Monday, May 20, 2013


When I found four gold plated dessertspoons in the toe of my riding boot and pennies stuffed the fingers of my riding gloves, I knew Grandkid World had officially arrived in our lives. My husband and I now have ten grandchildren; please note, I don’t look old enough to have five grandchildren.

I am the YaYa.

Being a Mommy means twenty percent fun and eighty percent worry.

Being the YaYa means eighty percent fun and twenty percent worry, because you know that whatever weirdness the kid is up to he’ll out grow—or he won’t. It’s no skin off the YaYa’s nose.

Being a mom made me gray, and being a grandmother makes me want to learn how to ride a dirt bike. It also means that I have become the Oracle of All Wisdom for my daughters on various matters of the mothering kind, leading to conversations like this:

 “Mom, feel Conner’s head,” Conner’s mom said.

Conner’s head was small, fuzzy, and three weeks old.

I picked up Conner and felt his head. It felt small, fuzzy, and three weeks old.

“What is that?” Heather asked, pointing to his perfect head.


“On the top of his head.”

“You mean his soft spot? Heather, you know babies have soft spots.”

I watched Zoe’s two-year old ponytail as it bobbed its way past me, through the living room—nothing soft about the head under that ponytail. Zoe is Conner’s big sister and official hard head.

“I know it’s his soft spot,” she said, grabbing the baby from me. “But isn’t it deeper?”

“Deeper than what?” I ran my hand over his perfectly normal skull—again.

“You know! Deeper than average!”

I must have looked blank and stupid, because she decided to explain the theory of Conner’s deepening head hole.

“Because, Mom, I caught Zoe poking his head with a Q-tip, and now I think his soft spot is deeper.”

Zoe was building a small fort out of Q-tips under the couch. She was also pouring water over her own head out of a measuring cup from the kitchen.

“Could he be lobotomized now?” My daughter’s frown was deep, pained, and serious.

I recognized this as one of those moments when I could practice my excellent reflective listening skills. (Note: Reflective listening is a technique where you repeat back to a person their very own words, pretty much because you can’t believe someone that intelligent could say something that dopey.)

“Now let me understand you. You think Zoe took a Q-tip, gave Conner a lobotomy through the soft spot on the top of his head, and now his brain is ruined. Is that about it?”

“Yes, yes. Feel his head again.”

 I felt his head again, and then I felt Heather’s.

She’ll relax. She’ll have to, because one of these days she’ll walk into a bedroom and find one of the kids (sound asleep) with his/her pants around their ankles, and a Fisher Price thermometer stuck between his/her knees. And through a little detective work, she’ll uncover the fact that while this kid was taking a nap, the other kids tried to take the sleeping kid’s temperature—rectally.

They failed, but it was a close house call.

It’s what the sports commentator said a couple of weeks ago about cross-country skiing at the Olympics.

“You’ve got to save something for the hills, Christina. You’ve got to save something for the hills.”


As the official YaYa, I would like to say to the young moms out there. “You’ve got to save something for the hills, honey. You’ve got to save something for the hills.”

Because if you think Zoe giving Conner a lobotomy with a Q-tip is the worst of it, you are going to lose this race.

Linda (Been There, Worried About That) Zern


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