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Posts Tagged ‘grandchildren’

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

I recently won a book giveaway (Don’t you just love free books?) from Kidlit 411 of a new book My Monsterpiece by Amalia Hoffman. The illustrations for this book are done with mixed media and photography. The artist-kid wants to create a scary monster but becomes frustrated as each person he shows his art to isn’t frightened at all. They eventually come to understand that monsters don’t have to be scary (and neither are kids). I was excited to read it to my almost 3 year old grandson Leo when he came to visit this weekend.

Sunday morning came early as Leo woke up well before the sun. “Mamére, it’s dark outside.” So while I had my much-needed cup of coffee, Leo located the art supplies and set to work on his own Masterpiece/ Monsterpiece.

by Leo, 2.8

On the Ethical ELA Open Write, the prompt from Anna was to write a 20/20 vision poem, a 20 word poem that sees something more clearly.

Making a masterpiece

comes slowly with

creative attention

to bursts of color.

You look up and say,

“A birthday cake!”

Margaret Simon, draft

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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 phone rings blinking Facetime, and I know who’s calling, but this time he greets me differently.

“How a doin?”

Leo, 27 months learns a new phrase almost daily. This one was his latest. He was so excited to say it.

“Hey, Leo. I’ve been sick.”

In the background, Maggie says, “Ma mère‘s tummy hurts.”

“Hold you, Ma mère!” Leo exclaims with a concerned expression that melts my heart.

“Oh, I wish I could hold you.”

“Tummy. Kiss it. Better.” He leans forward and kisses the screen.

Leo kisses make everything better.

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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.

Saturday the sun came out, the temperatures rose to a pleasant 60 degrees, and I was with my grandchildren. A happy place most of the time. There are those small moments when the bottle isn’t ready and Stella, 3 months, is hungry. And naptime when both Stella and Leo, 27 months, were crying. There is no such thing as a perfect child or a perfect day with them, but Saturday came pretty close.

After naps, I took Leo, dressed in his caterpillar Halloween costume, to the park to watch the kite flyers there. There was a “Hulk” kite tied to an electric pole. When the kite crash landed, I took the chance to share kite flying experience with Leo.

“Pick up the string”
I held the kite high.
“Hold it up high. Now let go”
The kite caught the March wind and up it went. Leo danced in a circle squealing with delight.

When I think about my play-day with Leo, I realize that he never played with a toy. His father was working on fixing up a small shed with peg board. Leo played with a drill, a pencil, and a screwdriver. He was building, too. At the park, he picked up a large branch and “raked” leaves. Who needs toys when the world outside is full of interesting sticks?

When the Very Hungry Caterpillar sat at the kitchen table to eat his dinner, I said goodbye.
“Bye, Mamere. Kiss.”

Kites, the wind, and that kiss will carry me through to next Saturday.

Leo, the caterpillar, sister Stella, and the fire-pit on a glorious March windy day.

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This week Ruth invites us to write about rituals. As I sit at my computer on Boxing Day, I realize that rituals change. And change they must. In fact, I’ve had to understand that a ritual for me may or may not be one for my family. Accepting the change is my mantra for this holiday season.

Speaking of the lack of church-going in my pandemic life, I said to my daughter, “I’ll be spiritual again in 2021.”

She responded, “Oh, you are still spiritual. It’s just the ritual that you’ve taken a break from.”

She’s right, of course. But I feel the ritual of church, especially singing carols with the choir on Christmas Eve, fed my spiritual life, and without that food, I’m going through the motions of Christmas. My advent candles sit on my kitchen table having never been lit. I wonder at the long term effects of this ritual loss.

I totally forgot about Christmas dinner. Who forgets Christmas dinner? I realized after a text from my sister-in-law that we would have a visit, masked and on the porch with open doors, but no meal. Yikes! We ran to a nearby place that has frozen foods and stocked up 10 minutes before they closed on Christmas Eve. Emergency averted. That meal was the easiest Christmas dinner ever. Maybe a new tradition was born?

As I reflect on Christmas, 2020, I have so many things to be grateful for, beginning with a negative Covid test, so I was comfortable being around my grandchildren. The joys of children at any time of the year, but especially at Christmas, cannot be overrated. Leo, 2 years, was amazed by every “pwesent”, and Thomas, 15 months, wanted to taste every goodie. “Pease!” with the sign for More caved me every time. And even though I cannot physically hold baby Stella, I can watch her from across the room melt onto my daughter’s shoulder. So many blessings. New rituals. Always hope!

Cousins Leo, 2 years, Stella, 3 weeks, and Thomas, 15 months

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If there is not a hurricane threatening the coast of Louisiana, October is the best month of the year. I love October. The air goes from a balmy, humid, highs-in-the-90’s to crisp, windy, highs-in-the-70’s. This year, three days after Hurricane Zelda, Halloween Day was one of those perfect weather days.

