This week I am channeling our grandson Owen as he visits Maine for the first time.
Owen – While coming to Maine and New Hampshire, we stopped at my great-grandma’s place. She’s very cool and I’m a lucky boy.
First let me say, it’s good to be in Maine. It is the way life should be. I mean I’ve been reading Down East magazine since July and Maine is sweet. I’ve come north from our two bedroom apartment in Virginia to spend a week with my grandparents. My Dad’s folks, Poppy and Ya Ya, are the best. They have two grandsons already and know what it takes to make me happy. Can you say tractor?
It’s my maternal grandparents that have a few things to learn. The big guy; he goes by Papa. I was hoping he’d choose “G-Daddy” or “Papster,” but I can live with Papa. Suffice it to say, I have him so wrapped around my finger. He says when he cuddles and rocks me that there is nothing better. That has got to be worth an I-Phone when the need arises down the road. I’ve got to give Papa credit that when I start to wail he doesn’t immediately just hand me over to Omi. Omi is the go to person when fussing is what I am all about. As a Mom herself, Omi nestles me in her arms and holds me in a hundred positions until I settle down. She’s batting a thousand with me.
Like all good babies, I have given my Mom and Dad a run for their money.
I’ve seen the pictures of how tired they were during my first month when I decided I was hungry every hour or two. It’s all part of the Baby Code. “Establish at the outset who is in charge.” I just had to be me. Then in my second month I threw in five hours straight of nighttime sleeping; and they held their breath to see if this was part of a new trend. Then I did it again, and they relaxed. They are so easy and pliable. I’m going to love them. They beam at each other, nodding how they are figuring me out. Hah! Dream on! Then I throw in being awake every two hours a night to reestablish the balance of power.
Omi and Papa threw an “Owen House” for me when I arrived. I again played the cute card by sleeping through the entire thing. When I did open one eye to see what was going on, all I saw were these big faces cooing like babies themselves and telling me how cute I was. It’s a fact of life that we babies are cute to the max.
My first night in Maine I was so excited I couldn’t sleep. Clearly my Mom was less excited about my first night in Maine. Look up the word “fried.” You’ll see my Mom under the first definition. I think it only fair that I give her the full baby raising experience. No short cuts. She deserves it all. But here in Maine she can bring me down at 6A to have Papa and Omi cuddle and coo with me while she sleeps til 9A. I’ve seen Omi and Papa on Skype. They also came to see me in Virginia for four days last month. But it’s nothing like being here. You see I’m the #1 grandchild for Omi and Papa, and I’ll always be. We number ones have the good news, bad news. The good news is we get all the attention of our parents and g-parents. The bad news is we get all the attention of our parents and g-parents. Bless their hearts but I need my space from time to time.
By the way, I wonder a lot of things. I wonder where people lose their trust and faith. I have all the faith in the world that my Mom and Dad will take care of me and do right by me. Omi and Papa, Ya Ya and Poppy, too. I trust in them and the goodness in their hearts. When does faith get lost? Where does it go? When does the rational mind take over and reign supreme? Perhaps, I’ll grow up to be a Zen master.
Well Mom is up sleeping in her room this Tuesday morning; I will put Omi and Papa to the test. I poop and pee without announcing it, but Omi senses it and changes me three times within a half hour. Then I pull out the big guns, I scream bloody murder. She nestles me in her arms, but I give her no quarter. I howl and howl. But it’s funny, these two are relentless. They are so glad to see me they are not going to run to Molly to feed me at the first sign of trouble. They know Mom needs some sleep. Omi settles me on her chest and rocks me softly. I turn to butter and melt in her arms. I’ll give them all a good hour of peace now, before I reestablish who’s in charge.
Mom gets a little frustrated when I spit out the pacifier she gives me. I don’t have anything against pacifiers. Fact is, I’ve read in Consumer Reports that they help soothe the beast within. Taking the pacifier would give Mom and Dad some well-deserved peace and quiet. I’ve not been sleeping my usual five to seven hours at night. Mom hears my gurgling, my noises in the night and wakes. At home I sleep in the crib in my room; here at Omi’s and Papa’s, Mom and I are in the same room. Poor Mom!
And then Tuesday night Mom got determined that I take the pacifier. Three nights in a row of interrupted sleep have made her quite groggy, dare I say a tad grumpy. Often parents, I’ve read in Baby’s Home Journal, give the child a pacifier when they screams could curdle blood. Listen parents, that doesn’t work. On what planet would it? Tonight Mom just plays with the pacifier on my lips. I don’t bite (I’m a pun-ny guy.), but I do play along. After ten minutes, she hands it to my Uncle Will. Damn, he’s a good sport.
He begins his shift of holding the pacifier on my lips and putting it in my mouth. I have a 30 minute rule. If they keep trying something for 30 minutes, then I give them their way. And tonight at minute 31 (I have a baby Rolex) I start sucking on the pacifier. Fact is the sucking is soothing, my eyelids fall, and I’m off to Never Never Land. They think I don’t hear them, but Papa keeps saying, “We’ve turned a page.” Maybe we have, maybe we haven’t. I haven’t decided if this pacifier is for me.
Wednesday night Omi and Papa say they will babysit so Mom and my Uncle Will can go out to dinner. Nice gesture on the part of these old folks. This is not an empty or hollow gesture either for I’m not always easy from six to eight in the evening. I’m looking forward to seeing see just how tough these old-timers are. I coo in my Baby Bjorn Bouncer, but then I get serious and test their mettle. I begin with a little crying but wind up in a full blown hurricane in seconds. Omi takes me and rocks and coos but to no avail. I’m persistent I want to be. Since she is on crutches she hands me over to the big dude who seems to relish the opportunity to soothe me. I see it in his eyes. He loves the challenge. “Oh Papa, we’re on.”
Papa walks and bounces around their house as he cradles me to his chest. I’m giving him the full banshee (In Irish mythology, a banshee is a fairy woman who begins to wail if someone is about to die.) I just want to see what Papa is made of. Amazingly he’s cool, calm, and collected. No sign of frustration. He’s dogged. Good for him. It’s a characteristic that will serve him well as he ages. Still it’s one-on-one and I’m not giving up. I wail with the best of eight week olds.
After a while I realize he is not giving up; he wins. And anyway, Mom has been up with me many nights while in Maine and I don’t want her to hear me cry when she comes home from dinner tonight. I mean I do have a sensitive side. So I settle in on their bed as Papa gently sways me back and forth. Mom’s home. And we all know what that means.