Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Gifts for your Grandchildren

Everyone is sitting around the table watching a child open their gifts and are waiting to hear “this is the best gift ever!” in reference to their gift. Wanting this reaction can lead people to spend more money than they can afford. Most of us have done it - we buy that “big expensive gift”, it is opened, they barely look at it or spend more time playing with the box, and next thing you know it’s in a garage sale with a $1 sign on it -- but you don't need to spend a lot of money to get the "perfect gift".

I see it all the time, grandparents with their carts loaded up so high that they can’t see over it. You want your gift to be special, but it doesn’t have to be the biggest or the most expensive. Children love boxes (or containers), so fill them with smaller items. It’s probably not a good idea to get too many toys way in advance because if your grandchildren watch TV at all, they are probably going to change their minds about what they “really, really want”, several times throughout the year. Remember to look for the age on toys and find one that fits into your grandchild’s age-group; this is important.

I like to buy some clothing as well, because this is something they usually need anyway (tops, pants, PJ’s, etc.). I always ask my daughter-in-law for help when buying clothing though because at least if she is picking them out I know it will be something that is liked, and most importantly it will fit!

Also, maybe there is something that your grandchildren have admired in your home that you want to give them as a gift. Remember though, once you give it to them, it’s their’s, and remember to consider the age-appropriateness of giving a child something that is glass or breakable, or even jewelry.

How about considering getting your grandchild a recorder and putting your voice on it. There are also books that you can record your voice on – can you imagine the surprised look on your grandchild’s face when they hear your voice reading them a bedtime story!

You could also make them something, but be aware of hazards like small buttons, etc. and if you are painting something make sure you use the appropriate paint and make sure those nails are pounded in.

Also, you can talk to your grandchildren about giving to charities - even at an early age. Approach it in a way they can understand and as they get older, they will “get it” and be proud of the fact that they were involved in giving to charities at an early age. Helping others in the world (or in your own area), is a valuable lesson to teach any child.

Gift certificates are also a great idea when they get a bit older, but it might be a good idea to ask your grandchild to write you a little note (or e-mail), or better yet, call you, to tell you what they bought. The parents can help with this if the children are too young to write it themselves. It’s sometimes hard to feel comfortable about giving a gift certificates instead of a “real gift”, so if they tell you what they bought with it, it will make you feel better about giving a gift certificate as a gift.

Gift-giving should be fun and not stressful or financially draining. Bottom line is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money, if you don’t want to. If you want to spend more money then maybe there are bigger items that your grandchild can use like a new musical instrument, a bed, a “chest” for their room to put their toys in and later on they could put special “grown-up” treasures in it – these things could be something that lasts them a lifetime (maybe even have their name engraved on it, for the personal touch). Either that, or save your money for important things like University/College funds, savings accounts, etc. That’s something they may not appreciate when they are young, but you can be sure that everyone will appreciate it when they are older…

Talk to their parents about gift-giving. If you let them know your budget, they could probably steer you in the right direction on what to buy. They may even have a “list” of things that they are considering buying (or a list of things the children want), and you can take things off that list.

Spend your money on something that you've actually spent time thinking about and you will be happy to write "With Love from Grandma and Grandpa"...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

NO, I don't want that!

Ah, it’s a frustrating and worrisome time when children decide they don’t want to eat. I know with my own children, there was a time when one of them liked meat, the other liked potatoes and the other liked vegetables, so at least I didn’t have to fix more than one meal to get everyone to eat! On the other hand, maybe you had children that ate everything on their plate and you can’t relate to grandchildren not eating what they are given.

