The call to serve

AGMA isn’t sure I’ll be around to post after today.

I don’t mean to upset you, but I feel like I need to prepare you for the worst possible scenario.

Just in case.

No, I don’t have COVID or another illness that is about to take me out. Yet.

No, I haven’t decided to give up blogging. AGMA is one of my “touchpoints of sanity” in the totally insane world that is 2020.

No, I’m not going into exile to escape what is sure to be a very rough time in the US over the next 4 months. Although I’m sorely tempted.

Son#1 and DIL will be going away by themselves for a well deserved long weekend to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary.

Soooooo – AGMA and Hubs will be babysitting our 3 young grandchildren (ages 5, 3 and 14 months) for 3 days and nights by ourselves.

BY OURSELVES!!!!

(Did I just shout?)

Well, that’s not entirely true. My DIL has a lovely young lady come over during the day Monday through Friday to help her with the kiddos. The kids adore their nanny and she loves them so it’s really a great arrangement.

Super nanny will be around to help us on Thursday and Friday into the early evening. But we’re going to be solo at night and on Saturday and part of the day on Sunday.

Oh the humanity!

I’m not entirely sure I’ll survive.

Please don’t get me wrong… AGMA loves my 3 grandchildren dearly.

We sold our house, put most of our earthly possessions in storage, and moved over 700 miles away to be closer to them. During a global pandemic. And (of course) brought lots of toys with us.

And the 3 grandchildren I have now are it. There are no additions on the horizon nor will there be.

Zip. Nada, Zilch.

Son#2 is more than happy being a life long bachelor and having to only care for 2 cats.

Son#1, the kiddo’s father, saw to it, surgically, that there will be no additional rug rats added to the brood soon after #3 came along last year. If you catch my drift…

So these 3 precious children are it. They are the legacy that AGMA will be leaving to world when the sand runs out of my hour glass. My chance to achieve immortality of sorts. The future of my DNA.

Plus they are just a cute and adorable and personable as they can be.

I love them more than words can say.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m looking forward to spending a whole weekend with them. Alone. I mean, seriously?

There are a number of reasons for this:

  1. AGMA isn’t as spritely as I used to be (which wasn’t all that great to start with!) I get tired (translation = exhausted) trying to keep up with them.
  2. Hubs has a neurological condition that impairs his balance and mobility so this means that I will be doing all the “stair running” (they have 3 floors) and carrying of anybody or anything that may need carrying.
  3. We like to sleep at night. The kids don’t. The older ones often pile into their parent’s bed in the middle of the night. This is the very same bed that we will be sleeping in this weekend. It could be difficult to sleep with a foot in my stomach and an arm across my face or a squirmy 3 year old at my head.
  4. After 3 nights of interrupted sleep piled onto exhausting, stair running days, AGMA will not be somebody that anybody will want to be around for any length of time. Just sayin’…
  5. Most importantly, we like to be the “good guys” to the kids. We don’t want to have to discipline them or order them to pick up their toys or tell them they aren’t allowed to have that extra snack. You know – stuff parents normally do. But we might have to do all that this weekend. And that’s just no fun.

But we knew there would be assignments like this when we moved up to Chicago. We were aware of the risks.

We are the brave, the strong. We are grandparents. And we will serve despite the risks. That’s what grandparents do when called to action.

Even if we have a nasty case of bone spurs.

Please remember AGMA fondly just in case I don’t come out on the other side of the weekend…

Have curriculum, will coordinate

We’ve been apart for what feels like forever.

AGMA found out that WordPress has a new editor! I’m giving it a try so who knows what this post is going to look like. Where the heck is the word count?

And Andrew at Andrews View of the Week moved from California to Nevada.

What other big changes have gone on out there while I was in hibernation?

Despite crazies like AGMA and Andrew who decide to sell their homes and move in the midst of a pandemic, I think that most folks are like Marty over at Snakes in the Grass and have pretty much been staying home. He complained that there’s just not much to blog about when there’s a wild virus raging outside your door. He volunteered to move to Chicago to help us grandparent TMWGITW. I told him that the children (5, 3 and 1) would indeed provide the needed inspiration for amusing blogging.

The 5 year old, my Boo, keeps himself entertained by asking Echo (at his house) and Alexa (at our apartment) to do fart sounds. There are even fart songs.

Who knew?

Evidently Boo knew….

We are closing on 4 weeks in Chicago.

Other than a horrific pandemic that has basically gone unchecked in the US due to totally incompetent leadership leading to close to 5,000,000 total infections, and, tragically and totally unnecessary, nearly 160,000 deaths, things are going pretty well for AGMA.

After living in a different city and state from our son and DIL since they were a “thing” and had kids, wondering how all of this togetherness was going to play out was sort of natural.

Comedy, tragedy, melodrama, tragicomedy, theater of the absurd…??

Adding to the concern was that our relationship has had it rocky patches over the years. Some very rocky patches. Like Rocky Mountain rocky patches!

If I was a betting woman (which I am!) I have a sneakin’ suspicion that son and DIL had the same concerns.

