Baby Know How To Play The Game

Baby Knows How to Play The Game.

I recently observed the following while buying shoes.

A young woman 25ish and her boyfriend/significant other/husband were next to me as I was trying on a pair of shoes. He was standing with a shoe box in his hand, having obviously found what he wanted rather quickly. She was standing in front of a mirror with a fancy high heel boot on one foot and an even fancier high heel shoe on the other. The conversation went something like this.

She: Honey, which one do you like best?

He: obviously bored out of his mind and a bit frustrated – Baby I don’t care, just pick one.

S: Pout face, baby voice – But honey, you are buying them, so you get to pick them. I like them both.

H: How much to they cost?

S: a bit put out – They cost about the same, the shoes are a few dollars more.

Silence – I could see the man logic swirling. Okay! For two dollars LESS you get all that leather and boots will last a long time. You know how it goes.

H: Well, then get the boots. He was thinking this was a done deal.

S: But honey, I don’t know. I mean the shoes fit better . . .

She fell silent posing with one foot then the other in front of her. Letting the man stew a bit.

H: Look Baby, if you like the shoes better . . .

S: breaking in – Oh but honey, I don’t know that I do. They are both so precious.

BEWARE the use of the word precious used when a woman is shopping… always back up a few steps.

H: Baby, both look great on you. I don’t care just pick one and we can get out of here.

S: Shooting him a glare, Well, Never mind then, if you are in such a hurry, I won’t get either one.

H: finally catching on. The light bulb was tangible. Look, Baby, just buy them both. Then you don’t have to decide and we can go have something to eat and relax.

S: Squealed with excitement, followed by a kissy face hug. Oh honey I love you so much!

H: sighing. Love you too Baby. Love you too.

I took a peek at the price tags when they left. On Sale! Boots 125.00; heels 240.00. GASP!! Wow! I guess Baby knows how to play the game. And Honey has learned how to let her.


Why We Need A Two Year Old At Christmas

1. It is a good excuse to watch Christmas movies all day long.


2. You can sing Christmas songs at the top of your lungs and the kid thinks it is GREAT!

3. Tape takes on a whole new dimension when left in the hands of a little kid.

4. Baking cookies can be a daily activity, and so can eating them, cookies are a healthy snack if Nana makes them.

5. It is cool to be excited by Christmas lights, and we can say inane things to a the child, like “Oh Look! A Reindeer!” without other adults looking at us like we are on cog shy of a gear.

6. We can go shopping with the child, and no one bats an eye when we spend half an hour in the toy department playing with the toys. Gotta know if it is age appropriate after all.

7. We can say, in public, “If you aren’t going to behave, I am going to call Santa RIGHT NOW and have him put you on the naughty list.”

8. We can decorate the house and yard as garishly as we want, because children love all that sparkle and glitter, giving us the excuse to be over the top all we want.

9. We get to eat. A lot. Because children need to eat, and we need to test the food to make sure it is safe and healthy for them. Doesn’t matter if it is all the goodies we can get our hands on, someone has to be the taste tester.

10. We can read “The Night Before Christmas” and “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” and the story of the birth of the Christ Child every single night, or day, at home or in the car, and no one thinks it is weird.

11. We can go see the newest movies for kids, and not feel like everyone thinks we are some sort of weirdo sitting in a theater full of kids.

12. We get to do fun stuff, like make Christmas ornaments from glue, paper, felt, paint, and the occasional crying fit.

13. We can make a mess every single day, and it is just fine to leave it until the child goes home. Unless, of course, it is spilled sugar – that has to be cleared up so it doesn’t feel like sand is all over the floor. Besides, a two year old might just decide to lick it off the floor (true story) for fun.

14. Wrapping paper can be more fun than the gift we are trying to wrap. Especially when combined with excuse number three.

15. We can play with all the toys that the kid got for Christmas, BEFORE the kid gets to. Someone has to put them together (some assembly required, my …. or how to bring out the Grinch in the old man on Christmas Eve).

16. Going to Walmart with cookie dough and flour down the front of your sweat shirt is OK. After all, the two year old has it in his/her hair, down the front, and in his/her shoes too.

