It’s been a while since I’ve shared conversational gold from Angel Boy 2.0.
He’s now reached five whole years around the sun; 1825 days.
When we were chatting about Daddy’s 40th birthday, he wanted to tell me something but it was too overwhelming for him to share, so he asked mom to tell me,
“YOU tell her.”
Sweet child. When he woke up that morning extra EARLY, he ran into mom and dad’s room and asked if it was too early to go down to the Grandma room and wake me up.
Mom said, “But Grandma’s not here, T.”
He was quite distraught.
Apparently he had been dreaming about seeing me and his dream was detailed and VERY REAL.
Emphatically, he said, “But you told me she would be here when I woke up!”
Like all lucid dreams, it takes a minute or two to separate what is real from what is speaking to us from our subconscious, even more difficult when you’re a little one.
For children, dreams can feel incredibly real. It’s a challenge for them to distinguish between what’s imagined and things that actually happened. Even if they can understand that the content of a dream was imaginary, the emotions felt during a dream are all very real.
“It was a dream, T, and sometimes a dream can seem very real.”
“What do you mean she’s not here! You TOLD ME!“
And then he ran downstairs to check and sure enough, the Grandma room was still Daddy’s home office.
He was genuinely sad to learn it was just a dream and I wasn’t there.
I’m sad, too, but our bonds of love are very strong and that makes me the luckiest Grandma in the world.
“Grandma, you should have seen this. Daddy catapulted himself from the cushion onto the sofa.”
“T, what was that big word?”
“Daddy CATAPULTED. You would not believe it.”
“I hope Daddy is OK! T, that is such a wonderful word, very descriptive, and I’m so proud of you for knowing it and for using it correctly in your sentence!”
“Now. Look. Feast your eyes on this, Grandma. It’s a new bench for the kitchen table. It’s nice, huh, Grandma?”
“Oh wait right here. I’m going to put you down and you can watch Mommy make dinner for a minute. I’m going into the Grandma room. I want to show you the present I have for you in our special drawer. It’s a surprise. It’s sparkly just like you like and it’s shiny.”
“Well, hold on. Let’s think about this. If it’s a surprise, do you want to wait until I’m there before you show me?”
“No, ‘cos you’ll forget by then.”
“But what if I don’t forget? What if I remember?”
“Oh, don’t worry little Grandma, you’ll forget.”
“Wow, it IS sparkly and shiny, you’re right about that!”
(It’s a Christmas tree decoration from last year, a shiny little silvery disco ball.)
“Don’t forget to put it back in the drawer so you can show me again.”
“And Grandma, don’t forget to bring me a surprise for the drawer too, OK? I’ll be at the airport to pick you up.”
“Do I EVER forget?”
(The answer is obvious. I never forget.)
As a side note, when he was out of the kitchen getting my present, I asked, “He seems to think my visit is imminent. What have you told him?”
“Don’t worry, imminent means something different to T. He doesn’t really have a good grasp of time.”
This is the sad plight of grandparent’s new reality…not to be able to hug and play with our angel boys and girls, and to miss the excitement of Daddy catapulting himself around the house.
Still, there’s always always something to be grateful for, right?
That story is now; we need to go back in time to a week ago before it’s Grandma to the rescue.
It’s all a bit convoluted, but I’m accurately depicting the chain of events. I hope you can follow along and it’s not too confusing.
Contained in the box of gifts for his half birthday was a little ball from the dollar store that caught my eye because it was soft and squishy and was an actual face of a tiger, not simply a cartoon rendering.
He has lovely eyes and an endearing quality, don’t you agree?
When T FaceTimed me as he was opening the box, Dad set the phone down so I could watch him and we could chat about all the items. As soon as he picked up the ball, he fell instantly in love. He gave it a hug and stroked his cheek with it, which is the sign for mother (although he’s not aware of that).
He immediately said, “Grandma, I love love love this tiger. Do you know what I’m going to name him? I’m going to name him Tiger.”
I said, “It makes me happy that you love him, I thought you might, and Tiger is a perfect name!”
He gave Tiger another hug.
I said, “Hey T, how about whenever you hug Tiger, that will be exactly like a hug from me. It’s Grandma hugging you all the time. What do you think about that?”
“Every single time you hug Tiger, it’s ME hugging you back.”
And then he started kissing it. So yes, my heart overflowed again and broke at the same time because it’s still not safe to travel to give him real Grandma hugs.
Later on, Mom texted me that Tiger had become his new “favorite” and he wouldn’t go anywhere without him and slept next to him on the pillow.
So the backstory is simple. T really really bonded with Tiger and he was the object representation of my unconditional LOVE.
Now you’re all caught up, right?
Yesterday in the late afternoon, my phone rang and this is how FaceTime started.
No “Hello”, just “Grandma, I got to tell you. It’s bad, real bad. Something bad happened.”
“Hello, my T.”
“Oh yeah, hello Grandma, you aren’t gonna like this.”
Now if you’re wondering why I was so calm (which I was) it’s because I know beyond any shadow of any doubt that if something really catastrophic had occurred, I would have heard about it from mom or dad, and they wouldn’t have allowed a four-year-old to become the messenger of something terrible that had befallen one of them.
Anyway, my Grandma-spidey-sense kicked in and I could pretty much figure out what constituted a crisis in his lovely little life.
“What happened, tell me!”
“OK. Listen. but I have to show you. You aren’t gonna like it. I’m gonna flip.”
When he flips the camera to show me what’s in his hand, my crystal ball vision was confirmed.
There was damage to the tiger ball. One ear had been slightly chewed off.
“Oh my. Poor Tiger. How did that happen?”
“Well, Grandma, Charlotte used those two little teeth of hers to tear off his ear. Can you believe it?”
“I hope she didn’t eat it, did she?”
“No. I was being kind and shared it with her for just a minute and she damaged him.”
“T, that is pretty sad for Tiger, I agree. I understand you are sad about it. How about if you put it up on a high shelf so that Char can’t get to it and I’ll fix him the next time I’m there. You know how good I am at fixing things, right?”
“OK Grandma, I will. I know exactly where to put him.”
“Now let me see your beautiful face for a minute.”
“There we go. That’s good.”
“I’m going to flip MY camera because I want to show you a surprise I have for you.”
I walked into his bedroom.
“Look, T. What do you see?”
“Yes, way. As soon as I saw how much you loved Tiger, I went back to the store and got another tiger, just in case something happened to him. And the balls were all so cute, I got a kitty cat and a sloth, too. See?”
“DADDY YOU HAVE TO COME HERE AND SEE WHAT GRANDMA HAS.YOU WON’T BELIEVE IT. HURRY AND SEE!!”
“A sloth? Show me again. Grandma, you know how much I love sloths, don’t you?”
(Says Daddy, “Good call, Grandma. He was really upset.”)
“T, I’m going to mail them to you first thing in the morning and you should have them by Saturday. That’s three days from now.”
“Grandma, can you go to the post office NOW and mail them to me?”
“It’s a bit late in the day, so it will have to be in the morning, but I promise I’ll do it first thing, OK?”
“DAD, GRANDMA’S GOING TO MAIL THEM TO ME FIRST THING IN THE MORNING.”
“Now we have that problem solved, don’t we? That will make everything better, don’t you think? Maybe it will be a good idea not to let Char get too close to the balls so that she doesn’t chew on them, right? She’s still such a little one and is learning what can and can’t go in her mouth. We need to be very careful with her.”
Apparently we were done with that subject and his fears were sufficiently allayed because he entered the Twilight Zone with his next topic…
“Grandma? I’m going to pick you up from the airport tomorrow. It might take me a week to get there, but I’m going to be there and the first thing you’ll say is, ‘There’s my Theo!!””
“Whoa, um, T, I’m not actually going to get on an airplane tomorrow, you know that, don’t you?”
“It’s going to take me a long time to get there, probably a week, but I’ll be there.”
“I hope I can see you really soon, Angel Boy, and then I will give you the BIGGEST HUG ever.”
“OK, Grandma, Bye.”
And that was it.
Whew, good thing I’m Grandma to the rescue. Crisis averted.
If only all disasters were so easily solved, right?
My little guy and I LOVE LOVE to search for rocks and seashells and feathers and other treasures.
It doesn’t matter if we’re walking in the neighborhood or at the beach or in the mountains, we make time to search for Mother Nature’s precious gifts.
Holding a rock in his little (but almost as big as mine) hand, he says, “Is this a keeper, Grandma?”
I take a look, think for a minute, and reply, “No, not that one. It’s not asking me to come home. Let’s leave it for someone else to find and bring to their house.”
“How about THIS one, Grandma?”
“Oh YES, T! That’s exactly the kind I love. It’s perfect.”
