It takes a village…

Wiseguy was a very lucky man today.  No…a VERY lucky grandfather today.  He got to babysit…nope….entertain…little Kennie.  Believe me….she played games with him as much as he played games with her.  A battle of wits.  Entertaining?  Yes.  Tiring?  Absolutely.

Growing up, my mother always told me that she felt bad because I didn’t have grandparents or great grandparents.  “I have to be your mother, grandmother, great grandmother, best friend.”  That never made sense to me.  I thought she was just rambling…you know…the way mothers always do, and it never made sense.

Well, becoming an aunt was a learning experience.  I remember talking to my first nephew and niece (only 17 months apart) and trying to impart words of wisdom without having them burst into tears.  Then later, I became a stepmother.  Mother might have been easier, don’t know, but stepmother, to tweens and teens, not easy either.  Lots of “behind the door” tears because I couldn’t show hurt or failure.  I lived and survived it and learned a lot from that experience. 

Now, we’re at the fun part of  life.  Becoming a grandma at 42.  Although surprising, it was AWESOME!  I still have energy to keep up with the wee wonder-girl!  Our Kennie (who will be 2 years old at the end of august) is just hilarious.  Her two-syllable vocabulary and her imitations are amazing and fun and entertaining and adorable.  You can see how much time her mom spends with her.  She teaches her many things from singing to counting (by the way…counting starts like this..you say “one” and she continues with “two” …there is no “one” in her vocab.  Anyway, toddlers are fun.  Entertaining, fun, and…extremely tiring.

So, when Wiseguy told me that he got to babysit (ahem…hang out with) little Kennie, I was jealous…in a happy way.  It’s nice for him to have fun play time with little Kennie. 

Honestly, kids have an amazing view of the world and what is determined as “fun”.  Grandpa was brilliant.  He decided that it was time to water the flowers in the backyard.  “Kennie do.”  Yup, the hose, full of water, was initially aimed at watering the flowers.  Then it became a fountain, spraying on Kennie and the puppies and everywhere BUT the flowers.  Fun? Totally!  What else did the dynamic duo do? 

They ran around the house.  They drew pictures.  They ate fruit.  They played with the “Gogs” (aka dogs).  They had  lunch.  Then grandma came home at lunch and luckily got to put little Kennie down for a nap.  Nothing like watching a wee child sleep in peace.  Those little breaths in and out and that peaceful look on their face.  Absolute comfort and happiness.

After work, Grandma came home to the welcoming, happy face of wee Kennie and “come”…time to play.  We forget to play.  We adults play, but sadly, it’s usually a play to win situation.  Grandma just had to play with Kennie by dancing.  A little boogie woogie and giggling with mommy.  Then I had Kennie help set the table because “Kennie do” was all I heard.

Grandpa Wiseguy was happy.  He got to have fun playing games with the pre-two year old all day.  She had a two hour nap.  She scarfed down lunch.  She gave lots of hugs and held his hand and helped water the flowers and played drums and just gabbed and laughed and played with grandpa. 

After Princess and Little Kennie went home after dinner, I got a lovely text message “out like a lightbulb”.  I was so happy that Kennie had a  wonderful day with both grandpa and great-grandpa.  I texted back:  Grandpa out too.

Sweet dreams Grandpa.  You done good.

(Just a small note:   I have heard this phrase many times before, but in case you haven’t…it takes a village to raise a child.  The more the merrier.  All hands on deck.  Lots of supervision, lots of love, and lots of different views from different generations.  Yes, it does take a loving village to raise a child.)

Dance like no one’s watching

I watch little Kennie dancing to music and can’t help but laugh.  It’s too cute!  It’s funny!  No matter how much WE laugh she keeps right on creating her own dance moves.  There is arm swinging and some jumping and quickie deep knee bends.  Then there is the stick out your butt move and the rhythmic clapping.   Not to mention the swaying and the laying down and getting back up.  Yup, we laugh.  Really good belly laughs.  Does this make her stop doing what she’s doing or make her run away?  Heavens no!  She is there to dance and have a great time.  Who cares what anyone else thinks?

