Hosting wee holiday guests? 7 safety steps for grandparents

Hosting wee holiday guests? 7 safety steps for grandparents

Family gatherings at Grandma’s house are the stuff seasonal songs are made of. Grandparents delight in hosting extended family for festive events, no doubt. But for grandmothers and others who typically see far less toddler traffic the rest of the year, the increase in visitors can be a bit unsettling… and potentially unsafe.

If you’re one of the fortunate ones hosting a houseful of young’uns for festive fun, consider making the following alterations while putting out seasonal decorations to ensure holiday gatherings at Grandma’s are as merry and bright—and safe—as can be.

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GRAND Social No. 291 link party for grandparents

GRAND Social No. 291 link party for grandparents

I typically begin each GRAND Social link party with a little blurb on something or another. I started that with this post — expressing thoughts on the horrible shooting at the Florida high school — but that blurb grew into a full-blow blog post in its own right. So I made it just that and share it here. I do hope you'll click over to read it: A plumber's daughter on shootings, guns, and mental illness.

On a much lighter note, thank you for participating in this week's GRAND Social link party — the longest running linky for grandparent bloggers and readers.

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A plumber's daughter on shootings, guns, and mental illness

A plumber's daughter on shootings, guns, and mental illness

In the aftermath of the appalling loss of life in Florida on Valentine's Day, social media is once again abuzz with anger, outrage, sadness, stingers, zingers, and some seemingly common-sensical solutions (others very nonsensical and hate-filled) related to gun control, mental illness, and myriad other factors related to yet another WTF situation. 

Once again because nothing changed after the last mass shooting. Or the one before. Or the one before. Or the one before and before and before.

Most of the rhetoric and (justified) rantings seem...

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A cautionary tale: Look before they leap

Poor Bud — and Brianna — learned a painful lesson the hard way not too long ago. A lesson in something I never really considered, as a parent or as a grandparent.

See, on a recent sunny day, Bud and Brianna headed to the local skatepark. Bud, a budding skateboarder, was excited to spend a couple hours trying out a park he'd not yet frequented. (Truth be told, I think he had frequented very few skate parks — if any — since his passion for boarding began.)

I had babysat Bud that morning, and he mentioned several times the fun he looked forward to that afternoon.

To say the kid was pumped is an understatement.

After lunch that day, Brianna and Bud headed to the skate park. As soon as they arrived, Bud could contain himself no longer. He quickly donned his helmet, grabbed his board, and raced to his first obstacle: an awesome, amazing, yet seemingly (relatively) safe jump.

It looked like this:

skatepark obstacle 

Bud figured he'd go up the angled ramp on the front side and down...

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8 reasons grandparents should not resist a rest

Once you're old enough to be a grandparent, a good night's sleep is hard to come by. Chalk it up to hormones, hot flashes, medications, and more. Considering the causes can be exhausting in itself.

Despite our continual quest to quench our desire for downtime, we grandparents often flat-out refuse to rest our weary heads when we're with our grandchildren. Whether it's because we feel guilty or we simply want to "get stuff done," resisting a rest can be detrimental to our health and happiness. Detrimental to the health and happiness of our grandchildren, too—especially when they're in our care.

Here's why:

sleeping woman and dog 

NOT GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP...

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Grandma's magnifying glass lesson

My two oldest grandsons, Bubby and Mac, love Scooby Doo and the idea of solving mysteries. So when I visited them in January, I brought along an old magnifying glass we had lying around.

The boys got a kick out of taking a closer look at bugs and rocks—as they previously had with a toy magnifying glass I once brought—and pretending they were on the path to discovering clues that might solve a case of an imaginary Scooby Doo and the gang sort.

magnifying glass and boys 

When I packed my grandma bag for this current visit, I figured I'd...

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Don't freefall backward down the slide, plus other tips learned in a bounce house

Because my grandsons have an in-ground trampoline at their house, you wouldn't think they'd get much fun out of the Bounce-A-Round I reviewed a while back — which Bubby and Mac had not yet seen. During their visit a couple weeks ago, though, once Patrick brought his son over and the inflatable bouncing thingamajig was inflated, Bubby, Bud and Mac had a boisterous bouncing blast.

bounce a round

A couple days later, the bouncing blast was supersized when PawDad...

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Swimming lessons

“It's the colors that will make you stray. They sing to you, the not-blue and the searing light, and no matter how tightly you tie yourself to the inbetween, eventually you will break free.
No one swims only in the shallow water.”

― Betsy Cornwell, Tides

Mac began swimming lessons this past Saturday, his first ever.

toddler swim lesson 

Big brother Bubby...

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Texting truths tempered with humor, plus GRAND Social No. 71

Many of you know my thoughts on texting while driving. Bottom line: It's bad.

