Introducing my real grandsons

When I first bandied about the idea of blogging about being a grandma in 2009, my one and only grandson was one year old. As he'd be the star of the show, I asked my middle daughter — Megan, mother to my grandboy — if I could post photos of him and stories about him... as long as I didn't use his real name, didn't reveal where he lived. For safety reasons.

Megan not only gave me permission to share stories and such about my grandson with the world, she allowed me to use his nickname, too, in place of his real name. Thus Bubby made his debut on Gramma's blog, on Grandma's Briefs.

Three years later came grandson No. 2. I initially dubbed him Birdya nickname Megan hated and had no qualms about telling me so. Just call him Mac because it's kinda sorta like his name, she urged. Mac it was!

Three years after Mac came another grandson. I nicknamed him Jak. Which had absolutely nothing to do with his real name, but it rolled off the tongue (and blog posts) when naming the three boys: Bubby, Mac, and Jak.

I've been quite diligent about using those nicknames for my grandsons. At times I'd have to scurry to the computer hours after a post had been published when upon rereading, I'd notice I screwed up and used one or more boys' real name and needed to quickly correct it. If photos of the boys included a name on a T-shirt, artwork, awards, gift tags or such, I blurred them out with photo editing software of some sort.

I was determined to never reveal the reality of my grandsons' long deliberated over names. Adorable one carefully chosen according to Megan's parameters that demanded her kids' names have two syllables, like Mom's and Dad's names, and ended with the same sound, like Mom's and Dad's names. (Which will make sense once you see their names.)

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a writer for Upworthy.com. She wanted to interview me about how I stay connected with my long-distance dearies using techy sorts of stuff. And she wanted to use the real names of those dearies with whom I connect in the article.

Names I'd never shared online. Gah!

I asked Megan if that might be okay. It was more than okay, she expressed. In fact, Preston couldn't stand the nicknames I used for his sons, she revealed, and would be pleased as punch if I'd just use their real names in everything published about them. Including my blog posts.

So I provided the real names for that article. Which you can read by clicking the title below — after reading the rest of this post, of course:

One grandmother has found a way to help her daughter out from miles away

Upworthy article on grandmother

Well, now that the real names...

Read More

Small talk with my grandson

Bubby, at nearly four years old, has reached the age where we can easily converse about this and that. I understand all he says; he understands most of what I say. When he doesn't understand, he's quick to request clarification with a blunt, "What do you MEAN, Gramma?"

I've never been good at small talk, but when it's with Bubby, I'm easily engaged and entertained as long for as he's willing to keep up the chatter. I love to hear his thoughts, his interesting view on the world around him and the people near and dear to him. It usually ends up being not such small talk after all.

Here's a sampling of the delightful mind nuggets my grandson shared during our time together last week:

Out of nowhere and completely unrelated to anything that came before, Bubby asked, "Have you ever holded a fish? Wouldn't that be so cute? Maybe if they're sad, you could do that. I've always wanted to do that but Mommy never lets me."

"Gramma, do you wanna play the hip-hop scotch game?" (Meaning hopscotch, I assure you, not a rowsing drinking game of sorts.)

One evening as we settled onto the couch for storytime before bed, I had Baby Mac on my lap, Bubby at my side. Bubby, who was to hold the book and be the designated page turner, kept staring at his brother instead of getting on with his job. "Why do you keep looking at him?" I asked. Bubby's response: "<Baby Mac's> head is getting so cute, don't you think?"

"I love your muddy buddies, Gramma! maybe one time you can save a little bit of these for a dessert because mommy never ever has these kind of candy."

Bubby and I had been talking about horses and I told him about the day PawDad, Aunt B (Brianna), and I rode horses at my sister's ranch. "Gramma, horses don't like RANCH!" he said. "Ranch is for carrots. It's white. It's not for horses!"

Bubby: "You look so pretty in that dress, Gramma."
Gramma: "Why thank you, Bubby. That's so sweet."
Bubby (seeming a little sad and confused that the conversation ended there): "Every time I tell my mommy she looks pretty, she gives me a hug."
Needless to say, Bubby got his hug.

Today's fill-in-the-blank:

A memorable comment I recently heard from a child was _____________________.

Photo replay: Walking partners

My walking partners for the week:

Baby Mac & Bubby — April 18, 2012

They'll surely be easier to keep up with than Mickey and Lyla. Especially because if we happen upon a wild animal, they'll run from it rather than to it like the dogs do. I hope.

Happy Sunday, one and all!

Lesson learned

Not long ago, I wrote in this post of Bubby's utter and undisguised disappointment in the gift I sent him for Valentine's Day. He made it perfectly clear then that little boys want toys not something practical in the gifts they open from their grandma.

So when looking for small gifts to mail to Bubby and Baby Mac for Easter, I thought long and hard about my choices, hoping to hit the mark on two counts: 1) they were toys, and 2) they were toys my grandsons would like.

For Bubby the Batman fanatic, I found a set of action figures that featured Batman, Robin, and a motorcycle. For Baby Mac—who truly wants for nothing because Bubby has it all and shares it all—I opted for a stuffed Mickey Mouse. According to Megan, he loves Mickey and Bubby never did, so there were no Mickeys in the house.

The day the package arrived, Megan texted me the following photos of the boys upon first opening their Easter gifts from Gramma. 

I think Gramma did okay this time.

Lesson learned.

Today's question:

What was the highlight of your Easter/Passover holiday?

Bad grandma

I've always fancied myself a pretty darn good grandma, one who goes out of her way to spread love and joy and special acts of kindness and self-sacrifice all for the sake of her grandsons.

