You might think that since Grand-mère is a formal French title, that it might have something to do with Mom’s side of the family. After all, Mom studies all sorts of things French. And while neither side of the family stands greatly on formality, you’ll find fewer fart jokes told around the dinner table with Mom’s side of the family. But no, you’d be mistaken. OK, it’s not much of a fairy tale, but here’s the story of how Grand-mère got her name. You see, Grand-mère was not the first Grand-mère ever. Though when Grand-mère’s mother first had the opportunity to take the name, she shunned it. After all, Grand-mères are old. And she didn’t want any reminders that age was sneaking up on her, and that the cycle of life continued regardless of her acceptance. So we just called her “Ruth.” That mostly made sense; It was, after all, her name.
No, how Grand-mère got her name goes back still one more generation to Samantha’s great-great-grandmother — Eloise Goodman. She was very much the matriarch of the family. She ran a tight family, and was proud of it. Everyone in the family simply called her “Mother.” It was pretty much a synonym for “Boss”, but with a slightly more familiar ring to it. One of her daughters (the aforementioned Ruth), had children of her own — one girl, then twin boys, and then another boy. When the twin boys were in their early teens, they were traveling in Europe with “Mother”, as was fasionable to do at the time. Here’s where the story gets lost in the mists of time. I’m not sure if they boys were embarrassed to call such a stately, older woman “Mother”, or if she was concerned that with cute young boys calling her “Mother” she might be regarded as a high-society madam. Regardless, there was some amount of embarrasement somewhere, and the boys started calling her Grand-mère. At least, that’s how I choose to make up the story. The appelation stuck. So, that’s how Sam’s Grand-mère’s Grand-mère got her name. When it came time for the cycle of life to rotate around again and “AC” became “Dad” and “Carolyn” became “Mom”, their Moms and Dads had to pick new, grandparent-y names. And so, because of her little, twin brothers traveling in Europe, your Dad’s Mother became Grand-mère.
OK, that was more to Sam than to you guys. Certainly, as a fairy tale, it can only really be fascinating to a 2-week old, and even then only if combined with ceiling lights that appear to move around. But moving around brings us to our next topic. Sam’s arm movements. Sometimes, they crack me up. Pretty much whenever we set her down on the changing table (nee coffee table), her arms outstretch in pretty much the exact same way I would expect mine to if I were suddenly pushed backward off of the Empire State building. Also, during her alert, but not fussy periods (alas, too few and far between), her arms move across and around her body in slow motion. I would say that she moves her arms across and around her body, but I don’t think she yet realizes that those tiny, pink, sausage-like appendages in front of her actually belong to her. These slow, but not yet purposeful movements look so much like the little we know of Tai Chi that we have taken to calling them “Tot Chi”.