Thursday, September 18, 2008

And then I saw her face

I have living with me a considerable source of distraction. She's small, can't walk without holding onto something and only has two teeth. I am of course describing my 10 month old granddaughter. While her mommy and daddy plan a wedding, take classes at USC-Upstate and hold down part time jobs, little Helene' Grace, often finds herself left home with me, her Nana, as Nana attempts to get something, anything done around the house.

Now while I'm at work, I am able to get my clients taken care of, keep my station organized, and do other duties required of my job, and go back home, satisfied that I've managed a day of accomplishment.

My granddaughter, to her credit is a good baby. She has a sunny disposition, entertains herself easily, and usually only cries when she's sleepy. Then she fights the urge for a nap with every fiber of her little chubby being. However she's a busy little girl. Here is a list of all she can accomplish in the space of about 20 minutes.

1. Pull all the books off her bookshelf...again. (1.5 minutes)
2. strew all her toys with pauses for playing with them. (5 minutes)
3. Chase a cat, catch the kitten who is her best friend and partner in crime. (2-3 minutes)
4. Play with her musical toys, dance to the music (five minutes)
5. Crawl around seeing what else she can discover, stopping to examine before moving on. (five minutes)
6. Find any small object left on the floor, give it a taste test. (2 minutes)

It is no small wonder, that when she is in my care, I get little done other then maybe some laundry and picking up what she has left in her wake. For example, she once managed to open up a box of wipes and pull out 34 of them (of course we counted!) in the space of 1.5 minutes. We had left the box on the floor, after a quick, "grab and change, release" diapering job.

Of course one look at that happy little face, so proud of her accomplishment easily prevented her mommy or I from scolding her. We were too busy laughing at her as she gleefully waved two of her purloined wipes.

Laundry time is play time for her. To her its a game. We usually fold clothes while sitting on the couch, making little sorted piles. Her mission is to tear down those piles. The last time she did this, her persistence reached a new high. I repeatedly told her "no" She ignored me. I moved the piles, she reached for them even harder, I lightly smacked her hand and pulled it away from the pile, again telling her no. Not dissuaded, she tried again, and this time I smacked her little well padded bottom, repeating the word NO. Then I saw her face. There wasn't a single tear, but it was as if she was saying, "I'm sorry Nana, I'll be good now." I'm such a sucker for such adorable remorseful, so I gave her a big hug and a kiss.

She loves our cell phones and immediately goes into pose mode, whenever we point it in her direction. She knows she's getting her picture taken, the little ham. We try to get her to talk to Daddy or Pappy but she just grins for all she's worth.

Her fascination with electronics is not limited to cell phones. TV interests her only when music is playing, or like just know when she heard someone squeal on an advertisement and she squealed back an echo. Her other big fascination is with our computers. Why? Because they have buttons just asking for little fingers to push. More then once she hit the bright blue button on my tower, sending my system into shut down mode. The last time she did that, I was in the middle of something, so I gave her a rather sharp "NO!" Then I saw her face, eyes big, little lip stuck out, knowing full well that she had done something Nana didn't like. So I scooped her up and gave her a big hug. Yes, I know. You don't have to remind me.

This week, my Nana duties have been upgraded as her Mommy had a health issue that required surgery. Ashley is in recovery mode and is unable to care for her daughter nearly as much as she would like. Daddy's school and work duties limit how much he can help, although he has been here as much as possible. The rest of the family is helping as much as they can, but the lion's share of baby duty has been falling to me.

Last night I was tired, wanting to go to bed early. I have kept forgetting how much energy caring for little ones can be, and was ready for some baby free time. So I was sitting in the rocker contemplating how I could rope my younger daughter into helping her look after the baby for a while so I could at least put on pajamas and brush my teeth. Then Helene came over, pulled herself up, and then I saw her face.

I knew my bedtime routine would just have to wait, I had more important things to do, like play with that little cutie a bit more.

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