Picky-eaters are something you may have to deal with if you are taking care of your grandchildren for an extended period of time. Of course, they may not be picky eaters at all, but maybe you’re not feeding them things they are used to, or at a time they are used to. If little Johnny is too tired to eat or has never eaten what you are trying to give him, you likely won’t get the result you are looking for even if you’ve prepared what you think is the “perfect meal”. It’s always a good idea to consult with the parents on what the children like to eat and to know if they are on somewhat of a schedule for snacks/meals (as well as nap and bedtimes). They know their children best. In the meantime, you could look up some new recipes using the guidelines that the parents have given you of what the children like to eat. It may not work out though, and that's where having an alternate (quick) meal plan in mind is a good idea, or just make sure you have extra vegetables and side dishes available that you know the children like. Who knows though, your new recipe could be their new "favourite food"! I know when my children were growing up, I would have welcomed any new food ideas to try...

I know children won’t starve just because they don’t eat everything they are given all the time, but it still is a worry when it happens! If you are really concerned, call the parents and ask them what to do, otherwise, just do your best and let the parents know if you think the children didn't eat as much as they should have. It may not be a concern for them at all...but on the other hand, it might be.

In my case, my grandson has cystic fibrosis, so he does have to eat something within a certain time-limit of taking his enzymes pills or it will cause stomach irritation, constipation, etc. but you can’t force-feed children or rush them; they will eat when they are ready.

I certainly remember it being a frustrating time in my life when my children wouldn’t eat very much, but things worked out and they eventually started eating a full meal by themselves...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Better Shape Up...!

I knew I wasn`t as active as I should be but I didn`t realize just how out of shape I was until the first time I had my grandchildren over after they started crawling. Being on the floor with them and running after them totally exhausted me! I needed to get in shape and soon if I was going to keep up with them as they grew older (and as I grew older). I immediately started a fitness program to get myself in shape, but I also learned I had to pace myself when I was with them; high energy games, running around, etc. when they first arrived and I saved the quieter games, etc. for later on in the day. I have a few examples of things that I do which I don`t find too hard on my poor old bones...and sometimes it works out that they are exerting more energy than me, which is fine with me...

• If you were going to plan a walk for yourself anyway, why not wait and take your grandchildren on a “Nature Walk” in your own backyard. Last weekend, I took my grandchildren for a walk in our backyard and I made a checklist of what I thought we might see , ie, trees, birds, rocks, etc., and I asked my granddaughter to mark an “X” in the box everytime we seen something on the list. Since she is just starting to write letters, she thought this was great. By the end of our walk, she was asking for the checklist saying she needed to put an "X" in the box and then she would say “check”. It was a great time, and we didn’t have to go far to enjoy the experience.
• We have a trampoline in our backyard in the summer. I don’t usually get in on the jumping fun (my bladder wouldn’t stand for it), but I definitely can sit and watch them enjoying themselves.
• Throwing a ball, or kicking and running after it. Either is fun and active.
• Get a hula hoop and let them go at it - and join in if you are able to.
• If they are signed up for swimming lessons, consider joining in. When they are younger sometimes they need a parent, or adult, with them, so if the parents don`t mind, maybe you could join in every now and then. On the other hand, you could take them to a swimming pool or wave pool when you have a chance. Be sure to take someone with you if you don't feel like you can handle it yourself. Their safety is first and foremost.

For those times when you just don’t have the energy, there are less physical things you can do like reading, watching movies, watching them do a play or puppet show, singing, colouring, or if you need to, get someone else to take over and tell them that you need a rest. You could promise them that you will run with them later, or better yet, tell them that Grandpy will ha ha Seriously though, you will want to be in better shape so that you can keep up with your active grandchildren. It will make your time together that much more special and a little less exhausting!

Being active is an important part of everyone's life, but for my grandson who has cystic fibrosis, physical activity is proven to be a real benefit to his well-being, so I also keep that in mind for him. The Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation holds many activities throughout the year which not only benefits the Foundation (and Research) it benefits the participants. To find out more about about the many activities and fundraisers that the Foundation organizes, please go to their website

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Even Steven

If you are constantly spoiling one grandchild over another (with gifts, or attention and affection), you need to stop, because you may inadvertently be causing a rivalry amongst your grandchildren as well as your children, and that likely isn’t your intention. Not to say you should feel guilty because you bought one grandchild an ice cream cone when you went to the store, or even a toy, but maybe think about tossing some money into a jar for each of your other grandchildren, or keep track of it and when you get to spend time with the other grandchildren take them out shopping with you and get them something - even if it is only an ice cream cone. On the other hand, if it is attention and affection that is not being shared equally, consider why that is. Are you trying your best to keep connected with each of your grandchildren? If distance is part of the problem, are you calling your grandchild or sending them a card when something special is happening in their life and you can't be there, or even sending a card when there is no reason?