But due to AGMA’s diplomatic skills, charm, and easy going (WTF???) personality, not to mention the fact that the kids think Nana is the bomb because she risks her life in their bounce house, things have been going swimmingly.

My Boo will be in kindergarten this year. Thankfully Chicago Public Schools just recently announced that, for the first quarter at least, all learning will be virtual. No instruction in the human Petri dish called a school classroom.

It’s cute how some school districts (and businesses, restaurants, airlines, theme parks, etc) act like everything is okey dokey, back to normal, and have rolled out the red carpet for all comers.

Just adorable. If you’re the coronavirus.

Because Boo will be doing online learning, my DIL asked if I would be one of his curriculum coordinators.

Huh??

AGMA said yes, but I have no idea what that entails. I guess I’ll find out. Should I be worried?

But it will actually give me something to do. In between visits to TMWGCITW, activities in the AGMA Hobbit hole are few and far between. TV, social media, some reading. And it’s small and dark in there. And I’m together with Hubs almost 24/7.

Oh, the humanity!

So yes – I’d be HAPPY to be Boo’s “curriculum coordinator” if it gets me out of the cave!

One bright spot in a year full of huge spiders and venomous snakes is that professional cycling is back!!

OMG, there IS a God…

Those of you who’ve been reading AGMA for a spell know how much I LOVE men’s professional road cycling.

About 10 years ago, I found that the Tour de France was the “gateway race” to a late in life, absolute obsession with young men in spandex climbing mountains on bicycles with skinny wheels. And since it’s 2020, COVID sucks and I live in a “garden apartment”, AGMA’s gone all in with watching races on TV and online. I have subscriptions to 2 different streaming services that will be streaming different races.

AGMA was supposed to go to France last month to follow the last week of the Tour. Clearly that didn’t happen for multiple reasons. The Tour ended up not being cancelled, but postponed until 8/20. But since Americans aren’t allowed to basically travel anywhere in the WORLD because of the Orange Covidiot throwing up his tiny hands and saying “It is what it is.”, I’ll be staying in my Hobbit hole during the Tour. So AGMA figures that paying for a couple of subscriptions for streaming services is the least that I can do for myself!

‘Cause it’s really all about me…

AGMA hopes all of you are treating yourselves to some special things during this surreal apocalyptic year of 2020. Hopefully that doesn’t involve any controlled narcotic substances. Or alcohol.

Okay – maybe some alcohol.

Maybe more than some.

Stay safe my friends!

P.S. Did I say it’s sooooo good to be back??

Table for 5

tater_tots_closeup.0

We have a baby!!

AGMA is happy to announce the birth of a male grandchild, who will forever be called my sweet little tater tot!

By me.

HIs parents must never know.  They don’t approve of “cute” nicknames.

Party poopers.

We’ll just call him TT for short.

Actually, he was born before I posted my last post on June 26th, but we weren’t privy to this information until several hours after he arrived.  I guess they were bonding or something.

Whatever…

I fly up to see the little critter and his older siblings on Thursday.  And Son#1 and DIL.  Of course.  

AGMA has to be honest.  I feel a special bond with TT even though we’ve never set eyes on each other yet.

We’re both the #3 child in the family pecking order.

There have been many studies done about the impact of birth order and a child’s personality and emotional development.

Experts smexperts…AGMA isn’t sure I buy into all of it.

According to an article titled How Birth Order Affects Your Child’s Personality and Behavior in Parents Magazine from 2015, third children are:

  • Fun loving
  • Uncomplicated
  • Manipulative
  • Outgoing
  • Attention-seekers
  • Self-centered

I beg your pardon??  Manipulative??  Attention-seeker??  Self-centered??

AGMA is many things but NONE of those three things.  Well…maybe a very teeny tiny, itty bitty bit attention-seeking.  Minuscule really.

I have a blog after all.

Because there were 6 years between each of my siblings, and I went to foster care as a toddler, and then only lived with my sister & mother after my parents divorced, AGMA thinks that perhaps some of the typical traits of 3rd children don’t apply to me.  There are other, “atypical” traits I developed.  ‘Nuff said.

Little TT has an entirely different situation.  Born to loving, emotionally and financially healthy parents, he has an absolutely adorable sister, V,  2½ years older and a charming, witty brother, B, 4½ years older.  Who both adore him. Right now.  

Poor little guy has an uphill climb a head of him.

Nana will help you my sweet little TT!!!

According to the Parents article, B, as the firstborn, will tend to be:

  • Reliable
  • Conscientious
  • Structured
  • Cautious
  • Controlling
  • An achiever 

So far, the only thing I can say about him for sure is that he, like his father who was my firstborn, is VERY cautious.  Like his dad, he has a strong instinct for self-preservation.  At the playground, his younger sister will climb up on the highest slide possible and slide down, while he just watches.  And he’s just fine just watching.

Self-preservation in action.

