25 May 2017, 6:46am
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“Hey! You Got Eyeballs In There? Book III: 40. And Then There Were Three

Hey! You Got Eyeballs In There?

By Kate Chamberlin

 

As Grace grows up, some of her stories are happy, some trying, some enlightening, and a few themes are sad, but, they’re all the warp and woof of what goes into the tapestry of life we call Family. The daily living skills and techniques demonstrated by the fictional characters in these stories are valid, tried and true.

 

Book III:  Wife and Mother

#33. The Wedding

#34. The Honeymoon: Lake Pocotopaug

#35. The Honeymoon: Freedom Trail

#36. The Baby Can’t Go Home

#37. The Home Visit

#38. And Then There Were Two

#39.  Fire Prevention

#40. And Then There Were Three

“The head is crowning,” the delivery room nurse said. “Look at all that brown, curly hair.”

“Brown?” Grace said between panting. “The boys were tow-heads. Is this one a girl?”

“She sure is,” the Ob-Gyn said as Marion slipped out into our world with a lusty yell at the inconvenience of it all.

“So, now we have three children,” Ken said through his paper mask. “She sure is loud for such a little girl.  I’ll bet she’ll live up to her name-sake, Marionella!”

Later, when all the hub-bub had settled down, Grace nursed little Marion as Ken looked on with pride.

“It sure was different this time,” he said. “Remember when William was born?”

“I sure do,” Grace said, letting their new born grasp her finger. “They really didn’t want you in the delivery room at all when he was born.”

“This time, they were frantic that I’d be too late to see the birth,”  Ken chuckled. “Times sure do change.”

They heard what sounded like a herd of elephants coming down the hospital hall and into their suite.

“Hi, Sis,” Sandy said. “These little buggers wanted to come meet their sister now, and they meant right now!  So, here we are.”

“William and Paul, come closer,” Grace said. “This is Marion. Would you like to feel how strong she can grip your finger?”

Well, of course they did.

“Look at those little toes,” Paul said. “And she’s got ten of them, too.”

“Her lips look like a little rose bud,” William observed.

“Did we drink milk like that when we were born?” Paul asked.

“Of course, you dufus,” William chided. “All healthy babies drink their mother’s milk.”

Grace burped the baby and Ken handed her to Uncle Sandy, the real reason why they were here.

“She sure is tiny,” Sandy said. “You were so big, I thought you had at least three kids and a basketball in there.”

Grace shook her head and smiled indulgently at her older, rough tough  bro holding her tiny infant in his big hands.

The next afternoon, Joe and Edie came carrying a huge, hand-made grapevine basket loaded with all kinds of baby things.

“I know she’s not your first baby,” Edie said. “But, she’s your first girl and they’re special.”

“Yeah,” Joe said. “There’s smelly powder, a Baby Bach CD, tiny little diapers with smiley faces on them that disappear when they get wet, and…”

“We get the idea,” Ken laughed. “Would you two be her God Parents?”

“We don’t need to discuss that,” Edie said “It’s a no brainer.”

“Yes,” Joe said without skipping a beat.

Grace and Ken enjoyed their candle lit steak dinner at the hospital that evening, because there was no question about Marion going home with them in the morning.

 

 

18 May 2017, 7:24am
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“…Eyeballs…” Bk III: 39. Fire Prevention

Hey! You Got Eyeballs In There?

By Kate Chamberlin

 

As Grace grows up, some of her stories are happy, some trying, some enlightening, and a few themes are sad, but, they’re all the warp and woof of what goes into the tapestry of life we call Family. The daily living skills and techniques demonstrated by the fictional characters in these stories are valid, tried and true.

 

Book III:  Wife and Mother

#33. The Wedding

#34. The Honeymoon: Lake Pocotopaug

#35. The Honeymoon: Freedom Trail

#36. The Baby Can’t Go Home

#37. The Home Visit

#38. And Then There Were Two

#39.  Fire Prevention

“Stop!” Grace said. William, Paul, and even Crackers halted.

“Drop!” she said and they all laid down on the carpet.

