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Thank you for visiting Grandma's Briefs, where I write on the good, bad, humorous and heartwarming of being a baby boomer, grandparent, parent to adult children, wife and writer. Peruse the place, leave a comment or two, and feel free to email me any time at

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    Introducing Grilled Grandma Risa

    What is a Grilled Grandma? A Grilled Grandma is a grandma whom I've grilled with some grandma-related questions, and she's graciously responded with answers and photos. Here is Grilled Grandma Risa:

    How many children do you have? Three—all grown up and married.

    How many grandchildren? Two.

    What are their ages? As of right now, my grandson Fenton is almost 11 months old (born on January 8, like Elvis), and my granddaughter Madeleine is almost 5 1/2.

    Any great grandchildren? No.

    What do your grandchildren call you? Grannie B (like "bee," because I have a guest room with a bee theme and I have way too many bee-related things in there). My husband's name starts with a B, so we're now the GBs.

    Other than the initial elation, what was your first concern upon hearing you would be a grandmother? That I would be too far away to see her very often. Madeleine was born in Providence, RI and I live in Northern California.

    How often do you get to see your grandchildren? I manage to get back east about three or four times a year. (My daughter and her family have since lived in PA and NY.) It's much easier to get to Southern California where my grandson is, so I'll probably see him more often. That's been the case over the last 11 months anyway!

    What is the best thing about being a grandma? It turns out I am the baby whisperer. I have lulled them both to sleep on a number of occasions just by talking softly to them and singing. (De Doo Doo Doo De Da Da Da by the Police works like a charm!) I love to have a sleeping baby on my shoulder.

    What is the most challenging part of being a grandma? Being so far away from both of them is one part. Realizing that I am not the expert this time around is another one: my kids make different choices for their kids, and I have to respect that.

    Describe a recent time that one (or more) of your grandchildren made you laugh out loud. Fenton has a wonderful giggle. Hearing him giggle makes me laugh, and the more I laugh, the more he giggles. We egg each other on. Madeleine made me laugh with her explanation of what sharing means to her: basically, what's mine should also be hers, and what's hers is...just hers . It makes perfect sense to a five year-old!

    What is your favorite thing to do with grandchildren who visit your house? Read them stories and make up games.

    What is your favorite thing to do when visiting grandchildren at their house? Snuggling up to read bedtime stories.

    How do you maintain the bond between yourself and your grandchildren between visits? We do Google Hangouts with the baby, and the same with the 5 1/2 year old. I also send her text messages (on her mother's phone) that are full of little images—like those old rebus picture stories. She loves to write back, using almost every picture available. Now we have the ability to do FaceTime on our iPhones, so I can move around the house and show her the things she likes to see here (the doll house, the fuzzy bees, and anything else she remembers from her last visit).

    What do you most want to pass along to your grandchildren? A love of stories and story telling and make-believe. Also, a good sense of humor!

    What is one word you hope your grandkids think of when they think of you? Fun.

    What is one thing you wish you had learned earlier as a grandparent? That it's OK to offer advice or suggestions as long as I make sure my kids are interested in hearing what I have to say first! No unsolicited advice or tossing in my two cents' worth unless they actually ask me what I think.

    What one bit of advice would you give a new grandma? Give your sons and daughters all the love and support you can. They're trying to figure things out just the way we did—no one has all the answers and we all do things our own way. Many times I thought, well, I know how to do that—gimme that baby!—but I was happy to see my kids learn on their own.

    Do you have a website or blog? Yes I do. My blog is called Zero to Sixty in One Year.

    Photo credit: Cindy Chen,, except for the photo of the two kids and the one of Risa and Fenton.

    This grilling will now be permanently placed in the Grilled Grandmas Hall of Fame—AKA the Grilled Grandma Archives—under Grilled Grandma: Risa.

    Dear Readers: If you'd like to nominate a grandma for grilling—yourself or any other grandma—please e-mail me her first name and e-mail address and I'll take care of the rest. Thank you!

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    Reader Comments (11)

    Wht a very happy looking family. Each picture made me smile just a little bit more.

    December 7, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterolga

    Welcome to Grilled Grandmas -- enjoy your time in the spotlight!

    December 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGrandma Kc

    Risa, good to have you in our gang (Grilled Grandmas) and, your grandchildren are dolls.

    Sorry you're so far away from them while they're growing into big people; just wait until they're old enough to drive or fly by themselves and they can come around more frequently; enjoy.

    December 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

    Thanks, ladies!

    December 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRisa

    Those are some beautiful grandkids! I don't want my kids to live so far away (how does?), but it's good to read about families making it work and still maintaining closeness.

    December 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnne @notasupermom

    What a wonderful Q&A! My son's getting married next year and they're already talking about baby names, so I'm storing up all of these terrific nuggets of wisdom. Grandma Risa sounds like an awesome Grandma.

    December 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarci Rich

    What a great interview. I love, love, LOVE being a grandma. Whenever I'm having a bad day, they always cheer me up. I'm close by, but I love how Risa stays in touch with her grandkids.

    December 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanie Emaus

    Hi Risa! I am so glad to meet you! Your grkids are adorable and I loved your comments about respecting the parents and keeping lips zipped! That's the hard one for me!!! Perhaps because three of mine live nearby and I'm always helping out with them! Thanks for the gentle reminders :)
    I also read several of your blog posts......very cool site! I'm still a newby and LOVE seeing how others share! Posting pieces and memories from the past really touched me! Loved the photos of you and your son (firstborn?) and your sweet story! Isn't it fun to be a Grilled Gma?!?
    Welcome.....and please stay in touch! :)
    Joan @

    December 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoan Stommen

    Thanks for the introduction to this lovely family - I've known Risa - virtually- for a while, and it's great to see what her cute little grandkids look like. I have a ways to go (I think!) before I have grandbabies - but I'm really looking forward to it!

    December 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSharon Greenthal

    This made my day! Thanks, everyone!

    December 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRisa

    Hi, Risa. I love that you're called the GB's and it made me chuckle. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be to live so far from those precious little ones. I admire that you're found away via computer and phone apps to decrease that distance. I'll be sure to explore your page!

    December 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLorna - Raising Aaron
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