the north face rolling thunder small Bliss is an old favorite blanket
Parent Forward by Bonnie J. Toomey When our first grandson arrived, we sat holding him for what seemed like a very long time. We couldn’t take our eyes off his innocent little face. Our second grandson came, and we sat a little less time. By the third grandson, there was no time to sit at all with the older ones underfoot. ‘s better than being a parent! . get to have all the fun without any of the responsibility! the icing on the cake: grandchildren will adore you since you won’t be the one telling them no!”
Don’t be fooled. You will tell them no, and your grandkids may not like you sometimes. And there will be moments when you will not stare at them for hours like they are the best thing since sliced bread.
It’s day four since our grandchildren arrived. The soggy navy Baby Bjorn hangs down the front of my gray shirtdress like a deployed parachute minus the canopy. I have spent the last day, in its entirety, refereeing between my two eldest grandsons, on everything that comes between cousins who are 4 and 5 years old and schooling them about our new puppy, who pooped out one of their red Legos and lived, thank God!
“Grammy, you gotta see this,” the eldest exclaimed while we were out sledding. After all, it is New Year’s Eve, a time for celebration.
But now I slide my harnessed arms into my long black North Face, leaving the Bjorn hanging like a strappy bib, not bothering to zip my coat, for we are leaving the restaurant a bit sooner than we had hoped.
Just 20 minutes before, I figured out how to get our littlest drool monster into the life saving contraption. After all, it frees my hands and makes him happy. As I stood in the middle of the dining room, trying the straps this way and that, while patrons rather warily sipped from their festive goblets, I got him safely snapped in.
Earlier, our band of five rushed the room as if the table and chairs were part of an obstacle course. My husband and our grandsons stormed and claimed the cozy corner of the back room in the beamed tavern, the way a squadron on maneuvers might on any given mission. And our mission was to have fun.
“The baby carrier,” I said to my husband, nodding to where I had left it propped on a table between two parties, with a quick glance at the boys to behave.
All was going well, New Year’s Eve night out. No fights had erupted thus far. Sibling ish rivalry was turned way down for the moment. Our order put up right away. Our 4 year old multi tasked between his bread and butter and his stickerbook of trains. Our eldest shared Tic Tacs from his Stuffy, a red dragon named Blaze, a plush creature matching his size, defending our nook with a raft of coats and bags, hats and mittens, and a multitude of baby supplies.
My husband, who had just ordered a pint, and I shared an almost inaudible sigh as we successfully made the pre measured bottle for the baby. I stood and held the bottle, which became one with our grandson, his legs kicking with satisfaction as he sucked down 6 ounces and squeezed my left index finger with his tiny hand.
We were out for a New Year’s celebration, a baby band of sorts, out of our stinky pajamas, bathed, scrubbed, washed, brushed, dressed and bundled. And I quote my pep talk while at the house that afternoon, “We will have a good time.” Over the river and through the woods we did go.
But all bliss must come to an end in order to even exist.
When the ever so slightly high pitched hiss announced the bottle had been drained, the Baby Bjorn was reduced to a trap for the impending bubble that wanted to rise up quite quickly from my grandson’s mouth. I had carefully taken my seat only to stand up again in order to hastily unclip the plastic clasps.
Just as I managed to lift my grandson up and out of the contraption, my hair got caught on the piney garland gracing the mantle close behind me.
And just as I stepped clear of our corner and the coats and a raised brick hearth, the greenery moved attached to me to the center of the room, where the waiter was arriving with plates of food.
It dropped, and drooped, as half the contents of my grandson’s tummy landed on the worn wood floor of the restaurant right in front of the blazing, now unbedecked New England fireplace.
Our waiter, Ben, who became a dad seven months ago, understood the urgency of the scene. My grandsons had begun to follow me like a spilled bag of marbles. With a growl, I directed them to stay with their Papa. I fled to the downstairs lobby with one wailing grandson, leaving my husband to bundle up the boys, pack up the bags and re order our New Year’s Eve dinners, not yet arrived, into containers to go.
“Do you want us to start your car?” asked Diane, our hostess.
At that moment, as I stood tucking the soft, beloved receiving blanket around my grandson, who had settled down, my coat open, my hair mussed, and the Baby Bjorn dangling against my boots, I realized for the 50th time that week how difficult parenting is.
I chided them more often than not, plunked them in separate spots more than once, proselytized two young boys as if they were at a revival meeting, warning them to share and to get along or else they would grow up to be friendless forever.
That night as I got up for the third time with our littlest one, this time to change his diaper, as we goaded the boys into the bathroom to pee while Papa let the puppy out to do the same, I thought, these children are in good care. Tomorrow, they will be going home, and tomorrow night bliss will cover us like an old favorite blanket.