17. Helping the child to dress the dog up to be a reindeer isn’t all that crazy and idea. But, I wouldn’t advise trying to do the same to a cat. Really. Not. Smart.

18. There is nothing wrong with having the child’s stuffed tiger in the manger for the baby Jesus. It works. And it saves on the requisite fight over the dolly that takes place between the angel and Mary after the play is over.

19. It is perfectly fine to sing different words to songs like Jingle Bells and Santa Claus is Coming to Town – as long as you keep them clean. Kids love that sort of silliness – and as long as there is a kid around, no one thinks you are two cogs short of a gear.

20. Stay up late night takes on a whole new meaning with an excited two year old who is waiting for Santa. But once the child is asleep, Papa Santa gets to eat the cookies and milk, and Nana Santa gets to eat the carrots and celery left out for the man in red and his reindeer, leaving behind enough crumbs to prove someone ate them. Then the “some assembly required” commences, leaving two very grumpy elves to find their way to bed way past their bedtime.

Why Is It Number Four

Why is it, as soon as I put the hard top back on my car, the sun comes out?

Why is it, that having the top down makes me want to play my music really loud and drive really fast?

Why is it, that every time a young person sees me driving a sports car, they seemed shocked?

Why is it, when an old person sees me driving a sports car, they all look confused?

Why is it, when a person gets past 50, everyone expects them to slow down and be stodgy?

Why is it, that when a person gets past 50, every single working part of the body decides to retool and redefine their working order?

Why is it, that some women freak out and spend thousands on plastic surgery and products to look younger, when time will catch up eventually and they will look like freaks AND look old?

Why is it, that everyone is scared to death to be round? Round is a good shape. Comfy, and easy to maintain.

Why is it, women under 60 freak out about being a grandmother?

Why is it, that women under 60 come up with stupid names for their grandchildren to call them so they won’t be known as a grandmother? I mean, really, MoMo?

Why is it, getting old is a sinful thing instead of something we have earned?

Why is it, that the young never appreciate what we know and the wisdom we have to share until it is too late to make a difference in their lives?

Why is it, if a couple is out dancing and having fun, and they aren’t young, people think it is either sweet, cute, or disgusting?

Why is it, people stare if I hold my husband’s hand in public? It isn’t as if we are doing anything gross, like snogging.

Why is it, all little babies and toddlers know that I am a Nana? Hormones?

Why is it physically impossible to stop myself from cooing over little babies, snarling at kids between 8 and obnoxious, and loathing kids between oh, teenage and forever if they are impolite, gross, or disrespectful?

Why is it, no one offers to help mom’s who are struggling with kids in public instead of complaining and making rude remarks?

Why is it, the older I get, the more I love the old guy I married so many years ago?

Just asking.

60 years.

I was sitting in the doctor’s office this morning waiting , as usual, and filling out paperwork, when an elderly couple came in. She was a tiny, sprite of a woman, who moved with quick, birdlike starts and stops as she urged her husband across the floor to the sign in desk. He was a tall, heavy set man, with a manual laborer’s hands, and pure white hair that contrasted beautifully with his dark mahogany skin.

She was talking as fast as she could, and just kept on talking as the receptionist asked the man questions. He was, I understood, the patient. She was, however, his designated speaker. She answered every question, told him where to sit, told the receptionist that she didn’t want to wait long, and to hurry up the nurse and doctor so they could go have lunch. She fussed and fiddled until the elderly man reached up and took her elbow. And just like that, she stopped talking and sat down next to him.

While he filled out paperwork, she started telling him what to write down, he just kept on doing what he was doing, as if he didn’t hear a word she said. Soon she was carrying on a conversation with the woman next to her, and they set about solving the problems of the world. Well, she did, the other woman’s end of the conversation was pretty much, “mmhum” and “I hear ya on that one Sister.”

When the man got up to return his paperwork, he reached over and patted the old woman’s shoulder. She stopped spouting words, and sat still in her chair. When he got back and settled, she started talking again, and he reached over and patted her knee. He noticed the other woman and I exchanging a “can you believe that” look, he grinned at me and winked. Leaning toward me, he said, “It’s the signal we came up with years ago when she was talking too much or too loud. She can’t hear a thing, deaf as a post, but she surely does like to talk anyway. She reads lips real well, so you’d never know she can’t hear a word you say.”