My feisty little V is now the middle child.  She is much like I imagine Megan Rapino was as a 2 year old…  According to the article, she will tend to have the following characteristics:

  • People pleaser
  • Somewhat rebellious
  • Thrives on friendships
  • Has a large social circle
  • Peacemaker

Not sure about the rest, but as a 2 year old, people pleasing doesn’t seem to be in her life skills toolkit right now.  AGMA realizes this when I hear her high frequency, 100 decibel screams when she doesn’t get her way. 

Pass the ibuprofen please…

I’m really not sure what to expect when I fly to Chicago on Thursday.

But oh my…AGMA can already tell there is a YUGE difference between the arrival of B 4½ years ago and the arrival of TT 2 weeks ago.

Hubs, Son#2 and I all had to get shots (I’ve blocked out what “horrific” disease it was to protect the baby against) before we were allowed to visit baby B.  And they had a 5 gallon vat of hand sanitizer that we had to use AFTER we washed our hands before we touched him.  And nobody could make a peep when little B was down for his nap.  He HAD to be in his crib or bassinet, and every bit of light had to be blocked out.  And I was not allowed to change his diaper anywhere else but on the changing table.

On the other hand, TT went to Whole Foods at 3 days old and Costco at 10 days old.  He and his mom went out to lunch yesterday at the ripe age of 12 days with a stop at Starbucks.  And, through the miracle of technology, on July 4th we saw him sleeping peacefully in his father’s arms in their sunlit living room while his brother and sister were running around screaming.

And, if AGMA was a betting woman (which we all know I am…), I would say his diaper has already been changed while he was lying on a couch.

Oh the humanity!

What a difference 4½ years and two children make.

No longer a table for four with peaceful nights, self-feeding children and no diapers, they’re now a table for five with delicious chaos and mayhem on the menu. 

This weekend’s going to be fun!

Welcome to the world my sweet, darling, wonderful TT!

 

“Three year old wandering around in aisle 7”

Tantrum

AGMA had been home from her European mis-adventures for a whole two weeks.  So, it was time to go somewhere again last week.

Honestly, I can only stay put for so long…

This time it was Chicago where TMAGITW (the most adorable grandchildren in the world) live. We left 70 something degree Altanta to go to 30 something degree Chicago.

It’s true love.

But I was thinking of amending my acronym to TMAGITWAACTYO (the most adorable granddaughter in the world and a cute three year old) after the first part of our visit.

Our grandson is nothing but pure energy with some thin flesh coating. He just turned 3 in December so he’s still got some lingering ‘terrible 2’ issues. He’s got a strong personality/will, and more often than not, some tears, some screaming and a fit usually gets him what he wants from his parents.

I have nicknamed him Little Napoleon (LN.)

And it seemed like LN was not getting what he wanted quite a bit while we were there. Lots of crying and screaming and temper tantrums.

AGMA was clearly concerned about this behavior and it’s future ramifications.

More immediately, AGMA was concerned (read that, terrified) because Hubs and I were going to be the chief cooks and bottle washers for 24 hours while Son#1 and DIL did an mini-vacation downtown.

But I think my son started rethinking leaving the kids with us after I lost LN in Whole Foods the second day our our visit.

Yes – I lost my grandson in Whole Foods. In the middle of Chicago.

You may judge me.

I won’t go into detail, but there was a full 5 minutes when his whereabouts were unknown to all but the Creator.

AGMA was scared sh*tless.

So there I was running down the main aisle of WF screaming his name.

I found him on the far side of the store (or course) with some really nice store employees who kept telling me, “He’s fine, he’s fine. Everything’s okay.”

My heart started beating again.

There was also a woman around my age with a cart who was shooting daggers from her eyes at me like I was Bette Davis beating LN with a hanger. I think she was the one who found him wandering around. I tried thanking her, but she just glared at me.

She was definitely judging me.

On a positive note, the little guy managed to score a box of cookies during his wanderings. So of course I bought them for him.

And wouldn’t you know it, the first thing LN tells his mom when we get home is, “I got lost in Whole Foods.”

Dammit.

AGMA wanted to gradually introduce the subject. Perhaps in explaining the source of the cookies?

But my DIL was not too terribly upset (perhaps because he returned home with us and was not purloined away), and used what happened as a lesson for him as to what to do in the future if he wanders away.

AGMA was impressed by her lack of hysteria.

But later that night when Son#1 came home from work, oh boy…

I casually mentioned losing LN for a few minutes in WF. Son#1 seemed to have heard that LN was stolen by white slavers who were going to ship him off to an Ivanka Trump sweatshop to put zippers in dresses, and we barely wrestled him away from them.

Son#1 was furious. But in a quiet, seething, scary way. He really couldn’t say much when I willingly admitted my wrong, profusely apologized and assured him I would NEVER take my eyes off LN again. And I meant it all.

But the fury continued on slow simmer from him for the rest of the night.

Awkward…

BUT, he was not angry enough to cancel their stay-cation plans. Hmmm…

Now pressure was on. AGMA couldn’t screw up again or else…(???)

LN’s old enough to understand the concept of his parents going on a date, so when they left at 11 on Saturday morning he was okay with it.

