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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

Meet the family

 grandma and grandpa
Lisa (me) and Jim (aka PawDad)

blended family
Brianna (oldest daughter) and hubby Patrick with his son James 

 grandsons and parents
Megan (middle daughter) with hubby Preston and Declan, Camden, and Brayden

youngest and her fiance
Andrea (youngest daughter) and hubby Matt


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    Hearts grow on

    Brianna, Megan, Andie - Dec. 2000After Megan read my post on GRAND magazine, the one featuring a fake cover-model Bubby, we had yet another discussion of how friggin' cute that boy is. Megan had been deeply concerned during her pregnancy that her newborn would be cursed with a freakishly oversized nose since she and Preston have, in her mind, fairly prominant schnozzes. (She's exaggerating; their noses look pretty normal to me.) The many ultrasounds Megan had during the pregnancy -- ultrasounds totally unrelated to the nose worries -- seemed to only confirm her fears. So when Bubby came out marvelously perfect, his perfection became a continual source of amazement for her.

    In our most recent discussion, Megan commented on how Baby #2, planned for sometime in the next year or so, has a lot to live up to and better arrive pretty darn wonderful. It goes back to many of our previous discussions regarding her concerns that she just doesn't know how she'll love another child as much as she loves Bubby. How can she, she wonders, when her heart just explodes with the pure love and joy she feels for what has become the love of her life? (Sorry, Preston.)

    I remember thinking the same thing when I learned I was pregnant with my second child -- the child who turned out to be Megan. I loved my little Brianna, my #1 baby,  with every fiber of my being and I worried I might be neglectful of Baby #2 because he/she could never live up to the incredible little bundle of joy named Brianna. Didn't happen, though. Megan was just as amazing as Brianna, but in, thankfully, very different ways. I loved them both beyond words.

    When Baby #3 made her presence known, I was certain it couldn't possibly happen again. That there's no way in my dysfunctional heart, mind and soul, that I really could be the kind of person who would love and adore yet another little one -- especially a little one guaranteed to throw off the balance of the home and life Jim and I had created. We were a family of two babies and two parents, each parent having two hands so we could manage the girls on our own, when necessary. There were four chairs to our little table that perfectly seated all of us. Our trusty Ford Maverick had just enough room in the back for two car seats. How in the world would I equally love Baby #3 when she was discombobulating the domestic scene we'd thus created?

    But three is a charm. Unbelievably, I loved Andrea (my little Andie) as much as I did Megan and Brianna. And I still do. All three of my precious babies continue to be lovely and amazing in ways that are so very different from one another, yet very much the same in my heart. I honestly love each one more than anything else in the world. Seems impossible, but it's true.

    So, Megan, you won't love Bubby more than the next baby, or the next one ... or even the next one, if you and Preston happen to be that crazy blessed. Like your mom, you'll just get a bigger table and you'll buy a bigger car. All the while, your heart will become bigger and bigger, making it possible to love each one equally, each for very different reasons.

    And you'll quickly learn that, despite all the bunk in romance novels and chick flicks, there's more than just one love of your life. Especially when you're a mom.


    Kung-Fu Grandma

    Few good film roles exist for grandmas, or so I've heard. But I do believe Doris Roberts hit gold with this one. Yeah, it's cheesy, but kids will get a kick out of it (pun intended).

    I'm counting on this technology being around once Bubby reaches school age so I can kick butt and more of any bullies (or aliens) who make the mistake of choosing him as a victim.


    Great resource for grandparents

    I've found very few websites of worth for grandparents, at least grandparents that look, sound and act like the grandparents Jim and I are. But today I ran across a pretty good one I think everyone will like. It's called GRAND and the tagline is "The online magazine for grandparents and the grandkids who love them." Grandmas: You won't want to miss their "Sexiest Granddad Award winners" feature!

    AND, look who made the cover this month! (Okay, not really, but there's a really cool feature that allows you to upload a photo and create a cover to e-mail, print, share.)

    Check it out!

    (Note: This may be a tad biased, but after creating the cover of Bubby, I looked at all the other custom covers by grandparents and I gotta say, Bubby definitely is the cutest grandson ever!!)

    *Props to Megan's friend Allison for the fantastic photo of Bubby!


