Two Humans and a Leopard Slug

Could anything be more adorable?

No TV, no video game, no tablet, just two angel children on a trail in the forest intently examining a Leopard Slug, or Limax maximus.

No fear, just curiosity.

Random Chat with a Princess: Secret Revealed

Those two little humans I’m honored to spend time with love nothing more than to perch themselves on the bar stools, four elbows on the countertop in order to scrutinize and narrate my every move in the kitchen like a TV chef.

From chopping onions to slicing red peppers for an afternoon snack, to helping roll out pizza dough, I’m the star of the show.

“We have that same kind of hummus, Grandma.”
“Grandma, my almond butter at my house looks like yours!”
“I go to Trader Joes with Daddy. He lets me get snack bars. I like strawberry.”
“Did you get your almond butter from Trader Joes, Grandma?”

“I have a Traders too, Angel Girl, and a lot of the food I get at my store is the same food you get at your store. The next time I go there, come with me and we can compare all the labels and the similar types of food. Won’t that be fun?”

There was a unanimous request for breakfast burritos, so I placed all the ingredients on the counter and started preparing them like a short order cook.

When I opened the plastic bag of tortillas, I saw that SOME of them had a TINY–literally microscopic– bit of mold on them. (Ooops.)

That did NOT escape the eagle eyed surveillance of a curly haired little girl. She doesn’t miss a THING.

“Grandma, we have tortillas at our house too, but ours don’t have little green spots on them.”

“Why do your tortillas have little green spots on them, Grandma?”

She was seriously conjuring up a memory of the tortillas at her house and comparing them to these with admittedly very TINY moldy spots on them. As a reminder, this child is two and a half years old and speaks in complete sentences like her kindergarten brother.

I couldn’t stop laughing to myself because I have a slight problem I’ve tried to hide from everyone. It’s this: once in a great while, I confess that I’ve been known to camouflage or cut out mold on bread or tortillas and this brilliant and observant child just outed me to the world.

I poked through the layers of tortillas and found a couple that did NOT have telltale little green spots on them and finished their second breakfast of the day.

(Don’t worry, I don’t make a practice of serving moldy food!)

Later….

“Grammy, why are there so many seashells in your house?”

“Well, you know how much I love seashells and rocks, don’t you? I save them every time we go to the beach at your house and I bring them home.”

In the upstairs bathroom as I ran the water for a bath, T (the math lover) counted all the seashells, forgot where he stopped, and had to restart the count about four times.

“Grandma, there are thirty two seashells just right here.”

“That’s a nice even number”, I said, as we toss all the toys in the bath.

“But they’re everywhere!”

“Well, my friend, I guess you’ll have a lot of counting to do, right? But now it’s bath time, so in you go and then it’ll be time for Char’s bath.”

“Out of the mouths of babes” is so accurate. You gotta be on the top of your game 24/7 with those two bright humans.

Soccer Fever | Goal Oriented

Oh my goodness, this almost six-year-old is growing in all directions by leaps and bounds–and goals.

“Grandma Grandma Grandma, I kicked a goal, it was crazy!”
“I was running and running and then I kicked the ball and I scored a goal!”

“High FIVE to you, buddy! “

(We high-fived through the phone.)

“Do you LOVE It?”

“Oh yes, I love it so much. Daddy says I can sign up for lessons.”

And there you have it, the birth of a future soccer superstar.

There’s video but he’s just a blur, running back and forth FAST, curls bouncing along with him, eyes on the ball, giving an assist to a teammate (where did he learn THAT?)

I think back to when his dad was that age and had no real interest in team sports AT ALL. The coaches always asked him to join: soccer, baseball, football–cos he has those long arms and legs and he was fast too, but he never really cared about stuff like that.

I guess it skipped a generation.

The last time I saw my little buddy, we played ball in the backyard and he was so proud to teach me the proper way to throw a baseball.

“I learned this in PE, Grandma.”

“First you swing your arm, step your foot, and throw. Swing, step, throw.”

“No, like THIS.”

He was very patient with me. I followed his directions and he caught ball after ball and threw them back with determination and accuracy.

“I taught YOU something, Grandma!” “Don’t ever forget…swing, step, throw!”

“Don’t worry, T. I will never forget. Never. I promise.”

“Are you my Grandma?”

I got the Covid booster at my local CVS because it was easier and closer than the location my doc’s office was using. I didn’t want to drive home all the way from Del Mar just in case I had another allergic reaction.

