From Songster to Flag Girl

nightingale

No longer so reluctant to turn in for the night, two-year-old May often goes to bed happily with bursts of song.

But on Sunday she became a flag dancer as well as a nightingale. Tommy, May and I sit at the front during the worship service. There’s a lot going on–people and instruments on the platform, words on the screen, and often flag dancers as well. Today there was one flag dancer, and she came over and offered us flags. I chose shimmering turquoise for May and me, and May waved her flag during the entire worship service.

During Meet and Greet time, May and I shook hands with others nearby. Tommy caught sight of his older friend and raced up to the balcony to greet him.

How can I describe my feelings?  I rejoiced that my little granddaughter was so utterly cherished as the flag lady told her Jesus loved to see her flagging.

And Tommy? Tommy knows he belongs. He belongs with his Sunday School teacher and pastor, with his older friend, with the others who welcome him on Sunday mornings, and with his uncle, whom he sometimes helps in the sound booth.

… Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and don’t try to stop them! People who are like these children belong to God’s kingdom.” Matthew 19:14 (Contemporary English Version) 

 

 

Saving the Dinosaurs from Extinction

Dino egg lab 2016-01-28

You knew, of course, that dinosaurs were on the endangered list. No? Really?

Check out Tina’s Dino Egg Lab–nesting areas, staff, an elevator, and even an aquarium–standard issue for rescue parks. And this, folks, is the only one of its kind. There are no dinos left in the wild (that’s why you haven’t seen any), and this is the world’s only dino hatching facility.

God must have had fun when He made the world, I often tell Tina. As we make art (always under her direction), I feel her joy in creativity, and imagine that we are catching a glimpse of the joy the Master Creator experienced at the dawn of time. For do we not, although corrupted, still bear the mark of His image?

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27 (New International Version)

 

Premie Poetry: Ode to a Baby Granddaughter

newborn

You’re ever so tiny, impossibly cute,

Utterly miniature, very astute.

You know when it’s dinner; you know when it’s snack.

You’d charm the shirt right off a car salesman’s back.

We love you with all of your sweet winning ways,

And we know that we’ll love you for all of our days.

But always remember that God loves you more

From before you were born until forever more.

starry night

Joy in the Journey–A Battle-Scarred Fox and the Thrill of Creativity

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“Which one do you think Grandma made?’ asks my crafty granddaughter. She shows her mom the two fox corner bookmarks you see on the Ellie and Harry books.  Close scrutiny will reveal that Ellie’s fox has lovely, uniform ears. Those on Harry’s fox, on the other hand, show evidence of battle–either the fox has been in a tussle, or its crafter is folding-challenged.

Maria, in an act of kindness or perhaps a momentary lapse of memory (“What? My mom a klutz? Really?”), incorrectly guesses that I made the fox with the matching ears . . . .

and therein lies the message of the day.

Not only am I talent-free, I’m also clumsy–and that in no way eliminates me from a bright, happy morning of art activity with Tina. With the day off school and only a few tasks that need to be completed, Tina comes up with the idea of making bookmarks.

We check out YouTube videos and come up with some real winners. The instructors demonstrate EVERYTHING–neat folding (sorry, no can do), drawing lightly in pencil, and even erasing the pencil lines with your choice of two kinds of eraser.

What fun Tina and I have making the bookmarks and setting up the display for our photo shoot!

Tina’s next project–her very own craft video.

Our happy morning reminds me that Tina recently won a story contest. She might have won anyway, but the fact that hers was the only entry sealed the deal🙂.

Sometimes, as in the case of the klutzy grandma who had a wonderful morning and the prize-winning storygirl, all it takes to win is to show up and make an effort.

effort

This Doctor Thought She’d Seen It All

Parents today are probably the most informed and involved generation in history. And, yet, in the company of their children, they often act as though they’d rather be someplace else. That’s what they’re saying when they break eye contact to glance at their push notifications or check Facebook when they think their child’s distracted. The parents are present, their attention is not.

