The Grandpea: An Update on the Most Incredible Child Who Ever Lived


It’s hard to believe that the Grandpea is now two. She’s smart and funny and beautiful, and I’m not just saying that because she’s my first, only and favorite grandchild. Babies are magic– toddlers are magic and mayhem. When the Pea and I see each other, she laughs and wiggles with excitement (so do I, but it’s not as cute). “Mimi!!” She claps her hands and hugs my neck and plants one on me. Can you imagine a better greeting?

She wobbles over the threshold and happily destroys my house, giving me a refresher course on toddler terrorism. She’s a 25-pound wrecking ball. She orders Theo the Wonderdog® around, because he’s one of the few living beings in our condo that’s smaller than she is, including houseplants. She assumes a deep and commanding boss-the-dog voice. “No Theo, NO!!!!!” Theo just sits there looking puzzled, because he’s simply been lying around doing nothing.

The Pea is joy and mischief, innocence and destruction. She kisses and hugs and ruins our rugs. She’s one of the happiest people I know. She also throws temper tantrums better than anyone I know, but she calms down easily and we move on to other matters. Toddlers are so easily distracted.

I love seeing the world through her eyes. She walks Theo and laughs hysterically as he leads her around on his leash. It makes me wonder how the world appears at her eye level, because frankly, when I walk Theo, all I see is a tiny mutt who likes to pee a lot.

There’s a lot of inventory in this world, and she’s taking it all in, item by item. She’s a baby inquisitor, asking question after question about trees and paper clips, caterpillars and carpet tacks. To every answer, she says, “Oh, okay.” Example:

Grandpea: “What’s that?”

Me: “It’s a spatula. You use it to turn things over when you’re cooking, like pancakes or eggs.”

Grandpea: “Oh, okay.”

My God, that laugh! That smile! Amadeus thinks she’s swell too. Her delight in the smallest, simplest things melts our hearts. It’s hard to imagine that there was ever a time that we were fascinated by a piece of tape. She’s the sunshine in the windows, brightening our house with her presence. We’re always a little happier and a lot more exhausted when she’s here. She’s much more fun and peppy than our adult friends, and we’re unburdened of the demands of imposing parental rules and regulations. We color and sing and sit on the patio listening to birds. We play guitar and discuss politics, and I never make her eat her green beans. She loves us.

Bossing the Dog, circa October 2011

She also loves her Hello Kitty shoes, her soft, polka-dotted blanket, Elmo, orange juice and baths. Her mom allows her to chomp on ice cubes, which disturbs me. She loves her thumb, her wrinkled right thumb, which plugs up her little mouth when there aren’t ice cubes in there. I see orthodontia in her future. She loves cell phones, which she flips open with expertise. “’Allo?” she asks, very French, very sophisticated. She props the phone on her shoulder and has extremely serious discussions with non-existent callers, which lets me know that my daughter’s  given her high-level training in the art of the long drawn out conversation.

The Pea has a strange, fierce obsession with singer Brad Paisley, whom she calls “Peasley.” If his fan club had a toddler division, she’d be president. I’m not quite sure how her Paisley mania started, but she knows all the lyrics to “Mud on the Tires,” and several of his other hits. It’s impressive, considering that she’s still working on the “ABC Song.” Without fail, at some point during each visit she begins chanting, “Peasley! Peasley!” I open the laptop and pull up a YouTube video or two. Or seventeen. I once played her an entire Brad Paisley “Live on Letterman” concert. She curled up in my lap, stuck her thumb in her mouth and watched her cowboy-hatted hero for a solid hour. Somehow, he comforts her.

Our favorite activity is story time. When I’m at her house, she goes to the shelf and brings me her entire library, one tome at a time. We lay in her little youth bed among her twenty thousand stuffed animals and read about Loraxes and coyotes and a boy in a boat. One night, she presented me with a new book, one that her mommy ordinarily keeps hidden. It seems to be her very favorite, and it’s become one of mine as well.

