Tag Archives: Grandparents

Wednesday with Granddaddy – Double Treat

Last year, I wrote about how much I enjoy every Wednesday since I get to spend the afternoon with my granddaughter at the Children’s Museum of Memphis (CMOM).  She and I have been going there for a full two semesters now, ever since her parents have been back in school. It is a wonderful routine that she and I have gotten in to and, the few times I have traveled and not been available, we have both sorely missed our time together. Well in May of this year, I got a double treat when my daughter and grandson flew in town for a two-week visit.

It was a very special time to be with them since my daughter and her family live so far away. And with my granddaughter’s parents out of school for the summer, there were lots of time to get together over the two weeks so the two cousins could play with each other, here seen sharing cups of ice at Mimi’s café.

Since it had been almost a year since we had all been together, it also afforded us an opportunity to get some professional photos taken of the grandkids.

With nice spring weather, there were also several chances to have cookouts together…

…and learning to share.

It was definitely an exciting time for all.

But for me, the highlight of the visit was getting to go to the Children’s Museum with two of my three grandchildren along with their parents (sans our son-in-law who was on a business trip) and my wife and fellow grandparent affectionately named, Mimi!

For my granddaughter, having been so many times with me to CMOM, she has almost a routine of what she likes to do once we walk in the door. For my grandson, this was a new experience so starting out with Mimi in a police car seemed an appropriate place to begin the adventure.

In fact since it was a new exploration for my grandson, I spent a part of my time going back and forth between where my grandson was at the time and where my granddaughter was.

With her parents there, my granddaughter also got to do some special things with Mommy and Daddy that my granddaughter and I had not been able to do before.

And throughout our time there, I tried to make sure I spent an equal amount of time with each grandchild wherever they were in the museum so that they did not perceive me as showing favoritism to one or the other.   On the occasion when they were in the same place…

…I never could seem to get them both in the same photo at the same time.

Being interested in cars like me and so also mechanically inclined, my grandson spent some time taking the wheels off the car in for repair…

…before running over to the FEDEX plane and loading up packages for delivery. I think he manually cranked at least 20 packages up the conveyor belt all the while my granddaughter was sliding down the circular slide from the back of the plane, each doing what they thought was the most fun.

We fortunately had about two hours at the museum so the two cousins got to shop together at the little grocery store, cook together in the little kiddie kitchen, and do lots of other fun activities.

I don’t know if anyone noticed the gleam of joy in my eyes getting to watch them both play. It was a real thrill for me, one I would love to have more often. And my keen observation noted that they both made the same tongue motion as they played, a small telling behavior revealing they were related.

At 5:00 when the museum closed and for our grandkids, went “night-night” as we always say, we made our way out to the parking lot. But the fun was not over yet. We drove over to my favorite burger place for a well-earned dinner.

As we talked and waited for our food to arrive, I reflected on the wonderful time I had had at the museum watching my grandkids play. I knew they had had fun too and I hoped my fellow adults had also. But deep down, I knew this was particularly a special treat for me—a double Wednesday treat with two grandkids—one that might not be so easily detected by the casual observer. But a treat it was indeed, one that I hope to get to repeat one day, hopefully with all three of my grandchildren making it a Triple-Treat!

Wednesdays With Granddaddy

Earlier this year, I wrote about how I was all set to perform my granddaddy duties for my in-town granddaughter once her parents had both started back to school. During the fall semester, this included picking her up from Parent’s Day Out on Friday, bringing her home to spend the night with us and then having her spend the day with us on Saturday. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed having her on these days.

On a couple of these Saturdays when my wife was out of town, I had her all to myself. With nice weather, we could go for a stroll around the neighborhood.

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But once the weather turned colder, we looked for indoor activities, one of which was her first ever ride on a carousel at a local mall.

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Another great discovery was simply taking her to my favorite toy store, Lowe’s, and letting her wander up and down the lumber aisle where there was nothing little hands could break. And on one occasion, we even got to meet a very friendly dog, a pet that my granddaughter seems to be smitten by.

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But by far my favorite granddaddy duty always came on Wednesday afternoon when each week I had her all to myself. With her parents both in school at that time and my wife working, my granddaughter and I developed a regular routine.

Typically, I would feed her lunch and then let her take a nap. As soon as she awoke, we’d jump in the car and head to the Children’s Museum. It wasn’t long after we started these excursions that we would just be waved through the gate without having to even stop as they recognized us (and my car) from previous Wednesdays.

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Our first stop would always be to check out the chickens, and roosters (and occasionally turkeys). At the time, my granddaughter was learning to make different animal sounds and seemed to enjoy hearing the sounds of real chickens and roosters. Then we would hop inside.

