Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Forensic Babies

Avery – with attitude – and her cousin, Travis

Avery will be one year old on September 14. She has no desire to walk because everything she needs is on the floor. The family/living room is located next to the back deck that blows lots of little goodies onto the floor every time somebody opens the door. 

With a mom, a dad, and two siblings (not to mention other family members, like me – her grandma) who frequently open that door, Avery has her pick from all kinds of lint, crumbs, and anything else that lands on the floor, including the fly that she tried to catch yesterday. You can just imagine what a delight that shiny wooden floor is to a baby who has to taste EVERYTHING.

From her vantage point, I discovered what the family had for lunch the day before, because one small hard macaroni shell, hidden from my view, didn't escape Avery's watchful eye. She immediately plunged it into her mouth, and I immediately grabbed it from her.

The tiniest speck of a leaf the vacuum missed found its way into her mouth too. As a matter of fact, my fingers spent most of the morning in Avery's mouth.

After tiring of running after her, I asked her if she wanted to go outside. Whereas the month before she was perfectly content to sit on my lap, yesterday she wanted DOWN. As I scanned the deck, I saw that I would have to lung for all the leaves I found there. 

I missed one. Avery saw it. She looked back at me to determine how fast I might be able to get to her before she shoved it into her mouth – the whole leaf. I jumped off the chair. She crawled as fast as her knees would carry her. I grabbed her and pulled the leaf from her mouth.

And she SCREAMED at me! She has never screamed at me. But she became even more enraged when I laughed at her for screaming at me. So I brought her into the house and decided that if she was hungry enough to eat a leaf, she must be hungry enough to eat the baby food she earlier refused to eat.

She glared at me, defiant. She was NOT going to have that baby food! She wanted raw vegetation! And she screamed at me again.

Soooo, I put her in her crib, handed her a bottle of soy milk (she's lactose intolerant) and told her that when she calmed down I would come back to get her. She grabbed the bottle from my hand, put it into her mouth, and I walked out of the room, closing the door behind me. 

Minutes later she was standing in her crib, singing. I opened the door and she smiled at me. All was forgiven and we went back to the room where I discovered even more lint that I had missed before.

So now I'm thinking, because I'm such an NCIS and Criminal Minds fan, why investigators don't use babies to find evidence. They are so good at noticing things we adults miss. Maybe I'll start my own show – Forensic Babies!

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

I Wanna Meet the Tooth Fairy

When Audrey lost another tooth (a couple of months ago), the Tooth Fairy waited until she fell asleep to grab the tooth and replace it with money, a familiar process for every mother and father – oops! I mean tooth fairy.

The tooth fairy in my home would reach under the pillow while little children slept and feel for that tiny little tooth. Often the tooth got lost in that wide space under the pillow. Sometimes the tooth fairy forgot. Sometimes the tooth fairy couldn't find the little tooth.

Creative parents would wrap the tooth in a plastic bag or a satin tooth holder, but not me – I just told the kids to put their tooth under their pillows. Chances were, I'd probably forget about it anyway.

Teeth weren't worth much back when I was a kid. Now baby teeth are valuable. I should have saved my kids' teeth – but how could I have known about stem cells back then? 

OK, sorry. I was sidetracked thinking of all the teeth that found their way under pillows in my home. But back to the Audrey tooth story:

The Tooth Fairy reached under the pillow and tried to locate the tooth without disturbing Audrey's dreams. However, Audrey had a death grip on the tooth and the tooth fairy couldn't pry Audrey's hands open without awakening her. Apparently Audrey wanted to meet the Tooth Fairy and knew that if she gripped her tooth in her hand, she would awaken when the Tooth Fairy took her tooth.

Sadly, for God knows how many times, the Tooth Fairy failed to complete her mission. Mom had to tell Audrey that the Tooth Fairy probably couldn't find the tooth hidden in her hand. Next time she should let go.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Where Am I?

Once upon a long long time ago, within a period of three months I moved from Chicago to New York to San Diego and then back to Chicago. You may wonder why I moved so many times in one season. The truth is, I was trying to find myself. Yes, I am from the generation where finding ourselves was of utmost importance, and I was determined to find ME. 

So there I was, on the beach, looking out across the Pacific Ocean, deep in thought, trying to figure out my purpose in life. In despair, because I couldn't answer my own question, I wrapped my arms around my legs, put my head on my knees, closed my eyes, and asked myself the questions of all questions: Who AM I? Where AM I? 

After several minutes (maybe longer – I might have fallen asleep) I gave up asking. Apparently I would never know. When I opened my eyes, absolute pitch-black darkness surrounded me, providing the answer to my question. I had no idea where I was – I was utterly lost. I couldn't even find my way back up the slope, because I could see nothing.

Then one day I realized that finding myself meant just figuring out WHO I was meant to be (and yes, I know I should have written whom). The WHERE didn't matter, because wherever I was, I had to learn to be comfortable with ME.

Over the years I continued to move a lot, though for the past five years I have managed to stay in the same location (I really like it here), sharing my home periodically with numerous family members who move in and out. However, once everybody moves out permanently, I will have to figure out how I can afford to stay in my home by myself, even if staying means finding a company that will streamline refinance rates so that I can afford my currently outrageous mortgage.