Of course, it is possible that you get along with one grandchild over another because of personalities, age, gender, closeness of homes – but please keep in mind that your actions towards one grandchild over another could cause problems not just with your grandchildren, but for more generations of families than you think. If, you don’t get along with one of your children and decide to keep that riff going, that’s your decision, but don’t take that out on your grandchildren; they are innocent bystanders. In some cases, you might think that some of your children/grandchildren need more help than others, and that may be why you are spending more time with them, or money on them, but don’t take for granted that the others will know or understand your reasons. You may say that you don’t have to explain your actions, but when you don’t, people come to their own conclusions on why you are doing things for one and not the other (ie, you like the other person better), and resentment will follow...

My husband’s parents have always given equally to each of their grandchildren, in every way – which I think is terrific. On my family’s side, there definitely was no money to buy material things, but my mother gave her love and attention equally and unconditionally to all of her grandchildren. Even though I was out West when my children were growing up, when I did come home or they came to visit, I knew they loved my children just as much as the others just by the way they acted with them. Maybe you don’t have positive examples in your life, but it’s up to you to change things if that’s the case...

So, if you are thinking of buying that expensive gift for little Johnny or maybe you are attending functions for him and not the others, just think about whether it is going to cause problems if one of the other grandchildren finds out about it (and usually they do). If the answer is yes, then I would reconsider my actions - or try to figure out how you can make things fair for everyone.

It doesn’t take much to be a special grandparent, in fact, it takes something that is very easy, and not expensive, to give - your Love!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

I’m No “Dr. PhilTM

We may be able to tell our children about grandma’s “cure for the hiccups” but they know everything else that there is to know about hiccups, all in the click of a button. Sometimes it’s scary to learn too much information on a subject though because before you know you could start believing that the hiccups is linked to a serious disease, whether it is in your situation or not.

I think you will agree that our children have more parenting information at their disposal than we ever did. I am sure if you searched the Internet for “parenting tips for a new mom”, you would get quite a few hits. I would have loved to have this available to me when I was a young mom. I had all my children out West, thousands of miles away from my family and friends, so having an anonymous person to ask all my “dumb questions” about parenting, would have been great. Our children also have the benefit of sites to keep in touch with other young parents and their friends, to vent about something that’s happened or to ask questions, and sometimes they are more comfortable with that. Children never seem to outgrow the fact that they don’t want their parents “telling them what to do”, so my advice is to not make advice-giving your priority. Your children may be feeling insecure about being a new parent (as you probably were), and if you are constantly telling them what to do, then you could make them feel even more insecure. On the other hand, they may think they know everything there is to know and don’t see the “easy solution” to a problem. Keep in mind that if they are seeing your advice-giving as criticism or meddling in their business, it can cause misunderstandings and relationship problems that never get resolved. You want to spend time with your children and grandchildren, and there usually is no reason to get involved in their lives to that extent. If asked for advice, give it, but otherwise, the best thing is just to not say anything. If, and when, they want your advice, they will ask for it, but it will more than likely be because they have exhausted all other avenues to get answers, which is fine. It’s no wonder they get confused about what to do sometimes with all the information they are reading and hearing, but that’s where we come in to support them and help them. We don’t know all the answers either, but we know what worked for us, although it’s probably a good idea to quote Dr. PhilTM when giving advice, to give yourself some credibility ha ha

