Month: September 2015

Welcome to the World Matilda!

It’s an indescribable feeling receiving the news that your daughter has given birth to a girl. She actually phoned me from the hospital herself. Now I was SO sure it would be a boy. Lots of boys in the family line and more grandsons too. I am so proud of my daughter and her husband who are now proud parents of little Matilda Kate. This is very special to me as my mother’s name was Matilda or Til as she was later called. It’s an Aussie tribute to Waltzing Matilda!

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The waiting game for me as Grandma started when I received a text message at 2am from my son in law telling me that they were at the hospital and Rachael was in labour. I couldn’t sleep. My mind was in a spin.  Imagination working over time. Cup of tea and back to bed at 3.30am not really sleeping well. As the morning progressed I went to Church where people asked me if there was any news. No news. I am usually patient but felt my stomach uneasy. Lunch time I did some school work, looked at the phone, did some reading, checked the phone, took in the washing and decided to have a nap on the couch. The phone rang at 2pm but it was another call. Finally dozing comfortably under the throw  the phone rings at 3.10pm with Rachael’s tired, timid voice.

She’s had the baby; Matilda Kate was born at 9.45am. Like any good news, you want to share it quickly, so I sent a text to my sister. She was so excited. The roller coaster of emotions spills over as the reality kicks in. Matilda has daddy’s black hair, and her mummy’s lips! A new romance begins again – how easy it will be for me to fall in love!

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Night night, sleep tight

It’s night and time for sleep; the routine of dinner, bath time, clean your teeth and story is thrust upon you. Phew! What a BIG day. Non-stop work mingled with playing and feeding the toddler results in preparation for bed time. I follow the instructions from my daughter-in-law – a thoughtful and helpful hint on what to do and when. It’s good to have a plan of action. Apart from meal time manners and bath time bubbles, this post is about what to read at bed time with your grand child and how to make the most of this intimate sharing experience.

As a teacher and reader of wonderful picture books for children, my collection has grown. I am proud of the rich and beautiful illustrations, words, stories and poetry that are stacked up on my book shelves. Covers that burst with colour and vitality, themes of family, friendship and love. Flap books, alphabet and counting books and touch and feel books. Sharing the joy of reading is essential for a growing relationship between me and my grand children. The rhythm and rhyme, imagery and playful repetition dances along as you read the story. So get close and cosy. Know your child an. Snuggle up under the covers. Lap sitting or floor time, it doesn’t matter as long as you grab a book and READ. Let them turn the pages. Say the words. Look at the pictures. I hope you can choose some of the following great titles.

Who Sank the Boat? – Pamela AllenIMG_6478

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes – Mem Fox

Mr McGee Goes to Sea – Pamela Allen

A Nice Walk in the Jungle – Nan Bodsworth

Hello Baby – Mem Fox

Willy the Champ – Anthony Browne

Guess Who? Sounds – Jeanette Rowe

Hattie and the Fox – Mem Fox

Dr Seuss, Alison Lester, Margaret Wild, Bob Graham are also top authors.

Dogs and Dominoes!

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Children love games and animals. Whether you own a pet or not, cats and dogs, birds and guinea pigs are often favourite pets at home. So whenever my grand children visit, they love to see Harry and Jemma the old border collies. Dogs can transform a screaming child to a curious, calmer little person. Dogs can bring out the best in children, although I have seen them snap and growl too. Children like to touch, cuddle, jump on, stroke, pull and kiss the pooch. They like to help feed and wash the dogs.

Like dogs, the game of dominoes tests their ability to connect and have fun. Audrey who is nearly 5 enjoyed a game of dominoes and learnt very quickly how to beat Grandma. Simple number patterns and colours matching up left her excited that she could win. We played the game 6 times in a row. I also won. It’s an old fashioned game that can be set up on the kitchen table, coffee table or floor; carried in a handbag or taken on holidays.

Now dogs can be expensive to own but they do teach children responsibility and organisation. It is surprising how quickly tears can turn to smiles when the face of Harry appears at the glass door. If you cannot afford a dog, then a soft, cuddly toy with floppy ears and stumpy tail will provide comfort. Yipeee! for dogs! Walking the dog is the way to go with grandchildren – BUT beware, you must teach your toddler about the care, handling and behaviour of those cute pooches. They will bite too!

