Daytime Travel

I found myself at The Museum of Natural History this morning. I say, “I found” because I had not any plans to go anywhere. You know those out of the blue suggestions people give or hear and all of a sudden you are on a trek? So it was. My son, myself, and the “Little One” were off to downtown DC.

The first step was to pack up the kid. Then it was figuring out how this would work if we used public transit. Most importantly was to arrange the timing so the kid would not miss her nap. She had missed it yesterday and a horrific night time battle ensued because she was exhausted. Looking at the clock we could do this if all were dressed and out the door in fifteen minutes. We did it!

The beginning- We were determined to take public transit because the bus(es) go by so freuently a block from home. It’s a great view for strollers to see the many types of vehicles that pass by daily. So there we stood at the tag post on sixteenth street. Sure enough the bus stopped and two adults, one almost two year old, and a stroller found seats for the ride downtown.

The middle- We watched the buildings pass as the ride down to the White House turned and took to Constitution Ave. with a left turn toward the Capitol. This is a big deal because it turns out we are in the center of tourist treks and yet no parking needed. Translation? We get to go to any great museum or monument with not much walking. Best part was the efficient bus ride on time, clean bus,and warm on this abnormal COLD day. We departed the bus and walked swiftly a couple more blocks to The Museum of Natural History.

The museum was the same as when I first came to DC in 1971 and yes not the same. I was anxious for “Little One” to be excited by the size of animals she has looked at in her books. The place itself excited her. All the people moving and she able to walk and go in any direction to touch things. There were a ton of kid groups and out of town visitors. She loved looking at the kids and oddly the bones on display. I didn’t even try to figure out the infatuation of the bone display….

The end- We trekked back out of the museum to snag the bus back to our neighborhood in Dc. At the museum my son figured out via the cell phone that we could get even closer to a bus stop. It was grand. We stepped up and onto the double decker which was so clean and had great big windows. It was just at the right time of day that we were the only passengers for two stops. The kid ate her lunch of peanut butter sandwich and a squirt make of sweet potato and chicken. We arrived home in time to switch diapers and pop her into bed where she fell asleep in minute time.

My thoughts? This is the way to live in DC!!! We will be on the bus a lot more!


Of Course

I got to thinking about music and how I would write with it or about it.. I have had two songs written about me. They were published and appeared on three cd’s. Yep it is something I treasure. Not because they were written about me because they were about me not for me. That’s the difference about poetry and lyrics. Lyrics are usually about not for someone and poetry is usually for someone. At least that’s how I think about it.

I don’t listen to the songs very much anymore. There was a time that they were the majority of my listening. But why I am sharing this today is because the challenge was to use a song to be inspired. It gave me pause to think about my songs.

The first song didn’t become known to me until I had lost contact with the writer for over twenty years. I ran across the song in a store. I was surprised to see the name of my long lost on the cd. I hurried to buy the cd and play it in my car. The final song was word for word my life and my love when I was in college. The only hook was the ending of the song. It was the only part that did not occur in real life.

Listening to that song painted the picture of my youth and the passion that occurred for two young people at a time of free spirit and creativity. He wrote a gentle song and yet anyone could visualize the events as they unfolded. The weakest part of the song was the ending. I felt it was weak because it lost the truth.

The musician and I reconnected later in life. The first time we talked about music I mentioned the store and cd. I coyly asked him about the song and how it might have been me at that time but the ending let me think not.

“Of course it is you is us… As for the ending, it was the only way wrap it up. I couldn’t use the reality there.”

The power of that song is it could have been anyone’s story. It could bring back visions of long ago for any college age student of the late sixties. Those words and my life…hmmm. The power of words is what makes for living and so we write.

Both Sides Now

As I write this the Little One’s mom is off on a business trip. The Little One saw her mom and dad put on their coats. She ran toward them and said “Bye bye Mama. Bye bye Da Da.” Off she ran singing her own version of “Frozen.”

After the departure, I carried her up the stairs to her room. I laid her down softly into her crib. I patted her and closed the door to her room. There of course was the cry that isn’t really a cry. She takes all of five minutes to settle in with her menagerie of crib friends.

It was a morning filled with games and exercises at “My Gym.” I was able to wake her in time to get to class just as it started. She loves to be with the other children. She loves to show off what she can do. She shies from new tasks until she is ready.

We were home in time to spend an hour before her mom had to go to the plane. It was a great hour of play with the Little One. She had the full attention of her mom, dad, and myself. We were a band for awhile. We marched behind her as she led us around the living room several times. She sang the song from “Frozen” with her mom. She took her mom’s sun glasses and made her dad wear them. It was a family time filled with love and smiles.

I am listening to the conversation with her friends via the baby monitor. She will soon be asleep for a couple of hours. There are pauses in her chatter that are getting longer and longer.

Mama will be gone for five days. There is no way to tell her this or prepare her. She will ask where her mama is. We will answer by telling her specifically where she is. We will tell her mama will not be home until Saturday. This will get repeated many time.

I can’t help but wonder when will the time come that she understands what we are telling her? Are little ones shocked to understand what has been said? Do they lose a little bit of trust? Childhood is not easy. It is even harder for adults to watch a child develop.

