Posts Tagged ‘Paris’

Ever since Grandma Penny skipped town, Ava has played Plane-Ride-to-Paris. This consists of packing up ponies, barrettes, books, dolls, socks, and flashcards into a gypsy assortment of purses and bags, then dragging these bags along with her animal entourage out the living room. She loads them up on the brown, velvet 747 that is taxied in our living room and then proceeds to fly them non-stop to Paris.

Of course by the time she has arrived at her destination, it looks more like plane wreck.

So in the evenings we play an equally fun, but not as enthusiastic game called, sort-all-your-toys-and-put-them-away. It’s nearly as exciting as pretending to travel to Paris, but not quite.

After nearly four months of transforming the living room into an airline hanger, Ava is well versed in the interworkings of transatlantic flights and how to prepare for them.

And if anything, Ava is confident. Confident in all the things that she is confident that she knows. And she knows how to pack for a plane ride to Paris.

So when Grandma Penny needed to refill her suitcase after her much-too-short visit home who better to help her than the expert.

Now Ava and Grandma hit a challenge that neither were prepared for or experienced in. Grandpa Lyle had left a sub-woofer in Grammy’s bag. It was not only large, but heavy. Ava and Grammy had to squeeze her things around the speaker without exceeding the fifty-pound limit.

After two attempts to fill, zip, drag, and weigh the suitcase, it was clear that somethings were going to have to be left behind. As the consultant, Ava tackled the problem with the intesity of a captain deciding who gets to ride on the lifeboat.

“But Grammy, you need your umbrella! It rains in Paris.”

“There’s no room for it.”

“But Grammy, you need it. It’s important. It fits right here. See.”

When Grammy pulled out her make-up bag in an attempt to rearrange, Ava bounded over to the bag and quickly rescued it.

“Grammy! You can’t leave that! You have to bring it. It’s very important. I’ll get it in. See. There.”

“See Grammy, it fits. You have to have your make-up! It’s very important.”

At three-and-a-half, Ava perceives that outer beauty is only skin-deep, so it’s best to have a good make-up bag on board.

Editor’s Note: Ava consulting services extend beyond packing and involve most aspects of domestic life, including but not limited too: pie-dough rolling, bread kneading, cookie cutting, plant watering, bath bubbling, clothes matching, dog feeding, furniture arranging, baby naming, and paper cutting. If you are in need of an “expert” on any one of these or other duties, please contact Ava at badgersontheloose@gmail.com. Rates vary on perceived experience.

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Back in October, a sweet little girl in Norway saw a picture of the Fairy Princess Ballerina,

and traded in her pink leopard costume for this:


Quit an impressive knock-off.

Late last week, Grandma Penny was strolling through Paris and saw this:


Notice anything? Look again.


That looks remarkably similar to this:


Poor Grammy thought her Ava had come for a surprise visit to Paris.

Her coat has made it across the deep blue sea, perhaps the rest of her is soon to follow.

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show and tell

Why would a three-year-old choose this to bring to show-and-tell?


So she could tell her class that this is where her grandma has moved to. Well, not exactly the Eiffel Tower, but a few blocks away from it.

About three weeks ago, Ava and Grammy’s weekly visits turned from this:


to this:


I have delayed in telling you this, as I hardly wanted it to be true. The week before Nate’s mom boarded the plane to join her husband for their two-year European adventure, I was in a state of near depression and panic.

In the words from Ava’s opening monologue this morning: “Grammy, what are you thinkin’? You are supposed to be here with me and Katelyn!” Of course this is followed by many “I love you”‘s, “You’re so sweet,” Where’s Grandpa?” and “Can you see my foot?”

And what is Penny thinking? Precisely what I would be thinking if Nate was offered a two-year position in Paris with continental travel benefits. Believe me, I’d have all three of our bags packed before he could drive home and fill me in on the details.

And I was the one cheering them on to take advantage of this opportunity until they actually decided to take advantage of it and made plans to leave us.

Ah, I kid. I could not be more excited for them as they embark on this incredible adventure together. And truly I could not see a more fitting entry into retirement after twenty years of faithfully teaching special education in an inner-city, middle school.

Four weeks ago, I brought Ava as show-and-tell to Penny’s retirement/we-are-so-jealous-that-you-are-moving-to-Paris party hosted by the sweet staff from her school.


The Fairy Princess Ballerina twirled her pink polyester through teachers, gumdrops, gifts, and cake, sublimely unaware that that basket of French imports was not merely more goodies to be sampled, but an indication that her grandma and grandpa would be soon headed to their home of origin.

Even though It’s been several weeks since her plane headed east, I still have to remind myself that she isn’t in her classroom down the street from our home. And I still instinctively grab my cell phone when Ava says something that would make her smile, like when Ava told me that her cousin Katelyn was really, really sad that Grammy had left. I asked her if she was sad, and she replied, “Nope, she’ll be back.”

These days Ava wakes up declaring that “it’s light out! Now it’s dark where Grammy is.” She’s learning how to call Grammy on Skype (through the computer) and to check for new pictures on their blog. Ava has also packed up her menagerie and taken a dozen or two planes rides to Paris, courtesy of Couch Lines International.

Over the river and through the woods has now become over the ocean and through the plains to Grandmother’s flat we go. Hopefully. Still have to find a way to redeem Couch Line flight vouchers.

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