Monthly Archives: September 2021

Grandma’s a little rusty

Photo by Keira Burton on

Now, I’m the first to admit that my best days as a grandma of babies are probably behind me. I have gotten used to throwing a towel, washcloth and clean night things on the bathroom counter and saying to my capable older grandchildren, “Okay, time for a change and a wash, get to it.” They do the work and Grandma relaxes in front of the television until they emerge squeaky clean and ready for bed. Now, I took care of them as babies, but it’s been 9 whole years ago since I dealt with diapers and sleepers and baby baths.

And then, almost a year ago, along came Emmett. He is such a bright and happy baby, and I love spending time with him, but I have realized that my skills for efficient baby care are a bit rusty. In addition, Emmett isn’t too sure he wants to trust me anyway.

This weekend was a prime example. Emmett is at that age where he takes a while to warm up to Grandma and Grandpa when they come for a visit. After this weekend, he may have even more issues to deal with, because he ended up in the rather inept hands of Grandpa and Grandma for a few harrowing moments.

I love to get the babies out of bed in the morning because I always think me releasing them from the crib makes me the hero. When I walked in, Emmett was standing up, leaning against the side of the crib. He was calling something in baby-ese, but judging by the look on his face when he saw me, whoever he was calling for, it wasn’t me.

That didn’t stop me from picking him up. He gave me a suspicious look all the way to the changing table, as if to say, “I called for Dad, but you’re not Dad.”

Ignoring the odd looks, I called for Grandpa to come in, but he, too, got a somewhat odd expression. Nonetheless, he needed a diaper change and some dry clothes (Emmett, not Grandpa), so I went to work. Of course, he had a messy diaper and it took me only three times as long to clean him up as it would have his parents.

After I had a fresh diaper in place, but not on, I noticed a little bit of rash. There was some cream on the table, so I applied some. Now, everyone knows what happens when you leave a baby without their diaper, and sure enough, Emmett peed and I mean, he peed everywhere.

Another clean diaper switched out the newly soiled one and I began to use wipes to try and clean up the baby. While doing so, I noticed that the pee had run under the baby and so he, and the new diaper were a mess all the way up the back.

New diaper number three had to be put on with Roy holding him in midair, because he couldn’t be placed back on the wet changing table. After that, we took him to the living room, where his grandfather declared, “He still smells like pee.”

“I don’t know what you want me to do,” I crabbed, “I don’t know where the baby tub is.”

At this point, one of my self-sufficient grandsons looked up from his video game and advised, “You better wait and ask Mommy. She knows what to do.”

Well, I am certainly capable of doing anything that “Mommy” can do, so I wet down and soaped up some paper towels. Using the same method as before (Grandpa hanging the baby in midair), I soaped down and wiped down the baby, who by this time, looked pretty grim indeed over the inept service he was getting.

Relieved, I laid him on the couch to put a fresh sleeper on. He immediately tried to escape, which I think shows some intelligent thought on his part. The sleeper was unlike any I had ever seen and I only put it on backwards once. Snapping four million (okay, maybe not that many) snaps on a squirming baby who is seriously trying to put a safe distance between you and him is a process that could take as much as a half hour–which it did.

When his parents returned, he lit up like a man up for execution who just got a reprieve. I lit up like a grandmother who has forgotten the finer points of baby care. I really want to have him come and visit for a week next summer like his brothers do. Do you suppose he will be showering and changing his own underwear by then? I didn’t think so!

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The Cheery Cheerleader

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I have a strong reputation at sporting events. My reputation is that I always sew at any athletic happening. People think that I do this because I am too bored with the sporting activity, but this is simply not true. I sew because it keeps me calm and reasonable…which I am not if I concentrate too hard on what is going on in the arena, court or field.

If I am sewing, I remain calm and friendly and interested. If I stop sewing, I turn into this crazy sports biddy that I do not personally recognize. I sew and I am serene (at least until I stick myself with a needle). It’s only when I drop my sewing in my lap that things get ugly.

I try, I want you to know that. I tell myself that I am the superior being and I can control myself and show the spectators on both sides what a good sport I am. This attitude lasts for at least the first five minutes I spend watching the game Then it all unravels (forgive the sewing reference–I couldn’t resist.)

“Oh, look, the other team scored a point, good for them,” I say with a look of Christian charity on my face…that lasts for the first point the other team scores. After that, it’s open season on the other side. “Look at that girl in the second row on the opposing side,” I snap at my husband, “she is cheering every time we miss a point. I just want to slap her.”

Normally, my husband is too wrapped up in the competition to sense the danger right away. It takes a little while to sink in. “That kid is making me crazy. If she gets up and cheers for the other team one more time, I’m going to demand that she be removed,” I declare through gritted teeth.

“Relax,” my husband responds, “that kid is the other team’s coach.”

“I don’t care,” I fume. “And I’m also going to get a pair of magnifying glasses for that line judge. She couldn’t tell an inbounds volleyball from a hailstone on a tin roof.”

