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Tales of Two Toddlers

March 16, 2015

The Excellent Adventures of Sam and James

How nice when the kids and grandkids come to visit—or we go visit them—just for anyhow.

We enjoyed special weekends with both grandsons in the last five weeks, separately. What fun. We spent the only warmish weekend in February soaking up some rays in North Carolina and exploring simple things with Sam, then almost 17 months.


First off to Krispy Kreme for marvelous, fresh, worth-every-calorie hot donuts, with his parents carefully pinching off the sugary stuff and just letting Sam have the inside bready part.


And milk —plenty of milk.


Sam watched donuts coming off the assembly line and you can tell he’s noticing and processing a lot about his young world these days.


Then it’s on to Home Depot to pick up supplies for a Grandpa project later in the day. What’s not to love about driving a shopping cart made to resemble a hot rod! His mother marvels at how much fun she and her sisters would have had in such a hot rod as they accompanied Dad to what they used to call “every-kid’s-worst-nightmare-store” and they’d have to invent games to entertain themselves. (No electronic hand held games even after they came on the market. So deprived.)


Last on our expedition, Renfro Hardware, an old timey hardware store (circa 1906) that’s like a trip back in time: folks can still gather ‘round a good old wood stove complete with somebody’s lunch or breakfast cooking in a cast iron skillet on top.


It’s too early in Spring for the chicks they often have there, so we visit the grown up hens back of the store for Sam’s first up close look at a chicken.


I like that this store mixes old fashioned wares with locally produced honey, onion and potato starts, and heirloom seeds for trendy chic/hip young gardeners as well.


I think I’m beginning to understand that the beauty of grandchildren is that they take you back to your own early parenting days. No—you have the leisure and perspective to revel in and appreciate that these days are fleeting and so precious (they’re not babies any more—how fast that first year went) that you just savor it all and make memories out of a visit to Home Depot, Krispy Kreme and an old hardware store.

You also jump at the chance to help out their parents by “babysitting.” James and his parents visited the first weekend in March to help grandpa celebrate his birthday (not a big one like his 60th last year, which is one of my most frequently read posts from all last year, there’s a lot of online searching going on apparently for “how to plan a 6oth birthday party”). So I was tickled when his parents announced on Saturday afternoon, “We want to go to Costco. Is it okay if we leave James here?”

Ok? Ok? They trust me? Oh yes boy is it ok. I was to let him play until his nap and then put him down and then keep an “eye” on him with their marvelous video nursery monitor.

So, Grandma and grandson alone in the kitchen? What does grandson get into?JamesCrackers5

Both James and Sam are into helping mom or dad or whoever is in the kitchen, cook. They love to get out pots and pans, stir things on the floor, and generally get toted around the kitchen on the hip if someone is making something that smells good. This was the phase with my own toddlers that I developed such noticeable pains in my left arm and chest that I actually asked the doctor what could be going on. “Let’s see, how old are your kids?” When I confirmed they were like 12-18 months or so, he was sure it was lifting and carrying them so much.

These two toddlers have just recently really taken off on their walking skills, but on this afternoon, as I’m working on various dishes for my husband’s smallish birthday dinner, James takes up camp near a relatively safe cupboard collection of cereal boxes, chips, canned goods and odds and ends.


He sorts through things, picking up packs of gum from one basket and tossing them onto the next shelf with dispatch as if to say, “Well I certainly don’t want/can’t have them.”


Then he grabs a 10-pack of Nabs crackers I keep there to pack quickly into husband’s lunch. James works until he removes one pack out of the opened 10-pack, and then holds it like a gift.


Hmm. Would mommy and daddy mind if he had one peanut butter cracker? It’s a long time til dinner, and he still has his nap coming up, and he ate a good lunch. Peanut butter is a good thing, right, in small doses, on crackers?

I help James open the pack and handed him the little cracker sandwich which he promptly put in his mouth, beaming. He chomped on that awhile and I watched him while also peeling my potatoes and I decided the next one, if he wanted another, I would break in half the better to avoid choking. I was pretty sure it was his first time enjoying that treat but he managed it just fine and soon picked up the pack as if to say he wanted another. I felt just plain naughty helping him sneak another half a cracker, and then another, until he had eaten 2 ½ crackers, and washed it all down with some water. That seemed like a reasonable snack for such a small pint so I put them up into a drawer he couldn’t reach. My husband discovered that partially eaten pack this past Saturday and asked “what’s this?” Of course I had told his mother about the “grandma and James cracker party,” so now I clued in the grandpa.


What fun. Like I said on Facebook, it seems most of my photos from the weekend are of James eating, to which his mother exclaimed “Probably because it’s his favorite thing ever.” And I thought, hmm, yes, and it’s only the beginning, we hope, since I hear that adolescent and teenage boys are bottomless pits.


