Saturday, February 16, 2013

Lately

Some of the "guys" playing croquet
My current schedule - three and half days with my granddaughters and three and a half days home - has put me somewhat out of the blogging loop. There is no time between peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and bottles of formula, playtime on the floor and fiercely resisted nap time, laundry and dishes and general tidying up, to sit and read, to contemplate and compose. Weekends home seem to fill up of their own accord. There's always grocery shopping and house cleaning to do, laundry to wash and errands to run. I remember being told that I'd be busier in retirement than I ever was in my working life but I didn't see how. Now I do.

Days with my daughter and her family are full of noise and bustle. The Bean is a very active toddler who starts the day slowly (like her grandmother) but once she's fully awake it's run, run, run until bedtime. We color, play with clay, take care of her dollies, and play elaborate games with her "guys," a collection of small plastic action figures and wooden dollhouse family members. They all have names and personalities. There's Guy Guy who's always, always crying and needs lots of attention. (I suspect that's an outgrowth of Baby Lily's entrance into the Bean's life as an infant in constant need of Mama's attention). There's Mama Teddy who, as the matriarch of the clan, takes care of everyone. She spends a lot of time in the dollhouse kitchen. Tito, New Guy, Dude and Nana hang out together and have adventures. There's also Caco, Mama Teddy's sidekick, Eday (Bean's pronunciation of her own name), and even a Baby Lily wrapped in a bright red bunting. In addition, there's a school bus full of little, squatty people collectively called the Mee-mos and a group of alien looking plastic fellows known as the Odgie Codgies. It took me weeks to remember everyone's name!

A model baby and cooperative one year old, Bean has entered the terrible twos with gusto. Cross her and she folds her little arms across her chest and glowers from under lowered brows. Her words are very distinct. "Okay Nini," has been replaced with, "I don't want to do dat," stated firmly and without compromise.

Her sister, Baby Lily is a chunky, happy little girl who thrives on bottles supplemented with cereal, bananas, and applesauce. At four and a half months she can sit up with a minimum of added support, rolls over if left on a blanket on the floor, and grins toothlessly more than she cries. Sleep is her nemesis. She catnaps for twenty minutes at a time, making caring for her a constant process. By the end of three and a half days, I'm pretty worn out and ready for some cottage downtime.

By contrast, the cottage is elaborately quiet. Everything is in its place. I waken naturally without baby soundtracks. I putter, I sit down often, I doze in my rocking chair. I take walks after lunch and read whole book chapters at a gulp. My tea is always hot. The hours not taken up by household chores or trips to the store are open and I'm free to fill them as I wish.

Some of my favorite hours are spent reading your posts. I may not visit as often as before but you all give me something to think about on the days I hold a bottle or hum a lullaby or stand at the sink washing endless dishes. Thanks for that.

A quiet moment with Baby Lily

16 comments:

Brian Miller said...

ah but that pitter patter is sweet music and you have a nice rhythm to life now eh? and pbjs and bottles...well they are a time i miss right now and will come again...

Pauline said...

Brian, things change so fast that in a few months everything will be vastly different. And yes, the balance is great!

Out on the prairie said...

Thats a full schedule plus. A friend who helps me sometimes took my grandkids for 4 days and had a handful, nice to have two sets of hands sometimes.

Marc Leavitt said...

Belated happy New Year, Pauline:
I was one of those I'm-going-to-work-until-I-drop people, but after returning to work at 70 after four major operations,I gave in.
And yes, I'm busier than ever: between reading, writing and painting, the day doesn't have enough hours.
We're all riding on the same train; keep on grandmothering!
Cheers,
Marc
Marc Leavitt's Blog

Pauline said...

OOTP - the more hands, the merrier, and the easier!

Marc - I don't mind being busy but I love the time alone at my cottage to rest and reflect before running again. I like the idea of all us older folks riding the same train.

Star said...

My life is much the same Pauline, with an active two year old who comes 2 or 3 times a week, but not all day. Don't wear yourself out!

Barbara Shallue said...

What a wonderful balance, the kind I yearned for when my kids were small. How wonderful you are able to spend time with those girls, and how lucky they are to have you. I can only imagine what they will write some day about their memories with you! Bean has an awesome imagination. I hope you're writing all of it down. Perhaps you should write some children's books!!

Judith said...

And all those opposites meet --- in you, Pauline!
I wish you strength, to keep up with your absorbing and fascinating life. Onward.
(If I ever saw determination, it is written all over the Bean's face.)

Pauline said...

Star - isn't it fun? !

Barbara - I actually thought once of writing children's books but found I do not have the knack of story telling at book length. I'm more a vignette kind of writer...

J - It will change as the girls grow. A year from now the Bean will be in preschool and Lily will no doubt have a babysitter closer by. That's why I am enjoying every moment now, knowing it won't last.

Marion said...

You sound happy. It would be tiring, for sure, but the rewards of bonding with your grandbabies are priceless. I love the smile and the wonderful contented child in your arms...lovely photo!

Seems all my babies, grand or not, slept for 20 minutes at a time, even at night in the early months. I remember the relief of the quick respite, heh! xx

Molly said...

Wow! Sounds like you are having a very busy retirement! Us old gray mares aint what we used to be but you're way out ahead leading the pack! I'm sure your family treasures their time with you as you do yours with them!

Pauline said...

Marion - I never thought what growing old would bring, such a contradiction of pleasure (family) and pain (the old bod is definitely slowing down in a painful way).

Molly - I am busy but I am happy, too. I have a wonderfully close bond with all my kids and grands - well worth any effort I put into it :)

Hilary said...

Your grands are blessed to have you in their lives as you are to have them. Those little crossed arms envelope a world of attitude. Good thing she's so darn cute. ;)

Frank Baron said...

Sounds hectic, but rewarding. I almost groaned with relief when you finally got to the cottage part of the program. I HAD been looking forward to being a grandfather....

(Kidding! Still am.)

Kerry said...

What a great post: the contrast between the solitude and peacefulness of the cottage & the busy-ness of those days taking care of little ones! I can feel your batteries re-charging every time you step back into the peace and quiet.

It sounds like you are a fabulous playmate.:)

Pauline said...

Hilary - I think that often - good thing she's so cute or...

lol Frank - I can't think of a better occupation than grandparent!

Kerry - I love being able to play with the kids. And yes, recharging is just what I do when I'm home!