Grandma's ultimate challenge

I cannot lie: The last couple days caring for my grandsons around the clock has been a bit of a challenge. Why? Because Baby Mac has got to be the most strong-willed bundle of energy I have ever come across.

Baby Mac's steadfast determination to keep up with brother Bubby—who will be four years old in June, compared to Baby Mac turning one year old the same month—has kept me hopping, to say the least. He thinks he should be able to do ab-so-lute-ly everything his brother does, despite lacking not only physical ability but also the common sense to know such feats at his age are sheer lunacy. And when I prevent him from risking life and limb in pursuit of his goal, Baby Mac throws fits reminiscent of my biggest battles with my daughters during their teen years.

Every once in a while, though, Baby Mac chooses to imitate his brother in something that isn't dangerous. For example, after watching Bubby place the ball on his T-ball stand several times, Baby Mac decided to give it a try himself with his own ball. This was the result:

Baby Mac's enthusiasm and obvious pride in himself for succeeding at the task at hand is exactly how I will feel, possibly even how I will babble, once I manage my own task at hand—that of making sure the little wild child survives safe and sound while his mom and dad are away.

Today's question:

What are your challenges—and successes!—of the past week?

Photo replay: Walking partners

My walking partners for the week:

Baby Mac & Bubby — April 18, 2012

They'll surely be easier to keep up with than Mickey and Lyla. Especially because if we happen upon a wild animal, they'll run from it rather than to it like the dogs do. I hope.

Happy Sunday, one and all!

Lesson learned

Not long ago, I wrote in this post of Bubby's utter and undisguised disappointment in the gift I sent him for Valentine's Day. He made it perfectly clear then that little boys want toys not something practical in the gifts they open from their grandma.

So when looking for small gifts to mail to Bubby and Baby Mac for Easter, I thought long and hard about my choices, hoping to hit the mark on two counts: 1) they were toys, and 2) they were toys my grandsons would like.

For Bubby the Batman fanatic, I found a set of action figures that featured Batman, Robin, and a motorcycle. For Baby Mac—who truly wants for nothing because Bubby has it all and shares it all—I opted for a stuffed Mickey Mouse. According to Megan, he loves Mickey and Bubby never did, so there were no Mickeys in the house.

The day the package arrived, Megan texted me the following photos of the boys upon first opening their Easter gifts from Gramma. 

I think Gramma did okay this time.

Lesson learned.

Today's question:

What was the highlight of your Easter/Passover holiday?

Irrefutable proof

There's been much discussion and debate among family and friends as to whom Baby Mac takes after—Mommy Megan or Daddy Preston.

Since Baby Mac first arrived on the scene, I've always leaned toward him taking after Preston's side of the family. Many folks agreed. Even Megan.

This week, though, Megan stumbled across some old photos of herself at Baby Mac's age and matched up one of her photos with a recent one of her baby boy:

Megan on the left; Baby Mac on the right.

While the photo may be a tad blurry, the bottom line is crystal clear: Baby Mac irrefutably looks just like his mama!

Debate settled.

Today's question:

Do your children look more like their mom or their dad?

Long-distance grandma = long-distance mom

Baby Mac is sick. Again. Seems like my youngest grandson has continuously battled bugs of this sort and that ever since he was just a few months old.

This time Baby Mac has an especially nasty bug, of the croup and bronchiolitis sort. Megan called me Tuesday on the drive home from the pediatrician, where Baby Mac and his Mommy had to endure the trauma of Mac's first-ever nebulizer treatment. It was horrific—for both—with Mac screaming from beginning to end.

My poor babies. I imagine it was no fun at all for either. I can only imagine such treachery because as a mother, I never had to do such a thing, never had to administer a breathing treatment for a sick child. In all honesty, my kids were—thankfully!—relatively healthy. Now that Megan's a mom, she realizes that. It's something we've discussed often, as both my grandsons seem to be sick a lot, and Megan thinks there's some magical answer to keeping kids healthy, one she's not yet been privy to.

"Am I just a bad mom?" she pleaded for an answer Tuesday. "What am I supposed to be doing that I'm not?"

Usually when Megan asks that question, my first response—selfish as it may be—is, "You need to move out of that <cuss> desert and back home to the mountains."

Not this time, though. Because Megan was on the verge of tears. Because she was scared. And because she was sitting in the car in the garage having just reached home from the doctor's office and had a sick nine-month-old zonked out in his carseat, exhausted from the traumatic treatment, as well as Bubby sitting quietly beside him, and they all needed to get into the house.

"You're doing everything you're supposed to, Megan," I told her. "You got the baby to the doctor and he's being taken care of. That's what you were supposed to do. There's just a lot of crud going around right now and Mac just keeps getting it, for whatever reason. It's nothing you are doing or not doing."

Jim, who was home for lunch and part of our call, confirmed to Megan that a mom he works with has young kids who are sick far more often than was the norm when our kids were little. It's just the way it is nowadays, he said, for reasons we don't know.

"It'll be okay," I told her. "Just get the kids inside and call me later."