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When we first started making these weekly trips, typically we would start off in an area designated for four-year-olds and younger. There she could play in the tree house with its big slide at the bottom…

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…climb on the jungle gym…

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…play with a little doll house…

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…or stuff scarves into the air-pipe system…

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…and watch them make their circuitous journey through the pipe maze and pop out the top to float to the ground.

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Near this area was also a toddler size kitchen with cabinets, back splash, and counter tops nicer than those in most of my previous homes.

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Placing her little hands under the faucet would elicit the sounds of running water and the churning of a garbage disposal, both favorites of my granddaughter.

As the Wednesdays rolled by, we began to venture into the bigger kids area and eventually would spend almost our entire two hours in those areas.

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The model Mississippi river proved particularly attractive as it afforded a splashing opportunity as well as good fishing.

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There was also a time when she decided to play the role of dental hygienist and demonstrate proper brushing technique, having to climb up onto the willing subject to reach his big teeth.

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But one favorite spot each time was the disco room with flashing lights and 1970s music to dance by.

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And over the fall, it was with delight as I watched my granddaughter grow and learn to master new activities.

Like the time when, without even understanding the significance of the “Xs” and “Os”, she won a game of wall tick-tack-toe…

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…or the time, always attracted to anything musical, figuring out how to make sounds emit from the laser harp…

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…and even learning to get on and off the seesaw (designated for five-year-olds and older) driving herself up and down all by herself without even a second child on the other end.

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Our last stop each trip would always be the painted yellow brick road just outside the exit door. With a motion detector high up on the wall sensing my granddaughter walking up, she marveled at how the song “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” would automatically start to play to which my granddaughter would begin to dance. Typically we’d have to hear it play at least five or six times before we would head back to the car. Sometimes, this activity was cut a little short as they began to lock the exit gate.

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It was then a short drive back to her house where her parents who had not seen her all day always greeted her warmly.

It was often with sadness we had to end our time together but joy in knowing that we would get to repeat the experience in just one week for another Wednesday with Granddaddy!

Ready for Granddaddy Duty

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I’ve written before what a joy it is to be a granddaddy. With our oldest grandchild having turned two not long ago, I’ve had two full years of enjoyment. Although two of our three grandchildren live on the West coast, we still try to get to see them all as much as possible; even it means just using the modern wonder of FaceTime.

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I’ve told my wife on more than one occasion that I am just loving these years being grandparents. And becoming a grandparent has prompted me to want to retire sooner than I had originally planned. This way, I can spend more time with grandchildren and traveling to see grandchildren.

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Fortunately one of our granddaughters lives in town so we actually get to see her on a much more regular basis. But not just her, but all three of our grandchildren factored heavily into my decision last winter when I was looking to buy a new car.

I had been exploring a number of different possible cars to buy but I had certain criteria that I knew it had to meet. In addition to the now standard power options, I wanted advanced safety features (e.g., back up camera, blind-spot warning), leather interior, a manual transmission, and a sporty performance. I eventually narrowed it down to a choice between two cars: a Ford Mustang and a Subaru WRX.

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I test drove both and was most satisfied with the transmission and the sporty performance of each of them. But beyond just the higher safety rating of the WRX, its real advantage was it had 4-doors. Recalling back to the day when we had two infants/toddlers in car seats with a 2-door car, I knew I didn’t want to have to go through the extreme contortions necessary to put a child into a car seat in a 2-door car, especially since I would not be as limber as I was over thirty years ago. And while I already had three cars, all of them were 2-door models. So having 4-doors significantly tipped the balance in favor of the WRX.

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After taking delivery of my new car, the next step was to purchase a car seat. My first idea was to get an extra car seat that I would share with my son in his second car (they had a car seat that permanently stayed in their primary 4-door vehicle). But then having to transfer a car seat every time would not make for a fast or easy pick up, especially since his second car was one of my 2-door cars. So I went ahead and bought an additional car seat that could stay in my new car.

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So with 4-door car and car seat in hand, I was ready for granddaddy duty.

And that duty began in earnest this fall when our granddaughter’s parents both started back to college/graduate school. There were several times in their class schedules when they did not have child care. My wife, only working part-time was able to handle some of them. But the one day she had a conflict and could not cover was Wednesday. Fortunately, I was able to arrange an alternate work schedule with my boss that allowed me to be off every Wednesday afternoon.

So on my first Wednesday of granddaddy duty, I left work after lunch and hopped over to my son’s house, a short 5-minute drive from work. Having already had her nap and lunch, we jumped right into playing. We had a good time playing with all of her toys and reading a few books. But after more than an hour, it seemed we needed a change in venue. Since it was way too hot to go outside and play or to go for a walk, I decided to take her to one of our favorite places, the Children’s Museum. And with a car seat equipped 4-door car parked just outside, I knew we could easily make the trip.

