On Sunday, I posted the article about my aunt, her life and that some of her friends and family had gathered that day to help her celebrate her 90th birthday. What I didn't tell you was some of the things that happened to me that day.
Because Mandy had to work, there was no way I could go over to the nursing home and take both the little ones with me. I just don't have the physical strength to do that any more. But I decided since Mandy's husband was going to be home, I'd take Miss Maya with me. She's gone over to the home with me in the past and I'd never had a problem with her. Plus, my cousin and his wife who had organized the get-together had only ever seen Maya once before and their daughter, her husband and baby were coming up for the afternoon and I figured it would be nice for them to get to know Maya a trifle.
Unfortunately, Maya decided as soon as I had the van parked and shut the engine off that being a sweet little girl, such as she can be most of the time, wasn't in the hand she had in mind to deal me that day.
I no sooner shut the engine off when she commenced to fussing. Not the normal kind of whining fussing most kids that age will do but Maya's kind which is a lot louder - sometimes kind of like a banshee shrieking when she is going into one of her infamous "meltdowns."
I started to talk to her calmly, telling her everything was fine, nothing to be afraid of and we had to go inside and give Aunt Mike her b-day card, have cake and ice cream and of course, we had to sing "Happy Birthday" to Aunt Mike too. I reminded her we had been singing "Happy Birthday" in the van on the drive over so that she would be in good singing voice, remember all the words, etc. and after about five minutes, she did calm down and got out of her car seat. We walked across the parking lot, along the sidewalk so nicely and she was as pleasant as she could be.
But as soon as we passed through the double doors and set foot into the lobby, she sprung a sneak "meltdown" attack on me. Screaming, shrieking, crying, sobbing, sitting on the floor, rolling on the floor in her wild attempts to keep me from picking her up.
As I was working, trying to get her to listen to me, to calm down, etc., several people who were attending my aunt's birthday party came through, saw me struggling with Maya and I tried, briefly, to explain to each of those who don't know her that she has "issues" and apparently, the last time we were over to visit at the home, shortly after they moved my aunt and cousin to the second floor, she had wigged out on Mandy and I that day too. But we attributed that to the fact that we had to take the elevator to get up to the second floor and we'd both forgotten that elevators sometimes scare the living daylights out of Maya. And, apparently when she and I walked into the lobby on Sunday, she remembered that last visit and the elevator.
It took me well over a half-hour before I could get her quieted down and calm enough that she would allow me to carry her back to the room where the gathering was being held. Once inside that room though, she whimpered a little bit but then indicated she wanted down. I put her down and she proceeded to roam around the room, from table to table, visiting with all these people there. So, you know she isn't "strange" and afraid of people anyway. Not in the least.
She walked up to Aunt Mike with me, let Aunt Mike hug her briefly and even managed to repeat after me "Happy Birthday Aunt Mike." And she didn't back away from Jane Ann, Aunt Mike's daughter, who sometimes in her zeal and excitement around little children, occasionally grabs them by the hair to get them closer to her. But Jane was on her good behavior on Sunday and didn't do that to Maya.
I stood and talked to my cousin Mike for a little while and Maya explored the room some more, discovering the birthday cake in the process. Mike laughed as he watched her staring longingly at the cake and remarked about how cute that was the way she was looking it all over. I told him yeah, but be very careful too because she has very fast fingers and LOVES to take her index finger and slick it across icing since it is one of her favorite food components! And sure enough, she was just ready to clip one of the big icing flowers on the cake when Mike caught her in the nick of time. She didn't get all worked up and upset with him as he handled her very calmly and quietly, and told her that as soon as he and his wife Bea cut the cake, he would see to it that she got that very piece with the big beautiful pink rose on it.
Maya watched, fascinated, as Mike and Bea cut the cake. Instead of putting 90 candles on it -which would have really ruined the cake, ya know, they had two candles - a "9" and a "0" -to indicate 90 years and Maya's eyes focused long and hard on those candles and all of a sudden she looks at me and pointing at the cake, says to me "Ninety?" Mike and Bea heard her and both were really amazed that she could identify that number. You betcha she can - she can count to well up in the 100's and even can count backwards too! Pretty doggone good for a 3-year-old, I think.