    When Grandma came to town

    Grandma WigginsWhen I was a child, visits from Grandma were joy-filled occasions. I loved her to the depths of my being and was thrilled she would be spending time with me (and my six siblings, of course). But her arrival did more than provide an opportunity to hug and squeeze this magical woman. Her arrival halted "normal" life in the family household and put us all into "happy" mode.

    Grandma would arrive from North Carolina, usually by train because she had a fear of flying, with her stubby little bits of luggage in her stubby little hands. Despite the train ride, her ever-present wig would be firmly in place, her lips and cheeks would be freshly colored -- and her snuff box would be hidden away for later retrieval once the kids were in bed.

    When Grandma came to town, Mom and Dad smiled more, fought less, and did their best to make everything appear good as gold in front of Mom's mom. The family would pile in the station wagon for scenic drives, with stops along the way to nearby tourist towns where we'd peruse the souvenir shops and Grandma would splurge for trinkets and ice cream cones for her grandkids.

    When we'd return home, we'd have big meals around our big dinner table. There'd be big conversations in bright, happy tones, highlighted by heaps of smiles and warm fuzzies for all.

    But Grandma's visits never lasted long, at least not long enough for me. She'd give her warm squishy hugs to each of us one by one then climb back into the station wagon for the trip to the train station. She'd wave goodbye from the window to us kids in the driveway. And as they pulled out, the tears would start rolling down my face.

    "What are YOU crying about?" my tough older sister would snarl. But there was no way to put into words -- especially through the tears and limited vocabulary of a child -- that it pained me to the core to see Grandma leave. That I couldn't stand knowing she'd not be back for many months, if not years. It broke my heart that the party was over ... and that life in our household would return to normal. Suffice it to say that normal wasn't good.

    I hope Bubby never cries when our visits are over. I want him to thoroughly enjoy the times we have together and for him to miss me when I'm gone. But I don't want his heart to break when I leave. I don't want him to be sad when his life returns to normal. I want his normal to be good.


    Grandma banned from taking photos

    Sheila Campbell, a grandma in Edinburgh, was a recent victim of political correctness gone awry when a pool attendant at the public swimming pool near her home forced her to stop taking photos of her grandchildren romping and diving in the water. Campbell's daughter, mother to the four granddaughters in question, was at the pool with them, and there were no other kids around.

    But when Campbell raised her camera to snap shots of her granddaughter practicing her diving skills, a pool attendant rushed to the rescue, making her put down the camera. Mrs. Campbell complied, fearing the overzealous attendant would take it from her. There were no other kids around. The granddaughters (ages 5 to 10) weren't scantily clad, which may have prompted the attendant to be concerned about child porn or such. No, the attendant was just on a power trip, apparently, following the lead of several other overzealous local organizations that prohibit photography and filming of children at public events and in public places. Authorities have even banned the filming of children at sporting events at local schools.

    This is crazy. Yeah, I'd be a little concerned if some smarmy man (or woman) were trolling the parks and pools, camera in hand, snapping the little ones here and there. But common sense has gone out the window in Edinburgh, it seems. Grandma should be able to document moments with her grandkids without government intervention -- and not just behind closed doors.

    I've not been out in public much with Bubby (yet!) but some of my favorite photos of him were taken in -- gasp! -- public. If authorities had warned me to step away from the camera, I would not have this:

    Or this: Or any of these:

    Thank God we live in America!!


    Falling TVs

    Toys? Who needs toys when the TV's on!?Last week there was an article in the paper about the rising number of children being hurt by furniture. The article mentioned a variety of ways kids are seriously injured by big objects such as bookcases and more, but all I could focus on was the television stat:

    Injuries to children from falling televisions and other furniture have increased by more than 40 percent since 1990, according to a study published in May in the journal Clinical Pediatrics. Each year, 14,700 children in the U.S. - most of them under 6 years old - are hospitalized with such injuries, with nearly half struck by televisions.

    My reason for zoning in on the TV bit? Because Bubby zones out when the TV is on. He LOVES the television and sees nothing and no one when Elmo or any other singing plush animal fills the screen.

    Yes, I have a tendency to be overprotective and a tad paranoid about unlikely things happening to my children. OK, I admit, I'm kind of a freak about such things, and my reaction to this article is continued proof that I'll be the same way with my grandchildren.

