Grandchildren, Grandmother, Grandparents, Menopause

Grandma Update: Peppa Pig!

The Pigs Eat Breakfast

My grandson Maze, who will be three in September, introduced me to Peppa Pig. I’m nuts over Peppa! She’s British, and she’s just the sort of friendly, inquisitive, upbeat pig you’d love to have move in next door. Learn more about Peppa on her official website and in this Wiki article.

Peppa

Peppa’s family includes a little brother named George, Mommy and Daddy Pig, and Granny and Grandpa Pig. Peppa’s got loads of friends and a splendid teacher, Madame Gazelle. (You can see Madame Gazelle below, arms stretched wide.) Wiki tells me Madame Gazelle once played in a rock group called “The Rocking Gazelles.” That I didn’t know!

But I do know plenty about Peppa and her world, mostly in the creative and fun ways it intersects with Mazen’s world.

At Firehouse

I love watching him play with the figures. I’m allowed to make them move and talk too, but woe to anyone who messes with the figurines once Maze decides they are set.

A few weeks ago, we visited Charlottesville for more playing with Peppa AND a trip to Toys R Us, our first together. Maze got to choose one toy. He picked the Peppa Pig Camper Van, which, BTW, was a chunk cheaper at Toys R Us than Amazon.

Camper

Toys R Us

We were as happy as Peppa on holiday until the next morning, when Maze, a cough and cold setting in, couldn’t get the Peppa figures to sit how he wanted them to in the camper van. I jumped up to assist.

“GO AWAY GRAMMY!”

That stung.

I was tempted to remind Mazen who paid for the the camper van, but decided to take higher ground. I did remind myself that I’m many times his senior, and therefore know that tempers sometimes flare and loved ones get hurt.

But it still stung, especially since Cliff and I needed to hit the road a few minutes later. I wondered what Peppa’s Granny would say if Peppa treated her that way. I suspect she’d take it calmly as the English seem to do.

I’m learning that I’m not always going to be Grammy the Rescuer or Grammy the Adored. That’s not my job. My job is to love that little boy with all I’ve got, even if he pushes me away with a firm voice.

But I hope Maze lets me play with his Peppa figurines on my next visit. I want to ask Madame Gazelle what it’s like to sing in a rock band.

Madame Gazelle

Grandchildren, Grandmother, Menopause

Grandma Update: Who’s in Charge Here?

Barbara and Grandson

Menopause shouts empowerment.

It’s all about taking control.

Learning to be your own boss.

Menopause Power!

That is, until a new force comes into you life.

You can’t fight it.

Best not to try.

When I’m at Mazen’s house, guess who’s the boss?

The boss of playing, that is.

Who decides

Whether to feed cheddar bunnies to Elmo or roll trucks along the sofa edge…

When to ride the tricycle and when to engage in a fast game of chase….

If it’s time to sing or no singing is allowed?

Who’s the boss of playing?

Maze.

How come?

Because that little boy is the best boss I’ve ever had.

The Book:  No battle of wills on this one. Maze and I both love  to read (over and over) Jane Yolen and Mark Teague’s How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight. ROAR!!

Dinosaurs

Children, Grandchildren, Grandmother, Grandparents

Grandma Update: Mazen’s Favorite Toys

Toys A guest post by my daughter, blogger Kath Younger, for those of you with babies and toddlers on your shopping list:

1. Tegu Blocks. We went to our local toy store, Shenanigan’s, looking for first birthday gifts and I asked the woman: “Of all the toys in the store, what would you buy for a one year old?” Without hesitation she recommended these magnetic wooden blocks from Honduras. They are sustainably sourced, non-toxic, and made by a company with many honorable missions. M loves to carry them around the basement and smack them together. Someday soon he will be building towers like his dad! They are a bit pricey, but they seem like they will last – both in quality and in interest.

2. Manhattan Toy Stow and Go Cart. This cart is perfect for learning to walk, pushing around the yard and giving Pumpkin rides.

3. VTech Baby’s Learning Laptop. Karen, my mother-in-law, bought Mazen this laptop when he was young and it’s been one of his most beloved toys. When he was just learning to sit up he liked to open and close the lid over and over, and now that he can stand he dances to the music it plays! I don’t think he has written any blog posts on it yet…

4. Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb. Our current favorite book! Matt taught M to pat his tummy as the drum, and now if you show him the book he pats his tummy on command. He smiles his way through this one.

