I have a lot of posts in my drafts folder; this sweet little convo took place the last time I saw the Angels.
“Tell me one fun thing you did at kindergarten today, my beautiful boy.”
(Note: I try to never ask questions that will never elicit a yes or no response.)
“I can subitize. Can you, Grandma?”
“What word did you say?”
“SUBITIZE!.” “SUBITIZE!!!” he yells RIGHT in my ear.
[Laughing] “Dude, I can hear you just fine, I don’t think I’ve ever heard that word. Say it again slowly.”
“What is that?”
“It’s like this” and he grabs a domino, looks at the amount of dots on it, and says “Eight”.
“Do another one, T.”
“How do you know without counting each one?”
He shrugs his TEENAGER-ISH shoulders, “I dunno, that’s subitize, Grandma.”
OK, well of course I know how to look at a group of items and my brain automatically counts them, but I didn’t know there was an actual word for it, so I learned something from our little kindergartner and he was BEYOND pleased that he could teach me for a change.
“Mommy, I taught Grandma something!” He was so proud of himself for knowing something that I did not.
From that day forward, our game is to say “Subitize me!” so he can quickly subitize sections of tangerines or apple slices or carrot sticks lined up to dip into hummus.
Did you know this word? Am I the only one who didn’t??
Subitizing is the rapid, accurate, and confident judgments of numbers performed for small numbers of items. The term was coined in 1949 by E.L. Kaufman et al., and is derived from the Latin adjective subitus (meaning “sudden”) and captures a feeling of immediately knowing how many items lie within the visual scene, when the number of items present falls within the subitizing range. Sets larger than about four items cannot be subitized unless the items appear in a pattern that the person is familiar with (such as the six dots on one face of a die).(Wiki)
Ram Dass said it: “We’re all just walking each other home”, but he probably didn’t mean it like THIS.
Side note: I don’t know much about Ram Dass except for this quote and the fact that he went to Harvard — also that he dropped acid with Timothy Leary.
After my grueling DIY brick patio project, I took a break and went for a sunny walk around the lagoon. As I was heading up the hill toward Casa de Enchanted Seashells, my phone rang and it was my two favorite Angel Boys on FaceTime.
“Grandma Grandma, Guess what? We’re coming to you for a visit and Daddy says I’m old enough to go to Legoland ALL day and I can go on all the rides and the waterpark and you’re coming too!”
“Hey buddy, that’s so cool, I can’t wait!”
(You need to know that I wasn’t telling the truth. NOPE. I want to spend an entire day at Legoland about as much as I EVER wanted to go to Disneyland, which is honestly NOT AT ALL. Although I did take the original Angel Boy to Disneyland one time when he was seven years old because he wanted to go, it’s not my cup of tea. Too many crowds, too much noise. It’s overwhelming.)
But for the Angels, I will endure it. I want him to have that memory. These days don’t last forever.
“Grandma, you’re not home, I can see palm trees behind you, where are you?”
“Good eyes, T! I walked around the lagoon and now I’m almost home.”
“Hey, we all went for a walk too, it’s raining here, but I see blue sky at your house.”
“DADDY GRANDMA WENT FOR A WALK TOO JUST LIKE US AND SHE HAS BLUE SKY.”
“Walk me home, T, let’s walk and talk, and I’ll show you what I made for you and C to have tea parties when you’re here.”
“T, stop playing with the emojis and talk to me. OK, that heart is sweet, but let’s talk!”
“Can you spell ‘dog’ for me.”
“Awesome. You’re so smart, that’s too easy.”
“Now spell ‘cat’.”
When your daddy was little, we used to walk together and spell and count, too, right on this same street!”
“How about we do some math. Count by tens to 100.”
“Add 2 plus 2.”
“Grandma, that’s too easy. It’s four.”
“What’s Daddy doing?”
“He’s pruning a tree, see? (He flips the phone.) Mommy and C took a different way home so they’re not back yet.”
“All right, I’m back, see? Thanks for walking me home, my beautiful boy.”
“Yes, I see the garage, Grandma!”
“Now I’m going to flip the phone. Here’s the special place I made for your tea parties.”
“Char’s home now, too.”
“CHAR COME SEE WHAT GRANDMA MADE US!”
“Grandma planted raspberries too, Char! YUM. Just like we have, right?”
“Hi, Angel Girl, did you have a lovely walk?”
“Grandma, Char’s grabbing the phone and we’re inside. BYE!”
“Love you, T.”
“I love you, Grandma!”
Yes, we are walking each other home and this heart is FILLED with gratitude for the journey.
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.”
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.
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?
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!