Sunday, March 28, 2010

You’ve Got Talent

I’m at a point in my life where I have some time to devote to doing things that I haven’t done in a long time; and my grandchildren are my main motivation for getting back into it. Since becoming a grandmother I have written 3 children’s stories; none of which have been published but they made it to my grandchildren’s bookshelf and that’s good enough for me - I have written countless poems and actually write each of my grandchildren a poem every year for their birthday; writing poems for them every year really makes me pay attention to what they are doing - and I have drawn portraits of both my grandchildren which are framed and hung in their bedrooms (which I am very happy about). Sometimes your talents get put on the back-burner, for whatever reason, or you just don’t realize that they can translate into something meaningful that you can do for (or with) your grandchildren.

Some ideas:
Crocheting, Knitting and Sewing: You can make finger or hand puppets, doll outfits, clothes for teddy bears and lots of other crafts - or you can teach your “talent” to your grandchildren.
Drawing: If you are comfortable with it, you can draw their portrait or something that they are interested in, but you can also teach and encourage them to draw. If you just "like to draw", you can have fun laughing at the drawings that don’t look anything like they should – and at the same time, help them develop their creative side!
Writing (Poems/Stories): There is a “free”, rhyming site that I find useful for writing poems. For childrens’ stories, start by writing about things that your grandchildren are interested in or something they do that is inspiring you to start writing. On a more serious note, write the story of your life – or blog about it, for easy access to your grandchildren.
Singing, Dancing or Playing an Instrument: Children love to listen to music, so singing to them or teaching them to dance or play an instrument, will keep them entertained. Put on a show together and entertain your family and friends.
Woodworking and Construction: The possibilities are endless if you are lucky enough to have this talent.
Baking: I know my children enjoy their grandmother’s baking (brownies, buns and those wonderful Christmas cookies), and that is something they will always remember - they don’t last a lifetime, but the memories do...

There are a lot more skills/talents that translate well to things you can do for, or with, your grandchildren and there are endless websites devoted to this topic, so start searching...

Spending time with your grandchildren doing something that everyone enjoys, or giving your children something that you’ve made for them, is something that will be treasured forever.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I'll Be There!

How important is it that you stay connected with your grandchildren and attend special events that they are involved in (or events that are important to them)? As a grandparent, I think that my presence is very important and I don’t plan to miss too many events. There's nothing like the sound of your grandchildren yelling "Grannie, Grannie", as they jump into your arms to give you a big hug. I came across an article that talks about the importance of grandparents being a part of their grandchildren's lives “directly” and “indirectly”, and I think it would be worth your while to read.

Of course, there may come a time that I cannot attend some of their events, or physically be with them as much as I would like, but I plan to stay in touch "somehow", to show them that I care about what they are doing and to let them know how much I would have loved to be there if I could. A simple phone call or card goes a long way. As with some of you, I struggle with just what to say to them on the phone, but I realize that it doesn't have to be a long conversation, in fact, when your grandchildren are younger, “short and sweet” works best. As you know, younger children don't have a long attention span, so just a “Hi” and “What did you do today?”, then, of course, “I love you”, is enough. As your grandchildren get older, you can talk about things that they are interested in, so keeping in touch is key. My grandfather used to write me letters, in his shaky handwriting, to tell me what was going on in his life and to ask about mine. I treasure those letters to this day. I just know that if he was alive today, the Internet would have been a very important part of our lives, since we lived a few thousand miles apart. There are challenges with distance relationships, but in today's world, it is much easier to keep in touch.

It's so easy to lose touch with people, including your grandchildren, so don’t let that happen. I think it is important for your grandchildren to have as much love and support around them as possible – and we are an important part of their “family life”.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

It wasn’t me, “I Swear”

For the most part, children learn to talk by listening to the language their family members are speaking. Therefore, they can’t be to blame if they sometimes say words that aren’t appropriate. Listen to the words you are using to show anger or frustration or, in some cases, the words you are using in your everyday language. “Think before you speak” when children are around because you never know what they will decide to repeat, and when. In certain situations, when they blurt out a "bad word" it sounds funny and it can be hard to hold back your laughter, but try not to make a big deal of it because if it comes out in a different situation, ie, at a library, in school or at church, for example, then it’s not quite so funny (and can be pretty embarrassing for everyone), so best to nip it in the bud right away.

