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By the dawn’s early light (06/01/2011)
By Frances Edstrom

On Friday night after work we were expecting Cassidy, Angie, and the most wonderful grandson in the world, Harry, for dinner. It was a hard day for me, getting home late, so we were going to go to our neighborhood pub for a burger. About six thirty, I got a call from Cass from her car, and could hear a horrible caterwauling in the background. It was a food emergency, she said. Harry was very, very hungry and could we meet at the restaurant instead of them coming to our house first? Sure. Eighteen miles out. We timed it perfectly, and they walked in as I held out two cheese sticks and a sippy cup of milk.

Harry went from grumpy and crying to fueled up and happy. Of course this meant we were all on the starting blocks constantly to race after him.

Saturday night, Dan and Morgan and the most wonderful granddaughters in the world, Peyton and Andie, came for dinner. The girls are great fans of Harry’s, and the feeling is mutual. Peyton, at four, is very motherly towards Harry, and he and Andie, being contemporaries, get along famously, if loudly and speedily. There was only one fight that I noticed, over an orange crayon.

Their parents are a great help to us fixing dinner and washing up, taking turns chasing after the calorie-fueled children. Since it was so late, Andie and Peyton stayed overnight. But we don’t mind a bit. They never get up until almost 8 o’clock, so they are no trouble at all.

Until Sunday morning! We forgot to pull the shade in the room where they sleep, so they got up at first light. Thank goodness they are on the shady side of the house. I stumbled downstairs with them, and did what grandmothers are never supposed to do. I turned on the TV to Little Einsteins (they only watch it at my house) and went back to bed, cautioning them to never go outside and checking to make sure the doors were locked. In a little while, they were back. The show had ended. So down I went again and set them up with another show, taught Peyton how to use the remote, gave them each a bowl of cereal, and went back to bed. Guilt woke me in another half hour, and I went down again toting my pillow and a blanket. But this time Cassidy was there with Harry. I figured there was no use in all of us being up, so I went back to bed.

I have never been an early riser. At least twice in my life I have slept almost twenty hours at one time, and need eight or nine hours a night to function properly (plus at least a half to one hour of reading time in bed before sleep). Our kids were pretty indulgent of my needs, at least after they reached the age of three. They would play quietly in the morning after being fed while I continued my night’s sleep next to them on the couch in the den. And in fact, now that they are adults, they themselves love to sleep. My friends are indulgent to a certain degree. People we have traveled with on more than one occasion know that they should just plan to be on their own in the early morning hours, and warn us well in advance as well as up to the minute we retire for the night if we are required to rise for an extra early start on a day trip. Once I’m up, there’s no hanging around. I’m all business and out the door in no time flat.

But grandchildren might force me to change my habits. For one thing, I will never again forget to pull the blackout shade on the window in the kids’ room! 


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