At my daughter’s house, Leo lay sleeping, their dog was “at camp”, and all the doors were wide open. Grant, my son-in-law, had built a fire in the fire pit. He was drawing Halloween characters in chalk on the sidewalk while a gumbo simmered on the stove.

I’m not sure if it’s being a certain age or the whole weirdness of 2020, but I have been more in tune to finding Joy, and I just felt in my soul this was going to be a Joy-filled day.

I had the privilege of waking Leo from his nap. When I walked in, he was curled around a plush bunny with his heavy diaper sticking up, a pose we call child’s pose in yoga for a reason. I tickled his back, and he slowly woke with an expression of happy anticipation on his sleep-lined face. He knew this was a special day.

Leo’s excitement for this day was increasing by the minute. He was awed by everything, the chalk drawn characters, the costumes, the fake spider hangings, blow-up pumpkins and witches and ghosts. Neighbors dropped by, and he marveled at their children, two little boys one 3 years old and the other 19 months, just his size. (Leo is 22 months) He doesn’t quite play with others as much as they play around each other. But he quickly learned their names and was calling after them when they left.

To prepare for Halloween, I borrowed a butterfly costume from a friend and bought Leo a caterpillar costume from Target. It fit well, and he loved it! His favorite thing to do was run in and out of my flowing butterfly wings. He says “flutterfly” and “paterpillar.”

My greatest joy was walking hand in hand down the street while Leo talked nonstop, “Light! Pumpkin! People! Man! Excited!” Every word he knew in a stream of exclamation.

These are frightening times we are living in, but in the eyes of a toddler holding hands with his grandmother, life is full of Joy and Wonder.

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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 greatest joy of my summer has been spending time with my grandsons. Leo is 19 months and is learning new words every day. One of his words is “bird” that sounds more like “bir,” and he has the cutest tweet sound.

In our courtyard, I’ve been working on attracting more birds. We’ve hung a few feeders. We have chickadees, titmice, and cardinals visit. Leo has noticed them. He will stop what he’s doing to look up at the sound of a chickadee.

It was time to change the suet feeder. I wanted to involve Leo, so I googled “DIY bird feeder for kids.” This video popped up.

I wondered if the recipe would work using the wire suet feeder rather than cookie cutters.

Easy peasy and great for toddler time. I boiled a quarter cup of water in the microwave and added it to a large metal bowl along with one packet of gelatin. Leo understands the concept of hot. He said, “Hah. Hah.” I gave him a wooden spoon to stir with. After stirring the gelatin, I held a measuring cup of bird seed (about a cup) while Leo scooped the seed using an ice cream scooper.

Leo focused on stirring and scooping.

With the metal frame on a baking sheet, I scooped the mixture in ready to wait and let it harden. When I took Leo off the chair he was standing on, he immediately screamed “more! more!” while making the more sign. It’s the only sign he knows, but it’s an important one. So, we did another batch. Why not! The metal frame was big enough to hold two batches.

I am amazed that, with heat indexes in the 100s, the mixture is holding up, not melting. I sent Leo (his mom) a picture I took looking out the kitchen window of a male cardinal perched on the feeder.

Cardinal at the feeder.

While the news is bleak, let’s remember the simple joy of watching birds. “Bir! Bir! Tweet! Tweet!”

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life
new baby blanket waiting

My middle daughter, Katherine, is waiting. We are all waiting for her baby to be born. His due date is Sept. 5th, so he will be here soon.

Last summer in August, Katherine had a miscarriage. It was tragic, yet her doctor told her then that she expected she would be holding a baby within a year. The day after the procedure, I took Katherine to a little yarn shop to pick out yarn for a blanket. I have been crocheting prayer shawls and blankets for the last few years. She said, “I’ll pick out the colors, but I don’t want you to make a baby blanket.” That was her sorrow talking. The blanket above is complete and waiting.

One method I often use for finding my way into a poem is to observe outside, then go inside, and back outside. Driving home a few weekends ago following the Mississippi Book Festival, I looked outside and inside and outside for this poem.

So We Must Daily Keep Things Wound
(title from a Madeleine L’Engle quote)

I love how the raindrops
glisten on glass
dotting the landscape
green and awake.

I keep the cell phone charged 
ready for her call
when cramps turn to contractions.
I wait, want, worry.

I read somewhere that the egg
for this child was planted
in her womb from my womb–
this curious circle of life.

I keep my eyes on the clouds
fluffed up and pregnant
with rain, more rain.
It keeps on coming. 

(draft) Margaret Simon

NCTE Note: I’ve registered for NCTE 2019 to be held in Baltimore Nov. 21st-24th. I am looking for a roommate. Let me know by email if you are interested.

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