think ever mentioned her suffering to her mom. She’s my favorite “I used to be the baby and now I have three younger siblings” kid. 



Shaw Photography GroupPaisley is my contradiction.  She’s the most stubborn, independent, my-way-or-the-highway kid you’ll ever meet. Yet, Emma and Ava are her idols. Stuck like glue to their every word. Copies every dance move they invent. Sings every song they sing. But she is her own person. Lay her clothes out for her and she’ll come out wearing what she wants to wear. She’s my favorite “I’m five and I do know best” kid. I usually let her wear what she wants to wear. As long as were not going out in public. 



Shaw Photography GroupAiden is my tender hearted kid and knows grandma’s got his number but tries anyway. If he’s sad or had his feelings hurt, he’ll turn away and cry. When it’s real, grandma grabs him up and hugs on him. When it’s not real, he’ll look over his shoulder to see if grandma’s watching. That’s when I ignore him. Grandma’s got his number. He’s my favorite “sometimes I just need a hug” kid.



Shaw Photography GroupIvy, who is the middle child of five, does not share middle child traits like normal middle children. In Ivy’s world, it’s all about Ivy. She just turned three so I’m not going to get too concerned just yet. She can go from being your best friend to your worst enemy in a matter of seconds. Ask Aiden. He knows. So Ivy is my favorite “I love you I hate you” kid. It’s a hard fall from that pedestal so grandma will be there to catch her. 

Shaw Photography GroupCasey is, like Paisley, a contradiction. He will take Ireland’s sippy cup to her, only to snatch it back and run with it. He will offer her one of his little fruity snacks only to cry when she takes it. He’ll run to you with arms wide open only to veer off in a different direction as soon as he reaches you. He and Ireland just turned two but sometimes it seems like he has the thought process of someone much older. And then he puts his chubby little hands over his eyes and cries and he’s a baby again. So Casey’s my favorite “can’t he just be a baby a little while longer” kid.

Shaw Photography GroupIreland is the baby baby who thinks she’s old enough to hang out with “the girls” – Ava, Emma, and Paisley. She doesn’t want to play cars with her brother Casey or cousin Aiden. She wants to sit beside Ava and watch her play on the ipad or wants to dance when the girls are dancing or make plastic bracelets with them. She’s only two but thinks she’s ten. And when the older girls won’t let her play, she gets her feelings hurt and crawls up in my lap to hold her while she pouts. So Ireland is my favorite “I’m just going to sit here and cry” kid. And yes, grandma sometimes holds her while she does. 

So do I have a favorite? Nah. But I do have nine.

All photos courtesy of Shaw Photography Group

Christmas Miracles & Buttflies

We took the kids to the Country Christmas Train in Denton, NC Friday night. Eight of them. The other one, Jeana, went shopping. Imagine that. A sixteen year old that would rather go shopping. It’s nice to know she’s normal.

But the eight that did go were…well…good. Maybe I should define “good” in our terms.

  • It was very crowded and we didn’t lose a kid. It happens, okay.
  • While we waited in line, they were very content to run in circles. Kept them busy and let them run off some energy. The other kids who were forced to quietly stand next to their parents in line were envious.
  • Only one public announcement of the need to “pee pee” — while the others showed zero interest in checking out the bathrooms in groups of twenty or more.  Because you know, when one needs to go they all need to go.
  • No wailing cries for I want! Can I have? It’s only ten dollars! Sometimes threats do work. Don’t judge.
  • Casey let Uncle Garey hold him the whole time we waited in line to see Santa. The fact Casey let anyone hold him for an extended period of time is a miracle unto itself.

None of the above applies to Ireland. She cried the entire time. Well, she did like the train ride.  She got super excited to see the lights shaped like flowers and yelled out “Buttflies! Buttflies!” We’re assuming she meant butterflies. We’ve made an art form out of smiling at strangers who look on with knitted brows.

Ireland wanted juish. She wanted ookie. She wanted ish — translation apple juice, butter cookie, and Goldfish. She wanted to get down. She wanted to go. She wanted to be held. She wanted to stay. She wanted to go. She wanted to be held.  She wanted down. She wanted juish.

And then it was time to see Santa. She went into the little log cabin okay and had stopped crying and was excited to see the warm fire in the fireplace. And  then she turned around and what to her wandering eyes did appear? The old man in the red suit sitting in a corner.  She may need therapy.