Unless (always has to be an unless) one of my screenplays or teleplays sells. Then I might have to move to Hollywood and it won't be an issue :)

So the answer to the question, "Where Am I? is, "I am where I am until I am somewhere else."

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Family Vacation In Myrtle Beach

I had to post this photo my daughter took of her three children (my grandchildren) on the last day of their vacation in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I just love the way it looks (thank you, Brittney):

I'm still in Virginia, heading back home to Illinois in a couple of days. I won't miss Virginia (although one day I hope to visit Virginia Beach), but I will most definitely miss my son.

My vision of all of my children and grandchildren living around one huge lake in our own homes is a dream that may never come true, but I have a rich fantasy life, and in that world, we all live on a beautiful pristine lake, get together often, and enjoy all the amenities lake living has to offer.

Some day?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Spoiling your feline friend with cat treats

There are so many ways to spoil your cat with cat treats (food and non-food treats!) We have compiled a list of 10 ways to treat & spoil your cat!
  1. Brushing – Cats enjoy being brushed. It provides them a way to bond with you, feels great for them, and helps you to keep shedding under control!
  2. Interactive Play – Cats need to be stimulated! Interactive play with strings, toys, and lasers allow them to flex their physical & mental muscles.
  3. Warming Cat Beds – If you really want to spoil kitty, you can provide her with a self-warming bed. These beds are the equivalent to our own heating blankets, and provide a safe way to keep kitty warm!
  4. Cat Fountain – Cats are naturally dehydrated, and needs lots of water to stay healthy! Some cats don’t like their water to be left sitting all day. A water fountain will allow them to experience moving water and encourage them to drink more water.
  5. Bath Wipes – It is well known amongst cat owners and enthusiasts that cats do not like baths. They now make bathing wipes that contain natural calming oils to calm and soothe your kitty, all while reducing allergens for you and your guests!
  6. Healthy Mouths – While your cat might not appreciate this one as much as some of the others listed here, keeping your cat’s teeth healthy will help ensure the overall health of your cat! Teeth cleaning treats, a cat safe toothbrush / toothpaste set, or even cat tooth gels can be used to help keep your cat’s teeth clean!
  7. Grass – Cat’s love eating grass and plants, but most indoor plants can be toxic to cats. You can now buy ‘cat grass’ which is safe for cats to chew on, and will not make your kitty’s stomach upset!
  8. Surprises – When you are not going to be home for a few hours, you can hide a few treats around the house for the cat to find while you are away!

Great Job, Audrey!

Drawings by children always amaze me, mostly because I can't even draw stick people.

The above picture was drawn by my 7-year-old granddaughter, Audrey. I'm truly amazed. If I draw something, people start looking like dogs with their heads cocked to the side as they try to imagine – yes imagine – what the heck I just drew. And their guesses are usually so far off, that sometimes I find myself saying, yes, it does look kind of like that.

In this drawing, however, nobody has to guess. The image leaves nothing to the imagination. Great job, Audrey!

What's even more amazing, is that she was not looking at a photo of a pirate ship as she drew it. The whole thing developed from her memory of what a pirate ship looks like.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

She Gets Upset Only When...

Avery is one of the happiest babies I've ever met. If you anticipate her needs, whether it be that she needs sleep, food, or a diaper change, she is one happy baby.

She also MOVES – quickly – and sneaks into her diaper bag to grab items she probably knows she's not supposed to play with (she's very smart). She does not, however, relinquish them easily, so Grandma has to have something else in hand to immediately replace the item with something safe.

Look how happy she was prior to Grandma taking away the PLASTIC BAG she pulled out of the diaper bag. 

And, sorry Avery, you will have to understand that you are waaaaay too young for lip gloss.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Why I Love Watching My Grandchildren

The other night Kaden (7), Zac (4), and I were watching America's Funniest Videos. The groom was under the bridal dress attempting to pull out the garter, but his braces got stuck on his bride's garter.

"WHAT are they doing?" Kaden wanted to know. I explained the ritual of taking off the garter from the bride during a wedding reception.

Kaden's mouth dropped open and his head extended forward several inches. "Will I have to have THAT to Alex?" Alex is the little girl he wants to marry when he grows up.

Later that night we all sat in bed together (their dad was sick with the flu) and they told me that Daddy always told them a story at bedtime, so I started talking about walking through a forest and coming to a lake…but I was not telling the story the way their dad told it. It was supposed to be scary. 

Oh, OK. So I put on my scary voice and continued with, "Well, these kids come upon a house, a very scary house, and they are afraid to walk up to the door, so they run away, and they get to the lake but they see something in the lake, and it's coming closer and closer and closer, getting bigger and bigger and bigger…" 

Zac interrupted the story at this point: "Wow! This is really weird. I'm having a nightmare and I'm not even sleeping yet."

And that's when I started laughing so hard I couldn't tell the rest of the story. When I finally composed myself, I added, "And then they looked back at the lake and noticed it was their daddy who came to save them."

And THAT is one of the reasons why I love my grandchildren so much! They make me laugh!