Stories of a Two-Year Old

A few days ago I got to babysit MJ — now two years and 3 months. I picked him up at his house so he could ride in Gramma’s “bus” (the name I fondly call my new 7-passenger SUV because why on earth would we want to buy a gas saver in this economy (Grampa)? I explained we were going to Idaho Camera and remember that he can’t be touching things in the store. “But I can talk to people” he said. MJ is a pretty obedient boy and listens pretty well. If you explain to him what is going to happen, he’ll accommodate and behave — most of the time. Case in point as we were entering Idaho Camera. It was the rainy day after the sloppy snow day so there were huge puddles everywhere. After I took him out of the car, he instantly pounded one foot in a big puddle soaking one side of his pant leg. I went into my explanation to stay out of the puddles, to walk where I walk, etc. Score! He listened and we made it into the store without another puddle diversion. On the way out, I gave the same explanations — walk where Gramma walks, stay right behind me, and stay out of the puddles so we don’t get the bus wet inside. Cool! We made it all the way back to the car where I told him to stand under the awning while I put my purchases in the car. Great! So far so good. As I returned to get him a few yards away, I reached down to pick him up when apparently the temptation was just more than his little body could resist, and with a big SpLAsh! both feet were landing in the middle of a big puddle! And that, my friends, is why Gramma has the foresight to bring a big towel with her that morning. 

From there I told him we were going to Golden Star to meet Grampa for Chinese food, his first. The ornate dragons, lanterns, and wall decor interested him. “What would you like to eat MJ?” thinking he would say something like a hamburger but instead he answered “China.” 

On the way home I told him we were going to build a cardboard house with windows and a door. “That will be so fun gramma. It will be so pretty.” He’s such a polite little guy … really knows how to pump up a Gramma’s ego. Of course he had no idea what a cardboard box house was but he was ready to build it when we got home and loved it instantly. It’s all of 2′ by 2′ and looks like a dog house but it was his and he went “home” dozens of times saying things like “I go home now, see you yater ayagator.”

I finally got Grampa and I started on painting the grandkids’ room upstairs last weekend (meaning taking it from a junk room with a toddler bed and hoping to turn it in to an actual grandkids’ room). I had picked out the paint weeks earlier … a light yellow-green for the top (like this font color), and an almost white-blue for the bottom. I had taken the color scheme off a new bedspread for a twin bed I plan to set up in there for me to sleep in while I try to convert them to sleep in their own bed overnight. Currently we sleep in the big bed in the basement together — if you can qualify an adult who sleeps with a squirmaholic getting any sleep that is. We painted the green and to my surprise I liked it (because seriously I never like anything on first try), but I got nervous about the bottom color … was it going to be too light? Yes, I decided it would so off to Home Depot I went to have them tint it not one, not two, but four shades darker than the original! We opened the can and Grampa put the roller to the paint and the paint to the wall. I hated it! Too dark. Too bright. Too gaudy. Too late. We decided to move forward. When we painted we just piled all the furniture, painting supplies and whatever else into the middle of the room. The next day when MJ came over, the ironing board was also sitting out as well as piles of clothes headed for the ARC … translation … it was a big mess. MJ walked into the room, paused, looked at the walls and exclaimed “You painted it!” Then he walked around the room, made comment on the “yadder (ladder), then on around his messy toddler bed, then looked at the walls again, looked up at me and said “It is soooo pretty Gramma. I yove it!” He then took his daddy up there and told him it was “awesome.” Sydney’s first impression was less wordy but the excitement was still there … “you painted!” Guess what? I now love my grandkids’ room and ain’t no one gonna tell me otherwise! 

MJ had not seen the revisions since his first viewing of the room so we went upstairs to take a look. It’s far from finished, but it at least looks presentable now as a play room. He surveyed the room with excitement then he migrated to a car blanket my sister made for Matt when he was little. MJ and I played “car wash” for what seemed like hours. As for the underwear, I know all your hunter husbands will want to know where they can get some too, but sorry, Carter’s doesn’t carry their size. As for the colors you’ll see on the walls … they’re not at all accurate as I shot in jpeg with window light and a halogen lamp, but you’ll get the general idea.