It's exactly such times that the distance from my grandbabies, from my daughter, are the hardest. I couldn't just hop in the car and head over to her place to help her out, to hug my sick grandson or, more importantly, to hug my stressed-out daughter.

The most I could do was text her a few hours later, when I figured things had calmed down a bit: 

Despite the crappy day and a croupy kid, at least my daughter still had her sense of humor. Jamaican or not, Megan is indeed a good mon—just because it sounds so cool.

And perpetually sick kids or not, she is indeed a good mom, too. Just one who needs a hug from her own mom—yet lives too far away to get exactly that.

Today's question:

What are your thoughts on kids being sick more often than they were back in the day—that day being when you were a kid or when your kids were kids?

Grandma told ya so...

Remember this picture of Baby Mac I posted on February 12?

At that time, I said I thought Mac would be running marathons by the time I saw him again in April.

Well, he's clearly one step closer. Get a load of this cell-phone video Megan texted to proud PawDad and Gramma on Tuesday:

Today, March 1, Baby Mac is 9 months old. And he's walking. In addition, he has both front teeth on the bottom, and he's working on his first front tooth on the top.

What is up with this kid?

I'm a little scared to mention it for fear this prediction might come true, too, but I think Baby Mac just might be caught up and ready to enter kindergarten at the very same time as big brother Bubby.

The voting continues: If you liked this post—or Grandma's Briefs in general—please vote for Grandma's Briefs in the Favorite Grandparent Blog poll. Vote once per day through March 21. Thank you!

Today's question:

When and where did you last go for a walk, for pleasure or exercise?

Photo replay: Keep on truckin'

Remember that big orange dump truck Bubby reviewed nearly two years ago? The one he loved to drive really fast around the house?

Well look who gets a turn at it now:

I hope your Sunday's as much fun as a big orange dump truck!

(In the interest of full disclosure—and because Megan will call me out on it in the most embarrassing of manners if I don't admit it first—YES, Baby Mac's shirt is on backwards. And YES, I was babysitting that day and am the one who dressed him. And YES, I thought it was weird the word NIKE would be emblazoned on the back of a baby's shirt, but it seemed logical the buttons would go in the front. That logic got this grandma nowhere but with hundreds of photos of her grandson looking rather silly with his NIKE shirt on backwards. Go guys have all the fun you want with that one.)

Give Grandma a sign

My 8-month-old grandson is a genius. Sort of.

With Bubby ahead of him by almost exactly three years, Baby Mac does his darnedest to keep up with his brother, to reach major baby milestones in record time. And he's succeeding, for the most part.

I showed you not long ago that Baby Mac already nearly walks, sort of, and will surely soon be in full-fledged, fully upright, forward motion soon.

Baby Mac already talks, too. Sort of. With baby sign language, at least.

I always thought the baby sign language trend was a heap o' hooey. Until, that is, I saw it in action with Baby Mac.

To bring you up to speed on what I'm babbling about, here are a few basic baby sign language signs:

Megan taught Baby Mac how to sign all done, and he now signs it often—and adamantly. He lets one and all know when he's all done with his food, all done with being held, all done with his nap, all done with staying where he's supposed to be staying in the bathtub, playroom, any room.

Baby Mac has all done down so well, he actually has started saying it. Verbally. Literally. When he feels his sign method isn't getting the desired action, Baby Mac babbles "ah dah, ah dah, AH DAH!" Baby Mac leaves no doubt when he's all done—with anything. Chalk it up to signing.

Megan's working on more with him, too. Not just more phrases, but the actual word "more", mostly in reference to more food of some sort, so Baby Mac can make it clear that his lack of attention to what's on the spoon held in front of his face has nothing to do with satiety and everything to do with wanting to watch anything and everything that's going on around him at all times. He understands "more" but has yet to actually sign it. Considering his level of genius, though, I'm sure that reflects purely on Baby Mac's lack of fine motor skills, not his mental acuity.

There are plenty of other words and phrases, too, that would benefit Baby Mac—and his family—such as hungry, brother, mommy, daddy, change diaper, and I-seriously-need-attention-paid-to-me-and-only-me-right-now-at-this-very-moment. Oh, wait. He has that last one down already and holds back not one bit in expressing it loud and clear, sans hand signals of any sort.

I personally am pushing for Baby Mac to start using the grandma sign. I get to visit my grandsons again in April. When I do, if I'm greeted by Baby Mac with smiles and the sign for "grandma," that is when I'll know for sure that little butterball of a baby boy is a true genius. Or, at the very least, that he adores his grandma.

Which, of course, is more than enough to qualify him as a genius in this grandma's book.

Today's question:

What is your experience with sign language, baby or otherwise?

Can't help but grin

Baby Mac didn't feel well during most of my recent visit, thanks to teething, a cold, and what turned out to be an ear infection.

That didn't stop my youngest grandson from giggling and grinning more often than not, though, even when feeling his very worst.

Yeah, I still have some work to do in mastering that new camera of mine. But you get the picture...for the most (precious) part.

Today's question:

When and why did you most recently laugh out loud (for real; no "LOL" funny business)?