Wednesday, September 12, 2018

What Kids Say About Grandparents

I think about my grandparents nearly every day. They've been gone quite some time but I still miss them terribly and this led me to wonder what today's kids love about their grandparents. And what do we do when we want to know something? We ask. So, I asked a kid or 2 and thoroughly enjoyed their responses.

No, of course, this wasn't a scientific study. I only polled 93 kids but I still feel I got a good idea of what it is they love about their grandparents.

I got some super cute responses such as--
  • their hugs (3-year-old)
  • coloring with them and rocking with them (3-year-old)
  • they have chicken nuggets (5-year-old)
  • they make me laugh (9-year-old)
  • playing with their toys (4-year-old)
There were some funny ones--
  • they spoil me (5th grader)
  • they have a humungous tv with lots of channels (5th grader)
  • they let us play in the creek mud at low tide (twins age 11)
The activity driven ones--
  • he takes me fishing (5-year-old)
  • they let us have sleepovers (6-year-old)
  • they have a farm and I have fun with them (8-year-old)
Even some big kids (ages 15-23) mentioned they knew they could always go to their grandparents' house no matter what. 

I did notice there were a few reasons that almost every single kiddo mentioned. Enough for me to quickly see a pattern. Nearly every single kiddo mentioned that their grandparents--
  1. listen
  2. spend uninterrupted time with them
  3. show genuine interest in things the kids like and want to do
  4. make the kids feel loved/safe
I don't think they were saying their parents don't do these things but a grandparent can dote. A grandparent can put things off while the grandkids are around. I remember wearing the parent shoes when the lovelies were growing up. Parents love their children but they have responsibilities that take their attention and time such as providing food, shelter, and clothing for their family, paying bills, getting the kids from here to there, home maintenance... all things that are necessary and still have quality time with their kids. Family life is busy and it isn't always easy to find that balance. 

I didn't find any of these responses selfish at all. Who doesn't want to spend time with people who are genuinely interested in them? Who want to do things with them...who listen to us...who pay more attention to us than to our phones.

I mean, did y'all notice how none of those involved buying them things? I did have a couple who added going out to eat and to the candy store to their list but the gist was the same. It was the time. The time gladly and enthusiastically taken to interact with one another. Maybe we have more time when we become grandparents or maybe we simply realize the importance of how we spend our time.

When I think back on my own grandparents, this is the very reason I loved spending so much time with them. It wasn't about what we did but the time spent with them was genuine. They weren't trying to keep me quiet or get me out of their hair. It never mattered where we went or if we went as long as I was with my grandparents, I had a good time and I knew without a doubt I was loved. Unconditionally.

Oh, and when my own two were asked?

Bug (2 years old): "AMMA'S HOUSE!" (Oh, my official grandma name is, Amma thanks to Bug.)
Puppy (1 year old): "BAH!" (That's his word for ball and I had given him a box filled with 48 beach balls for his birthday...LOL)

Both of the kids LOVED the big box of balls so I have one at my house, too.

No wonder grandparenting is such fun. Grandkids are the BEST!

What did you love most about your grandparents?

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Friday, September 7, 2018

Kids Say the Darnedest Things

Especially when the timing is embarrassing. Also especially when you're the one who accidentally taught them 'that word.' Oops.

I'm not going to pretend we don't let an expletive or two slip out of our mouths every so often. We're not that family who uses 'those words' as daily adjectives of choice or anything but we aren't unfamiliar with 'those words'.

My grandmother had one word she used in certain situations. Her word of choice was the 's' word- sh*t. My brothers and I would occasionally utter, "Oh, Grandmother's word!" when an expletive was warranted which drove my mother NUTS! She would yell at us that was the same thing as saying the word itself! to no avail because hey, grandmothers know best.)

Apparently, the apple doesn't fall far from the grandmother tree in this family.

When Bug was just saying a word or ten here and there, I was trying to turn off the ceiling fan one day while holding her which made the task interesting and I pulled the wrong chain. "Well, sh*t!" fell out of my mouth before I even realized what had happened and for a brief fraction of a second thought it would pass by without notice. WRONG. "Sh*t, sh*t, sh*t" were the next words I heard and they didn't come from my mouth and there was only one other human in the room. Uh-oh.

Why is it when babies are able to utter only a handful of intelligible words they have no trouble
repeating the one expletive the one time it slips out of our mouths? We know it's going to happen because most of us have either done it ourselves or know someone who has.

About one week later, Bug and her mom were here visiting Mother because OF COURSE this whole thing would happen while Mother was living here and when Bug accidentally knocked something over on a table she said, clear as day, "Oh, sh*t!"

Luckily I had already confessed the earlier incident to my daughter so she chuckled knowing what was coming next.

Mother: What in the world has your mother been teaching you?!
My Daughter: It wasn't me (while pointing toward the kitchen)
Mother: Oh, what has grandma been teaching you, then?!

