This is September 30th another day in my adventure in babysitting. Yesterday Kate was very restless but today she is very calm and sleepy. I don't mind the restless days but the calm ones are nice. She has become very cuddly if that's a word. A month or so ago it didn't seem like she wanted to be held much but that's changed as you can see from the picture. I hope that means she feels more comfortable with me. I think I mentioned once before that we all need touch, human touch as Bruce Springsteen would say. We all need someone to hold onto. If we don't have someone we tend to grasp for anything we can. I hope my human touch helps her to know that she can always find the touch she needs from those close by, especially me.
~ Love you Kate. Poppi
This is September 29th another day in my adventure in babysitting. Today I think I had a conversation with Kate. Normally I talk to her just to fill the silence and sometimes I get a little googoo or something from her but today we had a real five minute back and forth talk. I would say something and she would give me a sound and a look back. She even seemed like she was trying to form sounds. It was very cool. It takes effort to communicate but the most important thing is attention. If the other person knows that they have your undivided attention wonderful things can happen. Kate gets that from me. I'm not sure what she's saying to me, but from the look on her face it had to be good. I can't wait until she can use words so I can know what she is actually saying to me. This is pretty good for now though.
This is September 27th another day in the adventure in babysitting. Are pacifiers a good thing for babies? I don't know if they existed when I was little. Maybe that's why I have so many problems. We all need comfort and if we can find comfort in something that doesn't harm us its a good thing. Plus a pacifier can save a parent a lot of grief. What is your pacifier? I think we all have one or more. What will Kate use in life to comfort her? Hopefully not drugs or alcohol. Hugs are a good substitute. I'm going to try to get her hooked on hugs. She'll get plenty from me. Right now she doesn't like the pacifier so much. She prefers her fingers. They are always close at hand. Today the hugs are on me.
~ Love Poppi
This is September 26th another day in my adventure in babysitting. I'm not sure what's up with Kate today. She's not her usual self. She was awake when I arrived at 7:00 and had been fed. She seemed happy then she spit up and got crabby. After that it was trial and error. I didn't know if she was still hungry or needed a change or had a sour tummy or what. I ended up just holding her and giving her a pacifier and she fell asleep. Later I took her for a walk and at first she loved it but after about 15 minutes she had enough. So back to trial and error. Through all of this she is basically patient with me. Isn't that the way it is with all of us? We often can't quite understand each other. We guess at how people around us are feeling, what they mean when they say something and if they really care. I recommend using Kate's strategy...be patient with the people you love and with those you don't as well. Thanks Kate for another life lesson. Here she is on the walk while she was still happy.
Kate has started to turn on her side more this week. This is a real milestone especially if she knows she's doing it and does it intentionally. Milestones are important in life. We need to celebrate them. I remember when I first learned how to ride a bike with no training wheels. My friend Dan really whooped it up. I felt very special. Let's make sure we celebrate our own milestones and those of our kids and grand kids. Life just seems more special when we do. So Kate you are going to get a special hug and a song from me today. You have taken another step in the process of growing up and I have noticed.
~ Your proud grandpa, Poppi
I have to get up at 5:00 every morning in order to get to Sarah's house to take care of Kate so Sarah can make it to school on time. I could look at that as a burden and for some people it would be, but thank God I am a morning person. And look below at what I have waiting for me!
I saw a guest on Jimmy Fallon, Terry Crews, who said gratitude is the key to a happy and successful life. That really impressed me especially because Terry is a black man from Flint, Michigan. Gratitude energizes us whereas anger and fear suck energy out of us he said.
I will look for things to be grateful for today. It's not that hard for me. I have been given so much. Thank you, Lord for all the gifts you have given me. Especially you Kate plus my kids and all my grand kids. You too Barb.
Kate is getting more vocal. It's more than just grunts and sighs and cries. She is kind of calling out to me. It's pretty cool. I think she's trying to get my attention. And of course I give it to her. But can a child get too much attention? Is it wrong to meet their every need immediately? Does that make children too self-centered? We do raise a lot of kids in this country who think the world revolves around them. I remember when I was on a mission trip to Mexico being amazed at how the children in this poor village were able to share one little toy together...all 20 of them. Anyway I think it's a challenge to help a child recognize that the world doesn't revolve around them...so that they recognize that life is about more than having their needs met. I am willing to take suggestions if you have any. But for now I have to get a bottle ready...she's hungry.
Kate is having a great day today. We even took a road trip to Lowes and the cemetery and she was fine. Basically she slept through most of the two meetings. I went to the cemetery because we are getting a marker for my brother's grave. Dale died just over a year ago. I remember him when he was Kate's age. He was a good kid with a soft heart. He had demons but was loved dearly. At birth we are all full of promise. Kate could be anything. I know great things are in store for her. I hope that the demons that haunt the world keep their distance. I plan to do all I can to keep her safe. Love is stronger than fear and hatred. Can a smile ward off a demon? How about this one?
It is Monday and maybe Kate knows it. She's had a kind of tough day. She has not been as relaxed and calm as normal so no walk or road trip today. She also has been very hungry. I fed her FOUR bottles after her nap. Maybe she is having a growth spurt. Growth and change is always hard. God created us not as stagnant creatures but as creatures that are designed to continually grow and change. We often resist it because it takes us out of our comfort zone. Growth is good if it is according to God's plan. Stagnation is never good. But during our growth times we may need someone to just hold us. That's what I'm here for Kate.
~ Love Poppi
Another day in my adventure in babysitting. Take a look at this baby. I wonder what she is thinking. She has such a knowing expression on her face. I know that her awareness of the world grows as she grows. What kind of world will she grow up in? There seems to be so more violence and hatred out there today. How should we raise her? Do we want her to be tough and not take any crap off anyone? Will that help her to survive? For my part, I am trying to instill in her a gentleness of spirit and a compassionate heart. To me that's the only way to really live. Does this look like a tough girl to you? She's been pretty gentle with me so far.
~ With all the love in the world, Kate. Poppi
Poppi's Adventures in Babysitting
Jim Kemna (Poppi) was the Director of Religious Education for the Diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri until he retired at the end of June 2016. Now Jim is becoming an active grandparent. He is babysitting for his one month old granddaughter Katie. Before retirement Jim was responsible for assisting his bishop in promoting the vision of catechesis throughout the diocese. See Meet the Project Team for more information about this author.