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“Once we know that our deeply-held beliefs may instead be historically malleable, we can start to imagine how to make improvements”

Lara reviews a book called “Are we having fun yet?” a book about the feelings of angst and frustration with child rearing. 
You know those instinctive ideas of parenting?  The book’s premise is that they are not instinctive, but are learned behaviors.  Knowing that makes it easier to plan change.  Maybe a bit late for my own children.  But the information still might be useful.  This book is on my ‘to read’ list.

http://larafreidenfelds.com/2014/05/28/are-we-having-fun-yet-jennifer-seniors-smart-historically-informed-take-on-modern-parenting/

 
 

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Gramma Nettie at a Birthday party

My first Grandson is two years old, now!  My how time flies.

He is the smartest little boy I know.  The party was filled with lots of Grandparents from both sides, Aunts and Uncles and Cousins.  Barely any room to move around!  And the noise was glorious, with the boys playing with drums and xylophones and recorders — GS#1 was funny, tooting into the recorder backwards.

He was so overwhelmed with all the activity, with all the colourful presents.  His most favourite thing is cars.  The first thing he says when he comes over is “cars?  cars?” then he has to go get the cars out of the freezer.

Of course, he got cars for his birthday.  Flashy new cars, great food and drink.  He got a riding McQueen car.  His eyes got big, he had a huge smile on his face, and he hopped right on.  He quickly found the horn button, the right turn signal button, the left turn signal button, and pushed them all.  He drove the thing into the wall, and was rescued by Daddy.  Then — THEN — he found the music button.  He had to get off and dance around the car.  Then he got down on his knees to inspect his beautiful new wheels.  The look on his face was pure bliss.

When he gets older and starts fixiing his own cars, I want to pull out this photo and show it to him.  It is also one of those photos that you could recreate in 16 years.

Gramma Nettie had to leave early.  I went to give #1 a kiss, and — as is his usual response — he turned his head “NO!”  In front of everybody.  I could have gotten my feeling hurt, but that won’t change anything, so I just said that is our routine.  Then, when I left, he looked at me like he wanted to hug me.  When I moved in that direction he ran off.  Oh, well.  He is only two years old.

I got to visit with Grandson #2, who is 3 months old.  He is curious about everything.  He has to look at everything, and leans into his looking.  He was very frightened when he woke up from his nap and his home was filled with all sorts of people.  It took a while for him to adjust to all the attention.  I was able to hold him for a while.  He talks to me, and I talk back to him.  We had a great conversation.  Don’t know what we talked about, but it was a great conversation.

 
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Posted by on 23 February 2014 in Grandmothers

 

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Waving Goodbye

Recently, my daughter came to visit me at my new home. We had a great visit, and had a lot of fun with my grandson and with his aunt and uncle (my other two children). We got time to talk about plans for the future, and just to visit. Nothing unusual.

Nothing, that is, until it was time to leave. I kissed and hugged everybody goodbye at the doorway, and walked back into the house. But then, that niggling feeling that I had forgotten something very important came to me. I had to rush out of the house in my bare feet so I could wave my daughter and son-in-law and my grandson out the driveway. It took a long time to figure out why this seemed so important to me. Then it came to me.

0000WA~1photo by W.V.

About every four years or so, my mom and dad drove a great distance to visit my mom’s mother. We would visit for a week, or two weeks. And when it came time to leave, I would look back to see my grandmother standing in the yard, waving to us until we could no longer see her. I hadn’t thought about this for a long time, but it became imperative that I do the same thing. I had to do “The Grandmother Thing,” and wave to them until I could no longer see them. Even though they live about 15 minutes away, I HAD to do this thing.

Because I am a Grandmother.

