SoCS: JG+toys

two-month-old granddaughter JG whom we plan to meet in person next month

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Join us for Linda’s One-Liner Wednesdays! Find out more here: https://lindaghill.com/2020/10/14/one-liner-wednesday-the-thing-nobody-talks-about/

What’s missing?

There are a lot of things I miss about our two-year-old granddaughter ABC not living with us anymore. Here are a few:

  • Her imagination. She would jump up and down, usually on the couch, pretending she was splashing in puddles. She would accompany this by saying (loudly) “Muddy puddles!” over and over, but the sound of the letter P is sometimes hard to get out, so it would sound like “Muddy cuddles!” Or she would stand behind the ottoman and say (loudly) “Ding, Ding! Ice cream!” She would then ask everyone in the room what kind of ice cream they wanted, repeat whatever we told her – it was fun naming exotic flavors – and pretend to hand it to us, saying, “Thank you!”
  • The extra trips to the ice cream stand, because she and the rest of us were often thinking about ice cream.
  • Having someone handy to sing to or with. I would sing hymns or folk songs to her as she was trying to fall asleep. We would do long renditions of “Old MacDonald” with all the farm animals and some more unusual animals thrown in. Sesame Street songs and “The Wheels on the Bus” and the alphabet and nursery rhymes. I even learned a new song, “Sleeping Bunnies.” She would act it out, starting out pretend-sleeping, with snoring added in for good measure, and then wake up and hop. The song does end with “hop and stop” so she didn’t hop forever, although she would ask for several renditions in a row.
  • Unexpected dance breaks: She was fond of the theme from “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and, for some reason, the music they play on the local news while they show the stock market report. Most of the television we watch is recorded on our DVR and we would often back up and watch the stock report multiple times to allow for dancing. Okay, we would be watching the dancing more than the stocks.
  • Toy nostalgia: When E and T were little, they played with Little Tikes toys. Little Tikes no longer makes small toys, so it was nice see ABC playing with and loving the ones we had stored away. Her favorite was the school bus, which, like most US school buses, is yellow. She would get excited when she would see a school bus driving by, although she called every bus a school bus, whether it was or not. On the first videochat we did with them in London after the move, ABC was playing with a new, red, double-decker bus. London doesn’t have school buses; students walk or take public transport. I wonder how long it will take for “school bus” to drop out of ABC’s vocabulary.
  • ABC’s hugs and cuddles. Curling up on the couch with her for naptime, even when she would only sleep if she was lying on top of you, pinning you to the couch for the duration of the nap.
  • Perhaps what I miss most is having ABC’s mom, our daughter E, living here with us. She is great to talk with, as well as being thoughtful and knowledgeable. I would often ask her about current trends and understanding of words, so that I wouldn’t use words in a way that would be considered disrespectful by young adults. I learned about up-to-date baby and child care. E was able to take over a lot of the meal planning and preparing when I was needing to be with my parents over the months of Nana’s illness and was then busy with all the tasks that follow when someone passes away. I probably should have had her teach me to use the Instant Pot before she left, though…

Two-year-old ABC

Having our granddaughter ABC living in our home has been a privilege.

Now 26 months old, she is energetic and tall enough to climb onto furniture that used to be out of reach. She is still petite for her age, but she is similar to her mom in that regard.

Her bangs are almost long enough to tuck behind her ears.

She loves imaginative play. Lately, she has been running a pretend ice cream shop. She also has been loving eating ice cream, sometimes with sprinkles on top!

She is adding more and more words to her vocabulary and making longer sentences. She will also now address each person in the room when she is saying hello or good-bye.

It’s still a wonderful feeling when she snuggles near you, although if she suspects you are trying to get her to settle down to sleep, she is more likely to squirm to get down and starting running and jumping around in order to stay awake. Her mother used to do the same thing!

She has a new appreciation for books and will sit long enough for you to read each page, instead of just zooming through looking at pictures.

She loves to sing. She takes after her parents, who are both accomplished musicians. She sometimes devises her own codas to songs that she knows or comes up with her own little tunes. It is incredibly cute!

Among her new obsessions this summer, besides the aforementioned ice cream, are sidewalk chalk, bubbles, and riding the carousels. Our county has several historic – and free – carousels in our parks. Sometimes she will ask for dog – pig – cow, because one of her favorite carousels has a dog and a boar among the horses. The “cow” is actually a black and white paint horse that does resemble the dairy cows around here. Another park has all horses, but still has its original organ rather than using recorded music all the time as the other carousels do. This park also has a more accessible playground, which is easier for a small 2-year-old to navigate. Her favorite horse there is a palomino she has dubbed “yellow horse.”  When she asks for dog-pig-cow-yellow-horse, we take it to mean that any carousel will do!

And this will all end soon, and not just because summer will come to an end.

