A belated Happy New Year wish

I haven’t blogged for the past three weeks because I absented myself to take mini-vacations with all four of my grandchildren. Being with them is an exhausting proposition (I came back to work for a rest, and that’s only half a jest). This is not only due to their energy levels, but also to the fact that a child’s humor is different than adult humor. They zig when we expect a zag. Also, it’s humbling to realize you are not the smartest person in the room when the only two people in that room are you and a 10-year-old boy.

May I now introduce you, Loyal Reader, to Alexander, age 3?

After spending the night with me in a hotel, Alex announces over breakfast, “Nana, I had a very bad dream in the bed you picked out for me.” His accusatory tone suggests I purposely tainted his dream.

“I’m really sorry to hear that, Alex. What was the dream about?”

“I dreamed I was being chased by a kitty cat.”

“Being chased by a kitty cat doesn’t sound so scary, Buddy.”

“A monster kitty cat with no skin?” he asks incredulously. “You don’t think it’s scary when a monster kitty cat with no skin chases you?!” Now he sounds truly aghast – at either my stupidity or my bravery.

When I was his age, I had nightmares about being chased by roosters with sharp feathers. I concede for him that anything that could possibly run after being skinned would be very scary indeed.

Several minutes later, I am distracted from our ongoing monster conversation by a little girl. She’s about his age; having caught my eye, she stands in the dining room doorway making funny faces. I wave and smile at her. Alex jumps down from his chair and comes around to my side of the table to see the intruder. He then stands glowering at her, hands on hips. Seeing his sour expression, the little girl quickly disappears behind her mother’s legs.

“Isn’t that little girl cute?” I ask, somewhat taken aback by his rude behavior. “And I bet she’s nice, too, if we give her a chance to come over and say hi to you.”

“Nice girls don’t give me dirty looks,” he huffs.

“I didn’t see her do that, honey,” I say gently.

“You didn’t see the kitty cat last night, either, Nana. You don’t have super powers to see everything I see, do you?”

He most likely is upset by losing my 100% attention, which he looks forward to when we get together. I smile and focus again only on him: “Why don’t you sit down again and tell me a joke, funny guy?”

“Okay, because I am a funny guy,” he agrees. This is something Alex is particularly proud of being. He climbs back on his seat, returned to a happier mood. “Knock knock,” he invites.

“Who’s there?”

“Nana.”

“Nana who?”

“Nana Banana Poop,” he squeals, and then giggles himself into a fit of hiccups. Saying the p-word always cracks him up. “Take that, Nana!” he shouts, delighted, and I laugh, too, because he is my funny little guy.

Then there is serious Patrick, 10

Patrick and I breakfast together in another hotel another day. He shivers. “Are you cold?” I ask, noticing the dining room is a bit chilly.

“Let’s just say I’m considering curling up on the floor tightly in a ball to conserve body heat,” he replies.

“You’re a funny guy this morning,” I remark, offering my sweatshirt, which he slips over his shoulders.

“Alex is the funny guy,” Patrick corrects, referring to his little cousin. “I’m the smart one.”

“And you’re my handsome guy, too,” I offer.

“And the handsome one, too,” he agrees. “Alex isn’t handsome yet. We don’t compete on that because he’s just a little kid, and little kids can only be cute. I’m old enough to even go from handsome to hot now. I’m going to be a heartbreaker soon, probably.”

“Probably already are and just don’t know it yet,” I say.

He gives me a quizzical look and I know he’ll stew on that privately. A few moments later, however, we move on to the subject of frogs – specifically, a teacher’s plan to have the students in Patrick’s class dissect one. “I’m not going to do it,” he says flatly. “I’m not going to kill a frog, or have one killed so that I can cut it up in a class supposedly studying conservation of living things on earth. It’s opposite of that meaning and I can’t make myself do it, and the teacher can’t make me, either.”

“Do you want to practice how to say that nicely to a teacher to express what you’re thinking – without making him mad at the way you express your thoughts?”

“I’m going to tell the teacher that we should hop a mile in a frog’s feet before killing one,” he says. “And if you want to talk about word choice, Nana, I know words do have meanings, which have meanings and so on. But is there really any meaning? Words are made up of letters, but letters are just ideas or symbols. Words themselves have no meaning. They are just different sounds.”

“Grasshopper, you are again endeavoring to jump over the master with your own meaningless sounds.”

“Yes, but no animals were killed in the making of this video,” he chuckles.

Meanwhile, Natalie, 5, and Nathanial, 6, have a good time at a hotel, too

Natalie and Nathanial are very excited to get to go to Medieval Times to see jousting and dancing horses. Sleeping in a hotel and swimming is a special treat, too.

Natalie is a child of joy. Nattie constantly laughs and giggles, her face always lit up. She brings joy into every room and soul she visits. Nathanial is a blend of the best of all of our genetic soup – he’s funny, smart (he reads chapter books already), and he’s quick to laugh and quick to give a hug, too.

After the most recent trip to the hotel with Nattie and Nate, my son called to tell me that Natalie, our little sunshine, became a real thunderstorm after returning home. “She cried and cried for the longest time and said she wanted me to make today into yesterday,” he reported. “She said she wanted to do everything all over again, to go back to the hotel and redo all the special things with Nana again.”

And so we will, little girl. I promise we will.

May I wish you a belated Happy New Year, Reader?

I hope your 2012 got off to the same (though different) sweet start mine did.

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