Category Archives: Two Young Children

Baby in a Cup Holder

Dolly in cup holder cropped

“You can tell she’s raised with gentleness,” I observe as I watch Eliana shushing, cuddling and rocking her new dolly. “Baby! Baby!” she announces happily as she and her little one proceed through our trailer.

All is well until it’s time to go. Just like Mom does, Eliana inserts her baby in the baby seat. I try to point out that dolly would go very well in the cup holder (there’s even a safety strap), but Eliana will have none of that. Any toddler with even a grain of sense knows that babies belong in baby seats, not cup holders! Eliana sits on the car seat beside her little one, fully expecting Maria to drive away.

Oh oh! “This is not negotiable,” Maria laughs, fastening the loudly objecting Eliana into the baby seat and putting dolly in the cup holder where she clearly doesn’t belong.

I’m not worried. Eliana is a forgiving little girl, and she will continue to learn gentleness and nurturing from her mom, even with dolly clearly in the wrong place.


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)


Live Movie Trailers?

Crocky Jan 2015

Tina is compassionate, patient and heroic in her interactions with her animals.  She no longer wants to be an Emperor Penguin (she was only little then), and the teacher, doctor and (thankfully!) NYC rock star dreams appear to have had their day, at least for now.

I suspect that what we’re seeing is preparation for a lifestyle of nurturing and gentle guidance.

I find it interesting that the dinosaur pictured above is neither devouring his contemporaries nor chasing Tina around the room. He is, in fact, learning the alphabet. It has amazed me for years how Tina puts her own spin on toys. A fancy pen becomes a mode of travel through space and time, a doll made by (another) grandma requires medical attention because her brains have migrated to her feet, and the stuffed animals (girls only) are tested to see if they’re pregnant.

Even the traditional teddy bear family pictured below is hiding in a cavern, rescued from hostile creatures by the writer and her granddaughter.

teddies 3 Feb 2015

Tommy’s games are different. Although, like Tina, he’s the “good guy,” he is perhaps “working on” different traits–particularly assertiveness and inventiveness. Or maybe he’s just doing what comes naturally.

In real life, one of Tommy’s chief traits is compassion. I could see him in administration, perhaps of a non-profit organization.

Tommy has one relatively stable and slowly evolving role, while Tina’s roles are more varied and fluid. Tina sets up the parameters for the game, and I operate with relative freedom within them. Tommy tells me both what to say and what to do (could a career in PR be looming?).

Tommy and Tina both have chores, homework and activities, but I’m thankful their parents also allow them down time to explore their worlds–and their places in them–in exactly their own ways. I feel privileged to enter in, and sometimes wonder if I’m being given a sneak preview of what lies ahead.

“I’m just as disappointed as you are, Grandma.”

200196470-001 Grandmother with baby

Tommy’s voice is husky as he empathizes with me.

Earlier that day, Lisa and George picked Tommy up for Lisa’s ultrasound appointment. He left his friends at the after school care with the happy expectation of returning with news. Now he’d know for sure if he was getting a baby brother or baby sister this summer.

Lisa calls first. “No heartbeat,” she says. “I didn’t want you to hear it from Tommy, and I’m sure he’ll be calling you.”

Soon Tommy calls. I’m babysitting Tina at the time, and she reminds me of the movie trailer we saw of Heaven is for Real. Colton met his older sister there, the child his mother had miscarried. Tommy will meet New Baby, too.

Perhaps New Baby is sitting on my mother’s lap now–she enjoyed her grandchildren and great-grandchildren so much.

“He will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain.” Revelation 21:4

Mortimer and Millicent: Tommy Strides Up to the Plate

Mortimer Jan 2015

“It’s your job to help him have a good life,” I tell Tommy.

Tommy seems surprised. He loves his new hamster, and knows that it’s his job to take care of him–which includes keeping him upstairs and away from Millicent the cat. Mortimer and Millicent would only be a good mix in Millicent’s eyes.

But perhaps Tommy hasn’t heard the term “have a good life” in connection with animals. It’s a refreshing thought for him. I believe that it’s our job–all of us–to make life easier and pleasanter for the people and animals around us.

I’m thrilled that Lisa found Mortimer on the Internet. He was given away by a family that, although they no longer wished to care for Mortimer, chose to find him a good home.

Mortimer rolls around the kitchen and living room in his ball, but he particularly enjoys being underfoot. Perhaps he knows he has come to a good place, just as Tommy knows that his pet is safe as well as mobile in the ball. And we all believe that little May (who will be two years old this spring) is coming to a good home, too.

Proud pet owner and soon-to-be big brother, Tommy is striding up to the plate!

“Thank You for this most wonderful day”

This is Tommy’s prayer at the gourmet dinner he and I have lovingly prepared for his mom and George.

Step aside, Master Chef, and drool over our menu:
Mac and cheese, sliced tomatoes, boiled carrots, sausages (except for Tommy, now a vegetarian), and more cheese.

How excited Tommy is to be cooking the finest meal ever to grace the table of their new home!

But the excitement doesn’t start with the planning and preparation of the aforementioned epicurean delights. It starts when I invite Tommy to choose a Christmas gift that he will never see or open, and he chooses surgery for a needy family–at a cost of $25.00–from our church’s catalogue.

A University of British Columbia study reports that toddlers experience more joy in giving than in receiving. And why not, if we have been created in the image of a kind and generous God?

“. . . It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35

Climbing 101—Mount Everest for Kindergarteners

“Go play outside!” Lisa tells Tommy firmly. He and Tina and I have been playing tag in the house, and Lisa knows Tommy’s rowdy grandma and cousin will follow him outside.

It’s a beautiful evening for hide and seek in the back yard, and Lisa’s yard has some nice hiding places—behind the BBQ, around the side of the house, behind the shed, on the shed . . . ON the shed?

“Come outside and bring your camera!” I call to Lisa. Tommy’s had a flash of brilliance. Climbing up some junk piled at the side of the shed and pulling himself up on the shingles, he reaches the peak of Lisa’s garden shed. After basking in his moment of triumph, he wonders how to get down. Yes, of course—slide down to the edge of the roof, then jump. It works. Tommy lands, rolls, and heads back up again.

Tommy on the Shed

“Do you think I’ll get hurt?” he asks, pondering his next feat.“No, I don’t think so,” I answer confidently.

“God is watching me,” Tommy remembers.

“Fears rush in where angels fear to tread,” I think. But I answer, “You can still get hurt sometimes if God is watching you, but I don’t think you’ll get hurt.”

Tommy thinks it might be fun to slide off the roof face first, but changes his mind when he gets to the edge. Good plan, Tommy! He turns around and descends feet first, calming his mother’s racing heart.

Tina’s turn. Being a little heavier, it takes her a bit more effort to climb up. Perched on the peak, she wonders how to get down. Sliding down the shingles doesn’t appeal. Neither does Tommy’s gleeful prediction that she’ll have to sleep up there.

Tina prays out loud, considers various routes, and decides on her “own way.” Sliding VERY GINGERLY down the roof, she grasps a small tree branch. Slowly, slowly, she inches down to the edge, then jumps. Grasping the broken branch, Tina gives a shout of victory, races around the shed and climbs back up.

What fun!