The new baby was on schedule, or so we thought. He didn't arrive before Thanksgiving, so the family stared at Rachel's tummy to see little kicks coming from the inside.
The following week the doctor scheduled a time for him to arrive in the hospital. Daddy Dave would drive Mommy Rachel to their Madison hospital on Dec. 3. Our youngest daughter would be induced and have her baby by the fourth. Meanwhile, I would be in their home babysitting our 4-year-old twin grandchildren, Eli and Arianna.
Rachel had prepared a schedule for me to follow so the kids would have some semblance of regular life while their baby brother was coming into this world. The four-page plan included a daily schedule, rules, emergency telephone numbers, a map to the school for daily 4-K classes, and a map to the hospital.
Eli and Arianna were to get up between 6 and 7 — guess they were kind of excited, because mostly it was around 5:30 a.m. It was okay with me since I hadn't slept well, worrying about Rachel and the baby the way I was.
Early rising meant they ate a banana, and relaxed while watching a PBS kids show.
Breakfast wasn't so easy. Actually no meal was easy. Getting those two to eat proved to be the trickiest part of babysitting, yet we managed to survive without starving to death — their two dogs were so much easier to feed. ... Oh, the dogs had rules, too. They were not to go upstairs or get on furniture. Zoe and Jadie behaved perfectly.
I guess I ended up spoiling Arianna and Eli some. We had hot cocoa and marshmallows more often than Mommy had planned. I counted so each would have the exact number of miniature marshmallows as the other. You can be sure they kept track of the numbers, too. But hey, we didn't eat the whole bag or anything.
Getting the children dressed was more like a game. They laughed hysterically when suggesting outrageous clothes. It was good fun teasing Grandma and I was happy that there was no reason to hurry to be dressed, so we just took our time.
Eli and Arianna knew all their rules. I didn't have to look on the list to find out that they took one vitamin in the morning after they brushed their teeth. They also said I should sing the ABC song twice, so they knew how long to brush — after one verse they would spit into the sink and then continue brushing until the second ABC song was finished.
News from the hospital came. The baby was fine, but was taking his time being born — not an easy experience for Rachel and of course I worried even more.
Schedules were kept at home, well mostly. I did get the kids to their 4-K class on time and remembered to pick them up, too. After school we made Christmas decorations, gluing things together to make a wreath and a doorknob hanger.
Six-thirty was bed time. ... Okay, Grandma was lucky if we started to get into PJs by seven, but we were close.
The usual bedtime routine meant reading two stories while they sat next to me so they could look at the pictures. It was nice finding books by my friend Dori Chaconas and reading those to them. Of course, I had given the books to them last year, signed by the author.
The baby took an extra day arriving. Finally, at 12:59 a.m. Dec. 5, Wyatt Robert arrived in this world. He was 8 pounds 15 ounces! Rachel and baby are fine.
I was privileged to be able to hold Wyatt Robert later that very day. I couldn't stop looking at his sweet face. It sure is nice being a grandma again — we were also happily surprised by his middle name. Grandpa Robert and Uncle Rob are still smiling, me, too. Every time I look at Wyatt's photo I can't help grinning.
Right now I'm trying to make a Christmas greeting that will include photos of grandchildren. If you want one, send a holiday card to us — and it sure would be nice if you included a stamp for return postage. The cost of stamps these days adds up fast.
Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; Sunnybook@aol.com; www.susanmanzke.net; http://www.facebook.com/susan.manzke.