V and L in their double stroller
Our granddaughter V and grandson L turned three in September. We hadn’t seen the children since May, and we were excited to spend Thanksgiving in New Orleans. V and L are growing up very quickly. As a duo, they sang the alphabet song, recited the pledge of allegiance, and counted to ten in Spanish. They can operate the remote for the cable TV (which we never figured out) and are working on using their dad’s I-phone. They’ve also gotten to the stage where they’re good playmates with each other and much more able to communicate. K and J are model parents -- loving, involved, creative, sensitive, and fully enjoying their kids. It’s not an easy responsibility. Having been a parent in a one-child family, I’d say two kids the same age are a much more complicated task. There aren’t many breaks during the children’s ever-busy waking hours. However, J and K remain remarkably calm and supportive -- I don’t think either one of them raised their voice a single time. They delight in the children so much that even the hard stuff becomes fun. The children have become still more sociable since we last saw them. V, in particular, seems very adept for her age. When we went to a big Thanksgiving potluck dinner, she mixed among all the adults with ease. On the way to the party, V had picked a little blue flower, and, when we passed a young woman sitting on her steps, V handed her the flower and said, “I picked this for you.” You could see the young woman’s heart melt right on the spot. L, too, has become much more outgoing and secure than he was six months ago. Here are some photos of these cutie-pies which give a sense of their lives at age three.
Katja with V and Iko
We did some baby-sitting our first full day while J and K were at work. Katja was a little nervous beforehand, but once V told her how much she loved “Nana”, all anxieties evaporated.
Katja, V, and L watch "Diego"
The children watch some TV each day, and they sit motionless, entirely transfixed. They introduced us to “Diego” and “Dora”, and we became transfixed too.
At the Lemonade Parade
We walked up to Carrolton Ave. and discovered the Lemonade Parade smoothie shop. V and L split a strawberry Smoothie, and Katja had one too. I initially declined, but then decided to have a dish of chocolate ice cream. V and L, of course, immediately decided that chocolate ice cream was the best. I wound up sharing, though I insisted that children take a drink of their smoothies before each spoonful of ice cream.
Two angels take a nap
The children get up really early, and after hours of high paced activity they’re ready for a nap. They drift off without a peep like little angels.
Feeding the ducks at City Park
One afternoon K took us to City Park which is a short drive from their house. There’s a fun playground, a Peristyle guarded by huge sculpted lions, and a flock of ducks who are happy to chase after a never-ending supply of bread crumbs.
Busy at Cooking School
“Cooking School” is a favorite activity at home. L and V were pretty accomplished at measuring out the flour, breaking eggs with their hands, and mixing it all together. I didn’t taste the finished product, but the children gobbled it up.
L is an excellent eater
My vague impression is that the children eat all the time. They zoom around at such a rapid pace that they need a lot of fuel, and they snack all day long. Unlike lots of children who can be more picky, V and L eat everything. Fruits and vegetables, nuts, granola bars, hummas, crackers, eggs, chicken, etc.
V greets Mr. Okra
Mr. Okra, New Orleans’ last traveling fruit and vegetable vendor, made his weekly rounds one day, and V ran out to greet him. Mr. Okra knows V and L by name, and they had a friendly exchange.
V and L on the Panther
We went to the zoo in Audubon Park one afternoon, another of the children’s favorite outings. It’s a beautiful setting because of the palm trees, live oaks, and tropical foliage, and the children loved the animals, whether real or sculpted.
Cotton candy at the Circus
There’s nothing that lends more magic to the circus than a pair of three-year-olds. I’d forgotten how wonderful cotton candy can be. Not to mention the wild tigers, trained elephants, trapeze artists, and motorcycle daredevils.
Building the gingerbread house
K brought home a gingerbread house package from the store, and the children enthusiastically helped to build it. Because of a few mishaps, it took some duct tape to get the structure to hold together, but it was a big success nonetheless.
V’s photo of Mom and Grandpa
V decided she was tired of being photographed, but would rather take the photographs herself. I gave her my digital camera, and (at age 3) she took this picture of her Mom and Grandpa. You can tell that the adults thought this was fun.
Leo climbs on Grandpa (photo by JML)
A nice thing about little kids, like doggies, is that there’s a lot of affection shown through physical contact. I enjoyed reading the Times-Picayune while L enjoyed climbing on my back.
V stomps her foot
Even though V didn’t want to have her picture taken any more, she became more cooperative when I captured her stomping her foot on the dining room table. L, in the meantime, shows the kind of concentration abilities that suggests that one day he’ll be a prominent scholar.
Family breakfast at the Ruby Slipper
We all went out to breakfast at the Ruby Slipper, right down the street. V and L have reached an age where they can do pretty well eating out, and they elicited many admiring reactions from the public.
Grandkids and grandparents
All in all, we had a wonderful time. Now we’re sad to be away, but look forward to our next get-together.
-Phyllis S-S (12-9): dear Dave, They are soooooooo adorable. You look very happy being with them… Phyllis
-Gayle C-L (12-9): David, What a great trip you had w the family.
The last photo w you Katya and the kids is just great! Everyone looks great and the kids have really grown:) Looking forward to your next letter:)
Lots of love, G