Here it is:

Go the F**k to Sleep, Written by Adam Mansbach

She wasn’t supposed to find it, but find it she did. Now that the Grandpea is at the parrot stage of childhood, the reader faces the challenge of finding substitutions for some of the words. Believe it or not, it’s a gorgeously illustrated lullabye of a book that just happens to prominently feature the word “f**k.” It also happens to be hilarious. Reading it reminds me of what my daughter’s going through these days– the exhaustion that goes hand in hand with being a working mother; the frustration of waiting for your little one to drift away to the Land O’ Nod because you’re dreaming of carving out about fifteen minutes of sweet, precious alone time before you conk out too. You’re depleted, your patience is gone, your baby’s bouncing like Jello-O on a spring, and though you’re stroking his hair and softly reading his fifth bedtime story of the night, a part of you longs to shake him like a pom pom and scream, “JUST GO THE FLOCK TO SLEEP!!!” Oh. That’s one of the words I’ve substituted. Flock.

Anyway, for your listening pleasure, here’s Samuel L. Jackson in all his thespian glory narrating “Go The F**k to Sleep.” Warning: He doesn’t substitute. I’m going to go call the Grandpea now. I just want to say, “’Allo.”

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12 thoughts on “The Grandpea: An Update on the Most Incredible Child Who Ever Lived

  1. joanharvest says:

    Honestly, I could have written this albeit not as well. You always have a way with words that makes me want to read more. I always feel satisfied after I read one of your stories. I never truly realized how wonderful it would be to have a grandchild. One smile from Lilah and I would give her the world. I’m glad you get to enjoy your “Pea”.

    Joan, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the idea of being a grandmother, but I certainly love having a grandbaby. It’s the best!!

    “One smile…and I would give her the world”– that’s it exactly! I’m glad we both have our Peas. Lilah and Silas are adorable.

  2. Care says:

    YAY! Hugs to you and the Pea and bless you all with much energy to enjoy the excitement of all that learning going on. “Oh Okay.”

    ‘Allo, Care! Thank you sooo much. Hugs back to you!

  3. thebeadden says:

    That book is too fabulous! I’m still smiling. There are so many people I want to send it to.

    Pea is just adorable. I really miss having my niece and nephews at that age. It was such fun spoiling them!
    Like Joan said, you sure have a way with words. I wish everyone knew about your blog.

    Isn’t it wonderful??? A perfect gift for all new parents!

    Spoiling is kind of my new hobby. Between Amadeus and the Grandpea, I’m getting pretty good at it. And thank you– I wish everyone knew about my blog too! ;)

  4. Pigeon Heart says:

    hilarious and adorable!!

    She is Pigeon! The pictures don’t do her justice. Neither does my description.

  5. Ann Marquez says:

    Oh she is so precious, Moonbeam! Your beautiful loving words have made me want to jump in the car — right this minute — and drive nine hours just to give my Jakie a great big hug (and to give my Kat Kat a great big hug, even though she’s already a very grown up young lady, but thankfully still hugable ;) )

    Awwwww…eight hours away! it would be difficult being so far from the Pea at this stage of the game. I hope you get those hugs soon!

  6. Ann Marquez says:

    PS … this book is hilarious! :D

    It seriously is! Gentle poetry, laced with profanity.

  7. thebeadden says:

    Don’t mean to hijack your site but do you know these books:
    The monster at the end of this book (my nephews favorite book) and Free to be you and me (was one of my favorite books)

    Not quite like the f$*k book, still fun though!
    Sent that link to my brother in law, he loved it. :shock:

    You aren’t hijacking– you’re a great passenger. I haven’t read the monster book, but I’ll check it out. Not only do I remember the book “Free to Be,” but also the song (which I’m now humming) and the TV special, hosted by Marlo Thomas.

    I’m glad your brother liked the link!

