Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!
"Mirror Mirror, on the wall"

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Hello again!!!!

Thanksgiving -Olivia is 23 months!

Blog Gram-mama returns!!!!   Where to begin?????

It has been a while...Hi Gene!  Olivia is almost two years old and we are having more fun than ever.  Today I am going to do a quick synopsis of where I left off in April.

  • Olivia 101

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Inspired by country music

Toby Keith's Muse

I used to think that country music stars were hill billies,  and the people who listened to it were uneducated red-necks. When my son started listening to Kenny Chesney and Brad Paisley I wondered how he would ever find a nice girl who would put up with this repellant habit.  Whenever I got into my car after he had been driving it, the radio would be set to The highway or Prime County.  At first, I quickly changed the station, but Sometimes, I found myself listening for a while before I changed the station.  Then, one day, I had an epiphany; I was actually enjoying it.  I found myself engaged in the stories, feeling the love and the heartache, and loving the sound.

Okay, there are more than an adequate number of songs singing the praises of a truck, and even more about the virtues of drinking beer, but we can’t diminish the window into our most intimate moments and seminal emotions.   

While some artists struggle to find inspiration, in Country music, there is nothing that is too mundane to sing about.  What better symbol of joy and celebration is there than the previously overlooked “Red Solo Cup”?    “Why Don’t you Love Me like my Dog does” is a question for the ages, and Sugar land’s “Dear Mom and Dad, Please send money…. Signed your baby Girl” sings so poignantly of the love between parents and children.  After struggling to find success their “baby girl” is staying at the Ritz, her band has made it and now she can send them money.   This is the fulfillment of every dream that a parent has for their children.

At the same time, we can get some great advice and learn some valuable lessons, The Zack Brown Band suggests, “Don’t be falling in love while she’s walking away” and we can learn from Tim Mcgraw when he opens up about his personal journey to become a better man. He admits that although he “still dances with the devil”, he is really committed to the process and “he can finally stand the man in the mirror he sees.” 

You gotta love this raw emotion and introspection. 
I am making the trip from Boston to New York City to spend Passover with my family.  I am so excited to see everyone, Olivia in particular, but the time just flies as I listen to The Highway, and finally, here I am!
Olivia and her cousin Sophie on Passover

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Baby Sitting Journal: Does Olivia miss me as much as I miss her?

Olivia never got tired of the Swings

Every Day!

Same time; Same place!

Alexis and James came home just as I was reaching my stride.  They were so happy to reunite with their sweet baby, but gave me the early a.m. shift so that they could finish their vacation with a last night out  at home.

I really didn't know weather to be happy or sad to have one less day.  One sweet, happy, good natured and easy baby, is a lot of work, but this time with Olivia was so very special.  I really got to know her; what she likes and doesn't like, how to distract her when she is focused on a dangerous toy or activity, what she likes to play with in the park and all of her little quirky traits.  I love knowing, now, what a day in her life is really like.  She was so happy to see me every morning.  I can picture her standing in the crib, waiting for me to pick her up.  She loves to read books in the morning.

Now, here I am, back at home in Massachusetts.  I thought we would still be in  NYC today, so we had nothing planned.  I woke up late; 7:30!  I went to get my coffee and got back into bed.  I got up again about 10:00, took a shower, washed my hair and got back into bed.  I played with my computer, made some long overdue calls, and finally, finally, I mustered up the energy to start my day.

What I learned:

1.  I learned a lot about my 23 year old son Jon, this week, too.  He was my babysitting assistant and I couldn't have a better one.  Because he spends a fair amount of time with Olivia, he could tell me so many things that I wouldn't have known; what I needed to bring with me when we went out to dinner, what she would like to eat on the menu, and when the food came, he cut her food and prepared the plate we brought with us so that Olivia would eat it.  My big, football player son, is so sweet, loving and gentle with Olivia, I almost cried, and Olivia loves her Uncle Jonny.

2.  I learned that "Buh"  means ball, blue berries, and broccoli, among other words.   The same with, "Tuh," "muh," "shuh" etc.  I never had any problem understanding.

3.  I learned that she could swing on the swings for hours and whenever I asked, "Olivia, are you done?"  Olivia would use the sign for "more" and "please" and settle back and enjoy her ride.

4.  Taking care of one little baby is really hard but really rewarding and I would do it again anytime!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Baby Sitting Journal: Poor Baby!

     Olivia, You aren't supposed to get sick when Mommy and Daddy are away.  A sick baby breaks Anyu's heart!

Grandma's playgroup!
      We had such a nice day and had a wonderful time on our playdate with Dylan. Olivia loved when Dylan's Papa brought the doggie to play, too.   Dylan showed Olivia the letters B,D, and O and they played so nicely!  But just between us, nobody had a better time than Wendy and me.  
     Just before dinnertime, Olivia started to feel warm and get a little fussy.  Within 15 minutes, she had a full-blown fever and wouldn't eat or let me put her down for a second.  Uncle Jonny and I gave her some tylenol and put her in the tub, where she played happily for a little while, but wailed as we put on her jammies, had little patience for a story and gratefully  jumped into bed by 6:30.  All night I kept watch on the fever, ready with a midnight dose of tylenol if she needed it. Luckily, she woke up feeling better, if not completely herself. 
If only I hadn't cut off her head!  
     Here I am, after 5 days, feeling like I am really good at this and maybe Alexis and James should extend their vacation, and I get a call from Alexis telling me that they changed their flight and will be coming home early. They missed their baby!  I hope that they let me do this again sometime..........