My 16 month old granddaughter, just starting to talk, emitted a constant stream of, “Ma ma? Da da?” At which point LN gently and sweetly assured her that they were on a date and would return soon.

Yeah. Sure. Like in 23 hours.

But the truth is that we all had a wonderful time together!

There was very little crying and no fits or tantrums. From any of us.

LN and his sister didn’t fight over toys or take random whacks at each other. We played and we ate and we napped and we played some more.

It was like a frat party for toddlers.

Every time Son#1 texted, “How’s it going?” I had to text back, “Great!”

At some point that evening, we told LN that some dates are overnight dates, and that Mommy and Daddy would be back around lunchtime the next day. He was way cool with it. And amazingly well behaved.

Little V just kept saying, “Ma ma? Da da?” But she continued to play the heck out of those little flower stickers.

They both had moments when they freaked out a bit, but they were very short lived. And we all slept really well that night.

Thank God!

Overall, AGMA Nana and Bumpa did a stellar job. Other than the Whole Foods debacle.

I’m never going to live that one down.

Obviously, the kids were overjoyed when their parents came home on Sunday. But within 10 minutes there was crying, screaming and tantrum throwing. Which continued for the next hour. Both of them.

The kids that is.

Hmmm….

Who knows?

Maybe Hubs and AGMA are child whisperers. Maybe our lifetime experience in child rearing gives us an upper hand over relatively new parents. Or maybe somehow we managed to communicate firm but loving boundaries for the kids to operate in and they liked it.

Or all three?

And the good news is that we saw our grandson transform from LN back to TMAGITW.

Nice.

Pink Paradise

pinkpig

AGMA’s headless chicken act worked.

It was a great weekend last week with the grands thank you very much…

That is other than the 6 inches of snow we got on Friday that left us homebound for about 24 hours.

Because I live in Atlanta, and we don’t get 6 inches of snow at one time. Ever. Or sustained periods of freezing temps. And the official snow removal strategy on the state and local level consists of “wait until it melts.”

Remember the great Snowmageddon of 2014?

We don’t do snow well here.

On Thursday, weather.com reported a chance of a ‘wintery mix’ on Friday with little to no accumulation. Perfect. We planned to take the MAGITW (Most Adorable Grandchildren In The World) to The Pink Pig on Friday.

Imagine AGMA’s surprise when I awoke on Friday to the dulcet tones of a Winter Weather Advisory warning of up to 6 inches of snow for the Atlanta area.

Huh??

Seems that little rascal of a winter storm Benji was dipping farther south than anybody expected. That little sh*t…

Planning excursions for a 1 year old and an almost 3 year old is tricky. Everything has to be planned around naps, meals and BMs.  TMI?  AGMA, being the OCD person that I am, took at drive to the Pig to scope out the location and pre-bought our tickets. I was prepared for everything.

Except a snow storm.

But let’s talk about The Pink Pig. Please.

Her full name is Priscilla the Pink Pig. It’s an Atlanta thing. And from what I understand, much beloved by folks who grew up here.

The original Priscilla opened in 1956 on the roof of the old Rich’s Department Store in downtown Atlanta. It was a monorail that was painted pink with a snout, pig ears and a curly tail. The kids were literally caged in.

I guess so they wouldn’t have any jumpers…

Rich’s was acquired in the 1970‘s by Federated Department Stores and the downtown store was closed in 1991. The PInk PIg relocated but closed down in 1995 because it was too expensive to run.

Sad face.

But Priscilla was miraculously resurrected in 2003 as a train in a big tent on the top parking deck of the Macy’s in Lenox Square Mall in the Buckhead section of Atlanta.

Happy face.

And it was to that outdoor, unheated tent that AGMA bought my precious grandchildren in a snowstorm last Friday.

I probably won’t win the Grandparent of the Year award.

The Pink Pig is less than 5 miles from AGMA’s house. Even with the snow starting, it only took 15 minutes to get there.

So far so good.

The Priscilla character was sitting near the entrance of the tent on what appeared to be a swine throne. The idea is that you get your picture taken with her and then you can purchase said picture as you leave. Naturally.

And everything was pink. Really pink. And the train ride lasted only 4 minutes. (But AGMA bought the tickets with the DOUBLE ride so we got to stay on for about 8 minutes.) And the displays were sort of cheesy with narration by Priscilla with a very southern accent. And the adults were squished into these tiny seats in the train. And it was frickin’ freezing in that tent.

But my 3 year old grandson was totally enchanted. And the 1 year old didn’t cry.

Score one for Nana AGMA.

By the time we left the charming Ms. Priscilla, our cars had over an inch of heavy wet snow on them.

Ah oh…

We took two cars to The Pig. Hubs and AGMA each have a Prius. ‘Nuff said.

To give Son#1 and DIL a little respite, Son#2 who lives in Altanta and ADORES his nephew and niece, rode with AGMA and the kiddos. This was fine for the 15 minute ride over.

