Guest Blogger #1: Grandpa Walsh, April 2012

Guest blogging is the act of writing for another blog with the hope of getting quality backlinks, getting traffic, gaining exposure and building relationships. My father doesn’t expect to get any of these things, nor can he since he doesn’t blog himself. So let me, for the sake of definition, redefine guest blogging on pforpeanuts. A guest blog is an opportunity for someone, other than me, to write about our family. I consider these folks my guest bloggers. And today is my first guest blogger. Welcome, my father, Tom Walsh.

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Well, here goes. My first blog post ever, and I’m proud to be the first guest contributor to “pforpeanuts.” What a hoot. As those of you who read this blog on a regular basis already know, Mackenzie has done a fantastic job keeping all of us informed and enlightened with the progress of the kids. I feel very honored to be asked to do the first guest post. Here’s how it came about.

Over St. Patrick’s weekend, Kenzie asked Mary Ann (O’Gorman) and I if we would be willing to take the peanuts for a few days so she and Charles could catch a break and enjoy some of the SXSW music and festivities. I was flattered that she would trust us with her babies as this would be their first time away from mom and dad overnight–let alone 3 days. We eagerly accepted and then immediately began to wonder what we had gotten ourselves in to. Could we really handle two toddlers–just the two of us? What follows is the story of that weekend at, what we now affectionately refer to as, Camp Thomas.

It all began on the heels of a visit from two of my 4 sisters. Jane (and John) and Nancy came to Sun City (that’s where Camp Thomas is) on the Wednesday before St. Pat’s day. They were only passing thru, having been to see Jane’s daughter, Jodi and her family, in Houston before coming to my place. And they had to leave Thursday afternoon. So Kenzie came up Thursday morning so they could meet the kids. I made blueberry pancakes for everyone as my sisters got acquainted with the little ones, and we all enjoyed some high-quality time together. Kenzie, Jane, Nancy and I even managed to sneak in some Pickleball while the babies were napping at Grama Joan’s. With the sisters on their way back to KC, Kenzie stayed for dinner with us and the kids and then, I’m sure with some difficulty, departed for Austin, leaving us with the twins to put to bed by ourselves.

At this point, I must say that Mary Ann was not only extremely generous, and indeed courageous, in agreeing to take this on with me for the entire weekend, but she did such a great job with the kids that it made the whole experience, not only possible, but very rewarding. I can’t thank her enough and can’t really express how much it meant to me. I know the kids loved having her to watch over them. It seemed to me that she and Hudson did a lot of bonding that weekend. He’s a great hugger and she’s a great receiver.

So we got the twins ready for bed not knowing quite what to expect for their first night away from home. The kids have been to Camp Thomas quite a bit and have been around Mary Ann and I enough that we felt they would be comfortable. But you’re never quite sure how things will go. Ellisa usually goes to bed without a fuss, even though she often stays up for awhile talking to herself. Wish I knew what that girl is jabbering about when she’s in her bed, but she eventually nods off. Hudson, on the other hand, can have some trouble settling down and has been known to throw a fit…or two…or three, before finally giving in to what can only be described as sheer exhaustion. Ellisa was put down first with no problem, just like always. But with Hudson, we walked on eggshells as we approached his little crib. I remember putting him in the crib and waiting for him to explode with screams and whaling. But wait! It didn’t happen. He dropped to the pad in a semi-downward dog and collapsed in a heap, without as much as a beep. We couldn’t believe it. Must have the magic touch, we thought. Not wanting to press our luck, we tiptoed out of their room, and I even left the door ajar afraid to make any sound that might cause him to erupt. Neither of them made a sound and went fast asleep. And they slept pretty well all night, with only an occasional minute or two of some little sounds. Might have been dreaming. What a relief! We felt we were off to an absolute great start and hoped that this would be an omen of things to come.

And sure enough it was. I won’t bore you with all the gory details. Suffice it to say, the kids were perfect little angels. Sure grandpa. You’re just saying that aren’t you? No, really, they were lots of fun and gave us very little trouble at all. I attribute that to the terrific job Mackenzie and Charles have done with them. We had play time in the garage, walks in the wagon to see the fish pond and pickleball players. Took them to Mary Ann’s house to romp in her backyard that is fenced. Hudson dug in the dirt and ran the yard, while ‘Lisa sat quietly on Mary Ann’s glider, swinging and finally falling asleep in my lap. That was really special.

Ellisa waking after her nap.

I’d have to say my favorite times with them though were meal times. We all ate together at the big table in the dining area. We pull their booster seats up to the table so they can eat like big people and I think they really get into it as well. They are both trying to feed themselves right now, so we encouraged that and let the crumbs fall where they may. Hey, this only happens for a short time so why not enjoy it. The kids sat at opposite ends of the table, played off each other and engaged us with their own brand of toddler talk. I love to watch there actions and reactions. They are so different. Hudson is pretty much all business when it’s time to eat and focuses on getting as much in his mouth at one time as is humanly possible. Ellisa, on the other hand, seems more interested in social interaction. She is so funny, and I love the way she engages you with her eyes and her expressions. She is also a more careful eater than Hud, usually testing each morsel before fully taking it in. Funny how, with my own children, I don’t remember noticing all the little things they do at this age and how much they seem to know and be aware of. Amazing. Maybe as a grandparent you have a different perspective than when you are a parent. I think, as a parent, many times you’re just trying to get thru the day and have lots of other things on your mind…like survival. Whatever it is, it’s fascinating to watch these little people growing and learning so quickly. Something I truly cherish.

Well,  I could go on forever. But in the end, the whole experience was terrific, and I know Mary Ann agrees. We learned that it was something we could do and we look forward to the next opportunity. Yes, it was a lot of hard work, but we both felt less fatigue from the 3 days they were here than we sometimes feel when we have been with them in Austin for just part of a day. Interesting phenomenon, and I suspect has something to do with just being on our own and doing our own thing in our own environment. Who knows? Whose to say? How can you tell? (inside joke). Can’t wait till the little buggers come back to Camp Thomas for the next sleep over. I sure do love being Grandpa (Baapa)!

Some excerpts from the weekend.

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Comments
3 Responses to “Guest Blogger #1: Grandpa Walsh, April 2012”
  1. Natalie says:

    Well that was just a damn sweet post!! Great idea to have guest family bloggers, Kenzie! And, thanks for sharing Baapa!!

  2. Joe says:

    Great guest blog! Thanks for giving us another narrative to read. I think Charles should be next.

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