My week caring for the grandkids came to an end June 7, when I packed them in the car that morning and we headed east to Louisiana and their mom and dad.
While staying with me, grandson attended a really cool day camp at the Museum of Natural Science in Houston and granddaughter and I shopped, made jewelry, went to Starbucks, ate ice cream, visited the butterfly pavilion at the museum, and had numerous chocolate milk breaks. We walked what seemed like miles and miles to and from the parking lot at the museum to pick grandson up at the end of each day. We laughed, we (well, she) cried, and all in all had a good time.
Then it was Thursday, the next to last day of their visit, and granddaughter woke up on the wrong side of the bed, so to speak, and was Miss Cranky Pants pretty much all day. Nothing seemed to be going right for her and it didn't take much to send her into a downward spiral. Unfortunately, we had to leave the house at 2:00 PM each day in order to get to the museum by 3:00 PM to pick up her brother. And we needed every minute of those 60 minutes to get her shoes on, herd her toward the car, give her time to buckle herself into her car seat, drive to the distant parking lot at Hermann Park in Houston, and walk some distance to the museum. This just didn't allow time for a nap. A couple of times she fell asleep in the car and I hated having to wake her up when we got there.
What didn't help the little one's mood were the blisters that her new shoes created on the backs of her heels just from the brief time that she wore them the afternoon before. I suggested she wear socks with her shoes this morning, but in looking at the two pair of socks that came with her, I could see that they were too small and also too thick. So she wore her old shoes to drop her brother off at the museum that morning but I could see by the way she was walking that she really was in pain.
I'd surreptitiously tucked the new shoes back into their box and slipped the box into the car when she wasn't looking. So on the way back from dropping her brother off, we returned to the Stride Rite store with the intention of buy some socks for her and asking very nicely if they would take the shoes back in return for a different pair. They had the same shoe style as her old shoes and since I knew she'd been able to wear these without problem in the past, we tried on the same style in her size. Same style, different fabric on the upper...a really cute Hello Kitty style with glitter and sequins. Adorable. And some truly adorable Hello Kitty socks that she easily and readily wore with her new shoes. She wouldn't let me put bandaids on her blisters, so I was hoping just the socks and the different style shoe would be enough.
Thursday was pool day for the grandkids and once again I brought suits and towels with the plan to stop at the pool on the way to the house after picking up the grandson from his day camp. I had chicken in the crockpot for an easy dinner afterward. We remembered to bring the pool noodles this time! Unfortunately for the granddaughter, the minute her blistered heels hit the water, she shrieked and cried! We sat under an umbrella while the grandson played in the pool but soon the temptation was just too much for her and she wanted to go back in, declaring her heels didn't hurt anymore. We sat on the steps at the edge of the pool but she still couldn't put her feet in the water without discomfort. So....frustrated that she couldn't go in the pool, frustrated that when she tried to go in, her blisters stung, and exhausted beyond all reason from lack of a nap, the granddaughter just totally fell apart.
I held off her total meltdown by offering her snacks and a juice box and this worked until the big hand was on the six (4:30) and time for grandson to get out of the pool.
We managed to get through dinner without too much drama, but by 6:30 PM the little one was just totally unhinged. I sent her to her room to get her pajamas on and 45 minutes later peeked in on her. Still no pajamas on and lots of thumb-sucking going on. But my attempts to help her get undressed resulted in a shriek-fest so I told the grandson to sneak into the room and get his pajamas and his loveys and put them in the other room where he could go to bed later and have some peace and quiet.
I was determined that my grandson was going to have one night alone with grandma, since he'd been away all day every day and we'd not had a single opportunity to just visit with each other undisturbed. So I marched into the kids' room amid the granddaughter's demands that I get out, and pulled her clothes off despite her shrieks and protests. I know this response. I saw it in Orlando after a particularly long day for her at Disneyworld. She was beyond tired and totally irrational at this point.
My head was ringing from the shrieks and I may never hear quite right again!!
Her clothes off and now naked, she wasn't going to be coaxed into a pull-up and her pajamas, so I left her alone to calm down and pout. I knew I'd be able to sneak back in and at least get a pull-up on her, maybe even her pajamas.
Grandson and I had a wonderful hour together talking and laughing as we watched some silly show on TV together. All was quiet in the kids' room and I suspected she'd fallen asleep. Suspicions were confirmed when I checked in on her at around 8:00 PM and found her sound asleep on the floor next to her bed. I easily slipped a pull-up on her as she groggily opened her eyes, but when I asked her if she wanted me to put her in bed, she told me to leave her alone. So I did.
Grandson stayed up until 9:30 PM, a real treat for him, I know. He is such a smart little boy and so easy to talk to now. Lots of things to share with me and I hope he'll never stop sharing.
Tomorrow will be his last day at camp. I suspect they're both a little home sick and missing their parents. More so for the granddaughter no doubt.
Friday brought a completely different and cheerful granddaughter to the breakfast table. We got bandaids on her heels, cute Hello Kitty socks and shoes on, and off we went to drop off her brother at his last day of science camp.
Our morning routine became a chocolate milk for granddaughter and a small coffee for me at the in-museum McDonald's as we let the rush of moms get their SUV's backed out of their parking spots and make their mad dash to the parking garage exit. I learned this lesson the first morning. Friday was no different. We lingered a bit longer and then got in the car and headed back home. I'd promised her we'd make more jewelry this morning.
We picked an excited grandson/brother up that afternoon and returned home. They both were excited at the prospect of watching a movie and ordering pizza. I logged in to Domino's and together we all place the pizza order and grandson stayed glued to the screen watching the cute little animated chef prepare our pizza and then watched the progress as it was baked and then as soon as it went out for delivery, I hussled the two into the tub for quick bath and shower before the pizza arrived.
The movie of the night?? The Great Muppet Caper!
As the kids watched the movie, I began migrating what belongings of theirs I could toward the car. I got one last load of wash started, assembled the library books, the piano lesson bags, put together a little cooler filled with juice, snacks, cups, paper towels, got the scooter and tricycle loaded, and anything that I knew they wouldn't need before morning.
They both went to bed easily, both exhausted after a long week. In the morning we begin the drive to their home in Louisiana where I'll deliver them safe and (mostly) sound and spend the evening with my son and daughter-in-law, getting caught up on their latest news on the house hunt, their transfer to San Diego, my son's knee surgery, performed two days earlier.
I did it! We survived! The grandkids survived...and were absolutely great and well-behaved, notwithstanding the granddaughter's totally understandable melt-down near the end of the week.