Beyond the potentially disastrous effects of texting while driving, though, there are other reasons texting — while driving or not — isn't so great. A recent conversation between comedian Louis C.K. and Conan O'Brien  touches on a few of those reasons, and considering that our grandchildren do (or will) use cell phones and text far more than previous generations, I thought it worth sharing with you.

In the following, Louis C.K. makes a profound point about texting, tempered with humor yet oh so true.

It's something to think about next time you see your grandchildren or children texting. Something to think about next time you or I text, since some of us are just as tethered to it as the kids.

On another front: My sister is home! She has many challenges and a tough road ahead, but being home is a great start. Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers for her. You've made a difference.

And on yet another front:

Welcome to GRAND Social No. 71! Thank you joining me!

link party

How it works:

  • All grandparent bloggers are invited to add a link. You don't have to blog specifically about grandparenting, just be a grandparent who blogs.
  • To link up a post, copy the direct URL to the specific post — new or old — that you want to share, not the link to your blog's home page. Then click the blue button marked with "Add your link" below and follow the directions.
  • You can add up to three posts, but no duplicates, contests, giveaways, or Etsy sites, please.
  • Adding a mention such as This post linked to the GRAND Social to your linked posts is appreciated. Or, you can post the GRAND Social button anywhere on your page using the following code:

Grandma’sBriefs.com

<a rel="nofollow" href="/" target="blank"><img src="http://grandmasbriefs.squarespace.com/storage/GRANDsocialbutton.jpg " alt="Grandma’sBriefs.com" width="125" height="125" /></a>

 

  • The GRAND Social linky is open for new posts through Wednesday evening, so please come back to see those added after your first visit.

  • If you're not a blogger, you have the pleasure of being a reader. Bloggers who link up would be honored to have one and all — other bloggers as well as readers — visit, read and, if so moved, comment, even if just a "Hey, stopping by from the GRAND Social."

Weekend woes plus GRAND Social No. 66

Sometimes the weekends don't go quite as one might hope they would. This past weekend was exactly that way for my daughter Megan and her family.

The weekend started off all wrong for poor Megan. After a long first week of school, she arrived home Friday afternoon to find Mac in bad shape and Preston furiously scrubbing blood from Mac and Bubby's bedroom carpet. Just moments before, Mac had jumped from the night table and came down hard on the wood bedframe around Bubby's bed. Down on his mouth. His upper gum, to be exact.

Megan zoomed Mac to Emergicare while Preston scrubbed blood and stayed with Bubby. Emergicare turned her away, saying, "Get that boy to the pediatric dentist now!" She took him there, X-rays showed no broken baby or permanent teeth, and the poor little guy left with an open wound (technical term for the ouchie: degloving) that will supposedly heal relatively quickly.

Scenes from the woeful experience:

pediatric dentistTiny Mac prepped for the dentist.

deglovingThe ouchie — after seeing the dentist.

As one Facebook friend said, "No more monkeys jumping on the bed!" I hope she's right. Not so sure Mac learned his lesson, though, as despite the pain, Mac still was a chipper little fella, evidenced by this photo taken immediately after the one above of Mommy holding back his lip:

sweet toddlerStill smiling.

The weekend woes didn't end there for Megan and the gang. Next up was a bad-hair day — for Roxy, the family dog, who normally looks like this:

golden retrieverRoxy — July 2013

Megan texted me a photo Saturday afternoon of Roxy, who now, thanks to an "oops!" by the groomer, looks like this:

shaved retriever 

Not the best weekend ever. But as Megan said about the turn of events: It could be worse. Cheers to perspective — and to Mac's mouth healing quickly. (And Roxy's fur growing fast, too!)

Plus... Cheers to one and all joining me today for GRAND Social No. 66! Time for the party!

link party

How it works:

  • All grandparent bloggers are invited to add a link. You don't have to blog specifically about grandparenting, just be a grandparent who blogs.
  • To link up a post, copy the direct URL to the specific post — new or old — that you want to share, not the link to your blog's home page. Then click the blue button marked with "Add your link" below and follow the directions.
  • You can add up to three posts, but no duplicates, contests, giveaways, or Etsy sites, please.
  • Adding a mention such as This post linked to the GRAND Social to your linked posts is appreciated. Or, you can post the GRAND Social button anywhere on your page using the following code:

Grandma’sBriefs.com

<a href="http://grandmasbriefs.com" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src="http://grandmasbriefs.squarespace.com/storage/GRANDsocialbutton.jpg " alt="Grandma’sBriefs.com" width="125" height="125" /></a>

 

  • The GRAND Social linky is open for new posts through Wednesday evening, so please come back to see those added after your first visit.

  • If you're not a blogger, you have the pleasure of being a reader. Bloggers who link up would be honored to have one and all — other bloggers as well as readers — visit, read and, if so moved, comment, even if just a "Hey, stopping by from the GRAND Social."

