My granddaughter Violet just had her second birthday, and I can’t believe how the time has seemed to fly since I first held her just minutes after she was born. Each month has brought such dramatic changes, and I’ve found that I’d love to be able to “freeze” her at each stage! At her birthday party she squealed with delight as she opened each present, and she wanted us to sing happy birthday to her over and over. What an enjoyable time our family had, as the day was filled with Violet’s infectious joy and her surprisingly understandable conversations about everything!

Since I’m fortunate to live nearby, I get to see her nearly every day, unlike some grandparents who have to travel hundreds of miles to see their little sweeties a few times a year. Make no mistake, though, being a hands on Grammy is the most exhausting job I’ve ever had!

Violet started to walk when she was 11 months old and was soon running everywhere, which meant that Grammy also needed to trot to keep up to her. I first took her to the park when she was 9 months old, and had to struggle to get those little noodle legs in the right holes to ride the baby swing. The other day she rode on a “big girl” swing, with Grammy cautioning, “Hang on tight!” She likes climbing the ladder and sliding down the slide, but now she doesn’t want me trying to catch her at the bottom, although she still wants to be sure that I’m there watching. She’s like a mini Spiderwoman navigating to the top of vertical climbing walls, but Grammy’s hands are always ready if the little spider needs help!

“Do you want to go to the park? Go Gwammy’s car?” is something I hear frequently from her, and we are fortunate to live close to the beautifully equipped playground area in Fox Township. She loves climbing through the tunnels, and often leans over to give me a kiss through the peek holes. That surely does good things for Grammy’s heart, although sometimes the static electricity from her crawling over the plastic tunnel turns the kiss into a shocking experience for both of us! She can get the seesaw moving pretty well even without a partner on the other end, and never seems to tire out.

“Hungwee” is something else that Violet says a lot. She only eats a few bites at a time, but she needs it often. She once rummaged through my cabinet and found a packaged mix of broccoli and rice. She brought it to me and said, “Cook?” She likes to dip almost any meat or vegetable in Ranch dressing, and will probably grow up to be like some of her relatives who think that Ranch dressing should be one of the basic food groups!

Now that the weather is finally warmer, I thought I’d teach Violet to do a bit of gardening. My kind of gardening requires no rototilling, bending or weeding, so it is perfect for us! It is done in garden boxes on the back porch. I gave her a small trowel and showed her how to dig up the soil in the box, then helped her add scoops of fresh potting soil. Some of it actually made it into the box! I poked holes in the soil, and Violet put a bean seed in each hole. Then she helped cover the seeds with her tiny hands. When we pick some fresh beans and cook them for our supper in a few weeks, I hope she’ll be as excited as I am! Wouldn’t that be something if she developed a green thumb from these small beginnings?

Civil War buffs aren’t the only ones who participate in reenactments. Violet had her first Easter egg hunt at Grammy’s house this year. When she returned to my house later that week, she went outside to search for Easter eggs in the same hiding places. She was disappointed not to find any, so now we often fill a few plastic eggs with Cheerios or animal crackers and hide them around the back porch and yard for Violet to find. Seeing the excitement on her face when she finds an egg made me decide that this much fun shouldn’t be limited to once a year!

“Blow bubbles” is usually another one of her requests when she comes to Grammy’s house. Have you seen how high tech bubbles have gotten? Instead of the little plastic bottle with a single wand inside, there are now battery operated bubble machines that make bubbles of all different sizes, and some machines are even equipped with LED lights! There are large hoop wands for windy days that make giant, kid size bubbles. If you haven’t gone outside to blow bubbles for a long time, you’re missing out on a lot of fun!

Violet’s mom thought it would be nice for Violet to have a bird feeder on the back deck, so I bought one for her for Easter. I selected sunflower kernels that she scooped and poured to fill the feeder, and small birds soon began to show up for her to watch. The only problem was that a bear thought the kernels would be pretty tasty too, and he bent the half-inch metal hanging rod and took the entire feeder with him, and left his calling card – an unmistakable big paw print complete with claw tracks in the wood! That’s a bit too close for comfort!

I really enjoyed doing a lot of fun things with my first four grandchildren who are all grown up now, but we were somewhat limited because I was working full-time. Violet arrived after I had already retired, and I have much more time to enjoy my sweetheart to the fullest! Happy second birthday, little Violet! Watching you grow surely make Grammy’s life more interesting!

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