5. Kidoozie Funtime Tractor. This one was another first birthday gift from us and M LOVES it. So do most kids who come over to play. The animals and Old MacDonald make noises when you push them, and if you touch the orange button in the front the whole tractor moves forward. Pumpkin likes to ride on it! What a clever toy this one is.

6. Kid-O Tip Truck. M loves this truck and also has the red car of the same brand. They have a timeless quality about them, and they are fun to roll on the ground.

7. Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Corn Popper. M didn’t quite get this popper until he could walk, but now that he can it’s one of his favorites. He pops it all around the house!

8. Orange Tabby Kitten Puppet AKA PUMPKIN! I can’t believe Pumpkin is on Amazon! We bought M this cat puppet after he fell in love with it in a toy store. Of course she is named after our neighbor cat of the same color. M hasn’t shown much interest in any stuff animals except this one. He has started to cuddle with her and pets her. And he loves to walk around holding her by her tail.

Maze and Cart

 Kath  Younger writes a healthy food and lifestyle blog read by over 15,000 visitors a day from around the world. Kath Eats Real Food, which you’ll find at www.KathEats.com, is a celebration of life through the lens of food. Kath writes about everything from recipes to organization tips to encouraging readers to try new “real” foods, including wheatberries, kale chips, chia seeds, and her famous whipped banana oatmeal. Having lost over 30 pounds after graduating from college, Kath is a Registered Dietitian and owns a Great Harvest Bread Company with her husband in Charlottesville, VA. She has been writing KERF since 2007. She also writes at Baby KERF documenting her journey to motherhood. Follow @Katheats on Instagram and Twitter.

Maze and Kath

Children, Grandchildren, Grandmother, Grandparents, Menopause

Grandma Versus Gen Y

larbsmaze_thumb

A guest post by my daughter Laura Allen:

“If you don’t find a job after a couple of months in Dallas, you could always get going on starting a family.”

These were my mom’s words right after I got married and settled into my new home in Texas.

A bit annoyed that she’d mentioned this yet again, I responded, “And where would I put a baby in my small apartment? In the kitchen? Babies need space and cost money!”

My mom was blessed with her first grandchild last year, and she is head-over-heels.  I can definitely see why, as my nephew only gets more adorable every week.

But, me?  I’m only 28! I’m a newlywed. I need to have a career, a savings plan, a house. I need to go back to Europe!!

What is it about my generation that makes us think there is a perfect time to start a family – that all these external conditions need to be met before having a baby?

In my mom’s day, it sounds like the only requirement before trying to start a family was a husband.  But my generation seems to think we need to have it all. We want more than the American dream. Some have even called generation Y entitled.

I like to think we are just fortunate enough to have options.  Sometimes, though, there are so many choices, that it’s impossible to make decisions.  I’m hoping that the decision to start a family will just happen one day. That I will have a birthday, eat cake, and think ‘This year, I’m ready for a baby!’

Who knows if I will ever truly feel ready or if I will even be able to produce offspring.

One thing’s for sure though. If Matt and I have a baby on the way, my mom will be one of  the first to know, but only if she stops bugging me now!

Laura Allen was recently married on Bald Head Island and lives with her husband in Dallas. She hopes to continue her career in education and enjoys exploring new restaurants, cooking, and blogging in her free time.

Laura and Me

Photo Top: Laura and nephew Maze during wedding week on Bald Head Island.

Photo Bottom: Laura and I before the wedding.  Photos courtesy Katherine Younger. 

Grandchildren, Grandmother

Grandma Update: Board Books!

Mazen, right from the start, liked books.  What more could a writer grandma ask for?

Here are some winners!

His mom and dad read this one with amazing gusto. Lots of clippity clopping along with happy chaos!

Clip Clop

 Sturdy tabs help small hands turn the pages in Baby Colors.

Colors

Who doesn’t love  a peek-a-boo book combined with rhymes and a surprise mirror at the end?

Peek a Who

Baby’s face becomes a fox’s: “Good night, my little fox,”  a candy: “Good night, my sweet,” a dumpling: “Good night, my little dumping,” and plenty of others.