When the group sang "Happy Birthday" to Aunt Mike, Maya even joined in the singing too. I gave her the card for Aunt Mike and told her to go give it to her, but when she got up beside Aunt Mike's wheel chair, she couldn't get her attention, so she turned around to Jane Ann, Aunt Mike's daughter, and gave her the card. Fortunately, my cousin Mike's wife saw that and she got the card from Jane before she had a chance to rip it up.
When it came time to leave, Maya was having such a good time exploring the room, taking napkins and offering to wipe the windows in the room -or "clean" them, that I was afraid at first she was going to throw a bit of hissy then about leaving but I managed to bribe her to leave by telling her we could go "Walmar" (one of her favorite things is to go to Walmart) and she left quietly with me then. Fortunately, she isn't familiar yet with landmarks along the highway that goes past Walmart or she might have pitched a fit with me for not taking her up there as I had said we might do.
I'd also told her maybe on the way home we could stop at Jim and Charmaine's - the little restaurant on the edge of the town where we live. And, as I was booking down Rte 53, I zipped past J/C's and went to make the turn on the road into town when she realized we had just passed Jim/Charmaine's and she started to cry "Wan' see Charmaine. Wan' see Charmaine!" And, I knew that if I didn't stop and take her in there it would be a battle royal to get her out of the van and into the house when we did get home.
So, in we went! Fortunately, Charmaine and her sister, Jeanne, both are really very good to Maya and love to watch some of her antics. I think sometimes too they both love to see what Maya will do to try to get my goat as well just to see me sweat ya know. But anyway, I got a cup of coffee and Maya insisted she had to have a pepsi, so a pepsi it was. She was pretty good, sitting quietly for quite a while, sipping on her pepsi before the old urge to explore the place took hold on her as it usually does.
She has to go check out all the video games in the dining room as well as in the bar, plus the pool table and the jukebox. To get her to come back and sit down, Jeanne turned the tv on and got the Country Music Video channel on because they know that is her favorite channel to watch too!
Maya doesn't like to sit for very long though and pretty soon, she was following Jeanne back into the kitchen area and she managed to find a straw hat someone had given to Jim - looked sort of like a safari type pith helmet ya know and she put that on her head and was strolling in and out of the kitchen with this goofy hat on which had both Jim and Charmaine laughing at her. From the hat, she moved over to a table adjacent to where I was sitting and announced she wanted crayons so she could color on the place mat. This kid doesn't forget when people provide her with neat little things to keep her occupied up there but I did manage to convince her that she couldn't do the coloring thing there that day.
She started to roam the dining room again and it was at that time that she pulled a little trick that really shocked the heck out of all of us there. There was an older couple seated by the wall at a small table that was set up for three people, max and without any second thought at all, Maya proceeded to go up to that couple, pull out the empty chair at their table and hiked herself up on the chair, sitting there so nicely you'd have thought she belonged with them.
Apparently, the guy had a glass of iced tea with lemon and had removed the lemon slice and had it laying on a small plate there, right in front of where Maya had parked herself and she just reached up, snagged that slice of lemon and popped it in her mouth, eating the pulp, sucking what ever amount of lemon juice may still have been left in the slice!
This couple, Jeanne, Charmaine and I all just howled laughing at her doing that! She was just so nonchalant about it too - like she was showing anyone who was watching that, hey - I do this kind of stuff every day, don't 'cha know!
When Mandy got home from work that evening and I was telling her everything her darling little daughter had done that afternoon and early evening - good things and bad - Mandy had to call Charmaine and talk to her about the lemon slice thing. Charmaine was still chuckling, as was Jeanne, two hours after that had happened too!
Isn't it just oh so much fun though to take a three-year-old out for a little social call and see the things the kid can get into -and get away with too?
And all this leads me up to the Bushism for Wednesday, April 25, 2007. I think you'll like this one too!
"I admit it, I am not one of the great linguists." - on the NBC Newes special The Bush White House: Inside the Real West Wing; January 23, 2001.
Yep, Dubya - I think we can all agree with that!