I'd be lying if I said we didn't get a big laugh and share some fun memories of grandmother. I'd also be lying if I said I would feel much better had anyone else in the family been the one have expletive slippage in front of Bug but they didn't. I'd also again be lying if I said the main reason I wish someone else had faux pas-ed is because living this down will take forever. What are you gonna do? We're not perfect people and I really wouldn't want to be anyway.

Because sh*t happens.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Long Distance Grandparenting

I'm sure the fact 'grandparenting is grand' has been well documented by any and all who are grandparents but gosh do we ever get tired of saying it? No. The answer is no we never get tired of talking about how great it is to be a grandparent.

I'm one of the lucky grandparents who get to live close to my grandloves. I'm not sure I could stand it if I didn't see these precious faces at least once a week or so.

What about those grandparents who do live far away from their grandkiddos? Thanks to technology, they are able to stay in touch easily and even though it's not the same as living in the same town it is much better than it used to be. Our family keeps up with my favorite nephew and his sweet family this way but now that his oldest has started kindergarten, I started thinking of ways to 'sort of' be a little involved in their lives from 5 hours away.

Here's what I came up with:
  • Send cards via snail mail. Who doesn't like getting a sweet little card in the mail? 
  • Send little surprises by snail mail. 
  • If you video chat with your grands, try something other than simply talking. Find out what their favorite book is and read it to them or send them a new book in the mail and read it with them or sing some of their favorite songs while video chatting. 
  • Consider setting up a travel account to be able to be with them for their milestone events. Not everyone is blessed with unlimited funds but a little planning goes a long way. 
  • Make a digital scrapbook of you (and your spouse) from childhood to becoming a grandparent. This is a great way for the parents to read your story to the kids and it will probably spark wonderful conversations about what their parents' childhood was like. Make one of the grandkids, too for yourself. I do this regularly for my older relatives and they LOVE it!
  • Make videos of your town, even include your friends and send it to the kiddos. Include special attractions or just a sample of a regular day or just playing with your pet. 
  • Send them baked goods in the mail. I feel most of my childhood would not have been nearly so fantastic without my grandmother's baked goods. You could even video yourself making the goodies and include it in the package or send it to the parents with instructions to not open it until the package arrives. 
  • Send a card with $$ to be spent at their favorite ice cream shop or wherever they enjoy getting a treat. 
  • Plant a tree in your yard and take pictures of it as it grows 'with the child' and have the child stand by it for pictures everytime he/she/they visit. 
  • If you can't be there for a special event--recital, performance, game, etc... have flowers, a basket of goodies or whatever delivered to them the day of or even directly to the event venue.
  • Start a game by taking turns sending a picture of something in your house or a room (and theirs) for you to guess what it is. You could also take turns sending pictures of your favorite book/treasure/whatever. You could make a collage or scrapbook of their favorite things and they could do the same with your photos. 
  • Make a family history scrapbook for them. My girls LOVE theirs.
  • Share family stories. My girls love hearing family stories over and over again even though they're adults with kids of their own. Even if you've told the story before, tell it. I thought I'd told a few that I hadn't and the girls loved getting a new story but they also never mind hearing the repeated ones. 
  • Keep up with the latest kid trends. You can read, volunteer at a local school, get in a mom group on FB--I've found the ones here welcome grandmothers. :)
That's all I've got for now but I would LOVE to hear your thoughts! Research actually shows the benefits of being involved in the lives of our grandchildren reach further than within our families. Children with grandparents who are actively involved have a great compassion for aging, they seem to be happier and live longer. The sharing of new ideas and life wisdom benefits both generations. Children have shown fewer social and emotional problems and less trouble with peers when they have close relationships with their grandparents. Grandparents can benefit from increased brain and physical activity. Staying close with your grandkiddos benefits everyone. 

Of course, all I think about is the benefit of loving these little sweethearts! 

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Friday, August 17, 2018

Grandparenting is Grand

I could get all flowery and gushy but if you're a grandparent you already know what grandparenting is like and if you aren't your time will come so why do we need all that gush that's already been spouted here and on every other blog of a grandparent? Let's just get on with the good stuff. The photos!

When school is having a break while getting ready for the new school year, my sweet granddaughter and I get to spend some time together. We were so BUSY this week.

Bug (still working out a nickname I love) turned 2 last month and her sweet cousin will be turning 1 in another week. Since Puppy (still working out his nickname, too) LOVES balls, I decided to get him a big box full of beach balls so Bug and I worked on the project this week. Well, I worked on it while she played with it. I think it'll be a bit hit! Please notice her tee-shirt. "Wild Hair, Don't Care" and she doesn't.

One of my favorite things is chocolate milk and I happened to have a glass when Bug arrived one day. 

Bug: "What's that?"
Me: "Chocolate milk."
Bug: "Have some?"
Me: "Sure! But don't tell your Mommy!"