When did everyone else’s opinion become the most important to us?  When did we forget that we have to love ourselves first.  We are who we are and by loving ourselves we can only shine brighter in anything we do.

I am constantly saying that I can’t draw.  I look at the pictures and sketches that The Artist draws and I am amazed.  I would LOVE to be able to quickly jot down lines and make a beautiful finished product.  I recall my early early sketches.  Drawing family was always the best.  You remember, the stick people wearing pants and skirts.  The curly hair.  There was always a big round sun and birds…well, more like Ms flying around, but we knew they were birds.  And we could draw a million pictures a day and they were ALL the best.  Not one was bad.  All the people in the picture were smiling too.  Yes, everyone was happy and my picture showed it.  When did my drawings go from “Way to Go!” to “Oh No“?

Same thing with telling jokes or making music or singing loudly or boogie woogie dancing.  When we were little we could do anything and everything.  We were invincible!  School started and suddenly it seemed that we were “very good” at some things but at other things we “needed improvement”.  I am not saying the school system is bad or that parents mean to belittle their children.  It was all done to make sure that we would be protected.  Here is the concept:  they will show you your shortcomings so that you won’t embarass yourself and no one will laugh at you and this way you won’t have your feelings hurt.  It’s ok that they, the ones who love you, tell you that you aren’t good enough because they love you.  Makes sense right? 

It never really made sense to me.  What does it matter who actually says it as it will hurt your feelings no matter who says it.  That is, it will hurt you if you are constantly relying on others’ opinions of yourself.  What if we told children and friends and family only about all the good stuff.  Give them that daily boost.  Make them see how wonderful they are.   Think how much nicer our world would be if we consciously decided everyday that we were the best and we could do anything.  You would be happy all day!  

This year I decided that it was time to prove to myself (not anyone else) that I could do the things that I had been moulded into believing that I could not.  It started quite innocently when The Baker came over (thankfully) to help me bake goodies for my niece’s bridal shower.  It is tradition for family (and friends) to bring sweet treats and I was tempted to go to the local coffee shop and pre-order a whack of donut holes that I could stick with toothpicks on a foam pillar.  Yup, if nothing else, I would get bonus points for creativity.  The Baker jumped in and volunteered her time and baking expertise to make me look like a star.  We baked chocolate cupcakes.  We created yummy frostings (one cream cheese and one peanut butter).  We continued with fruit tarts.  Yes, I was nervous.  Yes, I kept saying “no no..you’re the baker, I’ll just help”.  Nope, she would have none of it.  We baked, we frosted, we made simple syrup for the tarts.  Some attempts didn’t work out and others turned out fantastic.  Whose goodies looked great the next day at the shower?  Yup, mine sure did! 

What I realized most was that, yes, it was nice for everyone to oooohhh and aaahhh at the dessert masterpieces, but I just felt so proud and good inside because of what I had accomplished.  I had baked!  Me!  Me the one who tells everyone I have ice cream on hand for dessert because I don’t bake.   Thanks to The Baker for pushing me.  Sometimes a kick in the pants is a good thing.  She never doubted me so why did I?

This year I am going to continue my journey into bakingdom.  From there I am going to sit with The Artist so that she can give me some pointers on how to move beyond my awesome stick people drawings.  I also have all these neato machines needed for scrapbooking (cricut and expressions…amazing stuff) and will be making my own cards.  The Artist made elegant “save the date” cards for her wedding.  Absolutely beautiful.  So I will definitely be telling myself that I CAN DO IT and I will forget about what I had heard for so many years about how I couldn’t do something.

With every new venture I will enjoy the learning and all the hiccups and hardships that come with it.  Most importantly, when someone decides to point out that something doesn’t look nice or I did it wrong, it really won’t matter because I have almost finished learning Kennie’s flamboyant dance moves.  Dance on in life like no one’s watching and be happy!