This past weekend we went to Walla Walla to visit my grandpa, and had a great time being able to spend some time with him. His intelligence beats your average person a third his age, and conversation and time with him is a precious part of our lives. Grandpa couldn’t get enough of proudly telling people that his beautiful great-granddaughter had come to visit.
The time always feels not long enough. It wasn’t long enough for us or Grandpa, but it also wasn’t long enough for the many residents of the lovely Wheatland Village that were cheered by our little crazy one. Granted I’m pretty used to comments on her, but the comments I got were not just the usual “so cute!” or “what hair!” Those kind of comments I am sometimes impatient with. They sometimes feel like they come from people just seeing her as a cute little object, and not a person.
These were from people who stopped to take the time to genuinely enjoy our little girl. Alaythia liked to run a bit madly through the dining hall, but it was always easy to find her because you just followed where every eye was looking. I’m sure she annoyed one or two of them, but the rest loved every moment. I wish we lived close enough to take her every week.
One woman watched her for a while, then said to me, “With her having that much energy and effervescence, you probably shouldn’t have any more children. You won’t have the energy.” Another woman told me, “She’s very cute. Don’t spoil her.” And unlike most places, where everyone just stares at her and ignores anyone else in sight, one gentleman came up to us and commented on what a lovely little girl she was, then looked straight at me and said, “And you are a very beautiful lady.” Made my day!
And though the time was short, I suspect Grandpa might remain a celebrity at least for a few days, as people come up to ask him if he is indeed the great-grandfather of that lovely little girl. And that he is–and she has a wonderful legacy passed on by her great-grandfather.
Alaythia was fantastic on the road trip. I had been a little bit worried about the essentially day-long trip both Friday and Monday, but she was a champ. Most of the time, she entertained herself (and us) by narrating what was outside the window and inside the car, and talking about a few things she did over the weekend or at least wanted to do. She’s very into two-word phrases, here’s a few of the favorites:
“Bibi car.” (means Bibi is in the car)
“Bibi car?” (means why isn’t Bibi in the car?)
“Babu horse!” (recollecting the huge excitement of her first close-up sight of horses–some native Walla Walla horses were kind of enough to come to a long piece of grass my dad held out to them. When my dad (Babu) asked her if she wanted to pet the horses, she adamently replied NO!)
“Daddy walk?” (we think this is her way of saying she wants to go on walk with Daddy, and perhaps wonders where Daddy is. she says this at least once a day, usually while talking on her pretend phone. Daddy should be very honored that when asked who she’s talking to, she now says, “Daddy!” perhaps twice as often as she says, “Ian!”)
“MA MA!” (the way she says this it is now two words. when she says MA MA, it’s a command, an imperative, a statement that all is NOT well in her world and I am to fix it. AT ONCE! not a fan of this phrase… Ma-ma in the little sing-song voice is such much cuter…)
“Pink, blue, purple, yellow?? yellow??” (I was awakened from a happy, 6am dozing off by a little curly head leaning over to me saying this in a very worried tone. Once I came to, I realized she was pointing to the spots on her pajamas, and had discovered there was no yellow spots. MUCH to her dismay. This seemed to me both a brilliant moment of deduction, and perhaps further evidence of her obsession with details, cleanliness, and style…)
“Baby horse!” (this said gleefully to the smaller of two horses, painted on the wall of my grandpa’s retirement home. oh how she loved to go see those horses!)
“Daddy bear!” (and another odd moment… but this one you have to watch the video to find out about) watch by clicking here:
The daddy bear thing happened consistently every time she passed that point on the hallway. It should also be noted that Bibi and Babu were NOT in the background during that filming! But she is definitely one for deciding when and how to say goodbye.
A final note of the trip, back to my title… on the trip home, Bibi (my mom) wanted her vest from the back of the car. I grabbed it, and explained briefly to Alaythia that it was Bibi’s vest, which is like a coat without arms, and that she had one too, but it was at home.
This afternoon, Alaythia requested to go out on a walk. “Mommy walk!” So she brought me my flip flops and said a term which I have no idea how she learned, as it’s been cold and raining for more months than she’s been able to talk: “Fif fofs.” Cutest thing I have EVER heard. That baby doll sing-song voice trying to say flip flops and then put them on my feet might be the single most lovely moment of motherhood thus far.
But then—time to get coats on for the walk. I get out my vest and put it on without comment, then get out her usual walking coat these days, the pink plaid sheep coat. She refuses to put it on (unusual), and points into the closet, “fess! fess!” It takes me a second to realize she means her vest! I was honestly stunned that she knew the word for that well enough to confidently ask for it. It was only later my mom reminded me that I had taught her what a vest is, but I was almost more impressed she made the connection between Bibi’s vest and her vest a day later.
And who hasn’t enjoyed seeing Alaythia sport her tiny REI vest? It’s been a near constant accessory and very practical warming item the past 8 months or so.
And what did my mom say when I told her that Alaythia had requested her vest? “I told Dad the other day that when you guys come to visit at Christmas, we’ll find out everything that’s going on in your family.”
That’ll keep you honest.