Nina and Allen were showing a little concern over Casey’s hearing. Sometimes he responds when his name is called, sometimes he doesn’t. But this week I discovered there’s nothing at all wrong with the little guy’s hearing. Nina and Allen are simply calling him by the wrong name. You can call “Casey,” until you’re blue in the face with little response. But when you say, “NO Casey!” kid responds like a charm. He thinks his name is NO Casey.
So now I’m wondering what the other Grands really dohear on a daily basis. Hourly basis? Maybe half-hourly basis would be more fitting. Imagine it goes something like this:
3:00pm to 3:30pm, on the playground
Me (Said not all in one breath. There are pauses): Landon, let the girls play. Aiden, why are you crying? Emma – there is no such thing as the Hatchet Man. Landon – why did you tell her that? I’m positive, Emma. There is no one living in the woods with a hatchet. Landon – he’s not living next door either. Stop scaring her. Casey, no. NO Casey! Can someone help me get Casey? Aiden, do you want to swing? You’re swinging high enough, Ivy. No more high. We’ll have snack when we go in. Where’d Ireland get that cup of water?No, Ireland! Landon, can you run go get a towel? Paisley! Ava, Emma – why are you going inside? I promise there’s no one in the woods. Ok, who locked Casey in the castle? Good job, Aiden! No, don’t throw the mulch. Where’s Ireland? Paisley, you’re swinging high enough. Don’t go any higher. Ava – what are you doing in the tree? Ireland, don’t eat the mulch. Casey’s coming down the slide, head first, someone help him! Never mind. Is he bleeding?
And that’s how we roll in the trenches. Er, playground.
Went to Landon’s baseball game yesterday then swung by Walmart to pick up a few things. Nina and Landon were stalking me so every time I turned around in the store, I ran into them. Somehow we ended up in the Sporting Goods section and Landon was looking at the bats. He test swung a couple and told Nina he liked this one or that one. Nina told him to put them all back, that he needed to wait until his dad was with him to help him choose.
I honestly don’t know why – maybe it was the over exposure of watching horrible things unfold on the news this week – but I found myself unusually emotional. At that moment, when Nina told him his dad would help him, it was all I could do to hold back the tears. I really did not want to cry in Walmart surrounded by youth-sized jock straps and the cooler of redworms (yeah, we live in Randleman). All I could think of was my son’s dad never helped him pick out a bat.
Garey played t-ball and youth baseball and basketball and even soccer. His dad and I divorced before Garey was six and for whatever reason, his dad sort of took a leave of absence and decided to pursue other interests (like his own, but that’s a whole ‘nother story). So it was pretty much up to me to raise a son and his little sister alone.
I didn’t know what size bat he needed. Or what type of glove or how to condition a new glove. But I learned. I learned by asking his coaches and the dads of his teammates. I made sure he never missed a practice even if it meant leaving work a few minutes early and eating a bowl of cereal for supper afterward. I learned the rules of the game so I wouldn’t be the mom screaming at the umpire on a fair call.
I took him fishing and had to learn how to bait a hook myself so I could teach him. Ask Nina how well he can bait a hook. He was maybe seven, she was three, and I took the both of them down to the community lake. Garey put an entire nightcrawler worm (about three inches worth) on his hook, rared back to cast and hooked Nina’s cute little yellow and pink sunsuit right at the top button. Nina is hysterical. There’s a three-inch worm attached to her outfit, writhing right under her nose. The hook was firmly embedded in the fabric so the only way to safely remove it and not risk impaling Nina was to take off the outfit. She’s still hysterical, I’m trying to get her clothes off, Garey’s trying to control the fishing rod still attached to his screaming little sister…okay…I’m over my own guilt trip now. That memory has me laughing so hard I can hardly see to type.
I don’t know why I carry any guilt in the first place. It was my ex who chose to not be part of our kids’ lives until they were adults. My kids turned out just fine. They’re both kindhearted, super decent adults who turned into super great parents themselves. Garey’s even brave enough to take his little ones fishing. Of course there is the story from last summer when the giant fish jerked little Paisley’s Barbie rod and reel right out of her hands and daddy had to jump in the water to get it back. I think it involved some hand to hand combat with the man-eating fish. This according to Emma and Paisley. Their daddy. My son. Our hero. Yeah. I have nothing to feel guilty about.