A friend of mine used to say that when he was with his buddies (the boys), he could talk the way he wanted to, but if he was around women or children he did not swear, nor did he condone his friends doing it (and everyone complied). I think it’s a good rule to follow. At least if those words do slip out of your grandchildren’s mouth you can honestly say, “It wasn’t me, I don’t swear in front of children”!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

“Where’s My List?”

At work, I have checklists for everything! At home, however, I didn’t realize the value of having a checklist (or list) until I had grandchildren to take care of. When my grandchildren were younger, my daughter-in-law would obligingly write me a list every time I watched them. With a grandson who has cystic fibrosis, forgetting to do something isn't an option, but I wanted a list for my granddaughter too.

My list included:
medications for my grandson, but also any medications my granddaughter was taking, including how much and when to take them
food choices (for my grandson) but also if there was anything special my granddaughter liked (Kraft has some great food ideas for kids), how much formula to give and when, etc.
• what time are bedtimes and naptimes
...and anything else that I needed to know.
Sometimes my list was four pages long, other times it was one. The more information the better, in my opinion.

I would refer to my lists frequently, to make sure I was doing everything I needed to. Taking care of your grandchildren isn’t just about having fun with them (and knowing how to make them laugh), you are also “responsible for them,” and you need to know what you are doing. Having a list just makes it easier for you to concentrate on having fun and not worry about forgetting something.

The list isn’t just for you; it also helps your children feel comfortable knowing that you are referring to it and no one has to rely on their memory, which is a good thing, especially as we get older! Also, we may sometimes forget as grandparents, that parents are trying to keep their children “on a schedule,” so you should try to keep to the "usual routine" as much as possible. Now, you just have to remember to keep those glasses handy so you can read the list!! My daughter-in-law used to write in big black marker on top of the formula can, how much formula and water to use. It certainly worked for me!

Some things you can ask:
• do they need a soother (and where is it), bottle or sippy cup?
• what about potty training and naptime?
• do they sleep with a blankie or special toy?
These things change and most of us are not with our grandchildren 24/7, and sometimes the parents forget to tell us.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Say "Cheese" Please

I used to volunteer to take the pictures, that way no one would get a picture of me - then one day I was looking at photo albums and it hit me that my stubbornness was eliminating me from my family’s “photo” history!!

Please don’t get “left out” of photos. It’s important to your children and grandchildren that they have something to fondly look back on and they don’t care if you were “perfect” in the picture. Sometimes we are too hard on ourselves but if you think about it, future generations will probably enjoy the “funny” pictures more than the perfect ones – at least they will know that you had a sense of humour! If a bad picture of you gets taken, let it go. Don’t threaten to rip it up and don’t throw it out. I've done both in the past, but I had to learn to lighten up and laugh at myself a little. Believe me, I know that it’s hard to do, but it just takes some practice. Pictures are a memory in time and they will be cherished by someone.

I am sure you have your favourite photos of your parents and grandparents - I know I do - and I don't know what I would do if I didn't have some pictures to look at now that they are no longer with me. Photos are a lasting memory that family can keep with them – in lockets – in frames – in albums, etc.

Now, strike a pose and say Cheese!! Do it for your family; they will be happy you did and you will too!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Nuttin' (Nothing) To Do

I distinctly remember my younger brother always complaining that he had “Nuttin’ to do”. With 8 siblings (5 older and 3 younger), you wouldn’t have thought that could be an issue for any of us, but I guess we all had our own things to do and needless to say, our mother was kept pretty busy.

