Grilled Grandma: Rita

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 Rita:

How many children do you have? I have 2, Ryan and Megan (referred to as GlitterGurl on my blog). Get it..Megryansmom? He has 2, Andrea (Augie Dawgs) and Tony (Ink Man). So together we have 4.

How many grandchildren? What are their ages? Two absolutely amazing little boys, TOF and TC 5 1/2 and 2 respectively.

Any great grandchildren? They're both great of course. ;)

What do your grandchildren call you? Cute story here, my step kids call me 'ski' Being Polish, my maiden name ends in ski and so that stuck. So they decide that when the baby was born I would become Gramski. And that worked for a while, until we tried to teach TOF to say it and then he refused to call me anything. Everyone had a name, my husband was Pa, GlitterGurl became Nana, he knew the dogs' names but refused to call me anything. Then one day, out of the blue he started calling me Mema. Augie Dawgs said he saved the best name for last, so now I am Mema. Except that for now TC only says Mahhhhhh. Really loud.

After the initial elation, what was your first concern upon hearing you would soon be a grandmother? I'm almost embarrassed to admit that there was no initial elation. AD kept her pregnancy a secret for 7 months. She was afraid to tell us and we, well actually my husband, sort of figured it out. I was angry for several days until my wise youngest set me straight, she said to me, "Momba it really doesn't matter what you think or how you feel, there is a baby coming soon." And then I shifted into gear to prepare for this baby.

Then there was also the fact that at 43 I was now going to be married to a grandpa.

How often do you get to see your grandchildren? I'm one of the lucky grandmas. I live 2 blocks away from them and I also provide their daycare and then some, while AD works. So I get to see them almost every single day.

What is the best thing about being a grandma? Oh there are so many perks. The sloppy wet kisses, the hugs, the first time they say your name, every time they say I love you. Every time they reach any milestone, my heart just swells with pride.

What is the most challenging part of being a grandma? I'd have to say it's balancing just the right amount of love and fun with discipline. Pretty much the same as it was being a mom.

Describe a recent time that one (or more) of your grandchildren made you laugh out loud. Oh that would be just a few minutes ago, when I walked into the laundry room to take some clothes out of the dryer. I knew I was done with all the laundry and out of the corner of my eye I noticed something in the washing machine. TC had taken all the micro fiber cloths off of a shelf and tossed them into the washer. I just laughed and shook my head. Then I folded every single one of them AGAIN. TC is definitely full of mischief, but his silly grin gets him out of trouble every time.

What is your favorite thing to do with grandchildren who visit your house? We love to go on adventures. All kinds of adventures. Sometimes we go to the playground or the splash pad was a very popular destination this summer. TOF loves to accompany me to garage sales, to search for treasures. Since we're together so much there isn't much we haven't done here.

What is your favorite thing to do when visiting grandchildren at their house? The kids have a huge pool in their backyard and when I visit in the summer the boys love it when I splash in the pool with them. This year I tried to teach TOF to play Marco Polo, you know, as payback to his parents for tormenting their parents when they were kids playing that annoying game.

How do you maintain the bond between yourself and your grandchildren between visits? This doesn't really apply to me as I'm with the boys so often.

What do you most want to pass along to your grandchildren? Oh, there are so many things I want them to learn. And at the risk of sounding cliché, I think love is the greatest. To love themselves, without being too proud or selfish. To be happy in the skin they're in and to strive to be their own personal best.

What is one word you hope your grandkids think of when they think of you? Love. I hope they always remember how much I love them and that I was the best Mema ever.

What is one thing you wish you had learned earlier as a grandparent? I think I pretty much 'got it' early on. This is my version of a do over. To do the things I didn't have a chance to do with my own kids. I'm older, and more relaxed now. I've lowered the bar, so the house can wait, the dust bunnies will get bigger, as will the piles of laundry, but so will the babies. The second time around I want to have fewer regrets and more laughs.

I do wish someone had told me how expensive spoiling can get.

What one bit of advice would you give a new grandma? Just enjoy them. Try not to be overbearing, believe me, that was tough for me. Try to remember yourself as a new mom, wanting everything to be perfect for your baby. Offer advice only when asked, or when lives are in danger.

Also, Cocoa Puffs occasionally will not kill them. Make chocolate milk with Ovaltine, and only use a teaspoon, not the required amount on the label, which is way too much. Oh and puree vegetables to hide in the spaghetti sauce or smoothies, no one will ever know.

Just be the fun grandma.

Do you have a website or blog? What is it about? I blog at Look It’s Megryansmom and it's almost anything goes. I blog about the boys, about the rest of the family. Sometimes I share a craft or preschool activity. I also do venue and product reviews, with an occasional giveaway. You can also find me at

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!