Mary Beth Writes

One:

Where did these damn fruit flies come from? I borrowed a 400-page book from the library yesterday and just finished it an hour ago. ONE fruit fly bumped me every twenty minutes through the whole damn tome. I hit at it every time it zipped past but I never zapped it.

I’ll get him (or her?). I put an inch of apple cider vinegar into a glass, covered it with plastic wrap, punched some tiny holes, set it next to our fruit.

Bugs bug me.

Two:

Monday I went for my Shingrix vaccine #2. Several people in my world, including Len, had achy, feverish, ‘spend the day in bed’ side effects to that shot. Anticipating this, I waited until I had several days with no obligations. I ordered library books. I bought a new bottle of ibuprofen. I was ready.

Got the shot. Nothing. The place where I received the injection is sort of sore, but nothing else.

What can I say? The books were here so I read. And suffered that pesky fruit fly.

Three:

In two weeks (God willing and the creek don’t rise) our grandkids are going back to their (very nice, very careful) daycare. We’ve been reading to our granddaughter nearly every weekday for 18 months. In the beginning this was to give our daughter a ten-minute window in which to put the baby down for his nap. Now it’s 15-30 minutes of play time with Grandma and Grandpa.

Reading stories expanded into virtual FaceTime dollhouse playing, which takes advanced silliness skills. You have to be able to tell a story as you move the characters around. You can’t just make up that story to suit yourself – make-believe has to come from the soul of the kid, so you have to pay attention and then finesse it.

Four-year-olds are, as many of you know personally, jam-packed with drama, conflict, selfishness, agency, and curiosity. This is not just the bear went over the hill stuff. You have to ask questions, try to understand her lisp, and be amazed at what she cares about.

Start with some characters. Let her name them. In the past year we have worked with many iterations of The Baby Princess. She names them. There was ALWAYS a Baby Princess. Instead of seeking out more politically correct role models, we went with Baby Princess to see where she would go.

Guess what? Baby Princess wasn’t a pampered little royal. Baby Princess did all the things our grandkid does. Go to the grocery store with her dad. Go to the park. Bake cookies. Clean up a room when it got so full of stuff no one could play in it. When characters got sick, there were doctors and nurses and receptionist (I love that she wanted receptionists) who had to sprinkle real sprinkles over characters. Glad we have a dust buster.

The Baby Princess was always the center of attention. Everyone loved her. She did simple things but always with others around who wanted her to be safe and happy. And then there were make-believe cookies.

Hah. Let’s not outlaw princesses until we know what they represent.

But now she is 4 ½ and much to our astonishment, two weeks ago she asked for the “Bad Guys.” These are bobblehead Avengers characters I’d bought at Goodwill; they’ve been in the box of side characters and props for months. But suddenly she remembered the Bad Guys and wanted them to come up to the dollhouse.

The play these past weeks has been hilarious and fascinating. We recognize Loki and Thor, there are two others but none of us remember their designated names. The Bad Guys do Bad Things. They don’t share. They knock each other over. They jump from the third floor of the dollhouse and knock over furniture and hurt their heads. They don’t like to go to the bathroom until it’s almost too late. They are greedy, competitive, lazy, and more than a little irresponsible. They have to be punished when they cheat or hurt others. Punishment is to have birthday cake without decorations. To get pretzels without cheese. Sometimes they have to go to jail (we did not invent this, she insisted!). Jail is a wooden barn. They have spent more than one weekend in the barn having quiet time.

Pretty often the Bad Guys have to ask our granddaughter questions. They look right in my phone and say her name and ask her things, and she talks right back to them. Usually while giggling because they ask her things like what 1 + 1 is and she knows and thinks it’s hilarious how they keep forgetting.

Today she said the Bad Guys should have a spy contest. What’s a spy contest? We have tiny origami stars that my daughter and her BFF made when they were kids which have somehow endured 25 years in a box. We hid the stars in the dollhouse. Then Loki and Thor had to look for them - but they couldn’t do it so they kept asking our kid for help. One of the stars was under the baby in the cradle. Well, the rules are that if you touch a baby and it has a dirty diaper - you have to change that diaper. Our kid has a baby brother. She was shrieking and laughing and so were we. Len, holding the phone, was wiping tears from under his glasses, he was laughing so hard. As he said later, “No one ever went broke making poop jokes with a four-year-old.”