I asked him how long they had been married. “Almost 60 years, now. And she is still the most beautiful woman I ever seen.” Then he turned and patted her arm, as she was talking a mile a minute to the woman next to her. He pointed at the door where the nurse had just called his name. The woman got up and started fussing and hurrying him along as if he were a toddler. He winked at me again. “Don’t tell her I said that though, cause I will never hear the end of it.”

When I left the doctor’s office, they were getting in their car. She was fussing and fretting as usual. I wondered if she was a backseat driver, or if she just prattled on until he reached over a patted her to remind her to let other’s get a word in edgewise.

The Day before Mother’s Day – 2006

There was a funeral on Saturday. It was attended by dignitaries, police officers from across the country, a motorcade of cars miles long. In one of the black limousines sat two young children with their father. Their mother was in the hearse in front of them. She had been shot and killed in the line of duty trying to stop a madman from killing other police officers. As with all tragic deaths, hers was senseless and inexplicable. She was one of the golden ones who changed the lives of those who knew and loved her. It was a sad day and the community grieved for the family so brutally torn apart.

Sunday was Mother’s Day. I couldn’t get the thought of those young children off my mind as I sat with my family and celebrated my years of motherhood. Those children will, forever, have to take flowers to their mother’s grave to honor her on Mother’s Day. No early morning breakfast in bed, sticky kisses, home-made cards, or presents hand-made with too much glue and glitter will be handed to their Mom. There will be no flowers from the garden, whispered secrets, or silly jokes to share with her. From now on, Mommy will become more and more of a memory and less real by the day. The grief will follow them for a long time, and then be pushed into the back of their minds as the move on into adulthood and life.

But, deep inside, that little girl will long for her mommy to help her grow into a woman and that little boy will long for her to help him understand how to be a good man. And every year, when it is Mother’s Day, they will remember the long line of cars, the speeches, the music, and the sadness on the day they lay their Mom to rest. In the blink of an eye, life changed for them, though they don’t yet know life will never be the same. They will have their Daddy, true, and he will love them with all his heart. But a Mother’s love, a Mother’s care is irreplaceable in a child’s heart and mind. They knew her very heart beat from the day of conception, and now it beats no longer. The rhythm of life is shattered beyond repair, and they will have to find a new rhythm with a heart that skips a beat where their Mother’s used to be.

I pray that she can be an eternal influence on her children. I will remember, even when I am very old, the quiet respect shown by all the bystanders as the funeral cortège slowly rolled by, and I will always remember the long black limousine where two young children sat as they followed their mother to her final resting place the day before Mother’s Day in 2006.

The Waltz – A true story from my past.

It was a typical winters evening in Nottingham. The streets were glistening with rain, the air was cold and damp, and the walk up the hill to catch the bus seemed extraordinarily long since I had stayed late doing my daily shopping in the City Centre.
As I trudged slowly along, my ears caught the sound of someone playing old tunes on a piano. I glanced up and saw, through a large window, an elderly gentleman playing on an old upright piano in what seemed to be a recreation room in a pensioner’s home for the elderly. The walls were industrial gray green, the floors cracked brown linoleum, and the furniture the dismal Formica and plastic found in many such places.
As I stood listening to the piano player, he began to play a waltz. Suddenly, out of the shadowed corner of the room, a couple began the long sweeping steps of an old-fashioned ball-room waltz. The man was stooped with age, and the tiny, white haired woman seemed fragile in his arms. As the danced, they gazed into one another’s eyes with winsome smiles. They moved in perfect harmony, born, no doubt, of many years of dancing together.
The cold, wet evening seemed to disappear as I gazed at the dancing couple and in my mind’s eye, they were no longer elderly, but, instead, I saw a young, tall pilot in his RAF uniform dancing with a beautiful, dark haired girl with smiling eyes. A couple, obviously, in the first steps of love and passion waltzing in a crowded ballroom lit by crystal chandeliers and candle light. As he held her close in his arms, they began the steps that would lead them into a life together. One filled with love, pain, worry, and joy. As the waltz ended, he softly kissed her temple and swore he loved her.
The strains of the old piano faded and I was abruptly brought back to that rainy winter night, and the elderly couple stood in the middle of the floor as he softly kissed her temple. Hand in hand they slowly turned and walked back into the shadows of the room. The street was unexpectedly quiet without the music and the wind rushed around the corners of the buildings bringing freezing rain, but I felt warm in the glow of the light spilling from the window of the pensioner’s home and the small slice of life I had just witnessed in a waltz between a man and a woman who would love each other for eternity.