 

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Grandmothers who do too much

I understand Grandmothers who do too much for their grandchildren. Really, I do! I have a huge desire to protect my children, even when they are full grown, and just because my child has a child of her own doesn’t reduce that Motherly instinct. But …

2012,03 Kevin Erickson by JVS (52)

Photo by dayspringacres, of my daughter and grandson

 

There is a point where a Grandmother can “protect” her child too much. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen the grandmother take charge of the sick child, with Mother (with or without Dad) following behind.  Momma looks to Grandmother for the answer. Or, Gramma tells the “kids” to leave the room during an unpleasant procedure.  I am always dumbfounded, speechless, and even a bit angry. I bite my tongue: Just how did Gramma get to be such a strong maternal figure, except by coping with the hard times.  How is Momma ever to learn this herself?  I watch the mommas whose body language indicates they are unsure of themselves, and are timid, and don’t really know their own baby.

Well, of course they don’t! Because Gramma is taking over, the mother HAS to feel as if she is worthless — I know I would have, if my mother had done that to me!

I strongly feel that the Grandmother’s role is to support her child. She is to instruct her daughter how to be a good mother, not to take that job from the mother. She is allowed to give momma a break — HEY! We have to have Lovey Dovey time with our Grandkids, don’t we? But our primary job is to tell our daughters and our sons what a good job they are doing raising THEIR children. We had our chance, and I am one who is glad that I have all the fun and none of the responsibility! If the kid is sick (and momma is handling it well and isn’t sick herself) he is better off with his momma.

There is a quote, defining a Grandmother as a Mother who has a second chance. I disagree. Grandmothers are not mothers, and have a very different job. The jobs overlap sometimes, such as when we teach our grandchildren, but the emphasis is different.  I am more set in my ways, now, and this could get in the way of my relationship with my daughter and my grandson.  I know what is the right thing to do, but I don’t have the responsibility to act on what I THINK is the right thing to do.  That responsibility belongs to my daughter and her husband.  I may not agree, but I am not to say that I don’t agree.

Again, my job is to support my daughter, tell her lots of times what a wonderful job she is doing, and to love and teach my grandson the wonders of the world, and of his heritage.  I get to sing to him, and tell him about his momma when she was his age, and about where he came from.

Today, as I babysit my grandson, I put away my computer while he was awake, and I got down on the floor with him, we pulled out all the books from the bookshelf, we ate what foods we wanted to eat (within reason — we did NOT have leftover birthday cake), and we did not eat the carrots that Momma wanted him to eat.  And I sang to him and we danced together.  That is my job as a Grandmother — Show him how fun life can be, how interesting the world around him is.  this job will become even more important when siblings begin arriving, because his parents will be very busy, but I can pay special attention to him.  This is something I could not do to my children when I was Momma.

I am beginning to like my new role.

 

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The Grandmother Club

What does it mean to be a Grandmother?

The actual, physical act of becoming a Grandmother was easy enough.  I did not have to do anything, really, other than support my daughter as she went through the labour.  The emotional act of becoming a Grandmother is another story.

I have many emotions, several of which conflict with each other.  During the labour and the birth, I was at once proud of my daughter and her husband, and fearful for her.  I had gone through the same type of hard, long, drawn-out labour that she’d gone through.  For some reason, I was never fearful for myself.  I was afraid for my daughter, for the exhaustion she was obviously experiencing.  I was surprised that I was more concerned for the welfare of my daughter than I was for the new baby!

Now, I have embarked on a new journey.  One which started, I suppose, when I first gave birth to my oldest daughter, who now has a child of her own.  What does it mean to be a Grandmother?  How does one go about acting like a Grandmother?  What does a Grandmother look like?  What name should I go by?

Many questions surface, with many emotions.  I want to explore these emotions as they occur.  Because, I really don’t think I am the only one who thinks this way, who feels these same things, and who have what I call identity issues.  You, reader, are invited to participate in this exploration, to help sort out the new role called Grandmother.

Welcome, to the Grandmother Club!

 
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Posted by on 21 January 2013 in Grandmothers, Uncategorized

 

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