Saturday, January 11, 2014


2014-01-08 Thursday

As I watch my daughter parent her 20-month old son, I realize I have almost no memory of this time in my own life. In fact, I can hardly believe she and I went through her early childhood together. One thing is sure, though – she’s a lot better at this job than I was. I don’t understand many of the choices she has made in her life; though alike in many ways, we are different in many others. But I am immensely proud to watch her handling the most important job in the world.
If only, as I joke to her, I’d had her around to help me parent her – she’d not have gotten away with what she did. But would she be a better parent now, if I’d been one then? Impossible.
She told me that an elderly couple on the plane down frowned with dread as she sat near them with squirmy Eli. As they got off, the old woman told her what a fantastic job she was doing.
But my God, having a little one around is exhausting, it’s relentless, you can’t say, okay I’m really tired now, let’s call this off for a while. There he is charging about inspecting electronics, climbing the dangerous stairs, about to press the elevator Alarm button, which is placed conveniently low. He has a brief nap in the afternoon, but otherwise is on the move from before 7 a.m. till he finally passes out at about 9. He is, as you know, the most wonderful little boy. But he has utterly worn out his Glamma. And I’m not doing the front line stuff, the real parenting, saying no, time outs, following through on threats. She does it. I just get to play and hug. And carry and read stories and dig in the sand and carry and sing and put to bed, if I’m lucky, after he falls asleep on my chest. And I nearly fall asleep too.
An extraordinary event today – the arrival of Tracey, my ex-husband’s wife, and their daughter G., who’s four. Tracey was on her way to visit her mother, who lives on the east coast of Florida, when she decided to come via us. We all spent the afternoon in the condo because it was too cold and rainy to go out, until finally a bit of sun appeared and we dressed warmly and went to the beach. There is nothing better for small people than a beach and a bucket and a little shovel and waves coming in – we could have stayed for hours except that the sun vanished again. Then we went out for dinner. The two kids got impatient so I took them out of the restaurant onto the beach for a good half hour’s run while the two women finished dinner and talked. G. was dressed as a character from the film “Toy Story” and has a vivid imagination; she saw monsters, but we decided they were nice monsters. Eli meanwhile just ran and climbed and kicked sand and tried to hug G., who is his aunt.
It’s a bit surreal, this odd bond, but mostly it’s wonderful, important for the kids to get to know each other and for us all to connect as the family that we are.

2014-01-11 Saturday

Our last full day, a few moments of peace in the morning before Hurricane Eli appears. It’s white outside, mist on the water gradually being burned off by – yes, the sun, which has decided to grace us with its presence. It’s not hot, but it’s warm enough for lots of digging holes on the beach. Yesterday Eli was so energetic, stubborn and restless – terrible two’s, anyone? - that he wore out both his caregivers early in the day; we were thrilled when he passed out at 7.30. The two of us vegged in front of the TV – there’s a channel that shows the old “Law and Order” shows with Lennie, our favourite character. It was Anna introduced me to “Law and Order” long ago, resulting in many happy viewing hours.
Again, thank you to the gods – everyone says our timing was great, as we avoided the worst of the vicious weather up north. I feel my mum sheltering us.

Yesterday, I took Eli to the beach in the late afternoon so his mum could nap. His favourite word is “mowah” – he wants mowah of everything, food, playtime, music. We stood at the edge of the water as the waves came in, and he was open-mouthed with joy because THEY KEPT COMING! Mowah waves, again and again. There’s a little fountain at the entrance to the condo; we stop every time for him to admire it and swish his hand in the water. How wonderful it is to be reminded of the wonder of small things.

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