 

Kids, cars and heatstroke prevention

My grandsons live in the desert. Deserts being what they are, it's hot there. So hot, in fact, Bubby and Mac — and everyone else in their area — are often warned during the summer to stay indoors because venturing outside can be downright dangerous to their health. Fatal even.

So the boys stay and play in the house on such days. Except when attending swimming lessons or play dates at the local water park, which make the temps semi bearable. Staying in the water was pretty much the only way I, a mountain dweller, survived outdoor fun when visiting my grandsons a few weeks ago.

grandma and grandson in swimming pool 

Because of how horrendously hot it is in the desert, I've been concerned since Bubby's birth more than five years ago about the possibility one of my sweet grandsons might suffer heatstroke by being in a hot vehicle too long. I have no doubt those who care for Bubby and Mac, especially my daughter and son-in-law, are incredible, loving, conscientious people who would never, ever intentionally leave one of the boys in the car, let alone long enough to suffer any ill effects.

I know that with all my heart.

Yet, it's still a possibility because such things happen — unfortunately and so very unintentionally — all the time.

Yesterday was National Heatstroke Prevention Day, which focuses on preventing children dying in hot vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Safe Kids Worldwide joined together to raise awareness about the issue, which has taken the lives of more than 24 kids in the United States so far just this year.

I'm a day late in sharing this information with you, at least in terms of coinciding with the national campaign, but it's never too late to be more aware of the issue. So, though it's hard on the heart to see and hear, please watch and consider the following video. Then do share it with those who care for your beloved little ones. Because heatstroke deaths in children don't happen just in the desert, and they certainly don't happen just to the children of "bad" parents.

Today's question:

What is the highest temps have gotten at your place so far this summer?

5 products Grandma never had that Mommy shouldn't live without

I went to a baby shower Sunday for my niece Jessica, who will be having her first baby — a boy! — in the next few weeks.

baby shower   baby shower

As I watched my niece open gifts, I considered the plethora of new gadgets and goodies that were never around when I was having babies but that new moms today — including my own daughter, mother to Bubby and Mac — couldn't and shouldn't live without.

gadgets new parents need
(My great niece, daughter of my nephew.)

A temporal scan thermometer — These wonders of modern technology are far more safe and accurate than the thermometers of our day.Taking a baby's temperature used to scare the bejeezus out of me when I was a new mom, especially when temps had to be taken rectally. Gah! I was certain the wiggly baby would break the glass thermometer and be ruined forever in some way far worse than just having a high temp. After reviewing one of these — and Megan telling me she truly could not live without it — I firmly believe this is a necessity. (And it comes in handy for checking Grandma and Grandpa's temps any time, too.)

grandma and granddaughterPrecious gal with her grandma (my youngest sister and mom to Jessica)Baby monitor — Another thing that scared me when I was a new mom was leaving baby to sleep in her own room. I was up and down all night — until each of my babies were at least two years of age, no joke — ensuring they were still safe... and breathing. But keeping the kiddo in the room with Jim and me was nearly as bad as going back and forth to the baby's bedroom, especially if we had the child in the bed with us. With the advent of baby monitors, there's no longer the need to have baby sleep between Mom and Dad (which is rather unsafe anyway) or even in the same room. Monitors keep parents alert to baby's movements and more, day or night, even when stories and stairs separate parents and the slumbering babe.

Diaper disposal system — Before seeing one in action when Bubby was born, I thought these were silly and an extravagance for spoiled new mommies. Uh, not the case, I quickly learned. These systems — think Diaper Genie and such — are a necessity for reasons beyond the stink factor. For one, with such a thing, diaper disposal is more sanitary and more safe than having to take stinky diapers out after every change, especially for those middle-of-the-night diaper explosions changes when Mommy is oh so tired and trudging out to drop it in a garbage can is downright silly... and dangerous.

Battery operated nasal aspirator — Oh, the horrors of those blue bulb syringes sent home with every new mom when she leaves the hospital after birthing her baby. I'm pretty sure they're the reason blue is one of the first colors children learn. Okay, I don't know that they do learn blue any sooner than other colors, but I do know they learn right away to turn their head and scream and cry and refuse to let Mommy suck out even the smallest bit of snot. At least in my experience. The nifty high-powered aspirators are, without a doubt, more effective and less traumatic (for baby and Mommy) than those dreadful hospital-issued suckers.

Multiple car seats — Considering that many moms and dads both work outside the home, it's pretty much a necessity to have a car seat in both of their vehicles. Plus, car seats for daycare providers — which may very well be the grandparents! — are a must, as well. Considering the hassle and importance of correctly installing a car seat, it's much better for there to be a permanently installed carseat (well, as permanently as these things get) in each vehicle regularly used for transporting baby. Yes, the required car seats are expensive. Which is exactly why grandparents may want to consider pitching in and providing a second or third, especially if said grandparents will regularly travel with baby on board.

baby sticking out tongue 

Today's question:

What modern baby gear do you most wish was around when you were raising kids?