July 30, 2014

My four year old Chicagoan grandson is spending a few weeks with us.  I have always loved roaming the woods and exploring the rivers and creeks that I have lived by throughout my life.  Now I live not far from Gitchie Gummi–Lake Superior–and never tire of the beauty, the power, the blessings and gifts that Mother Earth continues to give us despite our ignorance and abuses and negligence of those same blessings and gifts.  Sharing it with a four year old, though, is like adding frosting to a cake–it just makes it sweeter and more beautiful. 

We have introduced him to many “firsts”.  Riding on Poppi’s motorcycle up the hill to the wild blueberry patch–and picking a bucketful for blueberry zert (desert) and blueberry pancakes.  First ride in a canoe. 

Dropping a fishing line into the water and bringing it back up with a tiny sunfish wriggling on the end of the hook.  Camping–roasting hotdogs and sleeping in a tent and peeing in the woods.  First time petting a live chicken.  First time going to a dance recital and a children’s theater production (as in theater performed by 5 and 6 year-olds). 

This morning it was throwing stones in the creek and clambering over the rocks around the small waterfall in the hills behind our house.  

“Wow, this is so awesome!” he says as the canoe cuts through the water and he drags his fingers alongside, creating a mini wake.  He giggles hysterically and jumps up and down when he catches his first fish, a sunny no bigger than my hand.  Always observant, when picking slugs off our granddog Willow’s waterdish in the campsite he examines their ability to stretch and shrink. 

“Chickens have soft feathers!” 

“How does those girls put their legs so high in the air?” he asks about the ballet dancers…

Whispering…”Nonna, is there deer in these woods?  Will we see a baby deer?  Shhh, Nonna…” 

But there are adventures and firsts for grandparents as well.  We learned many new things this week.  For example: upon going into the bathroom one night to get his pajamas on, he announced to everyone that he needed his privacy because no one was to see his private parts.

“You can’t watch me change my clothes because you can’t see my private parts because you know my penis is a private part and you can’t see my penis because it’s a private part so nobody comes in the bathroom. Do you understand?”  He shut the door.

Approximately five seconds later he opened the door, and while standing in the doorway, hand on doorknob, and stark naked, held a conversation with me about what we were going to do tomorrow, etc., etc., etc. Then satisfied with the conversation he proceeded to shut the door and put on his pajamas.

Sequel to this story; Next morning:

“Nonna, I’m full. (4 blueberry pancakes w/ 1 bite left) I’m trying to eat it but my belly says (falsetto voice) ‘I can’t take anymo!'” 

“Are you sticky?”


“Go wash up, ok?”


  From the bathroom we received an announcement… “But don’t come in here guys, okay? Cause I’m washing my private parts. My fingers are private parts you know.”

Upon exiting the bathroom all fresh and clean, Poppi and Morgan proceeded to discuss how we could transport ourselves to the blueberry patch for more blueberries….so Nonna can finish making pancakes you see. We learned many new Spanish words for things such as motorcycle, blueberry, and dog. (My native Spanish speaking Colombian niece, Sharon, who is also visiting us, choked on a piece of pancake trying so desperately not to laugh).  One possible mode of transportation suggested by Morgan included Poppi, Morgan, Sharon, and Willow on the motorcycle. Nonna would have to stay home because there’s no more room. Poppi suggests taking the car?

“But that’s bo’ing!” says Morgan.

Then there’s new camping experiences for grandparents.  Morgan had a good night except when in a sound sleep he wriggled completely down inside his sleeping bag and woke up screaming because he couldnt get out.  He was trying to sit up…scared the bejesus out of us; Willow started howling. Once free Morgan immediately went back to sleep and had no memory of it the next morning. On the contrary, I was awake most of the rest of the night.

More adventures await all of us…there are the places he visited last summer when he was only 3 that we need to return to…the Lift Bridge and the Canal Park Seagulls and Park Point Beach.  We also plan to visit Jay Cook State Park to walk over the swinging bridge.  We might take him canoeing up at Thompson Reservoir and have a picnic on an island. 

His visit began with fireworks…15 minutes after his arrival last week the local ballpark set off fireworks which we could see and hear from our house.  We convinced him it was a special fireworks just for him–welcoming him to Duluth.  Willow instantly became his special pal and sleeps right next to his bed each night which he thinks is great and can’t settle until Willow takes her place next to him.  A perfect ending would be a fish fry at Great Grandma Pat’s.  And, if Auntie Sarah makes it home from California in time the thrill of meeting her horse and going for a ride. 

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