Grammy, Grampy, Loo-loo, Alla!
This is the whole-hearted baby-tune that spills over from the backseat as we make our way into Boulder to see Grammy, Grampy, Aunt Alex and Lucy the dog. Opal is almost distracted enough by her anticipation to not mind the full-face of sunshine that blasts through the back window, an inevitability during the mid-day, due-north drive. Uncle David will probably be there also, an Opal-adored fixture in the Bosque Court household, but the specific brand of awe that is reserved for him is typically stored up in order to be savored in person.
In short, Opal loves going to grammy and grampy's house.
They have their own perfectly lovely little routine over there and, even better, they have all their own stuff. Opal has her own special cupboard for food, snacks, bowls, spoons, bibs and the like. She even has her own stroller in the garage! All we need to pack for our visits is B the bunny and Milk. Two items. Not even enough to constitute writing up a list. Heaven.
Grammy has a pack-n-play permanently installed at the foot of her bed, draped with thick velour blankets, like a little room with Victorian curtains. It houses Opal's Donkey, who is B's nearly identical alter-ego, sans tail and pointy ears, and who keeps residence full time at Grammy's.
She calls him Donkey, dockee. The nickname "D" had already been taken by Uncle David.
Grammy has her own noise machine, baby monitor and continuously growing cascade of board-books, which are read to Opal in grammy's pillowy bed. I remember as a little girl how luxurious it was to take naps at my grandparents' house— the rich, velvety blanket that was a working comforter on my Grandma Herman's bed. How it had a fruity, soapy smell when I buried my face into it and breathed hot, damp air. The house was always a little cool, so I would tuck the blanket tightly beneath my chin, envelope my curled-up body without leaving a single gap vulnerable to the open air. Grandma's bedroom was always so clean and clutter-free, as I remember it. It felt so grown-up to be in there. It was where adults would nap, I used to think. There and in the recliner in front of the T.V.
On the ground floor of Bosque Ct., much of the grown-up decor in grampy's main living space —grammy and grampy live together—has either been altered, removed or replaced with baby-in-mind. The fabulous, puzzle-piece coffee tables (with extra-sharp corners) are removed before Opal arrives and a couch-cushion buffer is assembled around the gorgeous gem and rock collection at the base of the fireplace. There are boxes and baskets of toys abound, seeming to stay tidily put away in their respective bins until Opal shows up again to professionally dismantle them all.
The Bosque Ct. gang goes for a walk as often as weather permits. Lucy the dog is a treasured bit of entertainment for the stroll and Opal anticipates their outings from the moment she enters the front door. Eash! Eash! Lou-Lou! As she attempts to scale the wall in order to reach one of the many leashes that dangle from the coat-hooks in the front hall. One of them is spring loaded and when she yanks on it, it lengthens then springs like a slingshot against the wall.
Uh-oh, she says. No attempt at hiding a slight grin that boasts her single, perfect-sidways top tooth.
Opal goes to grammy and grampy's at least one afternoon a week. She has for many months now, since long before she could crawl. I drop her off just before her afternoon nap time and daddy picks her up after work, which allows me a splendid chunk of day to fill with errands and appointments and the occasional yoga class. Playing my cards more mindfully could even get me an entire afternoon off—imagine!— though writing these words is a plain reminder that I am hardly ever that organized.
Grammy is queen-master of thinking up precious little games and granddaughter play-scenarios. She patiently obliges as Opal buries her in one blanket after another (nada blankie!) or stacks hat after hat atop her head, an expression of pure mirth draped across both their faces. At the conclusion of each visit, grammy is left brewing another idea (nada idea!) of something that needs to be purchased to fully support Opal's current imaginary themes or basis for baby-amusement. We knew from the beginning that she would be one of those grammies who'd not only take part in the most ornate and exquisite of tea parties, she would be one of the key organizers.
Auntie Alex has the energy of a vivacious cattle dog as she chases Opal through the space, thus inspiring baby-squeals and continuous looks-over-the-baby-shoulder to make sure she has no intentions of stopping the game. Opal romps and frolics in the airstream of Alex's zest. She scampers to show Alex her newest amusement, knowing that it will be fully embraced, as if they are singing along to the very same ditty.
As for grampy, the affection hasn't wavered from the very first night we brought Opal home from the hospital. That night, he called her such a sweeeet girl as he fit her entire body in his forearm and rocked her to sleep. A more recent image that comes to mind depicting grampy's gentle demeanor is when he returned from waking her up from a nap one afternoon with her snuggled tight to him, her little head nuzzled into the nape of his neck. So cozy.
And as I mentioned before, Uncle D is a total marvel to her. Opal meets him and his friends with a mixture of tentativeness and glee, unable quite to decide which feeling to commit to from one moment to the next. David never fails to give her generous amounts of attention before scurrying back up to his bedroom.
An afternoon at Bosque is the equivalent of an afternoon at the baby-spa; Opal stews inside a well-lit tank of steady appreciation, adoration, delight. She comes home looking like a cat who spent the better part of the day basking in the sun, having slipped into contented snores the moment daddy tucked her in the carseat to head home.