But this is Atlanta. In the snow. In the short time that we were canoodling with Priscilla, everybody, and I mean everybody, who works anywhere outside their home in Atlanta decided that they needed to go home. Right now.

So our 15 minute drive turned into an hour drive. Can you spell g-r-i-d-l-o-c-k?

It was SnowmageddonII.

Then, about 5 minutes into the drive home, Grandson started chanting out of the blue, “I want a sucker.”

We found out later that his mother had promised him a sucker if he was a good boy at The Pink Pig.

But at the time, we had no knowledge of this bargain that was struck nor did we have a sucker. The suckers resided it the diaper bag. That was in Hubs car.

Initially, we calmly explained that we didn’t have a sucker and had no way of obtaining one at the moment. Oh what fools we were…

No surprise that this did not seem to make an impact on him. After several attempts at explaining the situation, it became clear that he wasn’t going to quit chanting until he received said sucker.

“I want a sucker!” It got louder and started mixing with tears.

“I want a sucker! I want a sucker!”

Son#2 texted Son#1 regarding the dilemma. Son#1 texted back, “Welcome to my world.”

Truth.

20 minutes later we distracted Grandson by opening the window. Some of the snow fell into the car. He started laughing.

There is a God.

Meanwhile, 1 year old Granddaughter sat quietly in her seat playing with a few toys. And every now an then she made a cooing sound. Awwww….

It could have been so much worse.

After both cars safely landed at AGMA’s house, we were basically stuck there for the rest of the day. The roads got so bad that Son#2 didn’t go back to his home that night.

My entire family under my roof for 24 hours.

AGMA was in paradise.

Yeah, it was a great weekend!

Blessed exhaustion

Tired

Yeah – that’s what I’m in store for this coming week.

As I write this, I’m, once again, partaking in one of AGMA’s favorite activities.

Not.

I’m flying the ‘friendly’ skies. More like flying the ‘you should feel humbled that we let your natty butt on this airplane at a ridiculous price for no service’ skies. As anybody who has flown in the past few years knows, it ain’t what it used to be.  But it’s a means to an end, so AGMA will put up with the poking, prodding, starving and herding.

Moo.

Destination – Chicago and the cutest grandchildren in the world (TCGITW).

A year ago, this journey was relatively inexpensive. With several discount carriers having recently entering the Atlanta market, we could fly round trip for around $125 per person. AGMA’s all time fabulous fare was $56 RT with no bags, no food, no drinks and a randomly assigned seat. Those were the good old days…

Then something happened.

I’m not sure what or exactly when it happened. But fares soared to $200+ RT. Even on the no service airlines, the cheapest fare you can get if you go on an odd numbered Tuesday in a month starting with ‘A’ in an even year is $176.

WTF?

For this trip AGMA used sky miles. Our next trip coming up in August is BOGO, but that still averaged out to $160+ a person. At this rate, I’m going to have to start using getting bumped from flights as a discount airfare strategy. Sadly, there were no calls for volunteers today.

AGMA is bracing herself for the week to come.

Just between you and I, I’m not sure I’ll survive.

Normally, a 3 day visit to TCGITW leaves me as tired as Donald Trump when he has to read words.  Any words.

Between going to bed late to spend some quiet time with my son and DIL, getting up early with my grandson so said son and DIL can sleep in, being a bucking bronco for said grandson, walking my granddaughter around to try to get her to sleep and lack of food because I’m too busy to eat, AGMA comes home exhausted.

Because Hubs had his mobility and balance issue, he can’t do any of the heavy lifting (literally) with TCGITW. But he can provide entertainment and a lap for reading and give a bottle. But even with his help, I still get pooped.

This trip will be 6 days. By myself. Because they are moving.

As James Brown said, “Have mercy!”

Hubs and I moved twice when our kids were tiny – 22 and 4 months and then again when they were 4 and 2.. And we had a dog and two cats. We fixed up/cleaned up our houses by ourselves to sell them. And kept them clean with the two munchkins causing the normal munchkin havoc until we sold them. When we moved, we did everything by ourselves – packing, moving the boxes, unpacking – other than moving the big pieces of furniture. I actually think some old neighbors helped us move our piano both times (which nobody really played…) in a UHaul because it was too expensive to have the movers do it. Money was tight. Money was always tight.

With no family in town or willing to come in to help, it was a two person show.

I honestly have no idea how we managed.

When my son & DIL put their condo up for sale, our DIL took TCGITW to her parents house for a week so the place would stay clean for showings. Cheaters. The Chicago real estate market is hot right now so they were counting on a quick sale. They were right. 3 offers for above asking price.

Crazy.

Now we come to moving week.

Thankfully, they have hired packers to pack their ‘stuff’. AGMA’s a master packer, but I’ll gladly abdicate that responsibility. But I still forsee early mornings and late nights, and nothing but kick ass busy in between. Probably with a few bronco rides thrown in.

Can I run a marathon instead? 26.2 miles is nothing compared to what the next 6 days will be like.

But I’m happy (maybe) to help them and so glad (sort of) that they took me up on my offer. “I’ll be glad to come up and help when it’s time to move.” I said.