Well, that shouldn’t be a problem for you and your grandchildren; the Internet isn’t just for youngsters to enjoy. Get on-line and start searching for ideas, but don’t do it when the grandchildren are waiting to be entertained – do it in advance so that you are prepared. I happen to love it when children use their imagination, so I encourage imagination-play at my house. At first, when I was using my imagination and telling them that I was riding a horse down the hall (with no horse), or eating lunch (with no food), they would look at me as if to say, “Are you flipping out Grannie”, but it didn’t take them long before they were playing along and telling their own stories. If you’re excited about what you’ve got to "show and tell" them, they will be excited about it too. I once went on a camping trip with my two grandchildren (ages 1 and 2 at the time), and I brought along a box filled with dollar store items, and crafts that I had put together (the fishing game was their favourite). It took some preparation on my part, but believe me, it was well worth it! I was happy, the children were happy, and the parents were happy; win-win-win situation! Of course, there were no distractions from TV and other toys, but sometimes you have to work at getting their attention. There’s nothing wrong with T.V. and a movie now and then (especially when you’re working on meal preparation or if you just need to take a break), but in my experience, children enjoy the one-on-one attention they get from their grandparents much more!

A website I would recommend is one that I just happened across. It has great ideas, ie, colouring pages and games and crafts. There are definitely a lot of websites out there, but sometimes you just need a “starting place”, and I think this one is terrific. Browse through this site and see for yourself. There are so many ideas, it just may happen that your grandchildren get too old (and you too) before you have the chance to try them all out ha ha

NOTE: You should also start brushing up on those children’s songs and nursery rhymes. Dancing around singing songs, or sitting in a circle telling nursery rhymes is a wonderful way to spend time with them. Either idea translates well into a puppet show, but that’s for another article…

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Draw me a Picture Grannie...

One day I was with my grandchildren and found that we didn’t have much to do, so I quickly drew Jack and Jill on a piece of cardboard paper and cut them out. I put two holes in the bottom of each of them for the kids to put their fingers through (acting like feet for the character and to help them manipulate the puppet). Then I pretended I was taking Jack and Jill “up a hill” and I started telling the nursery rhyme. To this day, they go to these silly cardboard cut-outs and say let’s do the Jack and Jill story. They have even started to tell the story themselves and decided to bring in Humpty Dumpty to put a band-aid on Jack’s head when he falls; then Jack in turn helps Humpty Dumpty when he falls ha ha

You don’t need to be an artist to put something like this together. Believe me, mine weren’t perfect, but my grandchildren didn’t mind. At least they knew which one was Jack and which one was Jill! I like to use nursery rhymes for ideas because children have already heard a lot of them so they can quickly relate to the story you are telling, and for the most part, nursery rhymes are easy to remember. Whatever you draw, they will enjoy, as long as you “play along” with enthusiasm and steer them in the right direction to get them started. You can stray from the original nursery rhyme or let your grandchildren take the lead and give them praise for their story-telling ideas.

You don’t have to free-hand draw your pictures though, you can trace a picture from a storybook or colouring book, or print it out from the computer. I found a picture of the big bad wolf and a pig and cut them out and glued them onto a straw. This worked very well for telling the "Three Little Pigs” story. You can either do this as a craft together, or do it yourself, in advance. I prefer, when time permits, to do it in advance because kids don’t really want to just sit around and watch you cutting and pasting.

Have fun with this and start creating lasting and fun-time memories...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Do Your "Home" Work

I have heard people say, “I’m not going to change a thing in my house; my grandchildren will just have to learn that they can’t touch my things.” Well, I would much rather relax and have fun with them than to constantly have to tell them not to touch things or have to worry about them getting hurt. It can be a matter of seconds before your precious grandchild gets into medicine that is left lying around, gets into your cleaning supply cabinet, falls down the stairs, or is cut by an item that has broken. For everyone’s sake, please start thinking about childproofing well in advance of your grandchild’s first visit. Check out this website for ideas on childproofing your home.

It is a good idea to consult with your children on childproofing - they will have lots of ideas and will appreciate that you asked them.