Mojo Marg

Mojo means self confidence; it is the basic belief of oneself in a situation. As a new grand mother there are many times when one’s self confidence gets tested. I basically think that I have confidence in my abilities to love and care for children, having been a mother of 4 of my own. However, young ones can test your patience and erode that self-assurance that you desperately need. As you get to know and understand the personalities of the children, you become more able to tackle lots of little situations confidently. These tips might help you to develop your Mojo.

  • Believe in yourself and your ability to show love.
  • Believe in small steps that enrich your role as grandmother.
  • Allow for mistakes and do not beat yourself up.
  • Rest in God’s care and pray for wisdom and understanding.
  • Confidence develops from knowing the child, his interests and routines.
  • Believe in remaining calm and engaging help if needed.
  • Surround yourself with other positive role models. Laugh and cry.
  • Ensure 100% effort.
  • Will yourself to do things by taking little risks and stepping out of your comfort zone.
  • Be grateful for small mercies that you learn from the children.

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The Waiting Game

How does it feel to be waiting for your own daughter’s baby to be born? It’s exciting and scary at the same time because of the unexpected and unknown. After my 3 sons’s wives gave birth I was there quickly to receive a cuddle and a look at my wee grandson/ daughter. A new romantic encounter.

Now, Rachael, my own daughter who lives in the far north is ready and waiting. The mother/ daughter time last week was so special as we walked along Palm Cove beach, swam in the Resort pool and dined out as a couple. She did have some news that sent her into a spin – a bit of panic, stress, tears and frustration all rolled into one. It’s times like these that you are both vulnerable to each other’s emotions.Time to say nothing. Time to listen. Time to offer inspiration and kindness. What have I done along the way to prepare myself for her birth experience?

1  Send cards and words of comfort and inspiration, with a photo to smile at.

2  Surprise her with a Myer gift voucher or a new maternity dress wrapped up in pretty paper. ( a touch of romance for her!)

3  Send her a book or photo copied page to teach her new ideas.

4  Keep in touch with a planned visit and gifts.

5  Remind her of her birth and what I went through ( in small doses)

6  Feel her tummy as it grows; feel the movements.

7  Talk to her husband about his concerns.

8  Ask questions about their visits to the doctor etc

9  Baby’s names – text some funny ones to make her laugh

10 Let her know that you love her dearly and that she has permission to be a first time mum.

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Visiting your Grandchild

You plan the date, time and text your daughter-in-law on your arrival. There’s anticipation and nervous joy about being welcomed. The car pulls up and you hear the small voice shout, Grandma’s here! What a lovely feeling. Now are you prepared for what is ahead? I often pack too much in my car ready for the trip to Brisbane. Along the way i play music and think. Of course, to be mindful in the moment, I need to concentrate on my driving and not think about how will I cope or what will happen. Here are 10 tips for that visit.

1  Welcome with enthusiasm and a smile.( maybe a gift)

2  Wait until the child is ready to greet you and LISTEN.

3  Show him/her something special ( surprise dinosaur, new book, photos etc) grandma’s new necklace!

4  Ask him/ her to show you their bedroom – an invitation to play and test out the toys on the floor.

5  Be willing to multi- task at any time, however, most mums just want you to play and take the load off them.

6  Play imagination games outside – hide and seek, shops, obstacle courses, dress ups, chasey or sand pit time.

7  Sit and read a great story – let them turn the pages nicely. Count the animals. Point to colours.

8  Sing to the child. Video this – it’s funny and elating to watch when you are feeling down.

9  Ask the mother is there any job you would like done? ( washing, sweeping, rubbish to the bin)

10  Toddlers love gardening time, craft time and routines. Cubbies are good.

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Puffed and all Parked Out!

Children love the open spaces and going to a park or playground is the way to go. As a break for the weary mother, taking grand children to the park opens up many opportunities. From parties at parks to pirate ships, climbing frames, slides and swings, here are my hot ten tips to survive a happy outing.

1. Be prepared for fun, food and adventure

2. Wear comfy flat shoes or joggers (the kiddies can still run around barefooted)

3. Water and snacks are essential

4. Hats can be worn but more often they fall off

5. Let the child take risks – climbing and running

6. Patience – if another child is on the swing – distract to birds in the sky, boats in the water or waiting to watch when the child hops off for your turn.

7. Look through the child’s eyes – see the fun and newness, the challenges and excitement of a new play area.

8. Help and support as they cross the swinging bridge

9. Play games/ sing songs and have a picnic

10. Watch your grand child – be aware of him running away or falling.

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