In my practice, I see evidence every day of how such inattention affects kids. ~Pediatrician Jane Scott

Disturbing indeed: a pediatrician who thought she’d seen it all reports a two-year-old with infected ears turning to Siri on his cell phone–rather than his dad beside him–for info. Although, I gather it didn’t bother Dad too much–he was busy on his phone as well.

earache

Eight-year-old Tommy loves electronics (and his mother wisely restricts his time on them). Nine-year-old Tina uses, rather than loves, gadgets. But both of them are also highly responsive and aware of the needs and feelings of others. They have solid relationships with the people around them. So does two-year-old May.

kindness flowers

On the other hand, I recently heard of a young man whose hands are permanently disfigured from using joysticks (he’s still playing).

deformed-hand-due-to-rheumatoid-arthritis-x-ray

And I remember reading of a kind of detox program in another country. Although the prognosis for a cure to game addiction was poor, therapists were using physical action figures to try to wean addicts away from the screen.

playing games

And that gets me thinking. It appears that electronics are here to stay. Some groups prohibit their use altogether.

Mennonites

Tommy’s and Tina’s moms have opted for teaching sensible use, like watching these French stories on YouTube.

Rosa

Rosa Goes to the City

It looks like parents and other caregivers need to decide on a plan before vulnerable children become socially impaired and/or addicted.

What do you think? Do you agree that this is a cause for concern? If so, do you have suggestions?

Further Implications of the Daddy under the Couch Cushion

In my last post, I told you about May’s brief but delightful search for her beloved daddy under the couch cushion. And why not, when she has a grandma who searches for her in the unlikeliest places?

But a lifelong friend and literacy specialist to whom I tell this story has another take on it. Social intelligence, yes, but what a high level of transference and abstract thinking appears to be happening here!

rbee_90

May can’t possibly articulate this, but she appears to be thinking, “Since Grandma looks for me in places where I can’t possibly be, I’m going to look for another person in another place, one where he can’t possibly be.”

We may never know whether this is what’s really happening, or whether May just associates me with looking for people, but we do know that she’s a fascinating and charming little lady–and that we’re honored to have her in our family.

“. . . . I praise you because of the wonderful way you created me. Everything you do is marvelous! Of this I have no doubt.”  Psalm 139:14 (CEV)

The Daddy under the Couch Cushion

Two-year-old May is happy to see me at the front door. “Where Daddy go?” she asks, running into the living room and checking under the sofa cushion for her six-foot tall daddy.

couch

Why exactly does she do this?

Because I have an honorable, albeit unspoken title: The Grandma of the Ridiculous.

Lisa makes the cutest video ever of May helping me search for May under the picnic table. Together we peer under the table, crawl through the grass . . . .

In the living room I look for her under the coffee table. (Ouch!) Or could she be in the dinosaur book perhaps? Let’s try the Cretaceous Period.

I am also the Block Grandma, having brought May a set of large, colorful blocks borrowed from Tina.

May has her queendom of loving grown-ups nicely categorized. Her parents’ friend Emma, for example, is the Blanket Tug-of-War Lady, and Auntie Maria is the Head Bump Duchess.

Mommy is, in addition to many other honorable roles, the “Aww!” Person. (The two stroke each other’s hair and say “Aww!”)

Daddy is simply the King of Hearts.

May’s social skills are something else. We’re thinking she has high social intelligence.

According to Psychology Today,

The socially intelligent person knows how to play different social roles – allowing him or her to feel comfortable with all types of people. As a result, the SI individual feels socially self-confident and effective – what psychologists call “social self-efficacy.”

When Lisa and George first met May last summer, Lisa was impressed with the little girl’s confidence. May was a bit shy, naturally, but unafraid. Her foster mom had taught her that the world is a very good place indeed for a little girl.

May

Again from Psychology Today,

Intelligence, or IQ, is largely what you are born with. Genetics play a large part. Social intelligence (SI), on the other hand, is mostly learned. SI develops from experience with people and learning from success and failures in social settings.

I will always be thankful for the doctor who, when she saw that May was failing to thrive as an infant, diagnosed the problem. The surgeon called Social Services with a request that May be visited six to seven hours a day, seven days a week. Social Services responded with Tricia. The nurses lifted May, tubes and all, from her incubator onto Tricia’s lap, where she spent hours listening to Tricia sing and talk to her. And she thrived.

And now I’m thankful for May’s forever family–loving, kind and absolutely ready for the toddler.

Is there a challenge here for me? I’m neither a surgeon, nor a foster mom, nor an adoptive mom–but can I be readier to see a need and step up when someone is “failing to thrive”?