On a personal note, I have changed my cleaning supplies to natural products. I just feel safer knowing that if they ever did get into it, the results wouldn’t be devastating. And last but not least, a smoke-free environment is the best thing for everyone.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

1-2-3 of Disciplining

One of the disciplining methods my daughter-in-law uses is counting to 3. One day my granddaughter was continuously getting up from the table at dinnertime, so I decided I would try it on her, and I began, 1 – 2, and I hesitated before going further... Suddenly, my grandson pipes up and says, “3”. I was trying to be serious about this, so I decided to ignore him and I started counting again but this time after I said 2, he stood up and pointed right at her and yelled “3”, as if to say, you already did that Grannie, I want to see what comes next! Well, that was it – we all burst out laughing.

If you spend enough time with your grandchildren, disciplining them will be something you have to deal with. Using simple methods like counting to 3, using time-outs, or even taking something away from them for a bit, is something you may have to do. I have so much fun with my grandchildren that I hate to say anything bad to them, but I also know that sometimes it’s necessary. You definitely shouldn’t go overboard with disciplining, but you should set some limits as to what you will tolerate before you say something to them. With grandparents, that limit is usually a lot higher than parents, but then again, we’re not with them 24/7.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Special Place

Not everyone has an extra room to set aside for their visiting grandchildren, but I am grateful that I do, and they love it. They call it “their room” and, at this point, are happy to share it with each other. I keep all of their toys, markers (washable, of course), drawing paper, books, puzzles, etc, in this room. Depending on how long they are over, we could spend the entire time in there - reading books, colouring, and telling stories. It is so much fun to hear the stories they can make up, even at an early age, but it’s a good idea to have a few storylines in mind so you can get things started. At one point, I plan to paint one wall so that it can double as a huge blackboard (my daughter’s idea) – and will also put in a puppet theatre. This is what they like to do at this point, but if/when they outgrow that, I will change it. This room is also their bedroom, so I have a crib in there as well as a mattress with a large pillow on it which doubles as a couch for us to sit on. I don’t keep anything in that room that I worry about so it’s safe to let them play by themselves for awhile if need be. There is no TV or computer in the room. I have never had trouble putting them to bed and when they wake up, they are happy to play until breakfast is ready. If you don’t have an actual room for them, then you could get a big box or storage bin and fill it with toys, etc, and keep it in a special place for when they come over. You can be creative with the box; draw pictures on it, paint it (with non-toxic paint), and let them help you design/colour it. You also should have a name for it, ie, “Our Special Box” (doesn’t have to be an elaborate box or name). They will love having their own box just as much as a room and you can put everything away when they leave, or ask them to help you. Have fun with this and enjoy the many great memories you and your grandchildren will have because you did that little bit extra…

Tip: Don’t get carried away with buying a lot of toys; check with the parents first. Often times, kids have so many toys at home that they don’t play with half of them therefore, most parents are okay with giving you some of them for your house, but they may not think about it if you don’t ask. As well, you can check out garage sales/consignment shops, but check with the parents first.

Friday, January 15, 2010

What's in a Name?

One of the first questions I was asked after I found out I was going to be a Grandma, was, "What do you want to be called?" I had always thought that I would like to be called Granny because that's what we called my mother and she was one of the greatest Granny's I know of - and definitely was loved by all her grandchildren. I added "ie" to the end of my "title" because I liked the look of it better - and I told everyone about it beforehand. If the "other Grandma" has decided on the same name though, it can still work out. You can call yourself Grannie Lynn or Grannie Crosbie - or maybe someone will decide to choose another name. There seem to be a lot of titles to pick from (Nanny, Grandma, Grammy, Oma, etc.), so do some research and see if there's one you like better. Whatever name is decided on, remember that your grandchildren just might have other ideas about what you are going to be called and that can also be a fun way to decide on a name... Whatever happens, this is a fun and exciting time in your life and when you finally get called your chosen title, whatever it is, it will feel wonderful. Enjoy!