Monthly Archives: March 2011

Monster Surgery and the Talking Grocery Cart

I arrive for our appointed playdate, but Tina is nowhere to be seen.

“She’s in the bathtub,” I’m told.

I complain loudly that we can’t put Fiddlestix in the tub, and soon a small, clean, wet person emerges, wrapped in a towel. She dries and dresses, and the games begin.

Tina hands me a plastic fruit container containing Little Lamb, and instucts me to take out Lamb and a toy. Tenderly, she lays Lamb in a blanket and takes her to the hallway, where she has dumped the Fiddlestix.  My first task is to build a castle for Lamb to play in. While I struggle to build a castle that will stand the tests of time (at least five minutes), Tina  transforms it into an objet d’art with stix at odd angles and red and yellow flags. Yes, Lamb will have fun here.

But look! A monster is coming, and it’s already eaten other animals! While Tina curls up with Lamb and watches, I anaesthetize the monster with a mysterious substance poured from an empty salt shaker. With a plastic knife as a scalpel, I open up the beast and liberate baby horses, a baby giraffe, and a mother and baby rhino. I then carry the groggy monster away from our play area, assure Tina that I haven’t hurt it, and tell it to go and eat grass.

Our moment of peace is interrupted by another alarm. This time there’s a huge monster hanging from the ceiling, with hooks to catch animals. With two long stix I lower the brute to the surgical suite, remove the intact prey, hand them over to Tina for care and comfort, and banish the monster with exhortations to become a vegetarian.

Over to Tommy’s.

Backstory: When I last went to Tommy’s, he was having a lot of fun with Mommy and didn’t want me to read him stories.

“I’m afraid to come back,” I tell Lisa. “I’m afraid saying no to me will get to be a habit.”

Lisa’s a sly one. “Just come over to visit, not to see Tommy,” she suggests.

Yes, of course! When the man of her dreams rejects her for another, what’s a girl to do? Play hard to get, of course.

When Anna calls me at Maria’s, I decide to go over to Lisa and Anna’s and talk to Anna in person.

When I arrive at Tommy’s, Anna and I go into her bedroom and shut the door. Tommy comes in uninvited, sits on my knee, and invites me to watch him play his game. “Not right now,” I tell him. “I’m talking to Auntie Anna right now.”

Later he tries again, but I’m really (yes, really!) interested in what Anna has to say.

I stay for supper and Tommy wonders if we could play “grocery cart” later. Yes, I believe I’ll have time.

The Talking Grocery Cart orders me to go to sleep. I lie down and try, protesting that grocery carts don’t have mouths, and my nanoseconds of peace are shattered by shrill orders to wake up. Again and again this merciless cart lulls me to sleep, then annihilates the stillness. Until he spots Amelia Bedelia. We enjoy the misadventures of the well-meaning maid, then  launch into Bible stories . . . and more Bible stories.

As I’m leaving, Lisa asks, “Did you get your grandma time?”

Oh, yes!

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“Can you tell me about when I was a baby?” Stories and Prayers of Tommy and Tina

Tommy (four) and Tina (five) have recently developed a strong interest in hearing about the funny things they and their moms did when they were babies. Like when Tina reached out of her crib, grabbed the Zincofax, and treated the diaper rash in her hair, on her crib and onTommy. Arriving at the scene of destruction, Auntie Lisa grabbed her camera and snapped a picture. (There was, of course, the time that she and Maria washed their hair in Vaseline many years ago!)

Tommy likes to hear “My bouse!”, a story of Mommy and Auntie Maria when they were toddlers. Red, white and blue, the little flowered blouse with buttons in the back commanded special affection from Lisa–she even slept with it. Tommy likes to hear how Auntie Maria teased her about it, calling it her own. “No sister bouse!” Lisa howled in protest. I promised Lisa that I’d never let her sister wear her special blouse.

Wednesday night at supper, Maria says “I used to talk to you all the time when you were a baby.” Then I tell Tina, with mock indignation, that when graced with a mommy who talked to her all the time, Tina talked to her socks and the ceiling fan. Tina loves that story. (She now talks to Foot . . . .)

 Tommy likes to hear about little Auntie Anna getting up one night and laying out pieces of bread on the stairs. (Was the toddler going to make lunches for the family?)

 And he is so kind when I tell him of my visit to the NICU when he was a day old. I wanted to hold him, but when I so much as touched him he started crying. “It wasn’t your fault,” Tommy assures me.

I tell Tina how, at her second birthday party, she royally took leave of her public at the restaurant, visiting three tables peopled by strangers and bidding them farewell.

And what of their prayers? For grace on Wednesday night Tina neglects to mention the food, but she does pray, “Everybody has to listen to God.”

Tommy prays, “Help me be good at day care.” His behaviour is sometimes a challenge to the staff; may their Father in Heaven look with favour upon both Tommy’s and Tina’s prayers!

“Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 18:6