Hanging with the Kids

Yesterday I got to spend the day with my darling daughter, Mo, and her sweet son, Tate. He is an adorable twenty months old. We met at a local park. Tate was in the gym, insisting on kicking balls.


He had his first soccer lesson in the morning. Mo said he wasn’t interested in following the lesson “rules,” he just wanted to kick, kick, kick.

He will have 12 more classes.  He got a cute little blue soccer uniform.  Even if he never learns anything he’ll look very soccer-ish while at class.  Personally, I think trying to corral six 18 to 24-month-old toddlers would be a bit like trying to herd cats.

Eventually, Mo scooped him up; we strolled to their third-floor walk-up. Nana was about to expire after the second flight of stairs. And I wasn’t lugging a twenty-seven-pound toddler.

Mo fixed Tate a peanut butter and banana sandwich, along with a small pile of blackberries and raspberries, served on a clean pink frisbee. I was transfixed watching that dumpling gobble his food.

Then we went to his room where Mo put him in a sleep sack, read him a couple of books, sang “Twinkle Twinkle” and tucked him in for a three-hour nap.

While the kid slept Mo baked gluten free chocolate banana bread. Sinfully yummy.

We sat on the sofa and gabbed. It’s so good to spend time with my daughter. I’m interested in the way she thinks, the job she does, her political viewpoint.  She maintains now that she has a baby the grandchild will eclipse her.  She entertains me loads.  She’s funny and smart.  So is her husband.  Tate will be all that times two!  Possibly he will eclipse her.  🙂

Tate woke up refreshed and giggling. He listened to the Little Blue Truck book again, identifying all animals and making cow and horse sounds.


Then he tucked into his after nap snack of warm chocolate banana bread and blueberries.

When asked if he wants something he does not desire Tate responds, “no no.”  If he does want it, he says, “yeah.”

“Do you want more berries?”
“no no.”
“Do you want more banana?”



Do you want to watch Soccer Rocker?  “Yeah.”


This is a screen shot of Tate’s favorite TV video.  These strange costumed children sing and dance to a song called “Soccer Rocker.”  I’ve had the damn tune stuck in my head since yesterday afternoon.  Tate loves it.


Here he is entranced by the silly song.  Mo and I pranced around trying to get him to dance, but he was absorbed.  I wonder, why is that belly darling at twenty months, but horrifyingly unattractive by sixty-five?  Not fair.


Watching soccer rocker with his canine brother, Calvin.

After the snack and “Soccer Rocker“, Mo dressed him, and we were off to meet a friend for a playdate at the park we’d been to earlier. Tate wanted nothing to do with the other kid. He wanted nothing to do with the park.  His goal was to escape the outdoor fenced area and find his way into the gym.

He turned wonderfully, rebelliously twenty months old and let us know in no uncertain terms he was NOT happy hanging around outside.

His “no no’s” got progressively louder and more definite. Accompanied by tears.

“Do you want to swing?”
no no.
“Do you want to slide?”
“NO NO!”

Jim was coming to pick me up. I asked, “Do you want to see Jim?”
Tate replied, “yeah” and headed to the gate next to the gym.  Oops.

Tonight we get to babysit while Mo and Stephen go on a date.  Yippee!

Toddlers and their tantrums

Last week my eighteen-month-old grandson Tate was doing his job, acting his age, throwing tantrums and frustrating Mom.  Mo called, miserable.

I was immediately transported to the early 80’s as a first-time parent dealing with a willful toddler. Like all toddlers, Matt was masterful at the art of explosions.

Two instances stand out in particular.  Once Matt raged on interminably, his screams bouncing off walls, rattling windows, and bringing me to the point of considering doing something regrettable.  Afraid to stay within arm’s length of him, I grabbed the harvest gold Princess wall phone, stretched the coiled cord as far as possible and shut myself in the powder room. I called my friend Lynn.   While Matt continued to wail on the other side of the door, Lynn talked me down.  She let me rant, then centered me enough that I could open the door and deal with a baby who was simply acting his age.

The second clear memory I have is snatching the kid into my arms, taking the stairs by twos and dropping him into his crib.  Was that cold?  Probably.  But the other choices I was mentally entertaining were far more chilling.

At the time I complained to my pragmatic sister. She said, “The good news is he’s still little enough to drop into a crib.  When they are teenagers the options aren’t that simple.”  True that, Marilyn.

I don’t have many memories of Mo tantrums.  I’m sure she had them, but once you’ve been steeled by the first child, the second kid’s meltdowns don’t have the same impact.

Friend Sandy recently visited.  She has four daughters.  Her youngest was a talented tantrum throwing toddler. Sandy had weathered three other headstrong cherubs.  By number four she found Shannon’s fits purely amusing.  She said she would stand in the grocery store aisle as Shannon exploded, look down and laugh hysterically.

Sandy tried to imagine herself behaving that way.  Can you picture it?  Being so pissed off while waiting at the deli counter that you hurl yourself to the floor, beat the tiles with fists, pound your head against the floor, scream like a banshee and sob with misery?  I’d love to do that!

Now imagine exhausting yourself with your fit.  Settling down, opening your eyes and finding a circle of laughing shoppers standing over you.  Tantrums are pretty funny when you divorce yourself.

BTW: Some adults actually do throw temper tantrums.