Good Night

Llama’s got all the cool moves!  Mazen is learning to zoom right along with him.


Llama

Delicious foods and familiar endearments are just the recipe in these two titles.

You Are My Cupcake

Babies adore looking at other babies. Voila!  Babies everywhere!

Babies Everywhere

Sometimes toddlers are lickety quick, and other times they are slow, slow, slow. Celebrate  the concept of speed with Duck and Snail.
Quick Duck

Slow Snail

Celebrities often miss the mark when they write children’s books, but Spike Lee and his wife are right on!  They capture the personality of a very determined baby.

Please Baby Please

Bathtime, lift-the-flap, and touch and feel splash together in these bright photographs.

Bathtime Peekaboo

Babies are babies all over the world!

Global Babies

And two classics!

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See features the tissue paper collages of the beloved Eric Carle.

Brown Bear

And last but not least, meet the creatures who love Little Gorilla. And since this book ends with a first birthday party,Little Gorilla makes the perfect gift for that landmark occasion.

Gorilla

Speaking of first birthdays, look who’s turning ONE:

Foodblog-8736_thumb

This grandma is on her way to the bookstore soon. I’m going to scout out some new books to add to my pile of presents.

What about you grandmas and moms and aunts and caregivers out there?  Any titles to suggest?

Grandchildren, Grandmother, Grandparents, Menopause

Grandma Update: Space Age Foods!

Modern Foods

Modern baby raising techniques fascinate this grandma.

Note the space age foods above.

Jane Jetson might have served these shiny pouches to Daughter Judy and Son Elroy when they were tiny tots.

Jane Jetson

No glass to break!

Which brings back the beach trip when Laura Younger, age 18 months, dropped a jar off the balcony of our rental condo in the Outer Banks.

images

Said jar shattered on the pool area below.

Cliff spent a good vacation hour picking up tiny shards of glass.

He’s still recovering. That’s why he hasn’t taken me swimming in Mykonos yet, as Laura just got to do on her honeymoon.

wpid-IMG_24124

Back to baby food.

No breakage with these pouches. Parents can feed baby from the pouch, and in time, baby can hold it.

How easy and safe is that?

I have split seconds when I declare,  “Not fair!  We didn’t have those.”

Good grandma egg that I am, I mellow fast.

Three cheers for clever baby world inventions!

And speaking of  a clever baby, look who now eats table food.

Capture

Just like Pebbles Flintstone learned to do in the age of the dinosaurs.

Pebbles

YABADABADOO!

Celebrations, Fashion, Grandchildren, Grandmother

Final Update: The Wedding!

Laura from Balcony

I’ve been mulling for a few days…

What can I say about being Mother of the Bride that is

profound

practical

witty

and/or

enlightening?

I’m either in too much of a glow because things went well

or still so worn out from a frenetic week

to bestow wedding-changing MOB wisdom (if I even have any);

therefore, my best advice is this:

You’re the mom,

but she’s the bride.

This is her dream, not yours.

Trust her

when it’s time to select the MOB dress

B's Dress

and her own.

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Trust her instincts on the bridesmaids dresses, too, and her shoes with lucky blue bows.

Bridesmaid dresses

She gets final call on what her nephew sports.

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 Up or down with the hair?  The bride knows best.

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When it comes to her dad’s bow tie,

Martin and Cliff edit

the design of the cake,

Cake

the added touches to the back of her dress,

Laura and Matt Tasting Cake

the napkin fabric and the menu design,

Napkins

the paper lanterns to brighten the ceiling and the flowers to grace the tables,

Lanterns

she gets to decide because, after all, isn’t this the daughter who, when it was time to pick a groom, made an excellent choice?

Laura and Matt (2)

May they have happy days, festive nights, and in time, the pitter patter of energetic little feet.

But don’t tell the bride I mentioned that last pitter patter part.

I promised her I’d trust her instincts on that, too.

Bald Head Island

Laura and Matt were married on June 1 in the chapel on Bald Head Island off the coast of North Carolina.  Wedding photos courtesy Matron of Honor Katherine Younger and wedding guest and blog reader, Lisa Wolfe.