My mom was a sit at the dressing table woman. Wherever she lived, she had a table with a chair or bench with all of her accoutrements laid out in front of her. She'd do her hair and put on her make up and start her day. She called it 'putting on my face'.
She never played with us much growing up. She was too busy and besides that's what grandmother's do and her mother was The Best Grandmother Ever. Sure enough, when my brother and sister started having kids, all of a sudden my mom became their best buddy.
They called her Monkey* and one of their favorite Monkey times was helping her with her morning ritual. I was visiting one time when one of my nephews was there and his mother called out to him to do something and I heard this tiny voice chirp "I can't right now, I'm helping Monkey put on her face!"
She had 5 grandchildren and they each, at one time or another, got to be helper. They would sit next to her and hand her whatever was next. She told me that one of my sister's daughters was particularly OCD about the order of things. If Mom brushed her hair before she put on her lipstick or some other such out of order horror, there was hell to pay.
Today in the locker room at the pool, I watched a little girl help her grandmother with her makeup and I could hear that little voice all over again. "I'm helping Money put on her face!"
*When the oldest grandson was 2 and a half, his brother was born. They lived in San Diego. My parent (and I) lived in North Carolina. My Mom flew out to help with the oldest and brought him back home with her. They landed in Charlotte after the long trip and stopped off at my house before continuing on the 2 hours to Mom's home.
Mom and Alex had bonded pretty strongly on the trip. When they got to my house, my Mom, ready for a few toddler moments free, went down the hall to the bathroom leaving the kid in the living room with us.
He had a fit. He started screaming his head off and took off to find her. He was whaling. And crying out - as best we could tell - MOOOOONNNNNNNKKKKKKKEEEEEYYYYYYY over and over again until she finally came out of the bathroom and he was instantly calm and happy.
From that day on, my Mom was called Monkey by all her grandchildren. They called my Dad, Popeye but I have no idea why, they just did. Monkey and Popeye.