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Archive for the ‘Kids’ Category

A Central Florida day-care center is under investigation after a toddler bit a one-year old girl repeatedly. Wonder what fairytales they read those children at the Hansel & Gretel Preschool?

 I know.  Sick humor again.

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I hope Jerry and I are good grandparents. It surely didn’t start out that way. stjohns3-2-8-032-1.jpgThe first time her parents trusted us alone with our year-old granddaughter we took her to Birds of Prey. It sounded like a good idea at the time. Audubon Birds of Prey in Maitland, FL rescues injured birds and releases them back into the wild when possible.

Haley smiled at the white-faced, barn owl as we entered. That may have been her last smile. We pushed the stroller to the bald eagle cage. There poor, injured, no-longer-majestic eagles loped around an enclosure, some dragging a wing. Haley’s face began to screw into a tortured mask. We quickly turned the stroller toward the cage behind her. On every crooked limb sat an injured vulture. Their bald, blood-red heads popped from fluffy white feathers above their scruffy black bodies. Wings drooped on some, claws or feet were missing on others. The scene we had always looked on with pity we now saw with a toddler’s eyes. Before Haley lay a Tim Burton horror scene of deformed, hissing, grunting vultures. She screamed to the top of her lungs. We calmed her down and cut our trip short, feeling like failures as grandparents. We thought we would be better at it.

Haley is ten years old now and thankfully doesn’t remember our first little foray. Perhaps it had no lasting impact on her little psyche. When we are out in nature now my camera cannot rest in my lap. She shouts incessantly “Ahmaw, take a picture! An anhinga! A gator! An eagle! An osprey!” Is it just possible that we didn’t scar her permanently?

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boys4-07-0091.jpgThe yellow school light was flashing, the crossing guard stood ready in her bright orange vest. School children made their way home. Since a pause in life is mandatory at such times, why not observe whatever catches your eye? On previous days I have counted blonde children (very few), chosen the cutest, wondered about the tiniest. Yesterday their methods of conveyance began to fascinate as they whizzed or walked by.

Children in Seminole County, Florida, must walk if they live two miles or fewer from school. Many do just that, but many others have found creative travel methods to save shoe leather and get to that after school snack more quickly. In one short block paraded:

  • Bicycles
  • Skateboards
  • Trikkes
  • Waves
  • Heelys

You’ve run into Heelys before, (or they into you) probably at the grocery store. Heelys are ordinary looking athletic shoes with wheels that drop like landing gear. They are cool personified. I want a pair. Of course, bicycles are the old standby, but skateboards making a huge comeback. New versions like the wave, with only two caster-like wheels and a wasp like board, were new to me. The Trikke, a carving board is propelled as your body sways side to side. It looks like a scooter with a V facing forward. It certainly wins points for uniqueness and surely for working your obliques.

You who denigrate fitness of young people might try using any one of the above conveyances while balancing a bulging backpack just so. Their prowess was amazing to watch.

I don’t count the time waiting for kiddies to cross wasted at all. Grandmas need to know about these things. I’ve gotten as much mileage as I can out of Hannah Montana, online video games and Spiderman. Perhaps I’ll throw in a few comments about the wave next time I chat with the grands. That will be when my granddaughters come over and help me sign in with the Webkinz they gave me for my birthday. I understand I can go on a shopping spree for my little raccoon. It’s not enough to keep up with the latest news to sound erudite with your friends. We grandparents know there is a whole other world out there with its own vernacular and we’d best hit the books. Just don’t make me carry them in a backpack.

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I’ve seen a lot of football players take heart-stopping hits lately, the kind where they are running full speed right up until they hit a wall of muscle. It hurts to look at, but my question is this. When those guys get in their cars do they really need an airbag?

Have you noticed how many beauty products from soap to anti-aging cream have French sub-titles? Does this make them better somehow, especially since they are probably made in China?

Name a female cartoonist. Neither can I. Why is that? We’re funny, we can draw.

When a word your mind is searching for is dancing out there in some ethereal zone just above your brain, do you know how many syllables it has even thought you don’t know which letter it starts with? Or is it just me?

When I bought my sons Lego’s and Lincoln Logs thirty, forty years ago we got a big honking box with plastic pieces or wood logs, maybe a few suggestions. Today each box builds specific items or buildings. No coloring outside the line or producing your own unique creation. No, no that work is done for you. I just returned a whoopdedoo Erector set meant for my grandson. He’ll get a toy that helps him grow and expand his mind instead.

You know who I’m voting for? Who ever promises to be the President of the United States of AMERICA.

When you hear a politician say fences won’t keep people out of our country aren’t you just dying to ask them if they live in a gated community—or estate?

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lambjesus.jpg“We’re going to see Mary Had a Little Lamb,” three-year old Hannah squealed again.

“No, Hannah,” I corrected her more times than I care to remember, “We’re going to see Mary and Baby Jesus.” Her look humored me. I reminded her of the manger scene at Ahmaw’s house and the first Christmas story. That look again. During the long wait in line Hannah let everyone know she was going to see Mary Had a Little Lamb.

“There are no lambs here, Hannah, just Mary and Baby Jesus.” My granddaughter was going to be very disappointed if she expected to see a lamb.

A Walk Through Bethlehem took my daughter-in-law, granddaughters and me through dusty paths, past markets manned by Biblical figures greeting “Shalom.”  The smell of oil from lanterns, frankincense and myrrh and and sounds of the market transported us to an ancient time and place. In the crisp night air it was easy to forget we were on church grounds. Along the way characters discussed the pilgrimage to register for the census upon edict of Emperor Augustus. Hannah quietly took it all in. Abruptly it seemed, we reached a stall with hay, three opulently dressed wise men, and Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus. A cow lay on the ground with a jackass nearby with the feel of a real manger.

“Mary had a little lamb!” Hannah shouted. I shifted my gaze from the real live baby. There beside Mary, a little lamb bleated as Hannah’s patted its puffy wool.

I know when I am beaten.

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What Winning Feels Like

The Colts won the Super Bowl — for those of you who have been lost in the jungle. You know I have been pulling for them since the first game of the season–and predicting this outcome. So, how does it feel? Surprisingly calm, one of those “all’s right with the world” feelings. Maybe I’ve seen Tony Dungy on the sidelines too much and his demeanor has rubbed off. Anyway the curtain on football pretty much shut down after Sunday along with the emotions. The long wait begins for next season.

 I may have undone a lesson I have been trying to teach my grandson, though, because of the Colts. No, because of my competitiveness. My approach when Zachary has wanted to give up on any number of pursuits was “mistakes are good because they teach you, failing this time gets you closer to a win, etc. etc.” The lesson must have been soaking in because before the game we talked and Zac said, “It’s okay if our Colts don’t win.” And I, the teacher of life situations, said, “NO! NO! WE ARE GOING TO WIN. Don’t even think otherwise.” The minute it came out my mouth I knew I’d blown what I’d been working on for months, but it was out there. I don’t remember how I glossed it over except to point out how prepared the Colts were because of prior mistakes. The truth was I couldn’t entertain the thought of losing. Maybe that was one of those mistakes I had to make on my way to being a truly wise grandma.

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