“Roll!” she said and the humans covered their faces with their hands and did log rolls back and forth, while Crackers jumped from one to the other in joyful abandonment.

Earlier in the week, William’s nursery school teacher had sent home a CD about “Stop! Drop! Roll!” during their Fire Prevention unit. Fireman Dan showed the children all his fire-fighting garb and discussed fire safety in a non-threatening manner. Grace and the children practiced the low crawl to find and feel the door before going out of the house to their mailbox at the end of the driveway.

When Ken changed the batteries in the smoke alarm, they walked out of the house to stand at the mailbox, until Ken said it was “Safe” to come back in.

After the boys had finally been tucked in, Grace and Ken relaxed with a glass of wine, so she could share what had happened that evening, while Ken had been at an orchestra rehearsal.

“I was washing the dishes,” Grace said, “I heard William discussing fires with his little brother. The dialogue went something like this:

William (a very verbal 3-year old): Paul, this is very hot. No, no, don’t touch. Sit here.

Paul: (a very quiet one-year old and rarely says more than uh-uh and will point to things.)

William: Now, Paul, you stay here. There are the logs for wood. (I heared a thump.)  Here is kindling. (I hear paper being crinkled up.)  I’ll clear a fire wall here. (I heared the muffled bam-bam of a winter boot hitting the floor.)

Paul: uh-uh.

William: No, no Paul, Stay there. Uh-oh. The mud is coming off my boot.

Up to this point, I had a picture in my mind of William building a small, pretend campfire with the logs in the center and the fire barrier around it where the boys would then sit and roast pretend marshmallows.

Turning from the sink with wet hands, “Don’t worry about the dried mud. You can vacuum it up at clean-up time. Where is Paul? Is he helping you?”

William: Yes, he’s in the fire.

Trying not to panic or stifle creativity), I said, “Excuse me? Is that a safe place to be?”

William had put a ring of boots and sneakers around a pile of all the plastic containers and lids from the children’s cupboard on top of his prone little brother! For kindling, He had pulled his art work off the back-door and scrunched it up – magnets and all and carefully placed them with the plastics. Here and there were children’s hats, mittens and coats.

Vacuuming up the mud was the least of the clean-up problems. It took us forever to separate plastics, shoes, boots, trash and mud and get them back in their assigned spots.

After we’d dismantled the campfire, we made sure the fire was out by soaking the floor. We then proceeded to laugh and sing as we mopped the kitchen floor clean enough to eat off of it.

“Oh Dear Gussie, I’m glad I remembered Smokey Bear’s advice to douse the ashes or I’d never have gotten those two boys to help me wash the kitchen floor before you got home!”

Grace and Ken quietly laughed with pride at how their little family was shaping up.

 

 

11 May 2017, 4:46am
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“…Eyeballs…” BkIII: 38. And Then There Were Two

Hey! You Got Eyeballs In There?

By Kate Chamberlin

 

As Grace grows up, some of her stories are happy, some trying, some enlightening, and a few themes are sad, but, they’re all the warp and woof of what goes into the tapestry of life we call Family. The daily living skills and techniques demonstrated by the fictional characters in these stories are valid, tried and true.

 

Book III:  Wife and Mother

#33. The Wedding

#34. The Honeymoon: Lake Pocotopaug

#35. The Honeymoon: Freedom Trail

#36. The Baby Can’t Go Home

#37. The Home Visit

#38. And Then There Were Two

Twenty-two months after William’s birth, Grace and Ken were back in the maternity-delivery suite. This time, there was no question about Ken’s being in the delivery room with Grace as she pushed and breathed and panted and successfully birthed Paul, their second son.

There was no hassle about Paul going home with them after the obligatory 24-hour stay. William was excited to move into his “big Boy” room and his youth bed, so that his baby brother could have the crib.

Grace developed a variety of ways to care for their toddler and newborn and keep them safe. She and Ken set-up “safe” areas in each room, so the children could play and not get into things they shouldn’t; yet, Grace and Ken’s nice things didn’t have to be hidden out of sight.

“Oh, William,” Grace crooned. “You look so handsome in your parachute pants. Do you know what color they are?”