The question seems to comes up every time a kid inflicts violence upon another kid. Experts say children are becoming de-sensitized to violence and often don’t understand the consequences of their actions. I’m no expert so all I have to offer is my own experience.
My nine-year old grandson, Landon, is a gamer. Through and through. Call of Duty, Black Ops, Halo…you name it and he plays it. And he plays it well. Very well. So well in fact, adults don’t like playing against him. A while back, one of his dad’s friends said, “I can’t believe I got beat by a seven-year old.” Yeah, he’s that good.
His Uncle Garey doesn’t shy away from the competition, though. He’s been known to call Landon’s mom or dad and ask if Landon can play. Imagine!
But does grandma worry her oldest grandson is turning into a gaming geek? Not that there’s anything wrong with that but, sure, I worried. Note the past tense.
You see, Landon is a well rounded kid. He loves playing outside with his cousins, loves sleeping in a tent by a campfire, loves basketball and baseball. He’s been playing baseball since he was three. Yes, three. He used to arrive at his games in a car seat. He works hard in school and makes good grades and will kick it up a notch to bring a so-so grade up. His mother is his favorite person in the whole wide world; he adores his dad. He loves his siblings and feels a big brother responsibility toward them. I’ve seen the worry on his face when he can’t find Ava in the car-rider line at school. I’ve seen him take time to comfort Ivy or cousin Aiden when they’re upset. I’ve seen him tote Casey or Ireland upstairs or downstairs to help mom or me. Yes, I’ve even seen him change a diaper.
He’s gentle and kind and has a wicked sense of humor. He has some of the best one-liners you’ll ever hear. And yeah, he has a high kill rate.
He wants to be a Navy Seal when he grows up. Not because he would “get to kill things” but because of the honor of helping others.
We don’t get out much. Well, let me rephrase that. Nina’s family doesn’t get out much. With one-year old twins plus a two-year old, not to mention the other two under ten, transporting (3 car seats and a booster needed) can be an issue. There’s also the need for the double stroller and an additional person (at least) with stout arms to carry Ivy (the 2-year old). Moving a platoon of soldiers may be easier.
Don’t get me wrong. The twins have been to the grocery store, the doctor’s office, grandparents’ houses, Nana’s, Uncle Garey and Aunt Ellen’s house, the park, and…(insert drumroll)…the mall. Not only the mall, but they’ve been to the mall to see Santa!
Yeah, well, that didn’t go over so well. No pictures allowed. Unless you bought the nifty package. And for two dollars more, you can get two 5x7s! Either the hefty price tag that went along with the picture package or the pain in the patootie of getting the twins out of the stroller was enough to make daddy (Allen) say no thanks. So Landon, Ava, and Ivy sat on Santa’s knee and told him what they wanted. Ivy looked like a cat about to be dunked in water. Ava read her wishes from a list. Landon was too cool to act like he enjoyed it. And the twins watched from a few feet away. Their first visit to Santa and they were sentenced to the stroller. Judging from the look on Ireland’s face, that was fine with her. Only child I’ve ever seen that can arch an eyebrow.
So after we visit with Santa, we decide to brave the masses and actually walk around the mall. Wasn’t really crowded (it’s not a very big mall) so it was a nice experience seeing the babies’ excitement over seeing new things. Like a drink machine. While the caravan was stopped to window shop, from his stroller seat, Casey was checking out a drink machine the stroller was parked beside. I mean he was checking it out. Like it was the strangest thing he had ever seen! He even put his tiny little hand up to it and gently touched it. Then touched it again. Then slowly moved in to lick it and Allen jerked the stroller away. Allen’s a germ-a-phob and Casey has developed this habit of licking stuff. I think in his one-year old mind he’s trying to “give kisses” but hasn’t mastered the physical motions yet. He’s got a couple years to master that skill. If they ever let him out of the house.