“OK, you bring it home with you and I’ll see it when we come to your house.”
“Why do you love rocks so much?”
“Great question, T. I love them because they make me happy and I like to collect pretty things. Why do YOU like rocks?”
“They make ME happy, too, Grandma!”
“OK. Think about this. You like it when you get presents in the mail, right? Well, this is getting presents too, but they don’t cost money and we get to have so much fun finding them together, so when we’re not together, we can remember what fun we had.”
“Hey, T, is this the kind that you like?”
I’m holding a pure white oval rock.
“Oh yes! Do you want it, Grandma?”
“That’s very kind of you to think about me, T, but this one is for you. Let’s look for more.”
At this point, all my pockets are full and weighted down by rocks and seashells, and my backpack has no more room, either.
“T, look at me, I’m all loaded down! Let’s leave some to find next time, OK?”
“Grandma, we love rocks so much, don’t we? I put the special ones in the little box you sent me. Where do you keep yours?”
“My special favorites are on the windowsill in my bedroom, so I can see them every day and think about you.”
“Can you take a picture of them and send it to me?”
I was on the phone yesterday evening, talking to my littlest Angel Boy who was beyond excited that the box of fairy garden bits and pieces had arrived.
There are fairy gardens all over his neighborhood and he’s fascinated exactly the same way I am.
A long while back, pre-Covid, I had gotten a lot of things from my local Dollar Tree to make a fairy garden here at Casa de Enchanted Seashells, but the trip they had scheduled to visit me had to be cancelled, so that’s why I sent them.
As I was chatting with him, watching him place the little gnomes and owls and house and bridge in a corner of his front yard, I looked up and saw the most amazing shadows on the wall.
They’re some of the fifteen windchimes that line the house on the deck. The sea turtle swimming across the wall made me smile.
Four going on thirteen. That’s Angel Boy 2.0, or as he likes to be referred to when he’s cooking: “Mr. Ovens”.
I have no idea where he gets that precocious attitude. Well, yes I do, but that’s another story.
Since the pandemic has eliminated all of our in-person visits, T-boy and I have been chatting on the phone a lot, sometimes several times a day.
If he sees my favorite breed of dog walk by his house, he likes to call me and say, “Grandma, I just saw a Border Collie, you love Border Collies, don’t you?”
Or he’ll call and flip the camera around to show me his weather, “It’s supposed to rain today but right now there’s some blue sky and clouds.” “What’s your weather like today at your house, Grandma?”
He likes to call me after dinner when Mom is giving baby a bath and putting her to bed and before his bath and bed routine. Dad is usually working in the garden and I’ll get a call.
“Hello, my special friend! How was your day? ”
“GOOOD. I’m outside with Daddy. You know what, Grandma? I had to call you. I swear. Daddy went on a skateboard and didn’t wear his helmet again. I swear. I told Daddy you want him to wear his helmet but he doesn’t. He wears it on his bicycle but not when he’s skating with me. I wear my helmet, Grandma.”
“Thank you for telling me about Daddy. And I’m so proud of you for making good choices and wearing YOUR helmet. Well done!”
“Let me talk to Daddy, OK?”
And then I hear…
“Dad? Daddy? Jay? Jas? JASON NATHANIEL!! Grandma wants to talk with you. I told her about the helmet situation.”
It cracks me up every single time I hear T call his daddy by his other names using the same exact inflection that he’s heard. Pretty adorable.
“Oh you did, huh? Hello, Grandma.” Says the original boy who stole my heart so many years ago.
“DADDY, I was just informed that you are still not wearing your helmet when you skate with T. You do not need to be told about traumatic brain injuries, you know all about that. Who will take care of your babies when you are incapacitated?”
“Geez, he’s a tattletale haha. I wear it sometimes.”
“Dad, did you hear what Grandma said?”
“Hey, T, I have an idea. Tell Daddy that I won’t allow him to go surfing the next time you guys come to visit if he doesn’t make good choices and wear his helmet.”
I hear him yelling at the top of his lungs, “DAD! GRANDMA SAID YOU CAN’T GO SURFING IF YOU DON’T WEAR YOUR HELMET!”
Then I hear Dad, “OK, tell Grandma I will.”
“Grandma, did you hear that? Daddy said he would wear his helmet.”
“Awesome job, T. We love Daddy and we want him to be safe just like we want you to be safe, right?”