It doesn’t matter the sport. I find soccer fans for the other team to be apt to rudely cheer for their players. I think referees at a baseball game should go into a profession more in keeping with their talents–like scrubbing toilets. Football coaches have no idea how to guide their teams (as I am apt to inform them at the top of my lungs) and as for basketball, well, forget it. Can you believe that they will call fouls on our team when the other team is obviously at fault?

“Oh look,” my husband will say, after I threaten to impale the opposing coach on my sewing needle, “you still have several rows to sew. Why don’t you sooth yourself and sew that and leave the commentary on the game to the professionals?”

I sew for a few more minutes before I can contain myself no longer. “Did you see that?” I exclaim, dropping my needle down among the popcorn bags and empty candy wrappers. “That girl clearly slammed the ball down on our court when she knew there were no players to return it.”

I shout a few suggestions as to the eye surgery needed by the referees while Roy frantically searches the debris under our feet for my sewing things. I could give you any number of other examples, but I think by now you understand why I sew at athletic events, whether I am there in person or watching on television. It’s hard to count the number of needles, thread spools, embroidery scissors, etc. that have been lost because I give them a heave in disgust over some ridiculous action by players, fans, coaches or referees.

This week has been particularly exhausting and my sewing has certainly suffered because of it. From, “Nice serve, sweetie, right into the net–let’s have another!” to “Why is the ref letting those boys jump on our players? They can’t play the game when they’re flat on the field! Come on, boys, give ’em a cleat in the eye!” ending with, “You can’t call back that touchdown–it’s the only one the Vikings have made! Eat my shoe, you darned TV”, I haven’t managed a lot of sewing, but they do say self-expression is good for the soul. I’m going to look upon my cheering in that very positive light.

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You’re doing just fine

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

It’s been a long year, full of new and unusual medical procedures. I will admit that I’m becoming a little jaded about the miracles of modern medicine, since some of those miracles come from really uncomfortable moments.

In this year, I have had x-rays (and don’t tell me they are no problem…ever had a mammograms?). I have also experienced an MRI, which in itself wasn’t too bad because I didn’t have to use that machine where they slide you in a little hole like a loaf of bread in the oven. My objection to the MRI involves the noise, which had all the volume and soothing effect of a jackhammer being operated right by your ear.

Add to that spinal injections,, ultra-sounds and physical therapy sessions to work out the many muscle knots that were tied while I was undergoing these treatments. And in case I hadn’t scheduled myself for enough fun, this is the year I decided that I should have an implant put into my mouth just to give me enough teeth to chew with! It’s been interesting to say the least!

This month, I decided to have a little fun with something called a thyroid biopsy. This is a procedure where they basically put you head down, feet elevated and draw fluid from the thyroid with needles. I was so stupid, I thought you went down the throat to get at the thyroid, but I quickly found out that they had to put needles in the one place I had probably never had them before–my exposed neck! I had a bit of an idea how Anne Boleyn felt at the block!

I truly admire medical personnel and I feel for all they have been through and what they have to go through to help people to get well and remain well. But sometimes I wonder if they forget that the body they are working on isn’t as used to the procedures as they are.

For instance, when you are in a chair that is tilted so that your head is pointed to the floor and your feet are sticking in the air, and you are about to have a needle thrust into your neck it is useless for a medical professional to tell you to “breath normally.” If I can breathe at all, I’m lucky! They also instruct you to “not swallow.” Of course, as soon as they say that, all I can think about doing is swallowing!

When you are lying face-down on a table while they prepare to stick a needle directly in your spine, the instructions “don’t move,” and “relax” are counterproductive. I can manage the don’t move thing (although I really want to) but as for the relax part–forget it!

I think the phrase I am most resentful of during a medical procedure is “you’re doing just fine.” In most cases, I am in such a position that I’m not doing anything at all–except maybe silently screaming! In a dentist’s chair, having a post screwed into my jawbone or standing in front of a mammogram machine, so squished and positioned that I am forced to balance on tiptoe, the last thing that comes to mind is “fine”.

I understand the necessity of medical tests, but since they scare me more than a horde of Viking raiders, I am less than sympathetic to any attempt to make me “feel better.” I just want them to get finished, don’t stop in the middle to tell me I’m “doing fine.”

Because I am both terrified of all these medical tests and frustrated with the meaningless instructions to “breathe normally” and “relax,” I have developed a comeback that frequently causes them to pause a little. After the dentist told me I was “doing just fine,” I got around dental equipment, fingers in my mouth and a Novocain fat lip to reply, “so are you.” That stopped him in his tracks for a minute and in spite of the grinding he as doing on my jaw, I felt like I won one.

When the fellow about to give me a spinal injection told me to “not move,” I replied, “Don’t worry, I like where I am.” It got very quiet and I felt triumphant. During my last appointment with my biopsy test where I was told to “breath normally” I replied, “define normal.” She was so startled, she actually launched into a definition of the word.

So beware, medical community, I have decided the only way to deal with you is to use my smart mouth. And just for the record, I really am “doing fine.”

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