So our precious Baby Princess is growing up. She’s now 4 and she has Bad Guys in her and we are here to laugh with her at how complicated it is to not always be pure and good. Life’s tricky. Sometimes you do the bad thing and later you can have a pretzel but not the cheese. Face your imperfections. Look for the hidden stars. Get excited. Be loud. You are a lot smarter than a lot of the characters you are dealing with. Your own stories are the best stories.

 

Comments

Sooooo stinking cute. I smiled thru the entire read. Well - I didn’t smile about the damn fruit flies. Been there, done that. Very glad you didn’t have side effects from the shot.

You are a gem, Mary Beth. Your stuff is The Best. I'll read anything you write -- about poop, fun, God, you name it. You're the Best
Mary Beth's picture

Oh Man, this is a good way to start this day! Thank you!!!!

I, too, had my #2 Shingrix shot on Monday. I didn’t have a bit of trouble with the first one but this one was different. Felt very much like the flu plus a sore arm. Better, though, every day. Wanted to make sure to do it well before the booster shot.
Mary Beth's picture

Len was mostly in bed most of the day after his second Shingrix. He also had a sore icky day after his pneumonia vaccine last year. It just hits people so different. I can't tolerate statins, he takes them daily. I figure we must all be as different on the inside as we are on the outside. Maybe I'm the redhead of the vaccine world?

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Happy Birthday to Len

11/30/2022 

Today is Len’s birthday. I told him this morning I might write about him but I would let him read whatever I said first. He said not to run it past him, he’d like the surprise of reading it when you all do. Let’s see what I come up with.

1. This is cute. Len was born in Chicago’s Passavant Memorial Hospital which was the grandparent hospital to Northwestern’s Prentice Women’s Hospital - where two of our grandkids were born.

Stories, Q Club, Us

The photo is not by Len or me, its from I Love Canada on FB. I've seen a sky like that just once. 

11/21/2022

Last week I read two books about young people who left their homes. They experienced some good and too many rough experiences and they couldn’t go back until they figured out how to not be who they used to be. Both novels knocked my socks off.

The People You Keep by Allison Larkin

Covid Diary #979 - Still Paying Attention?

11/17/2022

Yes, it’s been 979 days since Friday the 13th, March 2020, when everything changed.

Last Saturday one of our kids visited for several hours with their kids. It was fun though our kid looked tired. They said they’d taken a Covid test that morning and it was negative. They figured it was the wine and rich foods they’d shared the evening before with friends at the end of a very busy week.

Next Day - What Are You Seeing?

11/9/2022

It was a late night last night, wasn’t it? Len worked at a polling place 6:30 AM until 10:30 PM. He said the actual experience is a lot like working retail (which he has not done since he was 22). Stand up most of the time, pleasantly say the same thing over and over. Wonder if lunch is soon.  

Professional reporters and pundits are talking a lot about “what just happened”, but heck, we are noticing interesting things, too.  Let’s talk about what We The People saw and heard and are watching now.

Here are some things catching my attention.

Election Day

11/8/2022 

So many times I’ve thought things were going to be okay, and then they weren’t. My dad had that heart attack and the kid who was MB back then told herself to not overthink the drama because things always turn out more or less okay. Then the next day he died.

We lost a pregnancy far enough along that we had a name picked out and a crib in which to put that child. For a week I had all the misery and cramps that go with miscarrying and I still thought somehow it was going to work out okay.

That Beep-Beep-Beeping Moment.

In spring Len got a $100 traffic ticket when he turned right at a corner we’ve been turning right at for seven years. However, construction had started and there were orange barrels and cones everywhere – plus a small sign NOT facing the street Len was on, telling drivers to not turn there.

Len went back later that day and took photos. Len called the city to mention that if they posted a sign that actually faced the traffic, the city could save the cost of the cop parked there ticketing drivers.

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