All the other kids were like “Santa! Cool!” Even Casey walked right up and gave Santa a high five. Ireland was screaming in the corner. Totally traumatized.

After the pictures, Santa asked the kids what they wanted him to bring. Ava says “fart putty”. Landon says a “unicorn”. Emma’s list went on so long Santa’s eyes glazed over.

I love those kids.


The only way we could get Ireland in the picture was for Nina to hold her. And she’s still trying to escape. Back row: Ava and Landon, front row: Ireland, Nina, Casey and Ivy.



Emma, Paisley and Aiden with Santa


The fantasy vs. the reality

I love my grandkids. Adore them even. They’re the cutest, smartest, talented, most amazing kids I’ve ever known. I love them to the moon and back a zillion times. I’m certain most grandparents share the same sentiments  about their own grandkids. But I wonder how many are brave enough to admit, although we love them with our entire being, we don’t always like them?

I’m not talking about the grandparents who live a good distance from the little ones. Those grandparents have an excuse for the longing to hold and cuddle and see a snaggle-toothed smile. I’m talking about the ones, like me, who see the little ones on a daily basis. You grow intimately aware of their little quirks. And sometimes, it pains me to say, those little quirks can be downright painful. Annoying. Irritating. Fingernails on a chalkboard.

Shaw Photography Group

Photo courtesy of Shaw Photography Group

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. It was supposed to resemble a Hallmark commercial or a Rockwell painting. All the little grandchildren gathered at Grandma’s feet while she reads The Night Before Christmas to them from her rocking chair. Their upturned gazes are loving; their smiles content as Grandma reads the story while, simultaneously,  lovingly showing the pictures.

Well, the reality is:

It’s hard to read upside down. And when you’re reading to as many different ages as I have to, one of them, if not two, will call you down if you miss a word or skip over a part because it’s impossible to read it from a weird angle. Once they start reading on their own, forget making up the story as you go.

The toddlers have the attention span of gnats. So they’re up and down, up and down, wanting to touch the picture, wandering off, wanting to turn the page before you’re finished with the current page (and remember, the ones who can read call you down if you skip a sentence, or page)

They don’t always get along. Like a lot of the timeForget holding hands and singing Kumbaya. It’s more like pleading “can’t y’all just get along for a minute?” The siblings fight with the siblings. The cousins fight with the cousins. They get huffy. Feelings get hurt. One or two, or three, will start crying and sometimes it gets physical. The good thing about that is my grandkids will know how to defend themselves. They don’t shy away from a fight.

They can screech at ear-damaging decibels. You know those monkeys in zoos? The ones that scream at you with such intensity it can stop your heart? They have nothing on my grandkids. They know not the meaning of “indoor voice.” Five of my nine are Scorpios. They have to have the last word. The screeching can go on until my eye starts twitching.

They don’t like the same food. Which makes lunch time a hit-n-miss. Paisley likes jelly, no peanut butter. Ivy wants cereal five times a day. We have to hide the bananas from Ireland (tummy reasons) or we experience the ear-shattering screeches – see above. Aiden doesn’t like Cheez-its. He likes fruit snacks. But Ivy likes the brand of fruit snacks Aiden has so she doesn’t want hers, she wants his. Back to the screeching. Casey likes to dump whatever is in his bowl (cereal, spaghetti, etc) on his head and wear the empty bowl as a hat. And then look at you as if he’s saying “What? You’re not supposed to wear it on your head?”

497 Barbies and they all want the same one. Back to the screeching. I do believe even if we had 497 of the same Barbie, they’d fight over it. Suck it up. And consider investing in a good set of earplugs.

Shaw Photography Group

Photo courtesy of Shaw Photography Group

They don’t always like one another… but, they do always love one another. They defend one another (when they’re not fighting), they cry to see one another (they love spending the night with one another), and they put their arms around one another when one needs a hug.

All in all, I guess the reality isn’t all that bad. It’s not bad at all.


Is it okay to teach sneakiness?

Although I think they’re perfect and would give my life for any one of them, I am centered enough in reality to know my grandkids may have a few flaws. Don’t even get me started on Ivy and her “the world revolves around me” thought process. She’s three so I’ll let her believe it for a while longer.