Face Book Drama

I am a Facebook member and have been for a number of years. I love checking in with people and reading all sorts of interesting feeds. I have connected with family that I had lost touch with while following students from years ago to new friends made through connections. My entire high school class are among my feed as it will soon be our 50th.

This past week has made me pause. A “Friend” posted an odd comment.

“Before I get a bunch of messages, or phone calls….
No. They aren’t.”

That was all that was posted. It made me wonder what is happening to the writer who writes this? Why such a cryptic post? What did the writer expect to communicate?

If I didn’t know better I would think it was someone who didn’t actually know how to express their feelings particularly when it comes to writing. This is not the case.

Is it for attention?
Is it a challenge?

I am perplexed and so I wonder.

Saturday to Sunday

What a change! Yesterday I had such a nature experience with Spring and Mother Nature. Today I had such a human experience with Whole Foods and customers!

Last night as I thought through my moves for Sunday morning, it dawned on me that the lauder was low on most everything. Living alone I can always make up enough to pull through for a couple of days. Grocery shopping always falls to the side when the “Little One” is on the daily agenda. So I asked my son if he knew the best time to go to Whole Foods. I mentioned that I thought Sunday was the worst day of the week for a Whole Foods visit.

“On no Mom, Sunday is a good day. It’s the time of day you go that you need to watch.”

“Well every time I’ve been there on Sunday it is a mad house.”
“What time do you go?”
“Usually afternoon or late afternoon or evening. But they never work.”
“That’s because you should go between ten and noon.”
“Ah, I see where you’re going. Ten to Noon most are in Church and I have been going when they are coming after church. Gotcha!” So I buy into my brilliant son’s words and off I went between ten and noon.

The parking was pretty full, but I was not deterred. I walked up the stairs to the entrance. A woman greeted me with “It’s a madhouse in there. You might want to rethink.”

“Really?” I asked thinking she isn’t used to crowds. Probably usually shops mid day at the golden hours of noon to two. I have already determined that is the best time. Morning hours are used by mothers after school drop off. Two to five are the parents or home help who either pick up from school or a bit later pick up from after school activities. They then all go to pick up a few items. Trust me. No one wants to go when the kids are there! The lady really did look frazzled.

I turned to get the cart and find every cashier’s line was going into the aisle for each and every one of them. It didn’t stop me! I ventured fourth telling myself by the time I am done the lines will be down.

Who am I kidding? The after church group starts to come, there are babies in some of these carts! There is a man passing small glasses of some juice for tasting along the lines!

Oh no, still better is the fact that my son asked me to pick up a few things while I was there. Of the three items he requested two were off the shelves. Then I start to look for my things and there too items are sold out. I asked one store stock gentleman if they had any in back. He replied they didn’t they forgot to order them!

The lady’s face flashes in my brain! She was right! She was trying to warn me!

I don’t know how it happened but I got a line that only had one person in the food aisle. I jumped in behind him. Boom! I was at the register in less than five minutes. I looked back and there was a line again. The cashier was a marathon runner (key puncher?). I was packed and out in less than fifteen minutes.

I looked at the line at the elevator and decided to carry the bags. I couldn’t risk the gelato melting. I made it out! The blue sky stretched before me and I knew the day would be OK. I made it…

Note to self- Sunday is not for shopping.

Just a Saturday Morning

What a glorious day today…. I woke as usual at 7:15. No alarm needed. It’s just the way my body reacts to retirement. It still wants to go to work.

But today was a different day. I woke up at 10:30. I was rested and happy. All this made for a great morning of walking under the bright blue sky.

I took heart watching the robins look for food, the starling sitting in the tree down the street, the squirrels searching for the last of their hidden food and the warmth of the Spring air.

It was just a Saturday morning that welcomed me.

Today I had the baby monitor meaning I was on first call this morning for the baby. I say the baby when it is really “The Little One”. I see her start to stand in the crib which is her way of signaling without crying that it is time to get up. From day one this kid has slept through the night some ten to twelve hours. I know I know her parents have no idea how wonderful that is.

She starts the awake process with several attempts to stop sleeping. It is fun to watch on the monitor. She repeatedly rolls back and forth, followed by putting her blanket over her head off and on, off and on, until she starts to talk. She will talk with her “friends” in the bed for quite awhile as she goes from prone to sitting in the crib. Eventually she will collect her top two friends, Piggie and Elmo. At this point she pulls herself up to the rail. Adult is on the way!

I was on my way up the stairs from my apartment, up the stairs to her bedroom. I know she is slow to adapt to the day and awake isn’t always her state. It is wise to move slowly or better yet not move, but sit down and talk with her until she is ready to face the day. So we did our routine of talk and I thought she was ready when I stood up.