  8. linniew says:

    This grandparent thing is frightening– who knew it could be so powerful? And it’s not like there are hormones triggered so it really is like magic or a lightening strike or something. You express it well.

    The Pea is adorable and will make good use forever of the love you are sprinkling upon her.

    I just listened to the reading of the book– a pairing of truly gorgeous art and poetry with the frustration of parenthood. It is brilliant!

    You summed up the book perfectly, linnie!

    The grandparenting thing is wondrous and mysterious. It’s love without the details. It’s the luxury of being more in the moment with the Pea than I was with my own kids, because there aren’t the nitpickky, day-to-day worries of parenthood. It’s fantastic. I love sprinkling her with love.

  9. Kendall says:

    It was a great day for grandmothers. I love this. I know intimately how passionate the love for a grandchild can be. I was busy writing my own ode to a granddaughter when you wrote this, and of course yours is way funnier, but the sentiments are much the same. Love the book and Samuel L. Jackson’s reading of it!

    It’s amazing, isn’t it, Kendall? Since it’s all still pretty new to me, I imagine I see it with the same sense of wonder that The Pea does when sees a caterpillar. What a gift.

  10. David says:

    Our little peanut hates to take her naps. She just passed the 1 year mark. Hard to put into words the wonders of watching that next generation engaging the world, but you did a darn nice job here moonie! What a lovely little lady your Pea is! Guess we know where all that dang, accursed beauty came from.

    Peasley! LOL! The steady rhythms, formulaic melodies, and emo lyrics make country tunes a natural for the kids, I think. Plenty of us grownups like it too.

    It is hard to put into words. Watching them is like watching one of those time-lapse films of a flower growing. It’s incredible to see how quickly they change from tiny burritos to walking, talking people, replete with teeth, hair and personalities. The way the Pea takes in information fascinates me.

    I think you’re right about country music. My niece’s baby apparently responds the same way to it. He’s not as finicky as the Pea– he loves the whole genre. It’s really weird to think of a four-month-old as having a preferred genre– it’s almost like saying he has a preferred cologne.

  11. Claire says:

    Oh boy, can I ever relate. I think that Joan and I should also write posts about our little Peas, but they wouldn’t be nearly as eloquent as yours. But the feelings – they’re the same. Who knew one heart could swell so large for such a little person? Laila is the love if my life. Seriously. She also loves story time. She sits on the couch, pats the empty seat beside her, and commands me to sit and read with her. She positions my arm around her so I can squeeze her chubby soft thighs with my hand, and then we read. She laughs, I read, she points things out, she turns the pages too soon. I improvise with the story. I am lucky that she lives with me right now. Her mama was great at setting up a bedtime and teaching her to self-soothe. I never was able to do that with my girls. I put Laila to bed at 7 or 7:30, and then she talks to her toys for about a half hour, sometimes not, and then she’s usually out. That’s my time to sit and read your blog. :) Love ya! (PS – My youngest grandson calls me Mimi. I love it. Laila’s mom wants her to call me “nana”. Makes me think of banana. Yuk. )

    Claire, anything you and Joan write is eloquent. You just described in a paragraph what it takes me a thousand words to say.

    I love the purity of our grandchildren. They’re their own people, they’re confident and loving and for now, they’re untouched by the craziness of the world outside. I know just what you’re saying about Laila. It’s the best relationship in the world. Like you, I prefer “Mimi” to “Nana.” Maybe it’s because we’re bloggers. Maybe it’s really spelled “Me Me.” :)

    Note to anyone reading this: If you haven’t checked out Claire or Joanharvest’s blogs, you’re missing out! Click on their names in these comments if you don’t believe me.

  12. Pat . says:

    The joy of Grandparenthood; so much better than parenthood. Fun and play and then give them back. I look forward to it. (In a few years – not too soon!)
    The little one sounds great – thanks for sharing this, including the book/video which was very funny.

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