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Friday, September 22, 2017, 5:12 a.m.

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Keeping Kennedy is best way to spend vacation

By Tammy Keith

This article was published August 27, 2017 at 12:00 a.m.

Best. Vacation. Ever.

When my daughter-in-law went back to work earlier this month after being on maternity leave, I took a week of my vacation to take care of Kennedy, my 3-month-old granddaughter.

I am lucky that they live about 1 1/2 miles from me. I’d get there about 7 every morning so my daughter-in-law and son could get ready for work.

There is nothing better than picking up a baby out of a crib and seeing her give you a big, toothless smile. Scratch that. Holding her when she’s asleep is another level of heaven. As a woman I interviewed for a story recently said about holding sleeping babies, “Everything else melts away.”

Amen to that. Looking at Kennedy’s little face when she’s sleeping is pure bliss. Even if the back of her head makes my arm sweaty, or I’ve held her so long my arm feels like it’s going to fall off, or my rear end is numb, or I have to go to the bathroom, it’s hard for me to put her down.

I know too well how fast they get too big to rock. Sometimes I rock her in a white wicker chair in her nursery. It is the same chair I used with my firstborn — her 6-4 daddy.

When Kennedy got fussy, which was rare, I walked her around and sang songs like “The Wheels on the Bus.” One day I started singing “Little Bunny Foo-Foo,” a song my mother sang to me, but I stopped when I realized “scooping up the field mice and splatting ’em on the head” wasn’t really baby-friendly. I switched to “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.”

I mostly made up songs. One day I was making up words to the tune of The Addams Family television show theme song. I found out my daughter-in-law sings the days of the week to Kennedy with that same tune, but I swear I’d never heard her.

There’s “Shiny Sink,” an original song that I sang when I was trying to get her mind off being hungry while the bottle was warming. She is fascinated by the reflection of light on the silver stopper in the bottom of the glass sink in their guest bathroom.

I held her and swayed as I sang, “Shiny sink, shiny sink; we love the shiny sink. What do you think — about the shiny sink?” That’s really all I’ve got. I’m not quitting my job to try song writing in Nashville.

Every morning after I fed her, I’d dress the little fashionista in one of her 400 adorable outfits and find a matching headband. Then I’d lay her on her monogrammed blanket and take pictures for our group text called Kennedy Fan Club.

I’d put her in the activity gym, which plays music and has interesting toys dangling from the top, and watch her happily play, coo and kick; in the afternoon, she got tummy time. We read a lot of books, which she looked at intently with her beautiful blue eyes.

Mimi (that’s me) tried to wear her around the house in a sling, but my back hurt, no matter what I tried. Sometimes she got to rock in her swing and look at the monkey mobile while I washed bottles or clothes.

The days went by too fast, and I am back at work now. Another lucky woman is getting to rock Kennedy, read to her and kiss those chubby cheeks.

My next vacation is to Florida in October to celebrate my 30th wedding anniversary.

Unless I get a better offer.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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