October 25, 2012
October 23, 2012
After such a big build up and a cookie-filled, totally indulgent visit, we should have predicted that the grandparents’ going home may not go over so well. One night, my parents just went back to the hotel rather than to our house to tuck in the wee ones, and our 5 year old bawled for 20 minutes. But when they left the state, she really surprised us. Our normally mellow, tantrum-lite child had about 3 major breakdowns in one day.
Margaret Mead, the anthropologist, researched families and communities, including inter-generational relationships. She authored the popular quote: ‘Everyone needs to have access both to grandparents and grandchildren in order to be a full human being.’ My suspicion is that my daughter simply is trying to be a full human being, and is struggling when her grandparents are not around. I truly believe that she is complete when surrounded by her whole family, including both sets of grandparents, and that their departure is much more than less ice cream. I think there is a biological need that takes over, and she feels less ‘whole’ as a person when her family is limited to two busy parents and a nasty older sister.
That being said, we will do our best to keep our kids and grandparents in touch between visits. But I do wish we lived near all of her grandparents, and I know she does too.
October 10, 2012
The article then explored why seniors are experiencing social isolation by conducting a survey. The two top reasons by far were “Family and friends live too far away” (48% of respondents) and “Family and friends are too busy” (42%). I was surprised that so many seniors felt disconnected from their families, especially given all the technologies available today.
However, it made me wonder if the problem somehow had it’s roots in the response ‘Family and friends too busy.’ When I think about all the activities I do with my kids, both during the week and the weekend, it really is challenging to find time to make a call or set up Facetime or Skype. One possible way to help seniors and their families become more connected is to focus on asynchronous communication. For example, DoubleScoop, Facebook, and even plain old email don’t require both grandparents and their families to be available at the same time. This might in part explain the growth of seniors using Facebook. For grandparents with grandkids too young for Facebook or email, DoubleScoop and BloggleBeans are fun, new ways to connect them when they have a free moment.
October 5, 2012
- “When you become a grandparent, it suddenly hits you that time is precious and you need to make the most of it.”
- “Now my wife and I get to transition from the serious parents to the fun grandparents. What sucks for my son is that he will always get the serious parent routine from us. We care way too much about our boy and his wife to stop being his parents. But we will probably spoil the hell out of the little one.”
- “The point at which you become a grandparent is when you finally get to see if you were a good parent or not.”
The last one was the most interesting and I am going to ask my mom whether she agrees. Are they finally seeing whether they think they did a good job raising me? Does she think she messed up with me every time I make a mistake with my kids, which is frighteningly frequent? Some things to think about.
October 2, 2012
Scrapbooking does not come naturally to me. My family scrapbook growing up was a big drawer under the TV where we dumped the occasional photos we felt were worth keeping. A couple of moves and the photos were duly placed into a new drawer somewhere else. Perhaps a photo would be removed from time to time at a milestone birthday or graduation. But usually not. Not to paint too dim a picture, our best photos were tastefully framed and placed somewhere in the house to enjoy. I suppose if you put them all in a row, we would have a timeline.
So, not surprisingly, when I had my own family, I started out with a large drawer in my coffee table where I placed any photos I remembered to print. I finally did organize quite a few into various scrapbooks when there was a wildfire near our house and it seemed easier to haul a couple of books than 1000 loose pictures. But soon after, the drawer filled up again.
Then we got a new coffee table. And there were no empty drawers in our house. Another round of shoving photos into some photo albums came to pass. And then things got really ugly. My husband and I each got iPhones, our 8-year old took possession of an old digital camera, we got a new digital camera, and my husband and I each got new computers, one Mac and one PC. Within 3 months, I had 1000s of photos on 6 different devices, nothing was getting printed, every memory card was full, and about 1% of all the photos were worth looking at again.
The solution? No idea. But for now the digital cameras are off limits, since we aren’t completely sure where the download cables are, and we have reactivated an account at an online photo-printer to encourage us to print and ‘scrapbook’ more. Facebook and its timeline are beyond my skill set. Of course we are using DoubleScoop with the grandparents and uncle so at least their photos are all in one place, rather than in separate emails. If you have any great ideas to help with organizing photos, please share them.
September 27, 2012
1. A Day in School. Tell your grandchild about a day in school at about the same age. Details are key: What did you wear? What was in your lunchbox? Was another kid mean to you? Did you take classes after school?
2. Halloween. Describe how you spent Halloween when you were a kid. What was your favorite costume? How much candy did you get? What was your favorite, and least favorite, treat?
3. Weekend fun. Share how you spend weekends as a kid. Was it mostly sports, or family outings? Was there a special meal or tradition that you had? What did you look forward to?
4. Grandparents. What were YOUR grandparents like? What are some of your favorite memories? When did you see them? What did you do together?
Do you have any other ideas? Please share them!
September 25, 2012
The story of the Iliad was likely passed on orally before Homer wrote it down in the 8th century BC. I like to imagine young people listening to the events being narrated by an older person, perhaps a parent or grandparent, over several days, and then learning to tell the story themselves. In this case, the Iliad was most likely studied, memorized and recited, and all in verse.
I believe oral traditions play an important role for children. There is value to learning to listen, and to remember and recite both the main story, as well as the details that bring a story to life. I could probably summarize the Iliad on Twitter in about 12 tweets. But that isn’t the point. The details of stories are what make it interesting and memorable. Also, the motivations of the characters Achilles, Agamemnon and Hector drive the conflicts, and teach moral lessons about greed, jealousy and holding grudges.
Grandparents can help kids appreciate stories, and become storytellers themselves. A grandparent’s life is itself a story, or a series of stories, with details that give a picture of life through time. And while many technologies focus on abbreviating stories, there are plenty that can allow a child and a grandparent to share richer, more detailed accounts. (Yes, DoubleScoop would work well here). A grandparent can play an active role helping to build a tradition of storytelling in a child’s life, and help a child gain the skills of storytelling – active listening, tracking plots, adding compelling details, and understanding people and their motivations. On top of all that, a child can learn about their family history, and strengthen their relationship with their grandparents.