A conversation I had with Megan over the weekend made it clear my delusions of grandmotherly grandeur and goodness may be exactly that—delusions. I'm not all that good. And not all that self-sacrificing. At least not all the time.

I'm scheduled to soon babysit Bubby and Baby Mac for the longest duration I have yet. It's a stint of nearly 10 days on my own—no Megan, no Preston, just me and the boys at their place. Such a stint feeds into my "I'm a good grandma" belief.

Well, Megan and I were discussing this and that over the weekend, and she just so happened to mention that Bubby has started pooping his pants. On a fairly regular basis. This is a kid who's been potty trained for, gosh, well over a year.

Sure, potty-training regression is to be expected when there's been a big change in a little one's life. But Bubby's big change happened nearly a year ago when Baby Mac came along. And several months ago when they moved into a new house. No poopy pants at the time of either of those events.

Now, though, Megan reports that at least once a day Bubby will traipse off to a corner where he thinks he's hidden and do the dirty deed in his big boy undies...then wait quite some time before telling Mommy about it.

Megan's perplexed. And I'm concerned only for myself.

"Yuck! You sure as heck better have that all figured out before I get there," was my instant, unfiltered response. "That's definitely not something I want to deal with."

Yep, I'm a bad grandma. A bad grandma who has no problem whatsoever changing poopy diapers of newborns, infants, even young toddlers who've not yet been potty trained. But big butts of big boys who have fairly big poops is, like I said, definitely not something I want to deal with.

Megan's researched solutions and is working fervently to bring success.

I'm crossing my fingers that success comes sooner rather than later. Only 16 days til I head to the desert. And only 17 days til I get really unhappy if I have to clean up poopy pants on a boy who's nearly four years old.

Today's question:

When did you last change a poopy kid—diapered or otherwise?

Photo replay: The obsession continues

Thursday was dress-up day for Bubby at preschool. All the kids were to dress as their favorite character from a book. Megan checked in advance and all books—including comic books—were acceptable inspiration.

Naturally, Bubby chose the following character:

Clearly my grandson has an obsession. One my daughter is enabling, to be sure.

Today's question:

Who is your current favorite character from a book? (And don't worry—I won't expect you to dress like him or her.)

Lesson from Grandma: Address earworm

Last time I visited Bubby, he and Megan shared with me a recent lesson he'd learned.

"What do you do when there's an emergency?" Megan asked my 3.75-year-old grandson.

"Call 911," he proudly responded, showing Gramma exactly what numbers to press on Mommy's cell phone.

I was indeed proud of Bubby. I was concerned, though, when I later asked him what he'd tell the 911 operators if they asked him where he lived and he didn't have an answer.

See, Megan and the family had just moved into a new house mere days before my visit. It was Bubby's third home since being born, and he recalls each as "Old House No. 1," "Old House No. 2," and "New House." While living in Old House Nos. 1 and 2, there was really no need for Bubby to be able to recite his address. With New House, though, he should—for lots of reasons, including the outside chance he may one day need to call 911.

Many folks think a call into the 911 system will automatically log a person's location, so technically there's no longer concerns that a child know how to tell responders his address. That's not necessarily true when it comes to cell phones, as it depends on the cell phone provider, the tower a call goes through and more. Leaving location tracking to a cell phone in an emergency can lead to disastrous results, in some cases. I don't want my grandson—or any of my loved ones—to be one of those cases.

So I set to teaching Bubby his address for New House. By song.

I made up a simple tune to go with the simple words of, "I live at XXXX <full street name>, XXXX <full street name>". Then I sang it to and eventually with Bubby off and on during the time I babysat the boys while Megan and Preston were away. Much to their dismay, I continued singing it now and again once Megan and Preston returned home, too. It became such an invasive earworm that Megan eventually groaned each time I started up.

I'm telling ya, though, I know the tune came in handy not only for Bubby, but for Megan, too. Having just moved to a new home, she didn't know the address off the top of her head. Thanks to my song, though, she had it down in no time.

It also came in handy for Preston. One day while Megan and the boys and I were having lunch at the kitchen table, Preston phoned from work. "What is our new address again?" he asked, needing the new info for something at work. Having heard him myself, I chuckled and started up the song. Megan shot me a don't-even-start-that-again look then easily recited the new address for her husband. Thanks to my little ditty, I'm sure.

When I returned home, I shared that ditty with my other daughters and with Jim. They'll surely need to know it for sending mail to our desert-dwelling family members. I'm pretty sure they'll be singing it next time they address a letter to Megan.

I certainly do. Each time I prepare a package or letter for Bubby or his family, I sing the unforgettable tune—sometimes in my head, sometimes out loud. Then I text Megan to say, "I just put a package in the mail...and guess what's now stuck in my head?" Her response? "Don't even...!"

I like to drive my family nuts by providing ever-so-annoying earworms. More so, though, I like helping my grandsons in concrete ways that make a difference, things that go beyond just having fun together. Teaching Bubby his address for New House covered all bases surprisingly well.

Of course, I don't want that lesson to be tested by Bubby needing to recite it for 911 operators in the event of a real emergency. No, groans from Mommy as Bubby sings out his address for her again and again will be more than enough proof that Gramma's lesson had its intended effect.

Today's fill-in-the-blank:

The last thing I learned or taught through song was _______________.

How Grandma sees it: Changes in parenting from the firstborn to the second

Bubby, my first grandson, at nine months old:

Baby hair everywhere.

 Baby Mac, my second grandson, at nine months old:

Baby hair buzzed.

 To be continued ... !

Today's question:

When did you last cut someone else's hair and how did it turn out?