    It's not that I think Megan won't (and isn't) doing the necessary things to protect Bubby, but I'm older, I've been around longer, I've learned about all the scary and deadly things that could befall my loved ones ... and continue to learn. I've read a lot more, especially considering that as a former parenting magazine editor I read copious copy about horrible happenings and how to protect the little ones.

    But besides all that, Bubby LOVES the television! And now that he's mobile, he LOVES to climb on things. A formula for disaster, if ever there was one. And thanks to my overactive imagination, I can see that big ol' magical box that displays Elmo and all kinds of happy-happy, joy-joy goodness for Bubby smashing my little buddy to bits when he pulls the damn thing off the shelf.

    I have to temper my cries of "Danger! Danger!" to Megan, though, since she's already tired of my freakouts that started from the minute I learned she was pregnant. "Here's a newfangled gadget to count the number of times the baby has moved so your child's not stillborn!" "Bassinette? Don't get a basinette! Studies have shown SIDS is much higher for babies in basinettes!" "Do NOT put pillows in the baby's crib or he'll suffocate!" "Grapes? You're not allowing him to eat GRAPES, are you??".

    No, I have to be subtle about my warnings going forward, as I think she's turning a deaf ear to my panic. So I'll just post my concerns on this blog. I'm doing nothing more than passing along some information I ran across. I'm not freaking out. Really, Megan, I'm not. I'm not begging you to BLOCK OFF THE TV SO BUBBY CAN'T GET TO IT! Honest. It's just an idea ... But you really may want to consider it ....



    What a difference a year makes

    When Bubby was born, certain aspects of our family life were a given. One given was that my husband and I had decent jobs, making a decent salary, and we were able to fly to visit our grandson as often as our accrued vacation hours allowed. But then the winds of change rolled in. Six months after Bubby was born, my job was outsourced and I've yet to find employment. And my husband's job is set for outsourcing next month, with no new job on the horizon. Needless to say, money is tight.

    But it's just money.* The more important changes in the past year have involved life and death. Lower on the scale of importance - but still heart-wrenching - was the death of our 12-year-old family dog, Moses. When Bubby was born, I envisioned Moses, a black lab/collie mix, being a major attraction for Bubby when visiting our home, with the two of them enjoying endless games of fetch. It wasn't to be, though, as Moses had an appointment in heaven and won't be around to befriend Bubby.

    High on the scale of importance, though, is the loss of my mother-in-law, aka Granny, who, although still living, is "just not there" mentally or physically, thanks to several strokes. When Bubby was born, Granny was thrilled about her newest great-grandson. When she first met him, she kind of freaked out Bubby's mommy by continually stating, "This is MY baby," and refusing to let others hold the baby. Megan knew it was a joke, but she did worry about the way Granny clutched the newborn. It was just love, not lunacy. But Megan no longer needs to worry about that. Granny will never be the Granny we all once knew. She recognizes few family members, is unable to maintain a conversation, cannot walk without assistance, wears a diaper. And she will never cuddle Bubby again.

    It breaks my heart that Bubby will never get to know Granny, never get to hear her too-oft-repeated stories about her son (Bubby's grandpa). He'll never get to listen to her sing hymns in a voice reminiscent of a wanna-be opera diva. He'll never be one of the lucky kiddos who knew they had a rapt audience in Granny, no matter how long-winded and rambling the child's story may be.

    It sucks. It's sad. It's the worst change we've faced in the past year. And it's one that's not as easily remedied as finding new employment or picking out a new dog.


    *It's easy to be blase in a blog, but the reality is that it's scaring the hell out of me!


    Body painting

    I bought Bubby some fingerpaints as a birthday gift so when I received an e-mail from Megan with "body painting" as the subject, I figured I'd open it to see a precious display of reds, yellows and greens all over my grandson's body. A true work of art.

    This is what the e-mail said:

    Big Bubby decided to do some body painting for our anniversary - what a sweetie, huh! Oh yeah, did I mention he was painting with what he found in his diaper?

    And this was the picture:

    Ugh! Of course, my first question was, "Why in the world is his poop so black!?" Well, turns out Bubby had a pint of blueberries to himself the day before.

    It's this kind of thing that makes me oh-so happy to be Grandma, not Mom!