This blog post is some pure grandma journal stuff mostly for family and close friends just so I have a record. Otherwise, over time our minds tend to forget the details, right? And I’m so happy to be on this journey.


If this triggers any of your own grandma/grandpa and small person stories, so much the better. I’d love to hear your stories!


From → Faith, Family Life, Food

  1. Grandchildren always provide fodder for blog posts. This generation is being documented like never before, and that’s a good thing. Love the photos, Melodie.

  2. Yikes, I didn’t realize until I looked back at your March 11 post how closely my title copied yours “Two boys, one moment in time.”

    Your title would have worked for mine as well! Must have been subconsciously, or imitation is flattery? I was also trying to avoid the words of another writer Sharon Clymer Landis (from near your stomping grounds) who frequently writes about the adventures of her “small boy and dog.” Thanks for your graciousness and yes, this generation of grandmas who would have been mommy bloggers if it had been available “back then” is certainly keen to document like never before. Scrap book, photo album, journal, and love all wrapped into one.

    • 🙂 As it happens, Shirley Showalter and I have these coincidences too. Not long ago, she published a post similar to a theme I already had in my WordPress queue. (Well, we Mennonites all share some DNA from way, way back!)

  3. Caro-Claire Wiles permalink

    Hi Melodie
    Thanks for sharing these adventures with your grandsons
    It sounds like these were very happy times for you and for the boys.
    Memories in the making complete with pictures for years to come.
    Just savour each time with them as the days and years go by so quickly.
    Our 13 grandkids now range in age from 28 down to 16.
    Three are married and we have 6 great grandsons from age 8 down to 4 1/2 months
    I baby sat some of our grandkids for 6 1/2 years and those days are etched in my memory bank as great times together.
    Now we get to enjoy some of our great grandkids who live around the corner from us.
    and visits from the others as they can come.

  4. How wonderful to babysit your grandkids, although I know one such arrangement where sometimes the grandma bemoaned that she couldn’t just “enjoy” the grandkids so much because she had to also discipline and learn their mannners and everything else a sitter does. You can be thankfur for the great grands who live around the corner, for sure!

    • Caro-Claire Wiles permalink

      Yes I am thankful on both accounts
      First because I was young enough when I was babysitting the grandkids that I was able to do it.
      Yes there were moments when I had to be the disciplinarian but on the whole they were pretty good kids and we had some fun times In those days I was also juggling caring for elderly parents in retirement homes and nursing homes and it was a bit of a challenge at times to get into visit with three kids in tow but we did it!

      I must admit I don’t think I would have the stamina now to do too much baby sitting for the grands, but my granddaughter goes to the weekly ladies bible study with me and we help get the boys in and out of their car seats and into the baby sitting which is provided .
      Mind you their grandma (our daughter also lives around the corner from them and she is always ready to lend a hand


  5. Athanasia permalink

    But the outside of the doughnut is the best part! Oh well.

    There was a time when my children had both sets of grandparents living with us. My in-laws were in a ranch next door that we had built for our use in the future, when we would want to move out of this big house and all onto one level. (That’s were we live now.) They were in poor health due to years of not watching things like blood pressure. My parents lived in the suite of rooms off our first floor where my grandparents used to live when we were growing up in the big house.

    Only my mother is left of the 4 and she lives in town now in a senior apartment. She is a very social person and likes non-stop activity. She writes, emails or calls all the grandchildren every week. They all have a great relationship with her. Right now she is off visiting…I took her down to one of my brothers and she will move around the state for awhile visiting various families including some of her cousins and some of my father’s family and some retired teacher friends.

    She likes to play boardgames and cards when she gets together with the grandchildren. I bought a new game for us all to play at Easter, TICKET TO RIDE.

    • Yes!! The outside is the best part, as he’ll learn soon enough, I’m sure. 🙂 I love your description of your mother. My mom is very social too–I love that if she is feeling lonely, she goes out in the halls at her retirement home apartment and finds someone to talk to. How wonderful she works at staying connected with her grandchildren so well. Mom writes to her grandchildren and all of us but does not do email. What a great family present–I’ve heard good things like Ticket to Ride–not sure that I’ve played it yet. My oldest daughter and her husband have a huge collection of this type board game, such as Settlers of Catan. Thanks for your chatty additions here!

      • Athanasia permalink

        We have played SETTLERS OF CATAAN but my mother and I didn’t get the hang of it that well. So we stick with the shorter length games for family get togethers. The younger ones have game days and game weekends.

        When my mother decided she wanted to stop driving is when she moved into town. I’m at work most of the day, my husband works at home, but out in his work shop and we only have 1 child left at home, who’s in college. She didn’t want to depend on anyone driving her around. So she will live there as long as she wants and when she wants to move back can move into the big house again where our oldest girl and her husband live.

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