Chris PetersenChris in bootsYears before you arrived, I already knew that I wanted to be a grandma. It had been so long since this family had a baby in it, and sometimes a mother’s arms long to hold their grandchildren long before they have any. We were so excited when we knew that you were on your way. The waiting seemed endless, but finally the day came when we knew the time of your arrival was here. I loved you from the moment I first saw you, at the very moment of your birth. You were our first grandchild, and you were a boy…something new to Grandpa and me, and a bit of a culture shock as it turned out, but an exciting change for us, nevertheless.

I look back now, on the years that have past and reminisce about how wonderful it was to have you in our lives. You were our smiley boy. You came up with the funniest, most precious faces. You smiled and laughed with your whole face…and you smiled and laughed often. You loved climbing into clothes baskets, after you threw out all the clothes, of course. Your mom might find you hiding under a table, in the closet, or behind the door. Any place would work, just as long as you could pop out and play peek-a-boo. We never knew where you would be the next time, so you kept us on our toes. I loved watching your little face light up, whenever we found your hiding places. You got so excited!! Your goal was always to follow in your daddy’s footsteps…as well as his boots, as often as your got the chance. It didn’t matter to you, where he was going, because that was where you wanted to go too. You two are so much alike. And, I loved the way you made all the animal sounds perfectly. You knew them by heart, and you were so proud of your new found ability.

The years have gone by so fast, and I can’t believe that we have already arrived at your 18th birthday. Soon you will be heading off to Sheridan to go to Culinary School, and before we know it you will we the proud owner of your own restaurant. You have shown such great skill and imagination is your culinary arts, and I can’t say that I am surprised, because you have always be an imaginative guy. We are so proud of all your hard work and we know you will be a great success in the restaurant business. My only regret is that the years have gone by so fast, and your childhood is over now. While you have been excitedly counting down the days, I have found myself trying to put the brakes on the passage of time, but that cannot be done.

To each of us comes one childhood, and when it is over, it is simply over. There is no going back, even though many of us wish we could sometimes. Gone now is the little smiley boy, and in his place stands a man, ready to take on the world. While my heart aches just a little bit, because you are going to be going away to college, I know that I can’t stand in your way. Papa and ChristopherChristopher and meI also know that you will take with you all the memories and the good teachings you have received in your childhood. You make us so proud as you start this new journey, and all I ask is that you don’t forget your way home, because we, your family will be looking forward to each and every time you are back with us. Today is your 18th birthday. Happy birthday Christopher!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you very much!!

Patty-CakeI love watching babies who have reached the age of playing all the cute little baby games. It is the beginning of their journey to becoming the person they will eventually be. Of course, these baby games are not the one thing in life that determines the kind of person they will be, but rather, just the child moving in the direction of knowing what they like and dislike. And after all, isn’t that a big part of the person we become.

Everyone likes different things, and the same goes for babies. Some babies really have a great time playing patty-cake, while others love to play peek-a-boo. It’s just a matter of the things they find funny or interesting. I think it would be a boring world if we all liked the same things, and I think that goes for babies too. Some babies like to be startled, and will laugh uncontrollably, while others would immediately start crying in that scenario. Some like listening to people make funny noises at them, and others would prefer to be tickled or something to make them laugh. It is simply personal preference, and it starts at a very Peek-A-Booyoung age.

Bob, like to play patty-cake…or maybe it was just about clapping his hands when he thought people liked the things he was doing. No, he doesn’t have to have people clap their hands today, but he does appreciate it when people react to the funny things he does. Bob has a great sense of humor, and he can be quite funny, so I guess he has never lost that, from the time he was a baby.

I can’t say that Christopher still plays peek-a-boo, but he does enjoy a practical joke…like sneaking up on people…and he’s not alone in that either, all my grandsons like that one. What is it about guys, that makes them all like the practical joke thing? And of course, you know that girls and in this case, especially their grandma, are prime targets to startle. Of course, girls apparently make a great target for most types of teasing…again, a guy thing.

Shai liked the girly things more, and was a great thrower of kisses. Not that she didn’t Shai throwing kisseshave a sense of humor too, because he does. She laughs with total delight if she can pull one over on someone. I always like the times when kids learned to throw kisses or to wave bye bye. Often their hand was turned the wrong way, and they were waving at themselves. Of course, that was the only way to make sure you were doing it right…right?

Yes, I love all those baby games, and those changes in the personalities of the babies as they take that journey from babyhood to childhood, and beyond. It is one of the greatest times in the life of a parent or grandparent.

Little kids are so curious. They are always checking out hidden spaces or hiding places to see what might be there. What we completely disregard, holds a special place of interest for them. It’s funny that you can have a toy right beside them, and they are more interested in the box, or what is under the table next to the toy. Maybe it is about places they can fit in, or maybe it is about Peek-A-Boo.

Kids learn the little games so quickly. Of course, Peek-A-Boo is a game that teaches the little ones that you will come back to them, if you have to leave for a time. They don’t know that is what they are learning, but it really is. Trust is such an important part of being a baby. They have to feel ok about the person holding them, and that is not always easy, because sometimes the person holding a baby is not much bigger that the baby is. Babies love that strong secure feeling that usually comes from being held close by an adult, who knows what they are doing.

When you think about it, placing yourself completely in the hands of someone else would be hard. That is obvious in the way that a baby will immediately cry when moved from the secure arms of an adult into the uncertain arms of a sibling that is about 2 years older that they are themselves. I guess I wouldn’t feel so safe in that situation either. But, with just a little support from Mommy or Daddy, being held by a young sibling suddenly isn’t so scary.

Kids do learn very quickly that their parents can be trusted to take care of them, and that it’s ok to go hide, because Mommy and Daddy will be there when they come out from under the table, out of the box, or when they take their hand away from their eyes. It’s all part of learning to live in this world, and for the most part, the games are about having fun, while learning. What baby doesn’t giggle with delight when they peek out from under that table to see the smiling face of their mommy or daddy? It’s a learning game, and one they all love to play.

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