Tag Archives: grandchildren

Prattle protrudes on Grandma’s nap

Prattle: n. a sound that is meaningless, repetitive, and suggestive of the chatter of children

Protrude: v. to jut out from the surrounding surface or context

I’ve been visiting my daughter’s family in Oakland since Tuesday. When the boys (4 & 7) are at school, Heather and I do grownup things (Asian Art Museum in SF -yes!, planning their new veggie garden, reading the paper). When they’re home, we play.

After a few days of this I was ready for a nap. The house is very small, so I curled up on Alexander’s bed while he and his brother played in the next room.

Their high little voices went on and on and on, sometimes rising with distress or excitement, sometimes burbling softly like a fountain.  But the chatter never ceased. Clearly they process all their thoughts out loud. It’s a sweet sound – unless you’re trying to take a nap or think.

It’s so different when you live with adults. Our processing is mostly internal. Years ago I read a study that said that most married couples don’t talk a lot – though women talk more than men, as a rule. (I recall some ridiculously low number, but can’t find it now.)

It’s a miracle that mothers with little ones at home get anything done at all.

imPermanence: snow melts and tempus fugit

Permanent: n. continuing or enduring without fundamental or marked change

Impermanence:  n. an essential element of Buddhism – that everything is changing, inconstant, in flux. Because things are impermanent, attachment to them is futile, and leads to suffering.

The Portland area was blanketed in nearly a foot of snow for most of the week up until Christmas. My grandkids –  Elliott who’s 4 and Alexander who is 7, were beyond thrilled to be able to enjoy a white Christmas with their two super-fun uncles, who are young at heart at 25 and 37.  (Their parents – my daughter and her husband – were not so thrilled to have to drive up here from sunny California in such nasty weather, but they picked the only 12-hour window in a week to make it through!).

The joint was jumpin’ for six days – the boys of all ages seemed more excited by the snow and playing Pokeman (a P post for another day) than the prospect of presents.  Gifts were pretty sparse anyway, giving us the chance to focus more on hanging out together.

Here are my two sons and Alexander, after inserting the snowman’s carrot nose, and clapping a hat on his head:


Starting Christmas night the temperature began rising. The snowman began shrinking. This is how he looked this morning, right after the Californians left for home:


He was only about 15″ high then; a few hours later he’s just a tiny snowball.

And now the house is totally quiet again.  The holiday came and went as fast as the snow, and I feel a lot like our snowman. Quite deflated and a little soggy.

One of our snowed-in activities (which turned out to be much more fun than my older two first thought) was going through the many boxes of their’ memorabilia which I’ve stored in one garage or another since they left for college eons ago.  “Whatever stuff you want to keep,” I said, “is going to henceforth be living with you, so choose wisely.”

Heather had only one box left here, but Ethan had six – packed to the gills. To keep him company I brought out a couple of boxes of my own written memorabilia to sort through. I have to hand it to him; he carefully plowed through a couple of boxes every day, examining each item (mostly artwork, homework, book reports, photos and letters), tossing about half of it, but savoring and repacking the rest.  Already in middle school you could see hints of who he would become – the fascination with edgy design – the originality of his ideas – and his writing skill, which I’d just taken for granted until he began writing for HuffPo last month.

The process was a powerful reminder of how many lives we each have lived through, in what seems like the blink of an eye. Friends, passions, projects… developing, ripening, disappearing. Many forgotten until a picture or letter brings it back.

My own journals and letters are voluminous. I’ve got them going back to college and it will take a long time to sort through them. The triviality of most of my concerns appalls me, but it’s all there – bringing the past temporarily back to life.

If I hadn’t recorded all those experiences they’d otherwise be gone gone gone – melted away like our snowman.

Update 1/4/09: Blogfriend Splodge forwarded this cartoon… too good not to append.


Priceless: baby boy bands

Priceless: adj. of inestimable worth, invaluable; highly amusing, absurd, or odd. [Break-time from politics.]

My grandsons are adorable and brilliant, as everyone’s grandkids are. Here they have put their Tinker-Toys to a new use- drum-kit and microphones.

I have video of their latest hit, “Doo, duh-duh dooo, I’m talkin’ to you,” but I have to admit the kid below has a rendition of “Hey Jude” that’s more worth your time and attention. And he isn’t even an English speaker: