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      PLEASE READ: We are moving the community   02/15/18

      Dear Community friends and family,   After great consideration, we are moving the Grandparents.com community to Facebook Groups effective March 15, 2018.   This wasn’t an easy decision, but we want to bring our communities together and believe the best place to do so is through Facebook’s groups feature. We’re so appreciative of you and the diverse conversations and opinions you have provided over the past 9 years. Your stories and amazing advice have helped so many readers, and have reached thousands of GP.com users. We encourage you to retrieve any information you want to retain as the forum will only be accessible by the admin after March 15, 2018. We’ve created a closed Facebook group called Mothers-in-Law Unplugged where we welcome you to continue the conversations around grandparenting, family, and in-law relationships, and any general topics we discuss here. As the group is closed and each user must be approved, your friends and family on Facebook won’t see any of your activity. Request to join the group here: http://bit.ly/milunplugged Thank you to all of our past and current users. You helped build our community, and we look forward to continuing to interact with you in the Facebook groups. If you have any questions about the groups and privacy, let’s chat about here:   Sincerely,   The Grandparents.com Team

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  1. About YOUR Grandmother

    What do you remember about your grandmother(s)? And, if you will, how has that impacted on the kind of GP you want to be?
  2. Are you  a new GP (grandparent) or GP2B (grandparent-to-be)? If so, are you among those whose excitement is overwhelming? Or among those who are numb inside and perhaps nervous about your new/upcoming role? Or something in between? Are you just bursting to share your joy with us? Or have you come here full of questions and concerns? Or both?   Please answer any or all of my questions below. Your reply can be long or short. And please feel free to add any other thoughts you have on the subject...
  3. ... little girl and boyland..."   Ok, I guess I'm dating myself more than ever by bringing up that song! But I'm wondering if you ever buy toys for your GC (or other relative kids). And if so, what kind do you tend to favor - the classic or the trendy? simple or high-tech? just pure fun or educational? Are you the GP who likes to give every girl a Raggedy Ann and every boy a set of hand-operated trains? Or the one who usually shows up with the latest Dora or Barbie doll for the girls and a battery-powered helicopter for the boys? Or ??
  4. Found this old but interesting GP.com article: http://www.grandparents.com/grandkids/you-and-your-grandkids/what-being-grandparent-is-like   Now, w/ GP Day not far away, I'm wondering what you've learned about being a GP that you didn't know before you "got there."   Please feel free to answer the same question, also or instead, about being a parent, spouse, etc...
  5. About YOUR Grandfather

    What do you remember about your grandfather(s)? And, if you will, how has that impacted on what kind of GP you want to be?
  6. In the thread, "I know I shouldn't be annoyed," PRY asked if there is something different about becoming a GM today than in the past. I wonder, is there something, in fact, new and different about the current GP experience? Are more GMs, for example, crossing boundaries than in the past? Or do we just hear about it more b/c of Internet boards such as this one? Have our ideas about boundaries changed? Or are we simply more assertive about enforcing them? Or... what?
  7. Often, on these boards, we hear the expression "the grandparenting experience." What do you think that means? And does the GP caregiver have a more/less GP experience or is there no difference? Also, if you will, is there a significant difference between the "granny nanny experience" and that of the custodial GP?
  8. This is the final post of The Making of a "Popsidoodle." As the weeks have gone by since its inception I have found myself increasingly drawn to writing an all poetry blog, and my interest moving toward a canvas wider than "Popsidoodle" afforded me. I thank those who have visited this blog and I invite you to find my work now at my new site: www.ferencepoems.wordpress.com. I end here with a story I believe captures something of the spirit of The Making of a "Popsidoodle." Elizabeth and I were kicking back in her room and riding the drafts of imagination wherever they took us. As this particular story unfolded, we were sitting next to her small desk and cutting up downy feathers from a craft variety pack of goodies. I, regrettably, was big-time antsy, a sciatic nerve challenging me to find a comfortable position on one of her child-sized, wooden chairs. Nonetheless, I was enjoying the easy banter and the sudden twists and turns that often come when Elizabeth has taken the lead. We were cutting the feathers up into small bits, as I recall, to create a soft article of clothing for an imaginary store that we were stocking. Well, the bag of feathers was a fairly large one and after a while I thought that maybe we had enough cut feathers for the purpose at hand, but she informed me that wasn't the case and so we continued to cut. A little later I again raised that same possibility, and that maybe her room was getting a little bit messy, with fluffy down, by then, flying everywhere. I further threw in the consideration that her parents might be displeased if we cut up all the feathers. Elizabeth didn't even look up at me but continued to cut. Finally, as we just about reached the bottom of the bag and I had thrown out my last obsessive gambit, the philosopher in Elizabeth announced with a thoughtful expression, "You know, life is more important than feathers." I'm not sure what Elizabeth had in mind when she uttered those words, but they have stuck in my mind and say much to me about the art and spirituality of grandparenting. Her brief statement points to the value of presence, given and received; of honor and respect, freely shared between generations; of appreciation for the here and now, simple and ordinary; of surrender to the Love calling to us in each, non-repeatable moment. Grandparenting is awesome. May all grandparents reading this find it to be so.
  9. A Messenger

    A Messenger Daniel was four: light hair, fair skin, small-boned, diminutive-- the smallest of the three families gathered around the table in grandma and grandpa's kitchen. The food was deli, conversation free-flowing and typical, equal parts news and light-hearted banter. A break...and then, like a subtle, sudden breeze cooling the skin, Daniel, messenger from the universe, gently filled the pause-- "I love you, papa." There was a stillness as everyone consulted their inner gyroscopes before resuming the ordinary business of being family. © 2014 Dennis H. Ference Ten years have passed since the incident described above. When it happened, I admit, warm feelings swelled my heart, most of them celebrating ego. "Daniel must think that I'm pretty special," and other such self-serving thoughts rushed into consciousness. You see, I was still kind of new at this grandparenting stuff. Taking time to write today's poem a couple of nights ago, after encountering multiple, random sparks of the mind, I eventually quieted my racing thoughts and allowed myself to descend into the deeper waters of stillness and intuition. That's when a window opened within me where I saw 4-year old Daniel, the messenger, speaking his words not just to me, but the entire family. I saw him reminding us that the building blocks of family life are just these sorts of precious, present moments lived honoring the creative flow of Love. And if Love is to thrive, cautioned Daniel, we must not neglect to speak its name, speak it spontaneously and often.
  10. "Grandma Camp"

    Perhaps you've heard that some GPs host a "Grandma (and/or Grandpa) camp, every summer or whenever it works best for them. Is/could this be part of your experience? If you host such a camp who's invited? Or if your kids go to one, is it just for them or are their other GC (their cousins), too? Either way, is it for a day? an overnight? a week? Is it just once a summer (or whenever) or a few times? What activities do you offer? And do the parents get any input?   Please answer any or all of my questions below. And please feel free to add any other thoughts you may have on the topic...
  11. Do you ever feel guilty b/c you sense you're not doing enough/doing too much for this/that GC, etc? Currently, GP.com is featuring an article on "GP guilt," discussing issues that GPs often feel guilty about and ideas for minimizing that guilt. (Clearly, this is true for many GPs, caregivers or not - in fact, the article was written by a LDGP.) It's called "Top 6 Grandparent Guilt Trips - and How to Overcome Them."   http://www.grandparents.com/grandkids/you-and-your-grandkids/grandparent-guilt-trips     How about you? What do you obsess over/worry that you're not doing or doing too much of, if anything? And how do you deal?
  12. We were on our way to dance class–my grandchild Elizabeth, my son, and I. After a short time, the interior of the car went silent for several minutes. Elizabeth was in the back, her eyes slicing through the glass of her window to search the bright, azure sky. “Elizabeth, what do you see?” her father asked, practiced at this familiar ritual. The report began slowly, then picked up speed, becoming a steady waterfall of detailed sightings: A dancing elephant, a car wearing a mustache, a horse with five legs chasing a giant-sized rabbit. Before taking a mandatory refresher course in cloud observing from my first grandchild, Lily, I had forgotten that the sky was more than a blue field blotched with simple vapor. Family vacation trips had been a favorite time for cloud watching in my childhood. While family conversations in our maroon Hudson floated past me, my imagination soared among the changing shapes overhead accompanying our earth-bound transport. Entering the many facets of Lily’s world had reminded me how uninspired and limited “ordinary seeing” could be. After a few months under her tutelage, I could finally “see” that hidden cave under the kitchen table. (I must admit I had to actually enter it a few times and touch its walls before I could convince myself it must have been there all the time.) Soon I became aware that our couch was also a luxurious yacht; our living room throw rug, a quiet fish pond; and the ceiling fan, a hovering rescue helicopter. This “new seeing” was now an imagination switch I could flip on at will to renew my sense of a world of limitless possibility. But one day I found that my vision had undergone a transformation that hinted at something even more spacious, something with sacred overtones of awe and wonder. My wife and I were visiting our son and daughter-in-law when they excitedly announced that we were about to view one of the first showings of a videotaped ultrasound of Daniel, our second grandchild. After the viewing, I remember sitting speechless, tears welling in my eyes, experiencing an indescribable connection with a vast reality that challenged the boundaries of even my rediscovered imagination. My son, sensing the largeness of what was going on within me, simply asked, “Dad, what do you see?” These are the painfully ordinary words I later used to try to capture the extraordinary grace of that moment: IN UTERO Head to rump–five centimeters. Five kicking, hand-waving, thumb-sucking centimeters. That’s half my index finger! I thought to myself. How can something so small stir feelings so big: excitement, pride, love, slap-on-the-back joy? And yet, there he was, doing a dance and daring anyone to be blasé. © 2003 Dennis H. Ference First published in St. Anthony Messenger, January, 2004. “Elizabeth…Elizabeth, what do you see?”
  13. The First Time

    The poem below is an expression of the feelings I experienced when my youngest grandchild slept on my chest for the first time. ELIZABETH It's as if the sun spit fire deep into my heart. It's as if a quaking earth rumbled muscle and bone and shivered each finger tip. It's as if an ocean gushed in the blood-flow pumping passion through my veins. It's as if I heard my name and was baptized anew when Elizabeth first lay upon my chest. © 2008 Dennis H. Ference Visit "The Making of a 'Popsidoodle' ~ The Art and Spirituality of Grandparenting" at https://www.dhferenceblog.wordpress.com.
  14. Amazing Grace

    My name is Dennis. I am a husband, father of two, and grandfather of three. My grandchildren (Lily, Daniel, and Elizabeth) have led me to a place so rich and magical that I feel compelled to pass on, through this blog, the discoveries I've made there. WELCOME TO MY BLOG! I pulled my car into the garage, turned off the engine, and let out a big sigh. Good God, she'd be waiting! It had been a usual stressful day at work, and I wasn't ready for her. At the time, I worked as a chaplain in a nursing home where residents, family members, and staff alike face daily the more difficult realities of life. I steeled myself for what I knew was to come, went out the service door into the yard and there she was - all 3½ feet and 35 pounds. Lily is my wife's and my first grandchild. At the time she was about 3½ years old with no "off" switch for her energy flow. As is the case in many young families, grandma and grandpa did a lot of baby sitting while her parents both worked to make ends meet. By the time I came home from work, her grandma, with a demanding work schedule of her own, was getting painfully close to hitting that proverbial wall, and Lily was biting at the bit to greet her new playmate for the day. The usual first item on her play agenda was to drag me into our spare room where she would put together a makeshift tent with blankets hung over any piece of furniture she could commandeer or push or pull into place. I, of course, would have to get down on all fours like a commando to enter this dark, "special" place where imagination ruled with an iron will. And so it went, day after day, after day. One spring Friday afternoon, a soft breeze was blowing as I pulled into the garage following a full week of work. There were sounds of children at play, and a warmth in the air had supplanted the lingering, cold antagonisms of a harsh winter. I paused in the stillness and suddenly became aware that I had not sighed. In fact, I had smiled. And as I left the garage, I enthusiastically reached out for a leaping Lily, held her close to my chest for a very long time, and realized I was unreservedly happy to see her. This was my first awareness of the beginning of a metamorphosis that is occurring still. In this blog, I mean to share something of its history and significance for me in hopes that my "sharings" will resonate with others. I will be describing that metamorphosis through a poet's vision, a seeker's heart, and a perpetual student's need to never stop learning and growing. In the posts to follow in the months ahead, I will present my grandchildren as my teachers, magicians with an alchemical power to transform this aging man they call Papa into the "Popsidoodle" Lily named me for one fanciful afternoon of play a long time ago. I do not know what a "popsidoodle" is, and the memory of its origins in Lily's mind has long ago left her awareness. But I think it's a good word that playfully names a grandfather's reintroduction to his neglected inner child, a meeting that has become a gateway to an awareness of life's vibrancy pulsing around and through everything though often not recognized due to worry, busyness, and dulled sensitivities. If any of this sounds vaguely spiritual, I think it is so. I believe that grandparenthood, like anything else in life, is a potential gateway to a deeper, more joyful, more fulfilling existence in the humble grappling with the challenges and questions it raises. Many people choose to look at these issues in a spiritual context. Others choose to consider them in the context of a full and healthy life. I am neither a theologian nor a psychologist, but I want to share in this blog my personal, experiential take on many of these spiritual/life issues, readily admitting that my grandchildren will always be the real teachers in these matters. In closing, I offer a poem about the day Lily named me "Popsidoodle." One Afternoon with Lily One afternoon, she named me "Popsidoodle," and I wondered out loud where that had come from. But she just giggled and told me, "Hold still, Popsidoodle," 'cause she had to put one more barrette in my hair. She's my first grandchild, you know, and I had long since forgotten how to say "no" to big, saucered, four-year-old eyes. So I crawled under the table about a dozen times that day and dutifully whinnied while being led from the "barn." I consumed scores of imaginary tacos, drove a fleet of fanciful limos, and surrendered meekly as she dressed me again and again in ways that would tickle a clown. And at afternoon's end, when I lifted her to my chest, crooned a smokey version of "Rubber Ducky," and danced her to sleep, I smiled and decided: there must be a "popsidoodle" roosting somewhere deep inside us all. © 2001 Dennis H. Ference For a complete view of my external blog from which this post is taken, please go to: "The Making of a 'Popsidoodle' ~ The Art and Spirituality of Grandparenting" at https://www.dhferenceblog.wordpress.com .
  15. So often posters talk about the problems with being a LDGP and strategies for making the most out of the experience. But do you see any advantages to living far away from GC?
  16. Dolls

    DGD loves her dolls! Given the time, she can play with them for hours! And I think it's wonderful! It's a joy to hear her ( to the degree that I can make out what she's saying/doing) play that she's their "Mommy," teacher, doctor or take them on some imaginary adventure or other! I don't recall taking this much pleasure in overhearing my own DDs play with their dolls (though I do know I enjoyed hearing them play something together, as I do DGD and DGS). Maybe I was too busy. Or had my mind on some of the other aspects of my busy schedule. Or perhaps I was too worried about the possible effects on body image of some dolls, etc. Or maybe I was just too impacted by DM's and MIL's critcism that they had "too many dolls," even though DH and I didn't think so. As a nanny granny, I'm still busy and still have a lot on my mind (so scratch those as possible differences). But I don't seem to worry, anymore, about the possible effect of this/that doll. Nor do I concern myself with whether or not DGD has "too many." Perhaps it's b/c her toys and how they may or may not affect her is not at all my responsibility, this time around, the way it is her mom's/my YDD's. Then again, ODD aggravates over these issues when she thinks about them. In fact, this past Christmas, all the gfits on DGD's list were dolls and we each gave her at least one (including "Santa"/YDD). ODD and SIL got her a couple of dolls, as well. But ODD told me she felt conflicted about getting her still more toys that were so specifically slated for girls/not more gender neutral. So maybe the difference has something to do with age/stage of life? Or perhaps with the fact that I have less energy than I did as a mom and am just glad when my DGC find activities that fill their time? (Then again, I know parents can feel that way, too, sometimes.) Or maybe b/c I don't see where any doll - or the number of them - actually hurt either of my DDs, in any way (not making light of anyone else' concerns) and so, I'm more relaxed about it? All I really know, here, is that DGD loves her dolls! And I think it's wonderful!
  17. Tips for New Grandparents

    If you're a new or expectant GP (grandparent), do you have any questions for the more experienced GPs here? And/or for the younger parents who sometimes come into this group? If so, please feel free to post them below or in a thread of your own (to start your own thread, just click on New Grandparents, above, then Start a Topic and go from there).   If you're a more experienced GP or younger parent, do you have some general tips to offer new GPs or GPs2B (grandparents-to-be)? If so, please post them below, as well. Thank you!
  18. Do you find yourself doing more childcare in the summer b/c your GC/relative kids are off from school? Or less b/c their camp hours are longer, they go away, you go away, for a while, etc?
  19. How do you see yourself as a GP (grandparent)? Traditional or trendy? The "girlie" GM who takes her GDs for manicures and pedicures or the "outdoorsy" one? The GF of storybooks, who fits model ships into a bottle or the sporty GF who takes the kids' fishing? One of those "homey" GPs who is "always" there, ready to greet their GC (grandchild/ren) with milk and cookies? Or one of the adventurous GPs who enjoys/would like to take the GC on trips in their RV, etc? Or a combo of these? Or ??   If you're not a GP, please tell us, instead, what kind of GP you'd like to be... or what role(s) you envision for your children's GPs.
  20. Are you spending Memorial Day Weekend with your new GC (grandchild)? Knitting a sweater for that coming baby? Socializing with friends? Just relaxing at home? Or ??
  21. Kids and Chores

    Do any of your GC have chores at your house? Or at theirs (if they don't live with you)?
  22. Rules for Grandparents?

    Have you read the article currently headlined on the Home Page - The 7 Laws of Grandparenting? Did any of the suggestions there surprise you? Are there any rules you would add? And, if you're a new GP or GP-to-be, what did you learn from it, if anything?     ETA:  This article is no longer being headlined, but you can find it by clicking on "Family and Relationships," above and scrolling down the list of articles there.
  23. Apparently, there are "8 Things You Should Never Say to a Grandparent!" At least according to one of the latest articles featured by GP.com. If you get the Newsletter, you'll see it in this morning's email. If not, you'll find it in the slideshow of headlines on the Home Page.   But now I'm wondering, do you agree or disagree with any or all of the advice given in this article? And/or do you have any other suggestions of comments people should not  make to a GP? Or to a parent, for that matter? Please let us know below...
  24. Expectations

    As a new GP or GP2B (grandparent-to-be) what are/were your expectations of grandparenting? Do they seem to be panning out, so far? Or if you're a GP2B  do you think they will?
  25. Here They Come!

    Here they come - the spring holidays - Easter and Passover! Not to forget St. Patrick's Day as it comes up shortly b4! How much of a role do you play in the holiday(s) of the GC/relative kids that you take care of? Are you the one who puts together the Easter baskets, for example, or who helps them color Easter eggs or do the parents reserve that for themselves? Do you host a special dinner that they attend? Or are you invited to one that their parents give? Or ??