“Right, Grandma. Hey, look at me jump! Grandma, I can jump so high! Grandma, did you send me a box of presents? Did you send The Borrowers Aloft?”
“I did, you’ll get the box in a couple of days.”
“DAD!!! JAY!!! I swear, I told you Grandma sent the second Borrower’s book! I knew she did. I told you not to buy it, I remember Grandma said she was going to send it.”
“OK Grandma, I’m going to go now. I’m going to have a bath. High five, Grandma.”
He likes to “high five” the phone.
“Bye, T. I love you.”
“Bye Grandma, love you, too. I’m going to hit the red button now.”
Wednesday marked the first night of Passover 2020.
Although my grandfather was a rabbi and we used to observe most of the Jewish religious dates, it was much more for the fun than any strict adherence to dogma.
Hanukkah was the fave cos of all the prezzies of course, and Sukkot is cool cos it was a gathering of the harvest, and Passover/Pesach was chock full of symbolism and the time for the youngest member of the family (usually me) to have center stage reciting the Four Questions to explain what Passover is all about. (see below)
How is this night different from all other nights? This is one year none of us will ever forget.
Growing up, my son wasn’t too interested in anything Jewish, probably because we don’t live in a Jewish community and the lure of beach and ocean and skateboarding was more important, so I didn’t really push religion on him because in all honesty, I don’t really care.
For me, seeing a butterfly or growing and eating our own fruit and veggies is equally as spiritual or more so than being forced to sit in a smelly synagogue and recite endless words.
However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by my son and DIL’s interest in dipping their toes (along with Angel Boy 2.0’s) into the ritual and symbolism of certain Jewish holidays.
For instance, last night we all gathered together to celebrate Passover dinner. Since they are physically located in the Pacific Northwest and I’m here in SoCal and we obviously can’t be together right now because of the pandemic restrictions, I was able to be included via FaceTime, which was actually pretty awesome. I think the original Charlotte would approve.
Keepin’ it real, they set a place for Elijah, upon which my grandson placed a very realistic looking furry fake rat. Yup, he’s his daddy’s boy for sure. He had grape juice instead of wine, and if the way he drank it and kept refilling his glass is any indication of future behavior, well, ’nuff said.
I still have the Four Questions memorized, tucked away somewhere up in my gray matter, so I helped with the pronunciation, while my son read the story of Passover and they followed the rules of eating the symbolic foods on the Sedar Plate.
Angel Boy 2.0 ran off to find the afikomen (a piece broken off from a matzo during a Seder and put aside to be eaten at the end of the meal. (It’s traditionally hidden during the Seder to be searched for by the children.) There’s a really funny Curb Your Enthusiasm episode about a Passover dinner, not sure what season, but it’s on Amazon Prime.
It ended with latkes and matzo ball soup (for them) and tofu for me. There’s always a silver lining and always a rainbow after a storm, if you keep your eyes open.
Here’s some info about Passover:
The story about the origin of Passover is also the story of the life of Moses. For a time, the Israelites lived in peace and prosperity amongst the Egyptians until a new Pharaoh saw them as a threat to his power. He enslaved them and ordered all their sons to be killed at birth to prevent a new leader from arising.
According to the story, one mother was able to conceal the birth of her son, Moses. When she could no longer hide him, she hid him amongst the bulrushes. The Pharaoh’s daughter noticed the baby and decided to adopt him. She sent Moses’ sister to find an Israelite woman to nurse him, so he was reunited with his mother. When Moses was older, he moved into the palace where the Pharaoh’s daughter raised him as her own son.
As a young man, Moses noticed the suffering of the Israelites and his actions in retaliation forced him to leave Egypt to become a shepherd. God appeared to Moses one day in the form of a burning bush and commanded him to return to Egypt to lead his people into freedom with the help of his brother Aaron. Although Moses and Aaron repeatedly begged the Pharaoh to free the children of Israel, they were not successful. As punishment, God inflicted 10 plagues on the Egyptians. After the 10th plague, in which all first-born children of the Egyptians died, the Pharaoh agreed to free all Israelites and to allow them to leave Egypt with their possessions. As they had to leave in a hurry, they did not have time to allow bread to rise, so they baked unleavened bread, known as matzoh (plural matzah), for the journey.
Many aspects of Passover have a symbolic meaning. Cleaning the house to remove chametz, using a candle, a feather, a wooden spoon, and a paper bag, symbolizes the removal of egotism and spiritual coarseness from life. The matzoh represents the haste in which the Israelites left Egypt, and the red wine or grape juice represents the blood of sacrifices and male circumcision. Special kitchen utensils and the Seder Plates are used in the special Passover meals.