“When he was jumping off the bed onto that great big bean bag chair, I was puppeting with Elmo, praising him with each jump. When I stopped and put Elmo down, he brought it to me and said “Here Gramma, do dis … ala yala dodah la la (gibberish in a high-pitched voice) and when I jump you do dis (as he demonstrated a clapping hands motion)”. “Will Jump for Applause” apparently.

I snapped these pictures over a short period of time, then without looking at me he went back to playing with his cars and said so matter of factly “I wonder why it is you’re not playing with me Gramma.” I picked up my camera again that night after dinner when Grampa, MJ and I returned to the room. On the shelf is a motion ball that makes sounds and lights when it is moved. We shut the lights off, and played in the dark for some time. Can you make out the picture?

Back downstairs, he got on a toy he hasn’t played with in a year — a riding airplane that plays music when you push buttons, but the music has long stopped. He said “where is my music?” I told him I thought it got water on it and that the sound didn’t work anymore. He looked at Grampa and said “Fix it Grampa, you have a screwdriver don’t you?” 

The next day Sydney came to play. She and MJ play like night and day which keeps it fun and interesting. She liked the playhouse well enough, but her favorite thing to play with right now is the van with Mommy, Daddy, Big Sister and Little Sister. We play with the van and the family constantly when she comes over. Constantly (groan). Naturally they had to enjoy the playhouse too.

Then she wanted Gramma to go in the house with her, sooooo …. (trust me when I say this body doesn’t fit in a 2′ x 2′ box like it might have a few years ago … and this with a squirmy two-year old beside me), but Megan grabbed my camera to prove the point. And just FYI, I even managed to close the door! Of course I could barely get out, but that’s beside the point.

And then mommy and baby got invited in too. (No fair, she sat on her lap!)

This mommy may have just come from the gym and running 7 miles, but I think she’s a natural beauty — inside and out.

From there we went to the grandkids room where I was sure Syd would want to play cars with me. Nope, she instantly pulled the car blanket off the floor, then pulled the bedding off the bed, then pulled the toys from the shelf (she apparently had the misunderstanding that the mess the room has been in for a year was how it was supposed to be), then carried the bean bag chair off so that she could hide under it. Two feet from me she is saying “I hiding!” I love this kid. She thinks outside the box, this one.

And those toes? They keep me on my toes. Love, Gramma

Linda - January 21, 2012 - 11:04 AM

Dang Mary, you make all us other grandparents look old and dull–I don’t think I’m gonna let my 7 (almost) talk to your 4 (almost) because they might compare notes and then I’d be busting out the sides of a 2 x 2 box!

Megan - January 21, 2012 - 1:00 PM

I loved all the details and the cute box pictures! It’s fun to hear how differently they play- makes you appreciate their uniqueness all the more!

You’re such a FUN Gramma!!!

Roberta Johnston - January 21, 2012 - 4:53 PM

So sweet Mary, if only I were two again and could come to your house and play in the grandkids play room for just a day or two! What was it that Alice took so she could be small??? Maybe I could find some of that and come play with MJ and Sydney?? When they are older, I know they will remember just how much fun gramma’s house was and will cherish those memories for years and years to come, way to go gramma Mary!! Keep up the good work and keep on posting to inspire all of us current gramma’s, soon to be gramma’s and hoping to be a gramma someday gramma’s!! (~:

Aubrey - January 21, 2012 - 6:58 PM

I really love the colors! It turned out so bright & kid friendly, so cool you set that up.
Once Ellen got me a fridge box for the boys to play with. It was a huge hit. Empty boxes must just be timeless 😉
Love hearing all that is on MJ’s mind, he is such a joy.

Kathy Grover - January 22, 2012 - 3:02 PM

You’re such a good grandma. I think Marlies is going to want to go to YOUR house when she’s a toddler.

Matt - January 25, 2012 - 1:34 PM

Well every night when we lay down to read books and say our prayers he always ends with, “tomorrow we go to grandma’s,grandpa’s house and jump like dis, off bed and on chair like dis, you know dad like from bed to chair”. Then he repetitively jumps up and down. Cant wait till you can do some work in Jayden’s new room.

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