Snow Day

It’s snowing, again. It’s Wednesday, and that means a snow day for all the schools. In our house, there are two distinct reactions to the news that school is closed. From our eleven year old there is a whoop of delight followed by a flurry of phone calls to her girlfriends to plan the day. From me there is a sigh of resignation and a decided lack of enthusiasm. So much for my plans to actually get something accomplished for the day.

The day begins with a battle where I insist that she have her breakfast, do her basic chores, and dress in more that jeans and a t-shirt before she bales out the front door with her sled. I win. She hates me, but I win. Dressed in her warmest clothes, coat, and boots, with her chores done in a quick and sloppy manner, she flutters around the door like a moth around a light bulb, while I double check that she is wearing gloves, a hat, and watch so she knows when to check in. She grabs her sled, and disappears across the road to meet all her friends on snow hill. I head for the kitchen knowing that she will come blowing in and I have to be ready.

Sure enough, an hour or so passes before the door slams open and four giggling, soaking wet, breathless girls slide into the kitchen. Snow drips on the floor, boots thump as they are pulled off, and wet clothes leave a trail of cold water all the way to the dryer. Wrapped in warm robes, and wearing dry slippers, they stagger to the kitchen table and tear into the hot chocolate and warm bread and butter like they are starving refugees, all the while talking a mile a minute and laughing about the mishaps out on snow hill. As soon as the buzzer goes on the dryer, they dress and rush out to make the most of the day, leaving my kitchen a war zone of crumbs, dripping water, and ringing with emptiness.

It isn’t long before someone comes to the door with a cut needing a bandage, and a hug reassuring them that they are not going to die from a loss of blood. Another kid turns up looking for mine, and needing to borrow a pair of gloves, and yet another knocks on the door asking for a drink of water. As the designated stay at home Mom on the block, my house is known as the safe house, local public bathroom, and quick stop for a snack or a drink.

As lunch time rolls around, the same four girls, plus two more trail in and go through the same process, except now I play short order cook as I dole out soup and a variety of hot sandwiches and cold drinks so they can refuel for the afternoon. This time, however, they linger in their warm robes and slippers, and then they run, giggling, upstairs for a hair break. After all, at eleven, hair is very important to every girl. They primp and priss their way through half a bottle of hair spray and gel, then dress and throw snowballs at each other all the way across the road. The snow is falling faster and it is getting colder, but even more children are out on the hill, along with a few of the more intrepid parents who have toddlers and younger children. I close the door that was left open as the girls rushed out and go to clean up yet another mess in the kitchen. Then stand at the window in the living room and watch as the children race down the hill in a blur of bright colors and screams of delight.

As the light begins to fade late in the afternoon, I call my child in and send her friends home. Soon it will be too dark to see the fence at the bottom of the hill, and they will all be too frozen to walk. After much pleading and many arguments, I am, once again, on her hate list, but she comes in tossing her coat on the floor and boots under the table. She peels off her wet clothes and heads for a warm shower. When she comes downstairs, she eats her dinner in a haze of fatigue and answers all my questions with a grumpy short tempered tone. When I ask her if she is tired, she responds with a glare and stomps out of the room, deeply insulted. A few minutes later, I peek into the living room to find her curled up in a chair under her favorite blanket sound asleep.