Some time in the coming weeks, E’s spousal visa will finally come through and she and ABC will move permanently to London to join their spouse and father L.

We know they will be happy to finally live together full-time, instead of just transoceanic visits.

But it will be so hard to have them so far away after having them so close for so long.

SoCS: Bingo Bash

One computer game that I like to play is Bingo Bash. I often play it on the weekends while watching TV.

Weekends are good because the game often has special features on weekends that give you extra chips. I am one of those players that only plays free games, so I save up the chips I get for logging in every day to use when there is a good weekend promotion.

Before I got my touchscreen computer and before our cable company finally fixed our connection, I sometimes wanted to bash my head against the wall when the game wouldn’t load or would lose contact halfway through. Now things run much more smoothly.

What mindless games do you play?
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Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is “bash/a bash/abash”. Join us! Find out how here:  https://lindaghill.com/2019/03/08/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-march-9-19/

Happy Birthday, Harry!

Today is Harry Potter’s 36th birthday. Happy birthday to his creator, Joanne Rowling, whose birthday is also today!

Today is also the release date for the script of a new play about the grown-up Harry and his family, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The premiere performance was last night. There were midnight launch parties in bookstores and other trappings of Harry Potter book launches, not seen since the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows ten years ago.

And it is happening without me.

I do still love Harry Potter and will probably read the script at some point, but the urgency is absent now.

When our daughters E and T were younger and both still living at home, Harry Potter book releases were major events, which began marathon family read-alouds. The books and the connections they engendered were woven into the fabric of our lives. You can read more about why and how in this post.

I have been enjoying the continued unfolding of the world of Harry Potter. Through Pottermore, I know that I am in Ravenclaw at Hogwarts and in Pukwudgie at Ilvermorny, located atop Mount Greylock in Massachusetts, not far from where I grew up. I am looking forward to seeing the new film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, when it comes out in November. Someday, I hope to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida or go on a studio tour in London.

Meanwhile, today will unfold like a normal summer Sunday…

 

Into the Woods

Last night, we went to see a production of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods at our local professional theater.  “We” equals me, my spouse, and my parents.  My mother-in-law was to have joined us, but she is having difficulties with her back and couldn’t sit for such a long performance.

Into the Woods is one of my favorite musicals.  I find the interwoven fairy tale adaptation fascinating and love Sondheim’s ability to pack both wit and depth of feeling into the lyrics, which move the plot along even more than the spoken dialogue.  I also have a longstanding relationship with the musical because it was a favorite of my daughters when they were young.  We watched it many times through a recording of the original (1988) Broadway cast.  For quite a while, I only let our younger daughter see the first act, which ends with the somewhat expected “happy ever after” vibe, shielding her from the much darker second act, until her four-years-older sister told her what happened and my shielding tactic became moot.

I enjoyed last night’s performance because the brilliance of Sondheim and James Lapine, who wrote the book, shines through.  I especially enjoyed the performances of CInderella, the Baker’s Wife, and Little Red Ridinghood and the singing voices of the two Princes.  Some of the other performers were occasionally flummoxed by Sondheim’s complex melodies, although those in the audience who have not heard the music over and over might not have realized it.

My major disappointments were with the technical aspects.  The lighting was often too dark – and, yes, I get the whole being-in-the-woods thing, but it would have been better to use dappled lighting to give the illusion of moonlight through trees, rather than just not having enough light to see the actors.  There was also a gaping hole in the back wall of the set, which was only used in one scene in the second act.  It was very distracting to look at it for two and half hours when it was so little used.  The stage could also have used some pitch, as quite a few songs took place sitting on the stage; alternatively, the actors could have been placed more upstage to make them more visible to those in the back rows.  (The seating is cabaret style, so there aren’t many rows, but each row is deep.)

I was also disappointed with the costuming.  Many of the costumes were too drab.  A number of them were ill-fitting, especially too tight.

The theater company is in the midst of a change in leadership.  I wonder if some of the technical problems are the loss of a long-time team experienced with this theater, which was once a storehouse for apples.  It is a tricky space in which to work and the new team may be groping a bit as they adjust to its idiosyncracies.

One of the surprises last night was of a more personal nature.  I found that the second act’s deaths of a number of mothers of varying ages hit me hard.  As I have said, I know the play well, so I knew what was coming, but I found myself tearing up as the losses mounted.  Sitting beside my mother, who had a heart attack on July 31st, missing my mother-in-law who is suffering from osteoporosis, having spoken earlier this week with a friend who recently lost her mother, and anticipating the upcoming birthday of a friend who died much too young nine years ago, my heart was aching more than usual in reacting to the losses in the play.

The loss of a mother – at whatever age – represents its own brand of pain and even fictional losses on stage can echo or foreshadow that pain in our own lives.