I never got my glass of chocolate milk back. Which is fine because what grandkids want, grandmas give them. #amiright

When you want the dog to stay inside and play with you, you tell him. "Don't go outside, Tucker."

And you spend a good deal of time twirling and laughing. I think she needs one of those #twirlyskirts don't y'all?

The grandson was here over the weekend. He's been walking all over the place for a few weeks now and wow! what a difference in the amount of things he gets in to.

He loves knocking down towers I make with the big blocks.

Then again, he loves doing just about anything and yes that's a little sunburn on his little arms but that wasn't me. #justsayin #lol Hey, it matches his hair. Gosh, that #redhair, y'all!

Seriously, that boy will follow a ball anywhere or at least try to which often ends up in a self-inflicted predicament though this time he dodged the proverbial bullet.

We have the next birthday coming up Thursday and I'll be inundating the internet with pictures again next week!

Have a wonderful weekend, y'all!

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Monday, August 13, 2018

Happy Lefty Day

To all the lefties out there. I'm one, are you?

I remember there being some things said about my left-handedness when I was a kid but nothing as harsh as history tells us. I mean, I've never been accused of being a witch or worse so there's that. Actually, I remember embracing my left-handedness early on because it set me apart from most other people around me, young and old. I liked that. I never enjoyed being part of the crowd.

It is true that the world is all set up for right-handers but it was never difficult for me to adjust. The desks at school? I simply tilted my paper or notebooks and I've never been able to write with my wrist contorted to write upside down. Right-handed scissors? I do fine with them and cannot cut a thing with scissors made for lefties. I bat right-handed, I throw baseballs and footballs right-handed, and I cannot use a mouse with my left hand. Nothing else sticks out in my mind as being bothersome or causing me to adjust myself so being a lefty wasn't stressful or difficult for me.

I love being a lefty and get so excited when I meet another one. They don't come around very often but when they do, we tend to overreact with our enthusiasm.

So, what do the 'experts' (and I use that term loosely) have to say about lefties?

  1. We have a higher risk of psychosis. Ha! I'm just going to say right now most of the people I know who suffer from any sort of psychosis favor their right hands. Ok, that's only two people but still... 
  2. We have lower rates of arthritis and ulcers. I'll take it. 
  3. We are better at divergent thinking and are drawn to careers in the arts, music, sports, and information technology. Well, I always wanted to play for the Dallas Cowboys when I was a kid.
  4. We are scaredy cats. Yep, we are more affected by fear than our right-handed friends. It seems we tend to give fragmented descriptions when recalling a fearful event but that's probably because we observed that fearful event with BOTH hands over our eyes. Then again, I am one of Stephen King's biggest fans so... Ha! Seriously, I am a big scaredy cat and had to mentally get my imagination under strict control decades ago. Anyway, lefties seem to be prone to PTSD.  
  5. We are more likely to have negative emotions and a hard time processing our feelings. Ok, we're moody and have anger issues. I can't argue with this one based on what I know about myself but I also know this is true of many right-handers I know personally so there's that. 
  6. We tend to be inhibited, shy, and embarrassed. This one may very well be true. No matter how hard some of us try to come off confident, we aren't. 
  7. We like to partake of alcoholic beverages. Maybe some of us do but I am not one of them. I have never quite adjusted to the taste of alcohol. I enjoy a few choices but I do not like the way I feel while under the influence which is probably more related to my control issues than handedness unless control issues are traits of left-handers.
  8. We tend to be better at one-on-one sports. Maybe, maybe not. I LOVE sports but I am not good at playing them.
  9. We win more often when it comes to survival of the fittest. This is because most people are right-handed and perhaps thrown off when they are come at from the left or something like that. I don't know, I'm not a fighter unless it comes to verbal debates but I don't think that's a handedness thing. 
  10. We share handedness with some pretty interesting folks some I am proud to claim, others not so much. The ones I am pleased to share handedness with include: Oprah, Babe Ruth, Leonardo da Vinci, Marie Curie, Barak Obama, Aristotle, Mozart, Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Issac Newton ...
  11.  We are more likely to have allergies. Holy Cow, YES! I have them and they are BAD. But everyone else I know with bad allergies is righties so I don't know about this one either. 
  12. We are less able to roll our tongues. Not only is this true of this lefty but it makes my leftie tendency towards anger flare because I've been trying to do this my whole life with zero success.
  13. We are better able to multi-task. Ok, I am good at multi-tasking but it gets increasingly hard on my brain as I age. 
  14. We tend to have higher IQs. Well, of course, we do. 😂
I don't know how much handedness really matters as I tend to believe we're all different and have our strengths and weaknesses unique to our own make-up, handedness being one of the many attributes. But being a lefty is fun and it does make for a fun blog post when you have writer's block. 

Are you a lefty?

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