“Brown,” William proudly said and, since Ken and Grace had laid out the clothes the night before, Grace knew he was right. She also knew that the swish, swish of the fabric would give her a clue as to the toddler’s location.

Mid-morning, as she nursed Paul, she said, “William, please let Mommy feel what you have.”

He put a small truck in her hand. “Thank you. That is a mighty fine big rig you have, Mr. Trucker. Drive on.”

Once Paul was asleep in his crib, Grace realized she didn’t hear the swish, swish of William’s pant, or his voice as he sang and played with his toys, so, she called, “William, please say Mommy.”

“No,” William said, but it let Grace know where he was playing.

“William, please let Mommy feel what you have.” He brought a pen from Ken’s desk  over and put it in her hand. Grace felt it and knew it was something he shouldn’t be playing with. “Thank you she said, but that is Daddy’s pen” and pulled a safe toy out of her pocket. “This toy is for you.”

As the boys grew, they laughed and squabbled and shared and loved each other; however, fear of Social Services swooping in to take her children never completely left her mind.

 

 

4 May 2017, 4:37am
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“…Eyeballs…” Book III: 37. The Home Visit

Hey! You Got Eyeballs In There?

By Kate Chamberlin

 

As Grace grows up, some of her stories are happy, some trying, some enlightening, and a few themes are sad, but, they’re all the warp and woof of what goes into the tapestry of life we call Family. The daily living skills and techniques demonstrated by the fictional characters in these stories are valid, tried and true.

 

Book III:  Wife and Mother

#33. The Wedding

#34. The Honeymoon: Lake Pocotopaug

#35. The Honeymoon: Freedom Trail

#36. The Baby Can’t Go Home

#37. The Home Visit

One of the many boxes the Social  Worker wanted to check into, had to do with where the new-born would live…IF he was allowed to leave the hospital with his blind mother. The SW was prompt for her appointment with Ken in the modest split-level home.

“How can newlyweds afford a home like this?” she asked.

Ken saw her look around and wanted to tell her that wasn’t any of her business, but, knew it wouldn’t do any good to alienate the Social Worker. “Grace and I waited to get married until after we graduated from college and had jobs. She’s a Natural Sciences teacher and I’m a Professor at the Eastman School of Music.”

“Grace won’t be working for a while, will she?  How will you keep up payments on your bills?” she pried.

“Grace and I agreed from the beginning that we’d live on my salary. We’ve put her salary into savings. Now, aren’t you here to see where William will sleep?”

Ken showed her into the light, airy corner room they had prepared for William. Pale blue walls coordinated with the blue Tyler-plaid drapes. The wooden crib had a firm mattress made up with white linen sheets and a blue quilt that matched the ruffle surrounding the mattress.  The vertical spindles were close enough so William couldn’t get his head through them. The change table,  was a safety rail atop a sturdy dresser with drawers for William’s clothes where Grace had everything close at hand, but, not close enough for a curious child to grab. A lidded diaper pail stood ready on the floor next to the change table. The comfortable rocking chair’s arms seemed poised to embrace a nursing mother and her babe. The day-bed sported a variety of stuffed Teddy Bears, Snoopy Dogs, and cuddly kittens, not to mention a Dapper Dan waiting patiently to teach his boy how to zip his coat, button his shirt, snap his pants, and tie his shoes.

The SW wrote something on her clipboard, and actually said, “Thank you.” as she left.

“I don’t know what she thought,” Ken said that evening when he visited Grace. “She didn’t say much of anything.”

“I’m taking William down to the nursery,” the maternity suite nurse said as she bustled in to Grace’s room on her  whispering, crepe-soled shoes.

Ken saw Grace’s face go pale and he put his hands over her clenched fist before she could say anything.

“Are you two ready for your complimentary steak and sparkling grape juice dinner? The candles are already lit. I’ll take William into the nursery so you can enjoy your last quiet, romantic dinner together.” She winked at       them. A young candy-striper ushered Grace and Ken to the dining room.

It was a sure sign that William would be going home with them in the morning. They’d won the war.