So, the nanny’s on vacation which is what brings me to NYC for the week to hang with my one year old grandson Milo. Ordinarily, when I come to the Big Apple, I’m running to MOMA and the Met. But this week, I’m doing my running around a roomy loft in Tribeca chasing the world’s cutest grandchild (an honor he shares with my other three grandchildren). Hanging with him has reminded me of a few things:
- As a writer, I know how important it is to incorporate the senses into my work. Hanging with a baby is like watching a master at tuning into them. Babies have the touch, taste, see, smell, hear thing totally down—whether it’s running their tiny fingernails over the ridges on the couch pillows, clapping their hands to the Toot-Toot song or seeing what it feels like to kiss and smell their high chair tray (definitely a giggle-worth experience).
- The drive to learn, discover, and explore the world when everything is brand new is incredibly strong. I’ve always thought I was a pretty energetic person—but my one year old grandson can run circles around me—or were those zig-zags? In fact, I don’t need meditation to practice being in the moment. Milo not only models being fully present in whatever he’s doing—he also requires my attention to what’s happening right this minute. Nope—no zoning out, or there may be an unfortunate spill off the couch or an unhappy dog whose tail has just been yanked. Hard.
- Naps are good, and not just for babies. Even the liveliest babies run out of steam. And so do grandmothers. We all need to refresh and refuel, no matter how fascinating the world is. And it’s all fascinating, which is why:
- We’re probably wasting our money on all those toys. Like other besotted grandmas, I spend hours looking for birthday and holiday gifts for my grandbabies. And Milo has devoted parents and other grandparents and fans who’ve contributed to his massive toy collection. He does play with them—in passing, that is. But truth be told, they’re not nearly as fascinating as the pots and pans and mixing bowls and spoons in the kitchen, or the toilet paper roll in the bathroom—good for squeezing, rolling out, tearing up, and giving presents (Milo can always spare a square.) There is one exception, though. Milo can never have:
- Too many books, or too much music. He loves both and dancing to music and reading stories (sometimes over and over and over) is a big part of the day. There is something quite wonderful about reading Good Night Moon or The Runaway Bunny to a sweet-smelling one year old with sticky fingers just as I did with his father decades before.
All in all, hanging with Milo has reminded me of what really matters in life—hugs, giggles, comforting arms when Mom and Dad have to go to work, and a really soft, squishy roll of toilet paper.
Happy New Year.