When Mom is Deployed
When Mom is away, Grandma hears about it.
"When Mom gets home, I will:
Stop sucking my thump.
Comb my hair.
I want to wrap this present for mommy.
I need my bear back. You wrapped it up.
When Mom is Deployed
I Will go Potty When Mom Gets Home
My Grandson, age three, stood before me in set position, knees locked and arms crossed. He said, "I don't have to go."
I said, "What is that running down your leg?"
"When will you have to use the bathroom?"
"When Mom gets home."
"That is quite awhile."
"No it isn't."
This particular little boy potty-trained himself by the age of two by the process of following his brother and sisters into the bathroom since he could crawl. He rarely had accidents. His areas available to him to control in his life were extremely limited and going potty was the one.
I could dig out the pull-ups and provide that option. Or I could reconcile myself to an increase in laundry. I decided to tough it out. For two days he refused to use the bathroom. Every few hours he would have on different shorts. He always put the dirty ones in the laundry basket. This was an organized rebellion.
However a crisis loomed. We had to go out for a birthday party. I explained to him that we had to go to his friends house. I asked him if he planned on using the bathroom.
"Of course," he said.
The key as grandmother is the perspective of years.
A Tea Party Needs a Cake
As the time drew closer for Mom's return, the talk amongst the children became more and more concerned with a tea party for Mom. Now, it is important at this point to understand that nothing of Mom's remained sacred. The oldest child, age seven, dug in every drawer, closet and cupboard for anything that belonged to mom. This included a tea set of blue and white design that my daughter brought home from Germany. The cups and saucers, teapot and plates were a treasure to her. Knowing this, the children were drawn to it.
The china was locked in a buffet with glass doors. The children began to congregate in front of the doors and plan how they would set the table and what they would serve for Mom's tea party. Then one day my five year old grandson discovered how to pick the lock.
Early in the morning, after Dad left for PT, Grandma Donna found her way to the dining room from whence emanated whispers. All four of them were up with the sun. Scattered amongst them on the floor were the china pieces. A whisper argument was in progress regarding who would sit where.
My heart stopped. My instinct was to charge forward, snatch the pieces and put them away. This would result in argument, hysterics and broken pieces. Keeping my voice calm, I said, "We are too early for this part. We need a cake."
Within minutes the pieces were in relative safety and the children were in the kitchen digging for a cake mix. This, however passed when they found the Fruit Loops. I left them to make their cereal mess while I found cord and tied the buffet doors shut with a sewing knot.
However, when the time came neither the tea party nor the cake was forgotten. Dad and all four children made a cake and frosted it. Since the buffet doors could not be opened, a second choice of dishes was acceptable.
With mom away from home these children had each others back to a degree I found astounding. I couldn't scold one without the other three acting as defense attorneys. A seven year old, five year old twins, and a three year old can be loud, rowdy and close, united in missing Mom.
I am saving the broken arm and such things as getting all four children out of the door and buckled into the car, the missing shoes, the missing iPad, and the ever frustrating bedtime for another time. Close to my heart is the little crumpled face and whining voice. I have to address this phenomenon.
"Grandma, Alex has a popsicle."
"I want a popsicle."
"You just had ice cream."
"I Want a Popsicle! Alex has a popsicle!"
Now for most reasonable adults, the whine is like acid on a last surviving nerve ending. I, on the other hand, find it hilarious. This is especially true when accompanied by the stomp and the crinkled face.
"It isn't fair, Grandma. Alex is eating a popsicle."
"Life isn't fair."
I do need to investigate from where Alex got a popsicle. I thought the popsicles were gone which was why I went with ice cream.
Alex found the popsicle in the bottom of the freezer and, of course, proceeded to eat it in full few of his siblings. Two of them didn't care. Only his twin recognized how wrong this was.
"Alex, share the popsicle with your sister," I suggest.
Alex immediately stuffs the remaining red treat into his mouth. His twin lunges and tries to pry his mouth open which makes him laugh. He spits popsicle all over her face.
Now you have popsicle," I say on my way to the wet wipes. It takes several minutes to restore peace.
The whine wins because it requires a response. Whining cannot be ignored. Of course, the whiner rarely gets her objective. I say, "No"
I say things like, "Ask in your big girl voice." I say, "Stop whining."
However, these children miss their mom and get a certain amount of leeway. Sometimes I cave. We go to the store and buy fruit pops. In exchange I get a sticky hug.
We have two months to go.