**** You can read about that experience HERE: https://enchantedseashells.com/2021/01/23/rainbows-ivs-my-covid-vaccine-experience/ ****

There was a line even though we all had appointments, but I was glad to see so many people getting vaccines and boosters.

The woman behind me had her four-year-old daughter with her and clearly didn’t anticipate a wait so she hadn’t brought any books or toys for her little girl who was becoming slightly impatient. (Me too!)

I’ve learned that sometimes it helps to distract kids by engaging in conversation and told her how much I liked her sparkly shirt and that did it; I had a friend for life! She responded by telling me she loved my curly hair. I showed her photos of my adorable Angel Kids, the one with hair curlier than mine and the other with fiery titian hair.

“Hey, mom, LOOK! She has red hair just like me!”

“Are you my grandma too?

“No, honey, I’m grandma to this little boy and this little girl.”

“Can I see more pictures?”

Her mom nodded approval, so we spent a few minutes looking at pictures of T and C, which distracted her until it was my turn for the vaccine and we said goodbye.

It wasn’t as fulfilling as spending time with my own angels, but it still felt good to share some of my grandma magic.

It’s been an hour post-booster, and I guess I’ll live. I had a very slight allergic reaction, a little throat issue and asthma. They brought me Gatorade and readied an EpiPen but I didn’t need it because my albuterol inhaler helped forestall a severe respiratory issue. Even thought I had forced hydration for the last couple of days, I was PARCHED and drank the giant thirty two ounce bottle in about five minutes.

When I got home, I took Benadryl and Tylenol because I already had a headache and chills which tells me that I still have a robust immune system, nothing that ginger tea and a soft blanket can’t fix.

Oh, and the nice people from CVS gave me stickers for my Angel Kids, so I’m a happy, fully vaxxed grandma.

Kindergarten Angel Boy

It’s not possible, I keep shaking my head.

It’s time for that brave little bird to take another giant step into autonomy and individuation outside of his nuclear comfort zone.

NOOOO! I’m not ready. Angel Boy 2,0 MIGHT be ready, but I’m not.

I had this conversation with AB 1.0:

  1. If T wants to come home FOR ANY REASON or NO REASON AT ALL, bring him home. No questions asked.
  2. School is a place to have fun and learn new things; it’s not a prison.
  3. If he ever wants to STAY HOME, allow it.
  4. If he ever wants to CALL HOME, allow it.
  5. Again, school is NOT a prison.

These are the guidelines I lived by (and also made sure the teachers and admin knew) and it served us well. During his elementary school years, he called home only one time and that was to merely check that I meant what I said so our trust was never broken. AB loved school, loved to learn, and that’s one of the main reasons I believe why he’s now a professor.

Dad said he remembered, promised, and reminded me they’re only two blocks away from school, so I won’t have to worry.

School should NOT a prison.

School is not a punishment. Going to school shouldn’t be a threat. Neither should threatening to call the teacher if a child misbehaves at home. That’s a recipe for disaster.

Learning and being creative and imaginative is a JOY. I don’t care about attendance; that’s just the district’s hidden agenda to continue the flow of dollars. If a child doesn’t wake up in the morning excited and eager to get to school, it’s the teacher’s fault, and they really do NOT want this ghetto grandma showing up to find out why.

Teehee, that’s not an idle threat, by the way…’nuff said. Fingers crossed that he’ll LOVE it as much as his dad did. Or else.

P.S. In case I forgot to mention it, I used to teach school, K-6. Kindergarten is the most important and pivotal year in a child’s life to set the stage for academic success and nurture an inquisitive mind. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a positive kindergarten experience.

It’s a Pink Kitty Cat Kind of Day

“Owl or kitty cat, what will it be?”

“PINK!”

“What kind of birthday cake should I make for you? Pink owl or pink kitty cat?”

“Pink PIGGY!”

Too late, I already baked and decorated a little pink strawberry frosted kitty cat cake with a pink sparkly collar.

Two-years-old today; bright and beautiful.

This cake might not win any design awards at The Great British Baking Show, but it was a total hit with one particular little girl who loves the color pink and all kitty cats.

Happy Birthday, little princess!

