Friday, September 16, 2011

Things to Do with Children

Here are some before and after pictures Stephanie took of the children on some recent expeditions.

Much of my relationship with children has to do with repetition. For one thing, I am kind of lazy and don't know a lot of children's songs and games. So we do the same ones over and over. They seem to like it.

When rocking my children to sleep, I often relied on songs I knew, even if they were not children's songs. Unfortunately, Jaime remembers Blood on the Saddle, Found a Peanut, and 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.

When Cory was little, a cute Christmas song by Roger Miller was popular. Little Toy Trains. I sang it to him even when it wasn't Christmas time. He would try to sing along. After my grandson was born, I found a CD with that song and all of my grandchildren know it by heart. They beg  for me to play all the time, but I save it for Christmas now. (There is a link to this song on the right side of this Blog.)

When Jonah was little, he stayed with me every Friday night. I don't know who first showed him the very scary movie, Jurassic Park, but it was his favorite. So, every Friday night we climbed into bed with homemade chocolate milkshakes and watched the same video. We did it again for old time's sake a few months ago. The video sits on top of the DVD player in the kid room. He is the only child who took a liking to that movie, though Jill tries to watch it to be like Jonah. He and I know every word and nuance and it never fails to put both of us to sleep almost immediately.

Jill and Jonah watched Peter Pan over and over when they were both little. Such a sweet little movie. I like the part where they fly out the nursery window the best. I loved Toy Story 2 so much that we watched that over and over, too. Such clever dialogue. But it did leave Jill with a fear of toys that move on their own for a long time. She even made me hide the toy Woody in the closet for a while. She was never afraid of Buzz Lightyear, though.

When the girls get out of the bathtub, they still want to play Ridey Horsey and Little Bunny Foo Foo while wrapped in a towel on my lap. My daughter saw us last night when she was picking up Mia and said, "Are you still doing that???"

Days gone by riding in Grandma's car

We still drive around in the car and listen to the baby CD that first Jill and then Mia loved. It is little English nursery rhymes and ABC songs. I am so used to it that I have been known to forget to change it when the kids get out of the car.  Lately, I have been playing the only remaining CD of a set by Time Warner called Senior Prom. It has a lot of sweet songs that I love. The girls know all the words to Born Too Late,  Devil or Angel, I'm Mr. Blue, Dream, Dream, Dream, etc. I tell them how I used to play Devil or Angel over and over on my record player at home. It must have driven my parents crazy.

Jonah's daddy objected when I used to rock him to sleep with James Taylor's Sweet Baby James. He said I would give Jonah "bad taste in music" but I disagree. Am I stunting their growth or just giving them some sweet childhood memories with their grandma? I guess time will tell.

Looking back on this I notice no mention of books and reading. We do have beloved books that have been in the children's library for years. I confess that I love to read myself but I am not a patient reader to others. I feel a lot of guilt about that especially since my grandson has had a lot of trouble learning to read. I am trying to make up now for my past mistakes. I guess all those nights eating ice cream and watching Jurasic Park reruns could have been put to better use.

Jaime never liked to read though she was good at it. I think she discovered Cliff's Notes in grade school. She finally had to read in college. I don't think she reads much for pleasure even now. My son, on the other hand, had a whole shelf of Children's Classics that I never read to him. I found out later that he read them to himself and loved them.

When the grandchildren stay with me, I entertain them with art supplies. Mia especially loves art and wants all her work hung on the fridge. What if she becomes an artist because there was nothing else to do at Grandma's house?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mia Back in School

I am so glad that Mia is back in school. Of all the things she has had to deal with -- the scar from the dog bite, the seizures, the yucky medicine and not being able to eat a lot of her favorite foods -- she has only really complained to me one time.

She stayed with me for a couple of weeks after she had been diagnosed with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex. The school would not let her come back until the nurse agreed. There were some questions about medication, for instance. Then the school closed for a few days for their annual vacation.

Mia came up to me one day and said sadly, "I can't go to school."

I said, "Oh, yes, you can, and you will!" And the next week, she did.

I'm glad it is the same school and the same loving teacher. She is learning so much and she loves the routine. And no seizures.

(I picked up Mia one afternoon and there was Ms. Rodriguez watching a room full of playing children. She was bringing one child at a time to sit down so she could take their picture. She was very patient and careful to get a good picture while calling instructions to various children over her shoulder and stopping to help others. What a great teacher!)