We went straight to our favorite play area, a gated section only for children four and under. There she gravitated to some of her favorite toys.

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On this occasion, she took a particular interest in the airway wind pipe where you can insert a scarf or ball and watch it traverse through all the twisted piping and fly out the top.

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We also ran into the wife of one our kid’s best life-long friends who was there with her three boys. It was nice to catch up but also gave me a nice sense of being a parent (now grandparent) chatting with other adults all while our kids were having fun playing.

After two hours, it was time to head home. By the time her parents got back from their classes, I had fed and bathed our granddaughter. She was all ready for a little play time and cuddling with her parents before bedtime. As I walked out the door, I had a great feeling of our time together but also happiness with the knowledge that the next week, we’d get to do this again. In just a week, I’d report back for my granddaddy duty. Maybe if the heat broke, we’d get a chance to go to an outdoor park or even just a walk around the block. Whatever we worked out to do, I was confident it would be a fun granddaddy time together!

On Becoming a Granddaddy – One Year Anniversary

This week, I will be celebrating the one-year anniversary of becoming a granddaddy for the first time.

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Of course of even more significance, this means that our first grandchild, our grandson will be celebrating his first birthday. I wrote last year on how I learned that I had become a granddaddy so I won’t repeat myself. But as our grandson’s birthday approached, I realized that his birthday would always mark my anniversary of becoming a granddaddy. It is like I will be co-celebrating his birthday with him each year for the rest of our lives.

Although we won’t be able to be with our grandson on his birthday since he is our “long distance” grandchild, we were fortunate to get to celebrate his birthday about three weeks early when we were visiting my daughter’s in-laws over the 4th of July weekend.

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And with both sets of grandparents, along with his parents and one of his uncles singing “Happy Birthday”, we were able to wish him a happy one-year birthday.

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When I thought about this one-year milestone some more, I realized how appropriate it was that my daughter had her son to coincide with me becoming a granddaddy. For it is with my daughter that I have shared an anniversary of sorts each year on her birthday.

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Over three decades ago, my daughter was born five days after I started a new job. And although the company has been bought twice in my career there, I still work at the same location. So when I want to recall how long I have worked at this job, I simply have to remember how old my daughter is.

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Interestingly, my youngest son managed to perfectly match this anniversary theme.

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He became a father to his daughter, my first granddaughter exactly six months to the day after our grandson was born.

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So now that I have been a granddaddy for just about a year, what has it been like? Wonderful!

I’ve always heard that the best part about becoming a parent is becoming a grandparent and I must say my experience has validated that statement. After your kids are grown and you see small babies out in public, at least for a man, you don’t necessarily think too much about it. But when that small child is your grandchild, it makes all the difference in the world.

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You find that you make funny noises and faces to get them to smile or laugh.

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You enjoy holding them and giving them kisses.

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You enjoy playing with them, especially cars for me.

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And when it is their bedtime, you get to go home and sleep through the night knowing you won’t be woken in the night by little crying sounds.

Our grandparent situation is our grandson lives far away and so the daily interaction he has with my wife is via Face Time. But our granddaughter is local and so we see her much more frequently in person.

Recently in fact, we had the opportunity for our granddaughter, five-months old at the time, to get to spend several days with us while her parents vacationed in Florida.

It was our first sleepover for a grandchild.

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It started out early one Saturday morning with a less than easy departure for her parents, especially for her mom. We then loaded up all of the things we would need and drove to our home.

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We set up a place for our granddaughter to play and soon we were FaceTiming with our granddaughter’s aunt and her cousin.

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She got to go on two errands with me that first day, one to the farmer’s market to buy some salmon (since we planned on cooking out rather than dining out) and then a fun adventure to the “Once upon a child” store where we got some clothes and loaded up on shoes.

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And before dinner, we got to go for a stroll since the weather was so nice.

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And throughout the day, my wife and I diligently kept a log of activities so we would know when to expect she would want to eat again.

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By 7:30, we thought she was down for the night…

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…but turned out it was just a nap.

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Our son called from their vacation and told us she had been staying up until around 10:00 PM. That certainly explained the short nap. She did finally go to sleep for good at about 11:30 and slept until 5:30 in the morning, her usual wake up time.

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After a quick change of diaper, she and I were both ready for another day.

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Reflecting back over the year, I must say it has been blissful being a grandparent. It has been so much fun, it has caused me to want to accelerate my retirement plans so that I can spend even more time with our grandkids and their parents. And I look forward to the next exciting grand parenting event that will add even more to this anniversary.