Monday, August 24, 2015

Through Their Eyes

These are two of my granddaughters, Tori (short for Victoria) and Addison (not short for anything). They are originals in every way and as different from each other as they can be while still being very much alike in that they are young and enthusiastic.

I learn so much of the world from their perspective and thus find a new way to relate to the world through their eyes.

For instance, I didn't know that school lockers (one of Tori's favorite things about going back to school this year) had accessories. My old lockers were pretty much of a type: gray, attached to a school full of others, and a place to keep my books, papers, coat, and galoshes for those rainy days, right next to my umbrella, which I seldom used. One semester my locker was where I kept my crutches. I used them for a couple of days after I severely sprained my ankle during gym class but after that I left them in my locker and only used them to arrive and leave school. I didn't need them for sympathy or perks, although they were useful for getting out of class a little early to avoid the crush in the hallways and keep me from being crushed and damaged even worse. I felt the crutches would be better in my locker.

Going up and down the stairs was an experience and I learned a valuable lesson: using the handrails and hopping got me up and down the stairs faster. I had awesome glutes that semester from hopping up and down the stairs, especially the up part.  Back to the subject at hand: locker accessories.

Tori wanted (didn't need and didn't have, but wanted) wallpaper for her locker. I talked to Megan, her mother, afterward and she told me that Tori had asked for a pencil holder and I think a mirror for her locker. I'd already gone shopping online to find the right wallpaper for Tori. I should've asked Megan what color she settled on for the pencil holder and mirror. At any rate, I sent a package of wallpaper with a pattern of sunglasses in various colors on a black background because everything goes with black. I also go Tori a set of mustache magnets for her locker because the locker is metal after all, which is what makes the wallpaper so fascinating. It is plasticized and attaches to the inside of the locker with magnets. What a concept. I wish I'd thought of it because then I could give up wage slavery and still be able to write and read lots of books.  Oh, and bake. Baking is an expensive habit when you get into quality ingredients and tools.

Anyway, back to the locker. What a concept. There are rugs for the bottom of the locker and shelves that attach to the bottom of the top little niche to provide extra shelf space as well as little shelves with legs that add space and keep wet galoshes and such from contaminating the rest of the locker. Great idea. There are mirrors and boards with dry erasers and heaven help me chandeliers and lights that turn on and off with a motion sensor and are battery operated. (Just a note, do not buy Procell batteries. They do not last, unless you're into throwing your money away in the landfill or other ecologically responsible place. Procell batteries just plain suck! You heard it here first. I have experience.)

A chandelier in a locker. Things sure have changed since my day when the height of decorating panache was composed of pictures taped to the inside of the locker door. Live and learn.

There are a lot of color and pattern choices, some cheap and some more expensive. There are kits with pencil holders, trash cans, magnets, flower decorations, lights, rugs, wallpaper, and anything a kid's heart desires to accessorize and trick out the school locker. The mind boggles. My mind boggled and delighted in the choices. We truly have become all about the accessories, and I would not have known had I not asked Tori what she would like to have that she didn't need but wanted all the same. I'm a grandmother after all, and Tori is one of my favorite granddaughters.

The other favorite thing about going back to school for Tori is a longer lunch hour. She's in junior high school now and is moving into a very different world from elementary school where Addison remains for now. Tori is in the 7th grade and Addison is in the 4th grade.

When I asked Addison the same question about what she wanted, but didn't need I found out she is still my little pink princess. A pink lunchbox that is all glittery with -- you guessed it -- pink glitter. What else? I didn't have much to go on beyond pink and glittery and plastic, but I found a lunch box that should make her eyes light up with pink glee. A glittery pink plastic lunch box. I almost got the one with fairy wings that was glittery with pink and purple, but decided on the strictly pink because she is all about the pink. Nothing new to learn there. A lunchbox is a lunchbox is a lunchbox and carries food from home to school. It is a far cry from the red tartan plaid lunch box I got for school before I decided to move to the paper bag because it was less generic and wasn't red plaid tartan. No more sour milk in my not so cold keeping thermos bottle with the red plain tartan design and no more carrying the clunky lunchbox that wasn't the one I wanted, which I think was Wonder Woman or Superman or something like that. One of those lunchboxes cost more than my mother was willing to shell out for me, so red plaid tartan lunchbox it was -- until I convinced her that a paper sack was better and I could pay the nickel for milk out of my meager allowance (25 cents a week). It was the 1960s and everything was cheaper then, but the 5 cents was for milk and chocolate milk didn't cost more. I prefer water these days, but you live and you learn -- and hopefully evolve.

I had a good time filling my granddaughters' requests and I like the view from their eyes. Tori is all about the sports and her favorite subject is PE. Addison likes mathematics and art class. I can relate to both . . . almost. I loved PE when I was working the parallel bars or the pommel horse but was less fond of PE when it came to showering in a big gang shower with the other girls. I was not into group nudity, not even with soap and water. I'd rather keep my sweat and finish my classes than get into the shower naked with all those other girls and I could only manage 1 red flood a month. The teacher got suspicious when I had a period every single week and wanted to have the school nurse take a look at me if I was bleeding every single week.

The only way to use the private shower was if Aunt Flo was in town.

Shyness in communal showers is to be expected when one is shy about being naked with others and feels that she is the ugliest girl in school. And the fattest. Well, I wasn't the fattest because that was Shelley who had massive old lady boobs at 13 and rolls of fat from where they disappeared underneath her gargantuan mammaries all the way down to just above her pubic hair. I heard how the girls made fun of her and I didn't want to be the new butt - or breast - of the joke. I didn't know that I had a lovely figure or that I was not fat until I got older and saw pictures of me from that period of time. I had a daily reminder that I had a pretty face and what a shame it was attached to such a fat and misshapen body from my mother who was reed slim and had perfect breasts. Dad may not have seen her naked, but I did -- many times.

Anyway, talking to the girls about school and what they looked forward to the next day was as much an eye-opener as a stroll down memory lane. I always learn something new talking to the girls and I learn what about them is like me. Tori loves baseball. So did I when I was her age -- and younger, although she plays on an all-girl traveling team and I played as the only girl on a boys baseball team. Then again, I lived in Panama on an Army base and the rules were a little more fluid for a girl who could win first base every year for 3 years against every boy on the team.

Addison loves art and math and science, just as I do. I love English (Language Arts for her), but I can give a little since she does love to read. I even enjoyed explaining what was special about Language Arts and we chatted about learning a language, which is what I thought Language Arts is all about. Live and learn.

She wants to learn Italian, but I think she means Spanish because she does know some Spanish and absolutely nothing about Italian. They are similar languages, but not the same. She would also like to learn French and Spanish and maybe German, but she has time. At least she wants to learn. Now she knows a few more words in Italian and some in Spanish and she knows the difference. She will remember because she is a very bright little girl. She's in the accelerated classes -- just like I was. She is my granddaughter for sure.

The girls are short, but they may still grow, and they are definitely fascinating to get to know and a joy to chat with -- even when Addison would rather go to a pool party instead of talking to her grandmother. I understand. I was young once too and I would have preferred going to the pool party than talking to my grandmother. She went to the party and we talked later after, Megan assured me, she had had a nap and eaten so that she would be less moody and grumpy.

The girls are very different and yet still the same. They love to sing. They love to perform. And they give me the greatest gift of all -- their time. For me, next to seeing the world through their very young eyes, getting to know them and chatting for a little while is priceless. It's what being a grandmother is all about.

That is all. Disperse.

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