Seriously?

AGMA was actually thinking of how wonderful it would have been to have family support for our young family. At any point in our lives when our kids were young, not just when we moved.  But it never happened. And while we managed okay, sometimes I wonder how different it might have been…

So I AM happy I can fly the mediocre skies to help them. And I’m very happy that my DIL’s family is a 3 hour car drive away. It makes for two sets of Nanas and Bumpas who, like good Baby Boomers, can’t do enough for their grandchildren and are delighted to help out.

This is all to say, if you don’t hear from AGMA for a few weeks, don’t get alarmed.

I’m just suffering from blessed exhaustion.

ZZZZzzzz….

UPDATE: It’s Tuesday now. As usual, when I got to TCGITW’s home, AGMA got caught up in the whirlwind. It’s been 48 hours since I wrote this post on the plane and this is the first time I’ve had 10 minutes to myself. Other than sleeping. And that’s a survival necessity, so I sleep as much and as often as I can. All is well, but AGMA can read the handwriting on the wall.

It’s gonna be one wild ride.

I repeat…

ZZZZzzzz….

Freestylin’ it

nakedbaby

When AGMA was young, maybe 6 or 7, we went on vacation to…are you ready for this…drumroll…

Lake Erie.

For those of you outside of the US or from other parts of the country or too young to remember, Lake Erie used to be so polluted that it regularly caught on fire.  Part of it.  The part around Cleveland.  Figures…

Nothing says vacation like adding fire extinguisher to your “what to take to the beach” packing list.

But it wasn’t too far from home so we could drive.  And we shared a cabin with my Aunt and Uncle and cousin so it was fairly inexpensive.  My mother was a single, working mom and my uncle worked in a glass factory so any vacation we took – which were very few and far between – needed to be inexpensive.

But to the 7 year old AGMA, it was like Disney World!

The first morning we were there, I was so excited to go swimming in the flammable lake that I ran out of the cabin a la natural.  I think somebody took a picture with their Kodak Brownie.  I’m sure I was adorable.

My mother and uncle had to chase me down to get me dressed in my swimsuit.

That’s how I feel about this post.  I’m going a la natural.  I normally type my posts in Pages then, when it’s all done & edited, copy it to WordPress.  But today, I’m going freestyle and typing it directly in WordPress. Sometime’s you gotta shake things up.

AGMA is out of control.  Again.  But still adorable.  Just not in a naked way anymore.

Gravity is cruel.

Speaking of a la natural, the most adorable grandson in the world who shares genetic material with me came to visit last weekend from Chicago.  It was a magical weekend.  I forgot how darned cute 18 month olds are…  Unless you’re his parents.  Or our cats

He’s still in diapers, but in my opinion, he doesn’t get nearly enough “naked time”.  You know “naked time”, right?  It’s when children get in touch with their ancient hunter-gatherer roots by running all around the house and in the yard in their birthday suit.    When they have the freedom to express themselves through their unencumbered body.   When they learn not to be ashamed of or hide their body.

Until gravity kicks in.

My son and DIL let him run around for like 5 minutes after his bath before they put his jammies on him.  That’s it.  They’re afraid he’s going to pee everywhere.

I’ve got news for them.  That bath he was in….yeah…full o’ pee.  As soon as that warm water hit that sweet little winkie, anything in his bladder immediatley came out to join the  party.

But I have a feeling, in six months or so, he will be getting lots and lots more naked time.  His parents are going to be too busy, too stressed and too tired to worry about him peeing in the house.

The Little Buddy is going to become a big brother in November!

And we weren’t the last to know this time.  As a matter of fact, we were one of the first to know.  Holy cow – miracles do happen…  We’re thrilled for them and couldn’t be happier!

But it’s a girl.  A girl?  I don’t know what to do with girl babies.  I have two sons, one grandson, a husband and two male cats.  The XX chromosome pairing is a rare thing in my world.

I’ll figure it out as I go.  Maybe I’ll finally have an ally who will help me fend off the attacks of the XY’ers.  A Buddette who will understand when I cry at sappy movies and not roll their eyes.  Somebody to pass on my grandmother’s pocket watch and my step-mother’s jewelry to.

Holy crap on a cracker…

IT’S A GIRL!!!

 

 

What happens at Nana’s…

snow baby skiing

We just got back from visiting B, our incredibly cute, sweet and highly amusing grandson. He’s 16 months old and is a chip off the ol‘ AGMA block.

Of course.

He’s our only grandchild. *sigh* That’s what you get when your kids actually listened to you years ago when you told them not to rush into marriage and a family. What the hell…? They didn’t listen to anything else I said.

I have a number of friends who are actually younger than me who have grandchildren graduating from high school. High school for Pete’s sake!

We’ll be lucky if we’re still alive for B’s high school graduation.

B and parents live in Chicago. In a condo. With no yard. Or driveway. Or hose.

