Monthly Archives: August 2016
I was shopping yesterday, and met a young woman who was obviously worrying and upset. She had left her baby for the first time at a childcare center. Her child is nine months old, and she said, “I am sure he is okay. He went right into the caregiver’s arms”. Between her emotional response and her worried look, I am not sure she fully believed it. The hours were slowly going by at work.
If you are going to become a grandparent, know that a wonderful new role awaits you. People would tell me about their grandchildren and go on and on. Not that I minded their details of grandchildren’s experiences or showing new pictures. I knew something special was happening to them.
But nothing prepared my husband and myself for the birth of our first and second granddaughters. Your life does change—for the better! The birth releases in you an unconditional love. You experience joy for baby, for your child and his/her spouse, and yourself—a triple dose of happiness!
Our recent visit with our granddaughters was filled with joy and wonderment as to how they can know so much about the world at the young ages of 2.5 and 7 years old. Our older granddaughter, Elizabeth got her hair cut and asked her mother if there were enough hair cuttings to give to a girl who does not have any hair. Obviously, there have been conversations with her parents about a child having chemotherapy, being bald, and sometimes using wigs. Memories of past interactions and an amazing amount of empathy combine to give Elizabeth a sense of wanting to help another child with serious health issues. We never expected her to think of sharing her hair, so few people/adults would think of this act of kindness.
Our sense of what we expect from our two year old, Paige seemed out of kilter as well. Paige has that toddler run and amazement of everything. She seems happy with life itself, and has the energy of only a two year old can have. I was reminded how literal two year olds are. Her Granddad was swinging her and said, “Reach up and touch the sky!” Paige carefully let go first with one hand and then the other—saying, “I can’t touch it Granddad!!” Granddad’s statement had both poetic and aesthetic elements; ones that a two year old cannot understand in her literal world.
Then, we were delighted to be Skyping with Paige and her Mama. Mama asked, “Paige, give Nana and Granddad a Kiss”. Dismayed, Paige said, “But I can’t touch them”. We looked at each other and responded to her we could blow kisses. This action seemed to satisfy her.
How many times do we say things that we believe toddlers understand? Our higher level expectations may be with the toddler being confused. Or quite the opposite, our expectations are for more baby like behavior. I am sure you have heard people talking childish/baby talk to a toddler. It sounds really out of place, doesn’t it?
All of this gave us pause, Paige is just 2.5. So many times she acts older. Her language changes from very precise enunciation to a hurried, garbled string of sounds, which sometimes even her sister cannot understand. Perhaps we expect too much at times.
Grandparenting is much like parenting. You are always learning more about your grandchildren’s abilities and past experiences that combine to make amazing interactions!