Last week we were blessed with the arrival of our fifth grandchild….Liam Michael Rainone, son of Andrew and Tara Rainone, born Halloween night, Friday, Oct. 31 in Sydney, Australia. My wife Joyce and I, although a little stressed for a while, were so thankful that everything went well, along with the fact that we are able to stay in close touch through the amazing inventions of Skype, email, and face-time.
Although this little family is 5042 kilometres away from our living room, we were able to get close and personal with the little duffer and his tired but happy parents right from the beginning of this exciting event. A few days later when they all went home, we were sharing oooohs and aaaahs on the i-Pad over the airwaves, where we think he may have heard our voices and gave us a big smile, but then again, maybe that was only just a little gas? Just like all other very proud, pumped, and loving parents and grandparents, we have always made a special effort of staying in touch with our four children and their siblings wherever they may choose to settle and raise their families.
How great it is for all of us to glow with pride and chuckle as we show off all those new baby pictures to everyone else, while those precious photo albums that took us years to put together in the past are now colorful electronic displays which you can save or send with the flick of a finger. Of course, as parents or grandparents, we are always so pleased when our children or grandchildren ask us for some advice and tips on how to bring up their kids during those most exciting life adventures from newborns to not so terrible teens. No doubt that childrearing has changed a lot since we were growing up in and around good old Ponoka, and I guess that we have found out that it might not always work out the same way as when we were bringing up what is now the next generation of parents. While all moms and grammas of new moms and dads will lovingly and firmly insist that this is how you should feed them and dress them and teach them, there will eventually be an amazing compromise of old and new ideas that may run into a few glitches, but will all come together for the best. For example, diapers have now been transformed from cloth to paper with no sticky pins, there are now hundreds of new ways to treat tummy aches and teething instead of the old traditional at home remedies, potty training has become psychological, and fancy car seats have replaced mom’s lap; but no matter what, thumbs and soothers will always be sucked. As parents and grandparents we should always be allowed to spoil these new bundles of growing joy just a little, but the greatest gift that we can offer along the way is our time and patience, with hope that we will become their slightly wrinkled and graying heroes for many memorable years to come. I looked it up and the online ‘specialists’ have offered these top 10 tips for pampering grandchildren.
● Cuddling….has been an old stand-by for years, and what little toddler doesn’t love to sit on grandpa’s knee, get a horsy ride, and then finally be rocked to sleep in the most comfortable and safe laps in the world?
● Singing….all kids love to sing all types of songs for all seasons, and whether we join in out of tune or not, it all sounds perfect, and never fails to get lots of laughs.
● Dancing….My favourite memories of learning how to dance was standing on my dad’s feet and hanging on while he twirled and whirled around the room. Kids also love to dance with each other, while grandparents can sit and watch, and then offer a clap and a treat for a great show.
● Reading….a great tradition which we all hope will never go away is listening to or reading bedtime stories. Remember how we used to act out the characters, and that the toughest task for adults is not to fall asleep before the kids do. Books are the tales of life, a quiet way to visit the whole world, and a great learning source for young minds.
● Floor play….A great joy will always be to get down on the floor with our kids and play with all sorts of toys, to build things out of blocks that hook together, do a jigsaw puzzle, and then take them all apart and then put them all back in the box before bedtime.
● Puppets….Do they do this anymore? It was great fun to operate the hand-puppets or wiggle the ones on the strings, but it was even better to be the voices of the characters.
● Watching DVDs….There are so many types of children’s movies, and a real bonus for all of us babysitting grandparents now is that most youngsters know how to operate the VCR. I have watched so many of them over the years that I still shuffle around the living room talking and acting like that big purple dinosaur called Barney.
● Walking….Always the best exercise for both children and adults, and you can also throw in a little running. Be sure to take along the buggy, stroller, or sleigh, just in case they get tired, then the adults can find a park bench, and you can both have a snooze.
● Shopping….a great adventure for young and old, with no purchases needed, look but don’t touch, and if they are good promise them a treat. Last, but not least is a trip to the Zoo or the Circus, where a whole new world unfolds, but make sure the toddlers are old enough to enjoy it all.
Whatever the case, always save a little precious time for family fun, treasure and preserve the memories, and have a great week, all of you.