Grandma Padgett was with us for three weeks. Last Saturday we brought her to the airport. It didn’t seem like three weeks. Mother-in-law’s have a reputation, and I suspect, deservedly. As with many things in life I’ll count myself fortunate Grandma Padgett does not live up to the stereotypes.
On the selfish side I get more time with Jennifer. We saw two movies and went out for coffee several times while she was with us. Jenn and I talked for hours at Starbucks. It reminded me of our pre-marital days at Village Inn, only richer, more fulfilling, and better coffee. While we were out I was more worried about Grandma than Penelope. If she put her back out I would have felt bad and the trip would have become stressful instead of enjoyable. Thankfully no backs were harmed during the trip.
Penelope got to spend a lot of time with her grandmother and soak up more love. I would get home from work and they would be eating snacks or playing in her room. Grandma took so many pictures Penelope started asking to have them taken. You could fit all the pictures from my childhood in a shoebox. It would take Leona Helmsley’s closet to store all the photos of Penelope.
Having someone else here to take care of Penelope gave me a glimpse of other cultures and times, where grandparents are ever-present. Caring for Penelope is not a burden and I would never want to give the impression I felt that way. Every parent worth their salt knows valuable “me” time diminishes with the arrival of a child. With a grandparent in the house some of that time is regained. Some.
We resumed regular transmission. I’ve started using our elliptical machine daily to help deal with the stress and a paranoid fear of mysterious aches and pains. Penelope sits in the living room while I’m working out. We’ve been watching “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” to stay amused and energized. Monday I decided to watch something else.
Nearly a decade ago I got the DVD-Audio of Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” album. It has a bonus DVD with the “Classic Albums” documentary, detailing the creative process that resulted in hits like “Candle in the Wind”, “Saturday Night’s All Right For Fighting”, “Benny and the Jets”, and the title track. It was fun watching Penelope play with puzzles and monkeys while Elton played or Bernie Taupin discussed writing the lyrics. When they were showcasing the song “Roy Rogers” she started singing along.
“That’s great sweetie!” I said. And it was. We’ll see how she reacts when we get her guitar back from the luthier this week. She hasn’t seen it yet. Jenn and I are itching to watch the reaction to her last Christmas gift. Maybe one day she’ll be singing and strumming, creating her own tunes.
The edges of Penelope’s personality are becoming more defined. If she doesn’t like something she is quick to let us know. Mild annoyance is greeted with a face scrunch and grievances are countered with a scream.
She enjoys pouring water from a cup into an empty shampoo bottle. Yesterday I started pouring it into a another empty bottle she plays with. Her nose and mouth contorted and she said “no”. I kept doing it anyway (typical guy) and she shrieked. That worked. My ears were ringing when I stopped pouring.
She’s learning at an amazing rate. Jenn and I are still trying to figure out how she picked up “robot”. She said the word and I showed her how to walk like one. Its one of the cutest tricks in her repertoire. She puts her arms by her side and walks stiffly, her head bobbing from side to side. “I’m a robot!” she says and makes her way across the kitchen or down the hall. I guess we better get started on a Bender (from Futurama) costume for Halloween.
Jenn and I remain in a constant state of amazement as Penelope develops. Photographs, video, and this site are the markers we will have to look back on.
What do you look back on most fondly from childhood? Do you wish more or less of your early years had been preserved?