Wednesday, April 30, 2008

May Day Fun . . .

April is very nearly over, and tomorrow is May Day.
My mom worked for a wallpaper and paint store, and each season she would bring home the outdated wallpaper pattern books. We felt rich – so much pretty paper to use for doll houses, or letters, or May Day baskets.
Our favorite was the cone shaped basket, with a pipe-cleaner handle. We'd fill it with penny candy, popcorn, and top it off with flowers from the yard, whatever was fresh and fragrant.
We'd tiptoe to the neighbors early in the morning – or sometimes very late in the afternoon – and leave the basket hanging on their door. We'd hide and watch the fun as they opened the door and found their gift.
If you're close enough, leave a May Day basket for someone you love – a grandchild, or a close neighbor. You can use almost anything – an empty juice can, construction paper, left-over wallpaper – you're limited only by your imagination.
Fill it up with goodies, then leave it where it will be found. Ring the bell, and run!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Eyes to See

I talked with a MOPS group last week about “Kindling a Sense of Wonder in Your Child.” I came away feeling as if I had missed the mark, but that happens sometimes.
One of the things I discussed was introducing your child to nature. This is something a grandparent can do, too. Just today I was out walking in our yard, trying to open my eyes to spring unfolding. Here are some of the things I noticed:
* a constellation of violets in the grass – they look like tiny stars, studding the yard.
* the tips of every branch on the pine trees are loaded with tiny pine cones.
* cardinals were calling to each other, and tiny finches were singing.
* the bark on our big mulberry tree is rough, multi-colored, and good for squirrels to gain footing on.
* the bluebells are beginning to bloom.
* tiny grape hyacinth surprise a careful observer.
* ducks paddle in the creek without making a sound.
* the lilac is leafing out so quickly it's as if an invisible hand is painting it green.
Having eyes to see makes the world a much richer place.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Turn Off the What???

April 21 is the first day of Turn-Off-the-Television week according to a column written by Julie Kaiser, for the Bloomington Pantagraph – you can read it for yourself at The Pantagraph website,

Julie writes about how hard it is to avoid using television as a child care helper. How well I remember! And as a grandma, it can still be a temptation.

I think it's harder for young moms; it's hard for them to carve out time to do things that are necessary, not to mention finding quiet time to gather themselves together. As Julie explains, sometimes television provides just the thing to keep the kids entertained while she gets a few things done.

As a grandma I have the luxury of time to get ready with alternative activities. I have “down time” to prepare things to do in the limited time I have with my grandchildren, so television isn't quite the resource it used to be.

Julie is my daughter, and experienced first-hand having Captain Kangaroo and Big Bird as babysitters. She grew up to be a remarkable young woman, creative, bright, engaged.

It's not that television can't be used wisely – it's just that there is so much more we can do.

What's your favorite non-television activity for your kids/grandkids to do?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Back from Vacation . . .

There is something about a vacation that re-sets schedules.

We took a vacation right after Easter, and it's taken me this long to get caught up. Either life is speeding up or I'm slowing down – or both!

We spent most of a week at the beach with our daughter, her family, and some friends, wading, building sand castles, looking for shells and other beach treasures. We played games, read books, and ate wonderful meals. We celebrated the 7 year old's birthday, went on the Glorious Gardens tour in Charleston, South Carolina, and generally had a relaxing time together.

Vacationing with grandchildren can be a great way to bond with them, and make memories that will last for several lifetimes – your own, and theirs.