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Baby Sitting Journal: Getting with the program

Olivia missing her Mommy and Daddy

Not missing them quite so much!
Yesterday, I was exhausted.  I was certain that I would not be able to make it to the end of the week. I wondered what I was thinking when I offered to babysit.  (It is important to know that I told Alexis that it was silly for her to take Olivia skiing with her this year and that she would be so much happier at home with ME!  Furthermore, James was not really in favor of my plan.)   I told myself that I could never do this again; that it was too much for me.  I am too old and decrepit!   My body parts ache.  I spent the whole day feeling badly that my future grandchildren will never have the experience of their “Anyu” (that’s me) babysitting for them.  Danielle and Jonny will NEVER be able to go on vacation with their spouse and have the peace of mind knowing that their kids will be loved and well cared for by me.  My babysitting days started and ended right here, right now.

Then, last night I fell into bed at 9:30 and I don’t even remember falling asleep.  I woke up this morning feeling GREAT!  I had lots of energy for Olivia’s Tot Rock class, and we had a great day together.  Now, I am looking forward to my play date tomorrowwith my best friend from College, Wendy, and her grandson Dylan. 

Note to Jonny and Danielle: As of today, you still have babysitting options, however, I am not getting any younger so I hope that you will take that under advisement.

What I learned today.

1.     That 9:30pm is a perfectly reasonable bedtime for a babysitting grandparent.
2.     Housekeeping is off the agenda! Why pick up the toys when they are just going to get messed up again tomorrow?  If I can’t clean up breakfast until after lunch, it’s okay.  If I can’t clean up lunch until after dinner, it’s okay.  And if I don’t clean up anything until Olivia goes to sleep at night, C’est la vie!  Keeping Olivia safe and happy is the only thing that matters.
3.     That everything I learned yesterday is useless today. 
4.     If I can’t find Olivia’s shoes in the trash or the laundry basket; try the diaper pail.  (Sad but true)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Baby Sitting Journal; Still standing; Barely!

Eloise's Room at the Plaza
Olivia made herself at home!

Today, we took Olivia to The Food Court at the Plaza Hotel!  It is definitely a "New York" styled food court; No Sbarro or McDonalds here.  For that matter, I never went to a food court before where there was waiter service and the fresh pasta was draped over bars and fine wines were displayed on racks.  After sharing sliders, sushi, pasta, and dumplings, we gave Olivia a cupcake and took her  to Eloise's Room at the Plaza.  A little girls dream come true!  Everything looked magical in Pink.  I thought I would buy her a pretty headband with a little crown; after all, it is something only a grandmother would spring for.  I was willing to pay a kings ransom.  Then I looked at the price tag and even I, couldn't do it.  Particularly since she had zeroed in on a stuffed turtle, the only thing in the room that wasn't pink, or girlie.  
Would you believe $60.00?

Marketing brilliance!

What I learned today

1.  Olivia will let you feed her if you use chopsticks.
2.  Olivia is a foodie and will eat very exotic food, she loves cerviche and fish but wouldn't even look at the rubbery chicken I stir fried for her dinner.
3. When I can't find something, I should look in the garbage or the hamper because that is where she likes to hide things.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Baby Sitting Journal; the first 24 hours flew by!

Bye Bye Mommy and Daddy

La La la la la, Elmo's Song
I have just completed the first 24 hours of my 8 day babysitting assignment and so far; so good!!  When Alexis and James said good-bye to 14 month old Olivia as we left for her open-gym class, you could tell she knew that it was not an ordinary good-bye.  I think that she could read the ambivalence about leaving her on her Mommy and Daddy's faces.  She watched them as the elevator door closed and did not follow any baby prompts to throw kisses or wave good-bye.....and that was the only time so far that she gave us any impression that being alone with us was out of the ordinary or sad for her.  We chased her around the gym,  took her to visit her favorite cousin Sophie (a 7lb. maltese who isn't so pleased  that Olivia has usurped her first place position), braved the St. Patty's day crowds at Central Park and pushed her on the swings, ad nauseum!  It was great and would it surprise you to know that I was EXHAUSTED!!  When Alexis called and asked me what time I wanted the baby sitter to come, the last thing I wanted to do was to go out to dinner.

But here is what I learned on my first day of babysitting.
1.  Olivia knows baby sign language.  When I asked her if she had enough of the swing, she started making gestures with her hands.  I thought that she wanted me to sing The eensy, weensy, spider..... But when I tried to take her out of the swing, the baby who never cries started to scream and gesture ferociously.  I finally realized that she was putting her two hands together in the sign which means "more".  So I pushed her some more and then some more again, until I was dizzy!
2.  When she starts squishing her food between her fingers, it means that she is done.
3.  If I bring her pull toy with us when we are walking on the streets of New York, and I hold her other hand, she can't pick up every dirty cigarette butt (and worse) that we pass on the street.
4.  "Little Miss Independent" does not like to be left alone in a room for a single second.  I even have to take her into the bathroom with me.
5.  She loves dogs, and ducks and her piano, understands everything and learns so many new things every day.