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

Menopause

Grandma Update: He’s Two!

 

dollhouse

Mazen turned two in September. Glorious, irascible two!

We get along like Pooh and Piglet, as long as I do exactly what he says. This includes playing trains Mazen’s way, letting Maze pick the stories, and being open to a bedtime ritual that extends indefinitely. This child isn’t spoiled. His mom and dad have him in their parental grips, but when Grammy visits, Grammy is a happy pushover.

We don’t get many do-overs in life, but grandparenting is one of them. I can close my eyes to flashbacks of impatience with my girls at Mazen’s age. I can feel my body clench. Hear my frustrated words. My impatience sometimes haunts me with regret.

But by the time I get impatient with Maze, it’s time to go home. And within a day, I’m REALLY impatient, impatient to go back.

When Mazen sees Cliff and me again, he starts to jump. His feet leave the ground.

My jumping needs work, but my train skills are improving by leaps and bounds.

Photo Above: Maze loves the antique dollhouse at my mom’s apartment in Baltimore. The front porch makes a fine driveway for his cars. The dollhouse, built by my great-great-grandfather, is a replica of their summer home in Mt. Gretna, Pennsylvania.

Photo Below: An enthusiastic artist working at a table that was his mom’s when she was his age.

paint-with-water

 

Grandchildren, Grandmother, Grandparents

Rick’s Grandma (and Her White Potato Pudding Recipe!)

Rick's Grandma

When I began reading essays at Piedmont Community College in Yanceyville, North Carolina, I was struck by the happy place that grandparents, especially grandmothers, play in the lives of the students I meet.

Paper after paper recounts a grandma’s love.  Her energy. Her patience. Her whimsy. Her cooking!

So when my daughter Kath announced that my first grandchild was on the way, I began to wonder (and worry) a bit.

What sort of grandma will I be?  Will I earn someday a staring role in an essay?

A few weeks ago, Rick Stone brought in his paper. I’m  a writing tutor. I have the privilege of looking over essays before the instructor does, with his or her grading pen in hand.

Titled “My Adored Grandmother,” Rick’s essay tells of Anna Gertrude Foster, a “short, little woman with intelligent eyes.”  Born in 1923, as the years went by Anna was “blessed with twelve children.”

Rick put down the paper we were studying and spoke: “When Grandma came into the room, even though she had a quiet voice, everyone stopped talking.”

All eyes and ears focused on Anna.

In time, her grandchildren numbered twenty-four, but when you were with Anna, “It was like you were her favorite grandchild. She treated you so special. Her beautiful smile made you feel loved.”

I’ll never be tiny like Rick’s grandma.

I’m far from soft-spoken.

I’ve got a rather crooked smile.

It was like you were her favorite grandchild. She treated you so special.

But that I can try my very best to do.

Even if I have twenty-four.

Guide me, Anna Gertrude Foster!

Photo Above:  Anna in the yard of her home many years ago.

 

Rick's Grandma in Green Top

Anna in later years.

Rick Stone

Rick holding two drafts of his essay.

Anna could cook!  Rick’s favorite dish was her White Potato or Ash Pudding, served for dessert. He brought in a cupful, piping hot, for me to taste. Yum. Potato magic!

White Potato (or Ash) Pudding

3-4 medium potatoes peeled, boiled until done, and mashed

one stick butter or margarine

one 1/4 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 drops of lemon flavor or a teaspoon of lemon juice

1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except the eggs. Beat until smooth.

Beat eggs in a separate bowl. Add to the potato mixture and beat for one minute.

Put into an ovenproof dish and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the pudding is brown on top.

Serve warm.

Store leftover pudding in the refrigerator.

Note: You may need to set your oven on broil after forty minutes to get the pudding to brown.

Thanks to Rick’s mom, Anna Stone, for this recipe, and thanks to Rick for permission to quote from his essay and for the photos.

Grandchildren, Grandmother, Grandparents, Menopause

Grandma Update: Boy Clothes

Maze on Chair

When Daughter Kath announced she was presenting us with a boy, I was delighted, especially since I didn’t give birth to any baby boys.

But then I remembered:

CLOTHES.

Moms and grandmas shake their heads:  “Boy clothes just aren’t as fun.”

What’s the big deal though?  I’d seen, I thought, lots of cute boy outfits.

For a while, I didn’t venture into the baby sections. My own mom swears that in her day, it was  bad luck to buy baby clothes too soon. No way was I taking chances.  Besides, there would be plenty of time for shopping.

At Kath’s baby shower, I admired the t-shirts with trucks and cars, the striped onesies in blues and greens and reds, the hoodie with a  grinning monkey.  Darling!

Then I went to a shower for a baby girl.

Grandma-to-be  SHUT YOUR EYES!

The clothes were adorable.

Stroll into the girls’ section.  In seconds, you’ll know what I mean.

A month later, Mazen was born.

Whoopee Doo!  Let the baby boy shopping begin!

Maybe girl clothes are still cuter.

Just maybe.

But when you’re having the time of your life shopping for the baby boy of your heart, who cares!

Maze in Snowman Onesie

Top Photo:  A bit of prep from Grammie.

Bottom photo: A snowman onesie.

Grandchildren, Grandmother, Grandparents, Menopause

Grandma Update: Mother Goose!

375503_618017201558_1929482344_n

When Iona and Peter Opie had their first child, they became intrigued with the origins of the rhymes they found themselves singing and saying to the baby. Those baby days launched their careers as Mother Goose scholars.

And now Maze is listening to Mother Goose.

He’s a Mother Goose scholar too!

