Swimmin’ in Cincinnati


The family takes a trip to Cincy while dad is out of town

I decided late in the day on Thursday that I was going to head to Cincy with the kids to spend the night with my mom and visit my grandma.  We were supposed to pick her up on Friday afternoon for a Friday evening bridal shower for my little sis but her world turned inside out with immigration lines, visas, broken down cars.  There was no way she was making it back to Cincy by Friday night from El Paso Texas.  So, I felt like I should get down there anyway to see grandma as she is 90 years old and thoroughly enjoys seeing me and her great-grandchildren (she is a sucker for punishment!).  Besides, Jon got to head to Baltimore for a Baltimore Ravens football game (down on the field before the game and box seats during it – the bum!) so I needed family to sop up my jealous tears!

When we arrived on Thursday night, we headed straight for mom’s pool.  Mom brought some cheese its and apple juice boxes in order to avoid the wrath of Mario (last time Grandma Lolo came to visit Mario asked “did you bring cheese its and juice boxes?” Mom answered no, and he looked very distraught “But, but why?”).  Maria loves the “neighborhood” pool so much more than the big Blue Ash community pool.  She likes to keep it tight and close rather than deal with everyone and their mother.  She swam and jumped around.  Mario sat on the first step of the pool and dipped his head in every five minutes or so.  He played with his noodle (blowing in one end and seeing the water squirt out the other end).  He ate his cheese-its.  

Maria and her noodle

We played hard at the pool for an hour or so and then ravaged some spaghetti, bread and m&ms when we got home.  We decided to head to Aunt Julie’s for some dessert and much to our surprise, for a kitten/possum adventure.  Julie and Ron put out food for stray kittens and a stray baby possum every night.  The critters arrived once dark hit like clockwork – first the kittens and then the possum.  The kids sat at the door watching them for 20 minutes.  When we left to go back to my mom’s house, Mario’s eyes were like hawk eyes watching out for that baby possum.  

We all ended up sleeping in my mom’s full size bed.  I tried to move one of the two of them to the floor but neither of them would have it.  Needless to say, I had cramps and twitches throughout my entire body when I woke on Friday morning from trying to twist my body into a needle to avoid hitting one of them.  In order to stretch my body out, we took a morning stroller ride to Marx Hot Bagels.  I used to go to this bagel store when I was a kid with my mom and dad.  The poignant smell of bagels never leaves you.  I walked in with M&M and immediately felt like I had been blasted back to age 10.  We ordered a sunflower, pumpernickel/onion and a wheat raisin bagel with a mountain of cream cheese and went to town.  Yum!  I could eat one of those every morning.  

We hit Grandma Lolo’s park on the way home and M&M got up on the amphitheatre stage to perform for me.  Mario sang “I like to Move it, Move it” and took a bow.  Maria sang one of her love songs, which went something like this “I wish we could be together but you are not for me.”  I kid you not! Her songs are all about lost love and boys not being good enough for her.  At age 5!  Ahhh! 

As soon as we got home, we headed back out to visit Grandma M.  Ahh, it is always so stress-free and calm 

Mario writing with Grandma M.

 when we head to her assisted living facility.  Ha.  The chaos ensues from the beginning with Maria and Mario having to show off for the residents, sign their name on the visitor sheet, punch the elevator buttons.  That is all in the 1o minutes before we hit grandma’s apartment.  Once we are in the apartment, it is a more enclosed space and ten times more chaotic because the kids can’t touch half of the things she has in the apartment even though they are within kids’ reach and they are so tempting to touch (kittens, dolls, statues, glass – I mean come on!!!).  

How is it that I always played with the same toys over and over again every time I visited grandma, and seemed to enjoy my time but these kids cannot play with a game for five minutes without wanting something different?  Could it be the parents are to blame?  Probably, just a little…  hehehe.  What can I say?  My biggest goal in parenting when Maria was born was to give her the freedom to do what she wanted and learn from her actions.  I did not want to stifle her.  But I see now that there is a limit; they are going to be seeing that limit a lot more from me!    

 

Maria in her grandma "get-up"!

However, they have gotten better at grandma’s through the multitude of times we have gone over to see her.  They played in her bedroom writing with her pencils and punching her calculator.  Maria put on her sweater and a bag on her head and acted like her.  Grandma stays very calm through it all – she only gets worried when they get near her pills.  I think that may be a valid concern.  

She took us down to her pool, which is perfect for the kids.  It is 3 feet high in most places.  Mario plays on the steps and Maria floats around the pool.  Maria got brave and even dove off the edge by herself.  She reminded me of Anna Quindlen’s little girl, Maria, who is my Maria’s namesake.  Quindlen wrote a Newsweek article about her daughter at age 16 – so intrepid and filled with adventure.  That was my girl yesterday – embracing something new and a little scary.  After an hour swim, we headed back to the room for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, vanilla wafers, butter cookies, and hershey kisses.  Who could ask for a better feast?!  

Mario loving the pool

We took grandma to Kroger’s to get her weekly stash of food (it is a 45 minute ordeal for about six food items but at age 90, I am still impressed), and then we headed to Blue Ash pool for some more swimming.  Mario LOVES Blue Ash pool with all of the fountains and slide and cushion bottom.  Maria, as I stated earlier, would rather stay in the confines of her own neighborhood but she agreed to come if there was pizza and popcorn at the pool.  After an hour and a half, I thought I may pass out from exhaustion so we packed up and traveled back to Grandma Lolo’s to pack up.  A bath, treadmill walk, popsicle, and golf game later, we were in the car waving goodbye to grandma and grandpa and accelerating the Volvo north to Columbus.  

We ended the trip with songs from Free to Be You and Me.  Maria has fallen in love with the CD much to my pleasure.  She loves the song about friends and the talking babies.  When the song “Parents are People” comes on, she yells “Mom, this is for you!”  

I was so exhausted when we walked in the door at 6:30 Friday night.  I could barely drag myself upstairs to lay down.   Luckily, Mario stayed asleep during the transfer from the car to the crib.  A little blessing from above.  Of course, he was up at 1 am standing next to my bed crying “Mommy, I sleep with you.”  The rest of the night I might as well have been doing laundry, cleaning the house, finishing up work, because he kept me wide awake between complaining that his leg hurt or he needed water or he wanted to watch tv.  At about 2:45 am, I thought I might jump out the window just to be able to sleep in the bushes below – broken legs/arms and all – it would be better than sleep deprivation.  But, we survived as always and were up and playing airplane on the bed at 7 am.  

Ahh, did I really ever sleep in until 8 am? 

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