Shaw Photography Group

Emma, Ava, and Paisley. Photo by Shaw Photography Group

But the three middle girls, Emma 8, Ava 7, and Paisley 5, are starting to develop a trait that is driving me nuts. The girls are trying their hands at being sneaky. It’s a pet peeve of mine. It instills distrust. I’m not talking about planning a surprise birthday party. I’m talking the act of purposely hiding something in order to deceive. Probably way too serious a description for this post, but I had to throw that out there.

So the girls are trying to be sneaky every now and then and I’m now faced with a situation. Note the keyword trying.

The matronly grandmother in me should be happy they really aren’t very good at it. But the still young-enough to appreciate being a kid in me grandmother wonders if it would be so wrong to show them where they went wrong and got caught.

Example number one: Several weeks ago, Ava was grounded from her ipad for disobeying. A few days into the grounding, she was at home with the younger siblings and Aunt Debbie while mom, dad, and myself cheered on Landon at his baseball game. Sometime during the game, Allen gets a text from Ava’s ipad. Aunt Debbie doesn’t even know how to turn the thing on so the person sending the text had to be Ava. Of course Ava failed to tell Aunt Debbie she was grounded from her ipad.  Busted.

Teaching moment number one: If you’re grounded from your ipad, don’t text your parents!

Example number two: Emma’s one of those school kids who eat lunch at 10:45 because of school over crowding (another subject) so she’s pretty hungry when she gets home around 3:30. She gets her snack and all is well. Most of the time she, along with the others, sit at the kitchen table to eat their snacks. On this particular day Ava was too pooped to play so she curled up on the couch for a nap. Emma brought her cookies in the living room, which is a no-no. I told her to take them back in the kitchen and when she finished eating, then she could come back to the living room. A minute or two later, she comes back into the living room and quickly turns her back to me, like she’s suddenly interested in Max & Ruby showing on the tv. She stands there for a minute, her back still to me, and I notice her right arm bending at the elbow in, oh, about 60 second intervals. I told her to turn around for a second and when she does, her poor little cheeks looked like a squirrel storing nuts for the winter.

Teaching moment number two: Break the cookies in half before coming back into the living room so you don’t have to cram the whole thing in your mouth at once. Geez.

Example number three: Anytime sweet little Paisley’s hands are behind her back and she’s looking you square in the eye, chances are there’s something in those little hands she doesn’t want you to see. She will even do this funny little sideways walk so she can maintain eye contact, all the while those hands are behind her back.

Teaching moment number three: Mothers and Grandmothers are all knowing. We may not know what you have behind your back, but we know it’s something you’re not supposed to have. Give up.

Years ago when Garey and Nina (my kids) were young, Nina came running in the house and told me Garey was up in a tree at the edge of the woods, smoking. I casually walk out there and sure enough, there sat my twelve-year old son in a tree, smoking. I looked up, he looked down, the fear evident on his face. I calmly said, “Son, the first time you decide to drink beer and get drunk, which you probably will do sometime in the coming years, please don’t do it while you’re sitting in a tree.”


Number Nine is a horder

Granddaughter Ireland (number nine, the baby, the last one – thank God!) has some…strange habits. One being she likes to carry stuff. I’m not talking about the way babies insist on having a cookie for each hand. This goes beyond that.


Note the wallet and bear in her right hand…

Ireland not only wants a cookie for each hand, she’ll also try and carry a necklace, a bracelet, a shoe, a doll, a toy car, her blanket, Casey’s blanket, a pack of fruit snacks, and her or Ivy’s juice cup (depending on which one actually has juice). Sometimes she’ll add the remote and perhaps a book to the collection.

Of course the simple solution would be to help her put everything in her neat little Dora the Explorer backpack. Not. Either one of two things will happen. 1) she gets this wide-eyed look of sheer horror on her face because you’re taking her stuff, or 2) she carries the backpack in her hand rather than on her back and continues to gather stuff in the other hand like a squirrel storing nuts for the winter.


Sweet little horder Ireland

Every once in a while Casey will toddle over and take a peek at what all she has in her hands. Again with the look of sheer horror. She can’t defend herself against an oncoming attempt at thievery —both hands are full. Why she’d have to put something down to protect her stuff and she sure as shootin’ ain’t going to do that!

And don’t even try to take the remote from her if it’s her remote holding day. Just suck it up and try to find enjoyment in Team Umizommi or Max & Rudy. Or get up and manually change the channel.  She won’t mind. She has no interest in the function of the remote. She just wants to carry it around.

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