Janet Hommel Mangas: Butt pats and irises

I received a text last week that almost read like a personal ad.

“Likes butt pats, walking, singing and being outside when he’s fussy,” it said. That sounded like a perfect match for me since it was pointers for spending the entire day with my 7-week old grandson, John Steven.

My daughter added, “If he wakes up grumpy, he probably didn’t nap very long and you can usually get him back to sleep.” Snuggle time with Granny-Janny (GJ) is a priority now while he can’t crawl, roll over or run — I’ve heard from other grandparents that their grandchildren get mighty busy with school and friends when they turn 16 and learn to drive.

A few weeks ago in preparation of our ‘John and GJ days,’ I downloaded a new app — Ovia. It’s kind of a new gamer app, where a grandparent and mom play separately but together, to track a babies feeding, sleeping, poo and peeing schedule. It’s quite a handy little app — and better than the old write it down on paper method, which I often lost or spilled hot tea on when my mom occasionally cared for my wee ones. I find myself extremely thankful at this mature stage of my life when I see on Ovia that Chloe has been up to nurse baby John at 10:30 p.m., 2:30 a.m., 4:30 a.m., 7:30 a.m…

The first full day with John was a success — he was fed and changed and seemed content with his tummy-time practice and rolling side-to-side on his back with added quad kicks. I found out John Steven absolutely loves our bedroom ceiling fan (thanks to my brother Kevin for hanging it years ago.) It makes diaper changing more pleasant when a lil’ guy is smiling at the rotating fan.

I also found that John enjoys my rather lavishly-long stories. Early in the afternoon while strolling through the garden (I took the “he likes being outside when he’s fussy” to heart) I confessed to him how I really don’t like the yellow irises in my garden. The white ones are my favorite

And I do love my Siberian irises — they never flop like a few of my bearded yellows. (Yes, I realize the yellows may need dividing or more sun) But as he listened intently, gazing into my eyes and smiling occasionally as I talked, I shared that I shall always grow irises because they remind me to outwardly display my thankfulness to others.

My mother always grew a circular patch of purple irises on Rose Lane in the early ’70s. And near the end of school every year, she would cut 20 to 25 irises from her garden, take them into the kitchen and wrap and group four or five iris-bottoms with wet newspapers covered with aluminum foil. Then she would send her five elementary-aged school children to Our Lady of Greenwood Catholic School to thank our teachers.

By the time I finished my Great-Grandma Betty story, John Steven’s eyes had slowly batted to closed and he was asleep. And I made a note to cut some irises to bring to my mom.

Janet Hommel Mangas grew up on the east side of Greenwood. The Center Grove area resident and her husband are the parents of three daughters. Send comments to [email protected]