AGMA has nothing against multi-family living units. It seems like the majority of the world’s population live in multi-family buildings. It’s just that it makes me a touch sad that most of B’s experiences with the great outdoors will be scheduled, “curated” events. No building a snowman in the back yard, no running through the sprinklers on a hot summer day, no driveway ant floods, no building a fort in the woods.

It’s hard to teach an old AGMA new tricks.

But they live in a lovely urban Chicago neighborhood that has a wonderful new park a block away. A very curated park. Of course. Spongy, bouncy surfaces beneath the swings and high tech play equipment to cushion falls, artificial grass with those little rubber pellets in it to make the ground softer, and fencing all around the perimeter of the park. The only “real” grass and dirt is around the edges near the fence. And the kids aren’t supposed to play in that area.

Of course.

We went to said park twice on our weekend visit. It was packed. The line up of strollers in front looked like Brad and Angelina’s house on play date day. You couldn’t spit and not hit a child having a curated park experience.

B is my son and DIL’s first child. As such, when they leave the house, they’re prepared for every contingency imaginable. Sort of. B had a cold and they forgot to pack tissues. Rookie mistake.

But sans cold, they are ready for any possibility. B’s diaper bag (DB) is stuffed chock full of anything and everything that B might need on their park outings. A block away from their condo.

Mostly, they seem to be worried about the possibility of B starving. I was charged with carrying the “everything but the kitchen sink and tissues” diaper bad on the second trip to the park. It was a lovely sunny day, and my DIL wanted to put more SPF 9,350 on B’s fair skin. She asked me to look for in the DB for sunscreen.

Oops – no sunscreen. Another rookie mistake.

But digging through the DB, I found enough food to feed every kid at that park, and still have six baskets of loaves and fishes left over. There were little plastic food storage containers and plastic bags filled with crackers, veggie sticks, yogurt bites, animal cookies, wheat squares, and other nibbles I couldn’t identify. And there was a whole banana, an avocado and a squeeze pouch of yogurt. All organic of course.

AGMA remembers thinking I was doing something really healthy for my kids when I gave them Cheerios to snack on when they were growing up. Epic mom fail.

A quick call to my son who was at their condo a block away and the sunscreen appeared a few minutes later. Whew! That was a close one.

I realize there is more than one way to raise a child, but AGMA’s very happy that B’s other grandparents live in a house with a big yard only a few hours away. A yard that snowmen can be built in and sprinklers run through and forts built in the wooded area. His other grandpa has lots of tools and other things to use to make cool “stuff”. B’s going to love that.

And AGMA takes some degree of comfort in knowing that, when B comes to visit in a few months, we’ll have an ant flood in our driveway. Although we don’t have a yard per se because we live in a townhouse community, there are plenty of green spaces with real trees and grass and lots of dirt that we can all explore together.

It’s why grandparents are so awesome…  No diaper bags required.

I hope we find some cool bugs.

My very bad, terrible, wonderful, magical Christmas

Depressinghotel

Well…I didn’t expect that.

I didn’t expect that two weeks would go by without me posting a thing.  But it was a long week last week.  Crazy.

Do you want the good news or the bad news first?  If you’re a glass half-empty person like me, you want the bad news first.  Half-empties always want the bad news first.  The bad news is always going to be much worse on bad news scale from 1 to 10 than the good news is going to be good on the good news scale from 1 to 10. So it just makes sense to get the bad news first, wallow in the misery and get it over with.  Got it?  It’s just how we roll…

But this time I’ll give you the good news first.

I’m a Grandma!

My son’s wife delivered a truly beautiful, albeit alien-looking, little boy a few days before Christmas in Chicago.  All newborns have that ET look about them don’t they?  Mother and son are doing fine.  My son is positively euphoric.  That’s nice to see.

The little guy was late.  Hmmm – I hope he doesn’t make this a habit.  But this was more good news for us because we were able to be there for the birth.  Well, not actually in the room.  Yuck.  But close by.  We had flown up a few days earlier and our younger son got there that morning, just in the nick of time.

Funny story that; I was actually a bit “under the influence” when he was born.  Although I was convinced that he was going to make his appearance the same day my DIL went into labor, everybody else poo poo-ed me.  “Poo poo,” they said, “she won’t have him until tomorrow morning.”  So they sent us all home.  Or in our case, back to our hotel.

More about the hotel later…

Knowing that a baby was coming sooner or later, the three of us celebrated with a few glasses of Champagne.  Okay – not REAL Champagne, but close enough.  It had bubbles.

Wouldn’t you know it, after I downed my third glass, I got a text that she was pushing.  The next text told us to high-tail it over to the hospital.  I don’t like to say I told you so, but…  I hate it that I’m most always right.

Thirty minutes later, I officially became a grandma.  A somewhat tipsy grandma.  It pains me to think that every time the little guy catches a whiff of the scent of alcohol he may have flashbacks to me breathing in his face saying “Hi little guy!” in slightly slurred speech. True story.  I’m kind of a cheap drunk.

Now for the bad news.  Our trip to Chicago was six days of non-stop family.  Her family and our family.  Nonstop.  I like family and all but, seriously?

Since my blog is anonymous, and my family and extended family doesn’t know about it (thank God!), I couldn’t write anything.  It seemed like people were always around me.  Or I was sleeping.  Too much togetherness; I like and need my alone time.  Honestly, the only time I was truly by myself was in the bathroom.  I’m not inspired to write while I’m in the bathroom.  At least not about stuff you’d want to read.

So I couldn’t write any posts last week.  Frowny face.

The other bad news.  We weren’t allowed to stay with my son and DIL, so we stayed in a hotel the entire time.  And even though they came into town the same day we did, her parents were allowed stayed at my son’s place.  What the hell?  They did have to move on Christmas day.  They went to stay with their other daughter who lives about mile away who has two extra bedrooms.  She lived a mile away all along and had extra bedrooms all along.  But we were in a hotel.  We just love being the guy’s parents….

I’ve decided that spending Christmas in a hotel sucks.  My son and DIL brought the baby home on Christmas day, so everybody else was “on hold” until the new family felt somewhat settled.  This didn’t happen until 7 PM Christmas evening.

So on Christmas day, we wasted time.  We went to Starbucks for brunch and coffee.  We went to a movie.  We hung around the hotel room.  We went to dinner at a Thai restaurant.  It was definitely an unconventional Christmas.

For six days, it was non-stop family togetherness, and hurry up and wait.  I don’t do either of those very well.  Clearly.

But I have a picture of the little guy as the wallpaper on my phone and I say hi to him every time I turn the screen on.  Honestly, I hate to sound like a cliche, but it kind of melts my heart every time I see his sweet, alien-like face.  I never thought I’d be excited to travel to Chicago in the middle of winter, but I can’t wait to go back to see him at the end of January.

Okay, so this time the good news outweighed the bad news for this glass half-empty Grinch.  I give it a 10 on the good news scale. Screw the bad news.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays a little late!

Announcing a new stablemate for AgingGracefully

GrandmaCool

Next month, I start a new job.  It’ll be a something totally new that I’ve never, ever done before.  I’ll be navigating unfamiliar and possibly treacherous waters.

I’m going to become a grandma for the first time.

To most, receiving the joyous news from your precious son or daughter that a grand-baby is on the way would be an intoxicating experience.  After my son told us, I just felt like getting intoxicated. Or downright drunk.

First of all, we were almost the last of the “important people to tell” to know.  Actually, we were the last.  My daughter-in-law was damned near 5 months pregnant and all popped out when they told us!  She wore a very loose shirt when we arrived…  All of their close friends, co-workers and HER family knew weeks before were were privileged to receive the news about the impending “blessed event”.

WTF?

Now, I know my son’s closest friends very well.  I know that, if they get their hands on a juicy tidbit, their mother’s will know as soon know as possible.  They are incapable of not spilling their guts to their moms.  Clearly this trait hasn’t rubbed off onto my son.

When I lamented that the “moms” probably knew before I did, my son assured me that his friends PROMISED not to tell anybody.  I talked to one of the “moms”.  She knew before I did.  Her son spilled his guts.  My son is so naive…

Objectively, I kind of get why we were the last to know.  We traveled from Georgia to Illinois to visit them this summer for a long weekend.  They wanted to tell us in person.  They wanted to see our reaction.  I sorta get that in a detached kind of “isn’t that sweet” way.

But when I realize that scores of people knew before we did – their 3rd grade teachers, my 3rd grade teacher, our mailman and the cashier at Kroger – it made the news not quite as exciting as it should have been.

I’m just wondering what would have happened if we hadn’t gone up there this summer.  I guess I’d have figured it out when I got the first baby shower invite.

My son tells us were welcome to come up when his wife goes into labor to be there for the delivery.  We live a 12+ hour drive away. And it would be more than likely snowing for the last 6 of those 12+ hours what with the Polar Vortex and all.  To book a same day or next day flight would cost at least $630.  Each.

We opted to book a flight up two days after the due date in hopes that the little critter arrives on schedule or is maybe just a little late. That would be excellent if he was a bit late.  He would get his first Do Bee points for that.  Miss Janie would be proud.

We’ve been told we have to stay at a hotel when we come up because they don’t want anybody else in their house while they’re all “bonding”.  Good God.

Then we get a text a couple of weeks ago saying that we needed to get our “shots” before we come up.  Nobody without their “shots” will be allowed to get anywhere close to the baby.  Again, WTF?   I’ll get my shots alright – those little Candy Cane Jello shots from my last post.  Maybe I can find a happy hour close by.

So.many.rules.

But being the dutiful soon-to-be grandma who doesn’t want to piss off her son and really does want to see her newborn grandson, I got my “shots” yesterday.  And my arm is really, really sore today. Thanks Obama.

I’ve been thinking about my grandma “name”.  You know – what the little guy will call me when he starts talking.  Providing we will be allowed to talk to him.  You never know with all of the rules.

Grams, Nana, Grammy, Big Mama, Memaw – so many to choose from.

Hmmm…

GrannyMyAss has a really nice ring to it.