The Seder Plate consists of 3 matzoh piled on top of each other on a plate or clean cloth, which are then covered with another plate or cloth. Next, small pieces of symbolic foods are then placed on top. The foods are: zeroa , a roasted shank bone or chicken neck; beitzah, a hard boiled egg; maror, freshly grated horseradish or the stalks of romaine lettuce; charoset, a mixture of chopped apples, nuts, and wine; karpas, a non-bitter vegetable, such as an onion or a boiled potato; and chazeret, more horseradish or romaine lettuce. A dish of salt water and wine accompanies the Seder Plate. Each item on the plate represent a different aspect of the Passover story and they are eaten in a particular order and in specific combinations during the ceremonial meal. From https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/jewish/first-day-of-passover
The Four Questions:
?מַה נִּשְׁתַּנָּה הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה מִכָּל הַלֵּילוֹת Ma nishtanah halailah hazeh mikol haleilot?
Why is this night different from all other nights?
.שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין חָמֵץ וּמַצָּה, הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה – כֻּלּוֹ מַצָּה Shebchol haleilot anu okhlin hametz umatzah; halailah hazeh, kuloh matzah.
On all other nights we eat leavened products and matzah, and on this night only matzah.
.שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין שְׁאָר יְרָקוֹת – הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה (כֻּלּוֹ) מָרוֹר Shebchol haleilot anu okhlin sh’ar y’rakot; halailah hazeh, maror. On all other nights we eat all vegetables, and on this night only bitter herbs.
.שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אֵין אָנוּ מַטְבִּילִין אֲפִילוּ פַּעַם אֶחָת – הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה שְׁתֵּי פְעָמִים Shebkhol haleilot ein anu matbilin afilu pa’am ehat; halailah hazeh, shtei f’amim. On all other nights, we don’t dip our food even once, and on this night we dip twice.
.שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין בֵּין יוֹשְׁבִין וּבֵין מְסֻבִּין – הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלָּנוּ מְסֻבִּין
Shebchol haleilot anu okhlin bein yoshvin uvein m’subin; halailah hazeh, kulanu m’subin. On all other nights we eat sitting or reclining, and on this night we only recline.
Angel Boy 2.0 had a cold so he stayed home from preschool.
“I’m a little snotty today, Grandma!” He was feeling much better after a long morning nap. We were in the living room looking at the windy day while he enjoyed a protein smoothie popsicle (see recipe below).
For the past couple of days, we had noticed a big truck parked in front of his house, taking up more than its fair share of the street. No one knew who it belonged to but we speculated that it possibly was a contractor’s vehicle working at a neighbor’s house.
Recently, Theo has been noticing different cars and trucks and asking for them to be identified. “I said, that’s a Dodge Ram truck. He is so rude to park there every day. He needs to park somewhere else.”
Theo repeated, “Yeah, he needs to park somewhere else. He’s so RUDE.”
All day long we would check to see if the truck was still there and it was, so it became an ongoing joke about how RUDE it was to park in front of Theo’s house so there wasn’t enough room for HIS car.
At dinnertime, we were sharing interesting stories about our day and in a moment of silence, Theo said, “Mommy and Daddy, that Dodge Ram truck is so RUDE!”
There was such a shocked expression on Mom and Dad’s faces, I really wish I had a photo to capture it because this is what it SOUNDED like Theo said…
“That goddamn fuck is so RUDE!”
Dodge Ram truck = goddam fuck —a very expressive three-year-old with a mouth stuffed full of lasagna and a stuffy nose.
For a brief moment, I had a feeling they thought I had taught him how to swear like a merchant mariner. However, when I hastened to translate, we couldn’t stop laughing.
Until the mysterious man drove away, Theo kept saying, “He’s so RUDE with his Dodge Ram truck!”
Just another brilliant slice of conversation with this always enchanting human.
Cherries (any frozen or fresh fruit) Banana – one 100% fruit juice — 8oz Kale and/or spinach — handful Vegan Protein Powder–one scoop Cinnamon to taste
Combine kale and juice. Blend until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend to desired thickness. Pour into popsicle freezer containers, the ones with the little sticks. Freeze until firm.They are so healthy and delicious!