As I turn off the television, and turn down the light, I realize that it won’t be too long before she will be grown up and snow days will no longer be a part of her life. Like most of us, she will have to go to work and not have an opportunity to play. I brush her hair out of her face and pull up the cover, then I tip toe out of the room. As I look back, I no longer feel annoyed, but grateful that for one more day I had a chance to be a part of her day. Too soon, I will be on the peripheral of her life, and days like today will be just a childhood memory for her. It doesn’t make me sad, that is simply how life is supposed to be. Perhaps, next time we have a snow day, I will be less disconcerted and more inclined to rejoice before time moves us irrevocably onward.

Pixie World (for Nick and Bella)

There is a place far away where certain pixies live,
A place that holds all stories told to children small and big.
Within the boundaries and flower walls, the pixies dwell,
And hold within thier knowledge all the stories we can tell.

It isn’t an easy place to find,
It requires a certain kind of mind.
But there are those who know the way,
And that stories flow from that place.

How fortunate that person is who knows the secret way,
To magic places and lovely lands where children want to stay.
And listen wide eyed with wonder,
 To stories of dragons and thunder.

The story pixies smile and giggle as the children learn,
That certain stories let them take a turn,
At telling secrets, and whispering silly tales,
Of purple orangutans and polka dotted whales.

What strange and fascinating things await the traveler there,
where story pixies are eager to share,
The lovely poems and simple fairy tales,
That cause a child to laugh or wail.

In joy the pixies wait for the traveler to come,
 (a grownup must be the one),
And find the way to the story pixies who yearn,
To share what they have learned.

So children small and big every where,
Can come to visit the pixies there.

In Response to this post:

Open marriage generally refers to both partners having multiple sexual partners while married to each other. That, I find, belittles the entire purpose of marriage. Why bother, after all, single people have loads of relationships (I use that term lightly) while searching about for the one person they can fall in love with for life.

Having been married since the age of 16, 41 years ago, I tend to see the word ‘open’ in a different light. Open means that you don’t smother each other, that you are honest with each other, that you support each other in good and bad times, and that you encorage one another to grow, learn, and become the person they are meant to be.

For instance, I didn’t go to university until I was 36 years old. But, due to my husband’s constant support, I managed to earn three degrees in five years, and was on a scholarship in Nottingham, England when our son died and I quit school to take care of his daughter. Without the encouragement, support, and outright cheerleading my husband gave me, there were times I would have simply given up. Instead, I graduated third in my class, Magna cum Laude, Mortar Board Society, and Alpha Chi Honors Society. That is an open marriage. Because, trust me, we didn’t spend all that much time together during those five years.

We have vastly different interests on many levels. An open marriage means that I don’t try to force him to change those interests because I want him to do things I like to do. Instead, I encourage him to do those things, and occasionally go along with him, and he does the same for me. We don’t have to live in each other’s pockets 24/7 to enjoy our lives together.

Most importantly, an open marriage means that we work as a team. No one is the boss, and we both work hard to keep things good between us. We talk it through, sometimes after a yelling match and a few slammed doors, but we talk it through. We also agree to disagree and some topics we avoid because we both know it will lead to endless debates and neither of us will budge in our opinion. But, we respectfully agree that as individuals, we should and can have differences of opinion, and still love each other.

The whole sex thing, well, trust me, sex isn’t the be all, end all of a good marriage. Important, yes, vital at some points in life, but the most important thing is love. Love, when he gives you a foot rub after a long day. Love, when you cook his comfort food (even if you hate it) when he is stressed out. Love, taking care of him when he gets sick, even if he is a bigger baby than your two year old. Love, when he sits through yet another three hanky girl movie even though it bores him to death. All those little things, that’s what makes a marriage work.

