Per my post A Spring Nana Day (https://jfhandy.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/2013-04-10-a-spring-nana-day/) , one of the greatest pleasures in my life comes from my monthly Nana Day with my granddaughter, when I take a day off from work and spend the entire day with her (now 3 ½ years old.) But I realized recently that I have shared three posts about my granddaughter but none about my grandson.
My grandson will be 1 year old on May 14th. I started having Nana Days with Lauren when she turned 2 years old and I will do so with him. However, I am trying to find ways to spend some one-on-one time with him now and I started this winter trying to go once a week to his Child Care Center where I spend 30+ minutes with him.
We sit in the large play area and I talk to him and give him lots of love.
However, in April I was given the fabulous opportunity to have some additional time with Lauren and Sean…. but I would be by myself with BOTH them AT THE SAME TIME. I did not give enough thought to what that really meant.
In my defense, I only had one child so the ramifications of this were not clear to me. I have seen other people in public places with more than one child….they appeared to have things under control…….surely I could do this.
We were all attending a wedding in another city. I told Chris that I would babysit the kids so they could go to the rehearsal dinner (they had child care arrangements for the night of the wedding.) So, I arrived at the hotel on Friday and Chris/Allison brought the kids over that afternoon.
As a good Nana, I was prepared (or so I thought), and I brought with me a small cooler full of food items for Lauren… yogurt, cheese, milk, fruit, and, of course, her favorite treat….Teddy Grahams. And one of my friends had told me to go buy an inexpensive umbrella stroller and some soap bubbles to take with me…..which I did.
After Chris and Allie left for the rehearsal dinner, I loaded Sean into the stroller and we headed out to the parking lot. It was perfect…..Lauren and I filled the air with soap bubbles and spent the time running around in the parking lot—laughing and trying to catch them and pushing Sean in the stroller. (Please note: we were in an isolated area of the parking lot—away from cars and people… no one could see our strange behavior and alert the police.)
After that excitement, we wandered through the hotel lobby looking at the water fountain and spent some time at the indoor pool splashing our feet in the water. We then went to the room so I could feed Sean his dinner.
Dinner was some organic baby food that today comes in a space age looking packet that you twist the top off and squeeze and out comes some green looking stuff food. I do not care where it comes from—the old time Gerber baby jar or this space age looking packet……. baby food is baby food and just not all that appealing. However, my grandson must have been hungry as he gobbled it all up.
I then made my tactical error. I foolishly thought I could take both of them with me to the Hotel Grill and that I could get something for Lauren and me to eat and that we would be able to actually eat the food. I was thinking… how hard can this be? After all, I went to Europe 3 times by myself.
HA…if I had only thought this out, I would have ordered room service.
The good news is that there were no customers in the Grill and I found a table at the edge of the restaurant where Lauren could see the hotel lobby water fountain. That was the first and last thing I did right.
First mistake: I brought the stroller instead of the bouncy/rocking car seat for Sean. Whereas the stroller had been a good idea when we were twirling him around while chasing bubbles (my version of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride or Space Mountain) I was foolish to think that my “take-no-prisoners” grandson would sit quietly in the no-longer-moving stroller.
No sir, he was not happy… he wanted action and he wanted it NOW. So, I picked him up and put him in my lap.
While he was indicating his desire for action and his unhappiness at being somewhat confined and no longer moving about, the waiter brought Lauren her water in a very tall glass…. not a child’s size cup but a big TALL glass with a straw in it and she promptly spilled part of it on the table and another part on her chair and some on the floor which was quickly followed by a whining… “N….a….n….a”.
While holding Sean in my lap, I tried to clean up the small lake and then tried to help her get the crayons that I had brought with us out of the box. She immediately spilled half of them on the floor.
He meanwhile had spied the very large and very shiny silverware tucked in the big white cloth napkins and he decided he was going to reach for them. As the waiter my taking my order (Chicken fingers, fruit and milk for Lauren and a healthy Chop Salad for me), I was trying to prevent my grandson from grabbing these weapons that could maim him….. the bright shiny silver fork (could put his eyes out); the bright shiny silver knife (ditto); and the bright shiny silver spoon which he promptly hit himself in the forehead with.
Lauren wants me to color with her and Sean is not happy that I have removed all the weapons of destruction from his hands so he is now trying to throw the white cloth napkins around.
The waiter brings Lauren’s milk to her in ANOTHER very tall glass (what is wrong with these people??) and I immediately grab it before she can spill it and I am trying to hold it so she can take a sip of milk. Sean decides he now wants the very shiny salt and pepper shakers.
The food comes and I am trying to cut up the chicken fingers with one hand and then Sean throws the paper place mat on the floor and then I try to take a bite of my salad which he views as a new play toy and wants to hand toss it himself—I drop some of the salad that I am trying to get to my mouth on his head.
At that point, I look at the floor and see napkins, crayons, food, paper and silverware scattered about and pull Sean back from my salad (AGAIN) and I thought…………well, I thought some bad words that my mother told me never to say.
The waiter reappears and I explain that I was trying to help my son and his wife but I had come to realize (I am sure to the waiter’s relief) that I just need a very big To-Go box and can he help me with this.
I must have looked pretty pitiful at that point as he said “Nana, you need a break. I am not charging you for this dinner.”
Truth is……. I think he would have paid us to leave.
We retreated to the room where I let Sean crawl and climb around until he wore himself out. He finished his milk and I tucked him into his Pac-n-Play which I hoped he would now view as a Pac-n-Sleep.
After a bit of whimpering, he fell asleep. At that point, Lauren put on her nightgown and we settled down to read some of the books I had brought with me. After the 2nd book I could tell I was falling sleep….so I explained it was quiet time. Fortunately, she nodded off soon.
I quietly crept over to the desk and finished eating my healthy Chop Salad. My only regret was that I had not asked the waiter for a sippy-cup of wine.
I have indicated in previous posts my admiration for my son and his wife and all they do… both work full-time… she is going to school also part-time to get a 2nd Masters Degree and as Chris says, he is getting a PhD in Support…they have an active social life…. and they juggle with all of that while taking care of and providing love to Lauren and Sean.
After my very brief outing, my admiration for them only grows. Yes, there are two of them but there are times due to work and/or school schedules that they handle parenting chores alone.
So, I post today with great pleasure a special photo taken this last year of my other grandchild—a little boy with a big smile, whose inquisitive nature is now in full force… and who, I think, is also going to provide me with many adventures and stories that will warm my heart forever.