T found this caterpillar (pretty sure it’s a Monarch) on a plant, got a box and made a home for it with leaves and flowers to eat.
For an entire day, he referred to it as his pet and was constantly checking on its welfare.
“I love him so much, he’s beautiful.”
Late afternoon, he chose to release it under a shady plant because he thought it would have access to a fresher food source.
With me by his side, we picked a plant we both agreed would be tasty.
No sooner than he put it down and we watched it crawl away than a lizard ran over, grabbed it in his mouth and swallowed it.
We both gasped in horror as the realization of what occurred fully blossomed in our minds. It happened so fast and took us a moment to actually process what we saw.
T, sitting cross-legged on the ground, lowered his head and began to sob in genuine lament, tears staining his face and dripping down his chin.
“WHY, Grandma, why?” He said, “I loved my pet, why did the lizard eat him, why?”
Hearing T cry, Dad came out, I told him what happened, and he gathered T in his arms to comfort him as we gently tried to explain how nature works. His sadness broke our hearts, but I’m so proud of the compassionate way his dad helped him work through these huge emotions.
“I hate lizards. I’m going to hurt them.” Although retaliation was his first solution; it’s obviously not one he would be allowed to do!
After a while, and after a mango/black cherry ice cream cone (thank goodness I had made a double batch), he started to calm down and recover his normally cheery disposition.
He’s an extremely sensitive child and this was his first experience with the raw and gritty side of how animals live and survive.
I found two more caterpillars for him (whew) and this time we didn’t release them and they’re still here in his Spiderman bucket, gnawing their way through leaf after leaf.
He doesn’t know they’re only tomato hornworms and that’s going to be our little secret, right?
My life’s odyssey doesn’t seem to be a straight line to bliss, that’s for sure.
The oven situation was NOT the easy fix I’d hoped for. It’s going to take a whole new electronic panel which’ll take several days to get here.
On the glass half full side, the technician helped me purchase the part online, saving about $100, so I appreciated his honesty. He didn’t charge for today’s visit and diagnosis, and the cost for his labor is reasonable.
As I bemoaned the horrible timing, he suggested I purchase a toaster oven. I had meant to do that a long time ago and forgot, so this was a great solution to my dilemma. I ran out and got one that day AND it was on sale, a fact that makes this Grandma very happy.
If every cloud really has a silver lining, mine is now pure gold with diamond sparkles. Charlotte’s new behavior is to run at me from across the room, jump in my arms, wrap herself around me and say, “Charlotte hug and kiss Grandma!” Over and over again. That two-year-old with the titian hair and her curly big brother expressing their affectionate and exuberant joie de vivre wipe away any and all angst about the oven.
Just now from Theo at 5:26 a.m., “Wake up, Princess Rosebud!” Right behind him from Char at 5:27 a.m.,”Grandma, where’s apple pie?”
It might be a day late, but they WILL have their apple pie!
Char has a teensy bit more of a calm way about her; slightly less intense than her force of nature brother, but still as determined to exist in this world on her terms.
She calls flies “fly guys”. No one is really sure where this monniker came from, but now we all refer to them that way.
Also for some reason, she doesn’t like ants. It seems as if she believes they purposely infringe on her space. When she sees ants, she crouches down and blows on them, “Gone, ant!”
I’ve attempted to explain that they have as much right to live here on planet Earth as we do and we need to be kind, and I know her big brother understands that, but Char views the world from a different lens.
Like I said, C is slightly less feral than her brother and dad (and mom too).
She really doesn’t like to go camping.
“Home NOW!” she says.
“Did you have fun camping in the mountains?”
A resounding “NO” from Char. The girl loves her comforts and her lotions and her sparkles.
I’m sure you can guess who appropriated all of my Hello Kitty items.
THUMP like a dinosaur as he jumps from the top step.
Crawling in bed with me at 5:30 a.m. to chat about dreams and breakfast and plans for the day,
“Grandma, did you make more cookies?” “Grandma, did the coyotes come last night? Can we check the camera?” “Grandma, can we do the slip and slide now?” “Grandma, are there a lot of kids at the park now?” “Grandma, Char is still sleeping, so is mommy and daddy.” “Grandma, when Daddy was a little boy and went to Kelly, did he play outside too?” “Did he have a slip and slide like mine?” “I’m going to kindergarten in September but not at Kelly.” “Grandma, can I have this rock? Can I bring the giant transformer home? Can I bring the red ball home?” “Grandma, we are staying here for a really long time, right Grandma?” “How many more days?” “Can we go to the lagoon today? It’s not as salty as the beach.” “I counted all the steps up to my bedroom. I can jump from almost all the way up. Want to watch me, Grandma?” “Where’s Dad going? WHERE ARE YOU GOING, DADDY?” (Early morning surf sesh, that’s where.)
“Get up, Grandma!“
And so it goes…
Sliced fruit, oatmeal, buckwheat pancakes, breakfast burritos, bagels, and toast–all before 7:00 a.m.
Second feeding after park or beach at about 10 a.m. Lunch at 11:45 a.m. Char down for a nap at noonish. More play, crafts while I get ready for after nap snacks to include my famous smoothies, cut up veggies and hummus, and probably a tofu hot dog or leftover dinner from the night before.
The beach, south of the jetty. There’s a dolphin out there but it’s impossible to see.
Slip and slide, two kiddie pools, running around. And around. And around. AND AROUND.
Indoors for a little inside play while I start dinner; maybe another trip to the park or a walk around the neighborhood. Here they are fascinated by the kindergarten kids.
Early first dinner at 4:30, more play, bath at 6ish, nighttime snack of sliced apples and almond butter, books and bed at 7pm.
For me? Exhaustion and joy equally by 7:30.
And then there’s almost two-year-old Charlotte…
“Grammy, come HERE! Help Charlotte take off shirt.” “Cookie for Charlotte!” NO! Not that one, other one!” “NO, I can do it!” “NO. STOP IT!” “Cuppa tea for Charlotte!” “Super cute baby at the park.” “Stop it, Theo! Don’t say that!” “Grandma, find mermaid!” “Grandma, water, please.” “Not that hat! Where’s Peppa hat?” “Go to park now.” “I see bunny. Theo, come see!” “Charlotte touch lizard?” “Bagel with cream cheese and jelly.” “Where’s Daddy and Mommy?” (Surfing, of course.)
Like I said, joy and exhaustion, but JOY wins every time. This is their first visit since Covid, the first time they left their house to fly anywhere in more than a year.
We had excellent weather except for one odd drizzly day. We spent hours and hours outside exploring the garden and backyard; watching the bunnies and lizards (Char had never seen one) and monarch butterflies and all the hummingbirds and other birds that live in the trees. One morning we checked the wildlife camera and saw a bobcat. That’s only happened one other time! Sharing my love for animals is high on the list of what I want my grandma legacy to be.
At the airport, “I miss you already, Grandma. Can we come back in two days, Mommy?” “Miss you, Grandma”, from Char.
Hugs and kisses all around.
Now it’s SO quiet. No children laughing, screaming, no one yelling at the top of his lungs from the highest point in the garden, “GRANDMA, CAN YOU SEE ME?”
Yup. I miss them already for sure, but they’ll be back in a few weeks so I need to REST up.
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!
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!
“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?
Is there anyone that doesn’t love balloons? We know they need to be disposed of properly to be good ocean stewards, but balloons are fun and festive, except when they POP. I still scream when I hear the loud explosion of a popped balloon.
Do you think this curly haired little girl in her flannel nightgown might have imagined C.S. Lewis’ quote would come to fruition?
For the present is the point at which time touches eternity.
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?
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.