So this Grandma Update is mostly to say that while there’s so much new under the sun for today’s babies, here’s to the rhymes that have danced the test of baby-time.

Oh and here’s to babies!

Babies everywhere!

For there is nothing, nothing in the whole world, like a baby.

And I bet the grand dame, the great Mother Goose herself,would agree,

Diddley, diddley dee!

Photo Above:  Son-in-law Matt reads to my grandson. I wonder if he’s read Maze the introduction, written by Iona Opie. This is My Very First Mother Goose, illustrated by Rosemary Wells. I love this book for baby presents and give it often.

Photo Below:  The Opies researching playground rhymes and ditties as they skipped rope with British schoolchildren.

opies-skipping

Celebrations, Children, Grandchildren, Grandmother, Grandparents

Guest Post: I Wish I Had an App!

A guest post from writer AND grandmother, Chris Rosen:

Writing a blog was my revenge for being left with an empty nest and moving over 300 miles south to the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was also a way to deal with becoming another type of mother – the Mother-of-the Bride, who rapidly turns into a Mother-in-Law, and then wonder of wonders, a Grandmother. My daughter is the Bride (an ER doctor), her husband is the Groom (an Internal Medicine doctor),and my husband is Bob (another ER doctor). Hospitals are their turf, and this is our story.

Bob and I lost the Bride and the Groom in the hospital parking garage. Well we didn’t really lose them, since we have smart cells and can always find them again, wherever they are. Except for maybe a Caribbean island, our collective happy visualization spot!

We were headed for Labor and Delivery; we picked up the happy couple on another subterranean floor and as we’re going up in the elevator, I repeat “BJ,” maybe a touch too loud. That is where we will presumably find my car again, once we are grandparents. Basment level, row “J.” Except for a small giggle from the back of the elevator, the Bride turns to me and says, “Don’t you have that App?” “What App?” I say.

It seems there is an App that will locate your car for you when you are stuck in an airport or mall parking lot, or even a covered, cavernous hospital garage. Now not only will I never get lost, I’ll never lose my car again! “Interesting,” I said, “Have they created an App that will tell me – “‘Why am I here?’” The whole elevator had a smile about that one. But really, besides the existensial question in general, why do we need grandparents? Let me count the ways.

To Cook! Your children will be busy, very busy with a newborn. Cooking anything will be appreciated. I lucked out cause the Groom does dishes.

To Shop! Of course you need to shop for the groceries to cook, which should include all your daughter’s favorite things…avocados, peaches, grapefruit juice. Don’t forget the new Dad, he needs beer and beef. You won’t go wrong. And be prepared to go on special hunting expeditions for things like Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads – amazing things! Spell it out on your Notes App, L-A-N-S-I-N-O-H. ps Target carries them.

To Burp, Rock and Change the Occasional Diaper! Be prepared. Dads are way more involved than they were in our day. So the actual baby nurse duties will be minimal with a nursing Mom and today’s Dad.

To Give Nursing Advice! Who needs a doula when you have a Grandmother? Well, maybe we did. It’s been over 30 years since I nursed the Bride and for some strange reason this hospital doesn’t employ Lactation Counsultants on weekends. I had a 1-800 La Leche number, and now I have a post-menopausal brain that tends to forget the tough times of sleep deprivation and an inverted nipple. Lucky for me, the Bride has a very cooperative baby girl!

To Know When NOT to Give Advice! This can be tricky. I learned a long time ago never to give anyone advice unless they asked for it. But when it’s your daughter, and your brand new grand daughter you may start to feel just like one of those crazy, old women who would constantly tell you what to do when you were a new mom. “What do you mean the nurse recommends not putting lotion on her bottom?” “You’re going to swaddle her that tight?” Anyway, try very hard to keep most of your opinions to yourself – unless asked. My daughter said she only sees babies in the ER who are either dehydrated or febrile and septic, so I trust her to know what to do in most every circumstance. Still, that leaves a wide range of normal neonate behavior, right? “Wait, you want the dog to lick her face?”

To Take Pictures. My phone has like 4 or 5 picture Apps! Here’s the thing, you get to take pictures as much as you want! And you get to catch those unlikely times with the whole new family. For instance, I think this looks like a soap opera. First time nursing in the recovery room: nurse at the computer, BFF and colleague Kristyn comes in, off camera are many of their friends who are residents…all crying. And bam, the Groom turns. What is he thinking?

I  would be thinking, “Should I use my John S Lens, Blanko Noir film/no flash for the next Hipstamatic print  I want to upload on Instagram?”

But, later I will tell the new parents to forget all those Apps that help you keep track of wet diapers and feedings. To  relax, disconnect from the internet, cuddle and play together and try to rest. Because this is the greatest gift we grandparents can give; the gift of time to enjoy the new baby

Chris Rosen divides her time between Charlottesville, VA and Nashville, TN where her new granddaughter was just born. A contributor to Tangerine Tango, she was a columnist for the Two River Times in Red Bank, NJ. She also wrote for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She has been a UVA Community Scholar and is currently working on a book about her Mother, The Flapper. Check out her blog, Mountain Mornings.  She poses below with baby Caroline Rose.

 

Grandmother, Grandparents, Life, Menopause

On Getting Old, Grandma-style

I have a feeling I worry more about getting old than the average woman.

Hard to know for sure, but it seems that way from  conversations with friends.

But I had a moment come over me like a voice from the universe.

On September 7.

Cliff and I were leaving the hospital in Charlottevsille, Virginia.

We’d just spent two hours with our brand new grandson, Mazen.

It’s okay, the moment said.

Mazen’s here.

You’re the grandma.

He’s the baby.

That’s how it goes.

And the going is good!