Marriage, An Occupational Hazard


The occupational hazards of living with someone for years are many. Among them is the ability to know that they will wear the same shirt and trousers together at least sixty percent of the time, always listen to a certain kind of music, tell a certain kind of joke, read a particular author with great enjoyment, and another for edification.  They will almost always eat the same foods, drive the same way, enjoy the same people, and want to do the same things for relaxation.  They become,  predictable, comfortable, and taken for granted.  Like an old sweater, shoes, or a favourite pair of pajamas. The occupational hazard of predictability and taking someone for granted is one of the most dangerous hazards a couple can fall into.  All of the advice givers for marriage will tell you that.  They will list a long list of reasons why and then tell you how to avoid doing it.  All that is fine  and good, but it doesn’t always apply to every couple.
For instance, I like it that you remember that I like Dr. Pepper in a glass without ice and that I tend to want to sleep on the right hand side of the bed.  You know I hate it when the cupboard doors are left open and I always need the closet doors shut at night.  I like it that you know I will love certain movies, and hate others, that I am crazy about musicals and I don’t care for mystery novels.  You know that I am equally divided between the colours red and yellow, but that anything in hunter green will please me.  You remember that I am a collector of small boxes and anything with a fox on it.  I like it that you know what art I find wonderful, and that I would want to see a certain exhibit without question when it come around.  I like it that you know I want Onion Rings with my burger if possible, not fries, and that I am particular about what goes on my burger.
You know what music I like, most of the time, and that we can dance, listen, and sing along to the same favourite songs thrills me.  I love the old sweat shirts you wear and the jeans you just can’t part with, along with your Greek fisherman’s hat.  I like it that you tell me about your computer knowledge even thought you know I don’t understand half of what you are trying to tell me.  It makes me happy when you see something on the internet, or in a book, or magazine, or newspaper that you know will interest me and take the time to make sure I see it.  I am always pleased when you remember my interests in literature and try to understand as I prose on and on about things that you have absolutely no interest in, yet you go out of your way to understand.
I like the way I never know if your are going to start dancing or singing at any given moment, and yet, you are sensitive to my need to do the same thing.  I like the way we love to go to the same places on holiday, yet never get bored because we both like to discover new and interesting things.  We even go see things that would bore the other, and take turns doing it, so we both get to see what we want and still give a gift of understanding to the other. I know you will always find our way around in  a strange city, and you know that if I drive, we rarely get lost.  I love the way you read so intently, and you tolerate the fact that my mind wanders and sometimes I don’t hear you.
There are any multitude of mundane things you do for me.  I know you will always pick up empty glasses and do the dishes if I don’t get to them first.  Not because you are making a comment on my housekeeping, but because you don’t mind helping out.  I like the way you help make the beds, and help me move the living room furniture around for the third time when you thought it was fine the way it was in the first place.  I love the way you will go with me to the grocery even though you hate to, and then end up buying all kinds of things I would never have thought to get.  I know that if we go into a computer, hardware, electronics, or bookstore, you will spend a minimum of thirty minutes just looking around and not buy a thing, except what you went in to buy.
I know all these things about you and you know all these things about me, but does that mean we have fallen into the hazard of taking one another for granted?  Are we too predictable? Maybe, sometimes.
There are the times, however, when we surprise one another with something new about ourselves.  Try something new as a couple, like dancing.  Discover a new talent, thought process, idea, ability, desire to learn something different.  We are often amazed at how alike we are and how very different.  We have been together a very long time, and I still feel that there is so much I will never know about you.  Not because you hide it, but because you haven’t discovered it yourself yet.  I feel that there is so much more to me than you know as well, and in time we will make these discoveries together.
You make me feel alive, passionate, funny, and intelligent.  I know you are the most honest of men, you have integrity, and intelligence beyond my comprehension, and that you will do anything you must to protect your family from hurt, want, or need.  You are a dedicated husband, father, friend, son, and brother.  You love those who love you with an intensity that you don’t comprehend.  And you are loved in the same manner.   Everyone looks up to you, admires you, and tries to emulate you.  I know that in your career there are few who have the abilities you possess and that you can be or do anything you wish.  I know that you are loyal, determined, and strong willed and that you are a natural leader.  I know that your colleagues are amazed at your comprehension and knowledge of the work at hand and in the future.
You are, in short, funny, loving, passionate, intelligent, gentle, romantic, determined, honest, caring, devoted, strong willed, and the man that I have loved for fourty-one years.  Do we have the occupational hazard of predictability?  Maybe, sometimes.  However, I am blessed to have you in my life and that you know me so well.  I can only hope you feel the same way.