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Posts Tagged ‘being grandmother’

Ruth invites bloggers to Share Our Stories. Today’s prompt is to write fast.

Capture a shadow, dance with the wind, stand in a rainbow, begin at the end.


Mary Anne Radmacher
Photo by brenoanp on Pexels.com

Leo is learning the difference between his reflection and his shadow. He sees himself in a mirror, says, “Cute Shadow!” I am finding myself fascinated by how his little brain makes connections. How does language develop? What I am learning is that it is not at all linear. We start by repeating things a big person says. Leo parrots often. I was writing a card to a friend and said, “Dear Ellen.” He took the paper using the pen to draw right over my words and said, “Dear Ellen.” But then he kept scribbling hard and said, “Words!” And then some gibberish I didn’t understand. I took a video on my phone and sent it to Ellen.

I don’t have much video from my own children growing up. I’m sure I was as fascinated, but I was also busy being their mom. Being grandmother allows me time to reflect. I am writing things in a notebook for him. I’ve decided not to worry whether or not he will care about this when he gets older. That is not the point. I think that so many times as someone who wants to write, I worry too much about audience.

I read this morning on the Writer’s Almanac that Toni Morrison felt free when she wrote. She didn’t worry about her audience. She just marveled in the way writing consumed her. “But the writing was the real freedom, because nobody told me what to do there. That was my world and my imagination. And all my life it’s been that way.”

I don’t expect to be Toni Morrison, but I can take a bit of freedom from her. Let go and just write what comes. Ruth’s invitation today was to write fast. This was a quick write, about 20 minutes or so. Just enough time to bake a brownie or write a post. Both are sweet in their own way.

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Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.

Neil Gaiman
Art wall selfie

I believe that art is for everyone. Even a 2 year old. I heard that the Acadiana Center for the Arts had free exhibits, so I packed up Leo (after a stop at CVS to get him a mask), and we made our first visit ever to an art museum. The first of many to come.

Leo, like many 2-year-olds, is learning about his world and naming things. He recently started saying, “What’s that?” In art, “that” can be open for interpretation, so I’d say, “What do you see?” He saw birds, crabs, and even dinosaurs. One large abstract painting made him say, “Scary!” I asked him what he saw that was scary. He named things in the painting that I didn’t see. Imagination beginning!

In one gallery, there was a table with an outline of a diamond shape, colored pencils, and scissors. We colored together and added our masterpiece to the art wall.

In another display there was a painted piano. He loved sitting on the stool and playing the “key horse.” I learned later that he was trying to say keyboard. I told him it was a piano, so he repeated, “pinano!”

I have joined Michelle Haseltine’s #100DaysofNotebooking. On our art date, Leo and I made a notebook page using washi tape, flair pens, colored paper, and poem seeds. Our poem captured Leo’s curiosity and wonder.

One
Twinkling Star
Looking

Making art in my notebook, Leo style.

Inspiration: Not everyone has the advantage of spending time with such an enthusiastic observer, but consider taking some time to go to an art museum or play in your notebook. You’ll be happy you did!

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Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

I recently read Anna Quindlen’s Nanaville. I could have written it. Replace her son with my daughter and give Arthur the name Leo, and we are the same! Her grandson Arthur is learning Mandarin and English while Leo is learning Spanish (from his babysitter) and English. Quindlen’s book has inspired me to capture “Small Moments” about my grandchildren.

Leo calls milk “che-che” which is Leo for Spanish leche. He calls water for drinking agua while wawer means bath or swimming pool. Sometimes we assume a word is one he learned in Spanish because we don’t know what he is saying.

Leo is becoming himself and asserting his own language. He has decided to call me “Gon.” This, I guess comes from “grandma”, but it’s not very cute. He says it as a command like “no” or “mine.” We have been trying to get him to call me Ma mère because his grandfather wants to be Grandpère. Grandpère has become the sweetest soft sound of “Pee-père.” Leo has made the connection now, so following his command “Gon!” comes sweet eyes and “Ma mère.”

In addition to language, I am fascinated by how Leo plays. On Saturday a friend stopped by and brought me two quilts she had made for the boys. Leo chose the one with fish and gators on it. We laid it out on the kitchen floor, and I opened a drawer full of paper products: plates, napkins, and cupcake holders. He went back and forth from the quilt to the drawer to create a picnic. Here is a picture of him with a paper plate of goldfish, a favorite snack. “Shish.”

The thing about language is that it it the ultimate transactional process. If you watch children acquire language, you can see them not only speaking but arranging the known world. We ask them questions we know they know the answers to–What color is the ball? Where do frogs live?–so that they can practice the arrangement. It’s also pretty thrilling to be part of the process, and for a grandparent it’s tantamount to learning a new dialect.

Anna Quindlen, Nanaville

We ask Leo questions all day long. And he labels things. He also makes connections. He will point to the bayou and say “wawer” and follow it with “boat!” Then he waves because that is what we do. Watch for boats and wave to them. He sees a man wearing khaki pants and a hat cutting the grass and says “Pee-père.”

One of my favorite connections he’s made is the portal we use to call my parents. He says, “Pop!” He’s getting to know my parents in a different way using technology, but they are a part of his life and his vocabulary.

At 11 months, Thomas, Leo’s cousin (my second daughter’s son) is experimenting with his body, crawling at lightning speed and climbing stairs equally as fast. I could have sworn last week when I kept Thomas overnight, he echoed, “Night night.” I recall that his mother spoke early.

As a grandmother, I have the luxury of time with and time without my grandsons. I can pay attention to these milestones. Make note of them. Marvel at them. I am an observer. On the sidelines to the great miracle that is language and love.

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