I stopped in place…I wasn’t prepared for that. “Dada had to go to work.” I said.
“No Dada?”I stepped toward her. “NO! Dada! she firmly told me.
“Dada is at work. Nana is going to take you down for breakfast.” There was a pause so forward I stepped.
“NO! Mama?”
I can’t believe I am being grilled by the almost two year old.
“No Mama and no Dada. Nana is here.
No! No! Mama Dada. Mama Dada.
Here is where I made the connection. She knows the routine. Dada is usually the one on morning. Mom always put her down at night. I am the one for five days of the week who puts her down for nap. She knows the routine and she doesn’t want it changed. I have to think fast and it better make sense to her.

Dada is at work, Mama is sleeping in, and Nana is here to play with you. So, lets go find some breakfast. Let’s take some friends!

Note to self: From now on be prepared to change the conversation or else there will be … pay.

You know that “Boss Baby Movie” that is coming out? I’ve seen the trailers and read the book. They have nothing on “The Little One” !

Hope for the World

Today was the last class of “Little Steps Music.” Of course because it was the last class “The Little One” decided to sleep until ten this morning. When she woke we dressed her and put he in the car with her breakfast and sped across the city until we landed the car and got into class only fifteen minutes late. Now you might think this has a lot to do with my entry today, but no it doesn’t. I was just setting the stage.

We arrive and Miss Leni is shepherding the children from six months to two years old in the song which includes instruments. The children especially “The Little One” loves Ms Leni. They hug her and sit in her lap, well all but the six month old. It is the last class and only I know that Ms Leni is moving and won’t be back. She will be sorely missed.

All was going well. Even my sleepy one was ready for a great class. That was true up until Carter decided to run for the instrument “Little One” was three centimeters from grasping. Did I mention that two weeks ago he decked her for trying to hold his hand? Well Carter lunged and just like the Football player took her out by clipping her legs and down she went. Down and back I should say for she walloped her head on the carpet.

Now that joyous “Little One” is joyous as long as everything is right in the world, but that was not so today. Everything is wrong. First the sleep in, Secondly eating her breakfast on the run for the first time, and now that boy clobbers her!

It took a while for her to settle back into the norm. She really was so distraught. But Ms Leni had her dancing and playing with instruments before too long.

Then out of no where Carter approaches her. I’m ready to jump when I see him take her hand, but he turns to her and says, “I’m sorry I pushed you down.” Now who knew Carter was so articulate! That dawned on me on the ride home.

I turned to his grandmother and said, “You didn’t need to tell him to do that. She was really ok.”

But Grandma answered in shock, “I didn’t he just did it.”

Then he hugs her! She hugs him! They stand there – arms wrapped- just holding each other!!

On the car ride home I decided the world will be alright. Our little ones will make it so.

Mother Nature

Mother Nature has hit us with a hard one. I usually don’t mind a cold snap and infact no one likes a good snow as much I do, but this particular snow has bothered me and for good reason.

Snow storms, the closing of school or at least a two hour delay, the need to use a snow shovel, and just the smell in the air are things that recharge me. More than likely this is a result of growing up in Northeaster Pennsylvania. We were tough kids. One highlight of a good snow in NEPA was when my father tied a toboggan to the back of the car and would drive the back roads as the three of us would have the ride of our lives. Or another favorite memory is ice skating on the farmer’s pond while mom and dad made a fire to warm our hands and sit by it to sip hot chocolate.

But this year’s snow in Washington,DC is just an unwanted mess. It came late to the dance. It had high winds that made stepping outside just plain undesirable. But, the biggest low is the fact that the Cherry Blossoms are threatened. Yesterday the news showed wounded blossoms, but they seemed to look as if they were putting a strong fight to beat the late snow. As of today the poor blossoms looked as if the life had been pulled out of them.

I know they are just trees, but they are so much more here in DC. They are a celebration of the rebirth of Spring. They emerge each year with beauty that is not unlike that of a ballerina, light softly swaying. They set the scene for that rest of the Spring’s painting to follow bursting daffodils, dogwood tree blooms, and all of mother natures favorites joining the entry of Spring.

This snow has just dumped on the most popular season for DC. The fierce wind and cold cold cold temperature just isn’t fun. Next year I hope it remembers to use the correct season and month of the year!

Generations Change

Somewhere around 1956 there was a big snowfall.  By the word big I mean more than three feet.  Pennsylvania kids in NE PA were brought up to think that everyone had snow like we did.  We were brought up to be tough.  We wore our dresses to school and you knew it would be a cold day if your mother made you wear leggings.  We never wore pants to school.

One season there was the big snow.  I walked to where the school bus picked us up with my best friends and my two older siblings.  We trekked through the snow and then stood in the snow for well over an hour.  We did run in place, jump up and down, hug each other and anything else we could think of to stay warm.  We didn’t dare turn around and go home.  We were told to go to school.

We stood for so long until my aunt came to collect my cousin at the bus stop.  She told us to go home.  We explained that mom had told us to wait for the bus and go to school.  My aunt insisted adding that she would talk to my mom and explain that she told us to go home.  Off we trekked back to the house.

I thought of this as I shoveled snow with “The Little One”  this morning.  More than likely she will go to school where snow is expected to be part of the climate.  More than likely she will either walk to school or have a bus ride.  More than likely her school will close if there is a serious storm and families will be notified by TV, radio, and electronic devises.

She will not stand waiting for the bus that never did come.