Happy Valentine’s Day From Me to You

My plans were to post this on Sunday, Valentine’s Day, but I’m getting the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine tomorrow and if predictions are correct, I might be too sick to do anything but lay on the sofa rolled up in a warm blanket and watch Netflix or reruns of Bewitched, so here it is!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Image result for 1960's old fashioned vintage valentine cards

I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day in spite of the commercialism. In elementary school, I looked forward to the day we’d give and receive those little Valentine’s Day cards (including the inedible heart-shaped candies.)

Later on, I especially cherished Angel Boy’s handmade cards –which I saved–every single one of them.

There’s something lovely and old fashioned about being thought of as someone’s Valentine, and I like that a lot.

I have simple wants; a bunch of wildflowers is treasured as much as a dozen red roses; all gifts from the heart are appreciated whether it’s a Chanel or a seashell. Or a handmade card from the Angels.

These flowers are called alstroemeria. Native to South America. I prefer their other name,  Lily of the Incas, ‘cos it sounds exotic. I’ve been growing them for about fifteen years. Surprisingly, they do quite well here and are drought tolerant. I’ve even been able to successfully dig up and divide the tubers.

I hope you’re having (will have) a happy, happy day!

To Pee or Not to Pee

That’s the question (with apologies to William Shakespeare).

Quick post:

There’s a lively discussion on NextDoor about a woman who was walking on a local trail with her nine-year-old son when he needed to relieve himself and did so a few feet off the trail in the bushes.

This is not a remote trail, it’s pretty much in the city, paved and well-traveled.

Apparently a woman stopped to stare and made the boy feel uncomfortable. There were quite a few negative comments directed toward the woman who (allegedly) was looking, comments like “mind your own business”…

Mine seems to be the ONLY comment that talked about the possibility that it might be inappropriate for a boy that age to urinate in public.

In my opinion, I think this would be a different story if it was a toddler in the middle of toilet training, but a nine-year-old is too old for that behavior.

Normally I don’t respond to NextDoor because it’s a dark hole like Facebook, but I felt compelled to share my thoughts.

What if it was a nine-year-old girl? Does that change anything?

Obviously, they were in plain sight. I wouldn’t want my son or my grandkids to see someone else’s body parts or something that should be private.

What if there was a predator around?

I’ve hiked a lot in many different wild places and had to find a secret spot myself, but this location isn’t a forest or a remote mountain trail. It’s a mile-long walkway paralleling the railroad tracks with houses and windows all around.

Your opinion?

“I am wonderful.”

Here’s another example of an empowered child, as told to me by my DIL (daughter-in-law).

Two years ago on the first day of preschool (I was there but didn’t witness it personally), T’s friend was holding her mom’s hand and as they walked up to the door, she stopped, threw back her shoulders and declared, “I am wonderful” and walked inside to face the world.

Apparently, no one could figure out exactly where the phrase came from, as mom said she didn’t recall saying it, but we all agreed THAT is the level of self-confidence we should strive for.

We could put that on our bathroom mirror to see every morning as a daily affirmation, our anthem. We are wonderful warriors.

Take a deep breath, hold your head high and say,

I AM WONDERFUL

Wonder full. Full of wonder.

Wonder: a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.

We could hope for nothing less than to be full of wonder: tending to excite wonder; surprising, extraordinary.

It makes waking up every day just a little happier to be full of wonder as opposed to full of anhedonia; reduced motivation, unable to experience joy in any of the things one had previously found fulfilling. In the DSM-5, anhedonia is a component of depressive disorders, substance-related disorders, psychotic disorders, and personality disorders, where it is defined by either a reduced ability to experience pleasure, or a diminished interest in engaging in pleasurable activities.

It’s like living in a world that’s shades of gray as opposed to one that’s full of color.

Colorful/wonderful.

Beach Walk

I got up early, made my French roast coffee (black), observed from the video in the outdoor camera that my coyote came to visit last night around 3:30 a.m.,  got dressed and walked to the beach while it was still overcast and relatively cool.

It’s a hilly walk and I was already sore from a hard workout yesterday, but I kept going. I wanted to avoid the crowds that were sure to descend as soon as the sun came out.

Here’s a couple pics of a very flat Pacific Ocean, although it’s so crowded, I don’t think epic surf was anyone’s goal.

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And then I saw this gem of sage advice on the sidewalk in front of the house where a couple of feral children reside. I know they’re little assholes because at one time I saw them throw rocks at their cat and I told their dad, who turned out to be a bigger asshole. Apple def didn’t fall far from the tree in their genetic pool. He didn’t respond in a kind manner when I told him he was successfully breeding future sociopaths.

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