Tag Archives: Grandma

Growing up left-handed in a right-handed world

Written by Sara R.

My youngest son Christopher, who is 14, is the only member of our immediate family that is left-handed.

I started reading a few articles on left handed people and found some very interesting facts. Here are just a few (there are some negative facts out there but I prefer to focus on the positive):

  • Only 10-15% of the population in the world is left handed
  • Four out of the last seven U.S. Presidents are left handed
  • Left-handed people are more likely to pursue creative careers
  • Left-handed college grads go on to become 26% richer than right handed grads
  • August 13th is known as Left Handed Day
  • There are grants and scholarships for left-handed people

 

Christopher’s personality fits that of a left-handed person. He’s creative, artistic, independent and a quick thinker. Some famous people who are left-handed include Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi (one of Christopher’s favorite people), Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Mozart, Beethoven, Paul McCartney, Prince Charles & Prince William and Bill Gates, just to name a few.

I never gave it a second thought about how different it must be for him and how it can be quite frustrating at times. I do, however, set his place at the table with the napkin, fork and glass on the left side.

Last year for his Christmas gift we purchased a left-handed bow because he loves archery. We had a hard time finding one.

Lefties are usually better with hand-eye coordination. That explains the reason he won the archery championship in summer camp this year! ?

When I sat down to interview Christopher on what he felt was an annoyance, if any, being left-handed, I wasn’t prepared to hear what he had to say. He started off with “Well, my first grade teacher tried to get me to write with my right hand. She would make me stay in for recess, put a pencil in my right hand and have me write the alphabet. Once I was finished, I could go out for recess”.

Wait! What?! Are you kidding me? She really made you do this?? UNBELIEVABLE! “Why didn’t you ever tell me this?” I asked. He replied, “I didn’t think it was a big deal because she only had me write the alphabet once and then I was allowed go out for recess.” It seems this happened every day for half the school year! He quickly commented that when she compared his writing from the first time he did this exercise to the last that there was no improvement in his right-handed writing.

He also went on to tell me when he was in 7th grade one of his teachers would criticize him for leaving two inches to the left of his paper. Christopher did this because he said it was more comfortable to leave some space for his hand when he had to write from a spiral notebook. Writing is a bit of a challenge for Christopher because he tends to drag his writing hand across the paper which in turn smudges his letters.

He might be left handed but he is all right with me. I read somewhere left-handed people are “a special expression of God’s creativity.” I totally agree!

Life’s Little Pleasures are Truly the Best

Written by Sara R.

As children get older, get their driver’s license, move out,  and get married, family get-togethers are not as easy as they once were when all my children were younger and at home. It takes some planning, synchronizing of schedules and several weeks advance notice to get everyone in one place at the same time.

I’ve been very fortunate as we’ve already had three family gatherings so far this month. Our first get together was on June 1 in Columbus, Ohio at the Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at The Ohio State University to watch my 16-year-old daughter Taylor compete in the OHSAA State Track Meet. Her 4 x 400 meter girls relay team took 6th  place in Division II for the State of Ohio. It was a very exciting time for all of us.  My husband and I along with her big brother, who made the trip from Cleveland to Columbus, and her big sister, who lives in Columbus were all there. Her Grandma & Grandpa R. from Michigan also made the long journey to Columbus to watch and cheer her on. We are so very proud of her and her teammates!

On June 9 we were all together again to help celebrate my oldest son’s 21st birthday (hard to believe he’s 21!).  It doesn’t seem that long ago when he crawled up on my hospital bed to peek at his new baby sister who was just born.  He was really hoping for a baby brother.

I remember when he went back to pre-school the next day and his teacher said to him “I heard something exciting happened at your house yesterday, do you want to share it with the rest of the class?” “Yes,” Justin answered. “I threw up!” His teacher trying not to react to his statement said “I heard something really exciting happened yesterday.”  Justin said “Yeah, I threw up twice!”

We were all together again Father’s Day weekend. This time it was for a whole weekend! Besides our four children, joining us was my son-in-law, my darling grandson and my husband’s mother and father. It was great to get all the fathers together to celebrate Father’s Day.

We all met in Port Clinton, Ohio on Friday night for dinner and spent the night. The guys got up bright and early, 5:30am, and went fishing on a boat they had chartered for the day. My youngest son, Christopher, proved to be quite the fisherman.  He caught a 7lb, 24” Walleye. The ladies, along with my grandson, took the Jet Express to Put-in-Bay for some shopping, eating, good conversation and fun times.

Saturday evening we all drove back to Cleveland, Ohio and gathered again for dinner. As all eleven of us sat at the big round table. I remembered the days when my children were young and we would sit at the dinner table and just talk about anything and everything. Sometimes it would turn into a battle zone because one child was making a funny face at another, or  someone was  upset because “he was interrupting me when I’m trying to talk” or someone was spilling their milk or dropping food on the floor for the dogs to eat.

Sunday we enjoyed Marine Week in Cleveland. If you get the chance to attend one of these events I would highly recommend it. It’s a very moving experience.

It is so true when you hear someone say “enjoy your children when they’re young because before you know it they will be grown and gone.”

I feel very blessed each and every time we can all get together.

About Sara R.

Sara is a mother of four. She has two daughters – Jamie age 35 and Taylor age 16 – and two sons – Justin age 20 and Christopher age 14. She is also a grandmother of one – Andrew age 3. She lives in Mantua, Ohio with her husband Bill. She has worked at Step2 for the past 12 years (before that she was a stay at home mom for 9 years). Sara is the Operations Manager for Step2 Direct internet sales.

Stay at Home Daddy Duty

Written by Sharon

Like Tena’s husband, my son is also a stay at home dad during the day while his wife works. Since his regular job is in the evenings, it makes sense for him to care for my granddaughter while he is home and save on childcare costs. I couldn’t be a prouder mother! I think it is wonderful how dads today are taking charge and being such an instrumental part of their children’s lives.

In my day, if dad stayed with the kids (even for a short time), it was referred to as “babysitting.” As a result, my son has a much closer relationship with his daughter while nourishing his care giving side.

Although he knows firsthand how tiring it is, he considers himself lucky that he gets to spend so much time with his daughter and cherishes every minute of it. And of course aside from his daily childcare, he is doing the laundry, cleaning and whatever else needs to be done.

They are out and about town everyday for fresh air and visiting with neighbors and friends. My granddaughter is a big hit at the local coffee shop (it’s not unusual to find her behind the counter with the owner) and they can’t miss a stop at the newspaper stand to say “hi!” Even the mail lady knows my granddaughter. As a result, at 15 months old, her social skills are already developing as she doesn’t hesitate to approach children at the playground for a baby talk chat.

Living the urban life in San Francisco brings to mind an ancient African Proverb: “It takes a village to raise a child.”  My son, who is very outgoing, takes his daughter everywhere and enjoys all of the attention she receives.  To say he was a proud dad would be an understatement.

And just a quick note about our latest Skyping adventures – grandma got to see her precious granddaughter walking. Yippeee!!!

About Sharon

Sharon became a first time grandma in February of 2011 and had the pleasure of celebrating her granddaughter’s first birthday in San Francisco where she lives with her oldest son and his wife.  Sharon welcomes the opportunity to spoil her granddaughter after having raised two boys.  Sharon is an avid lover of the arts and has dabbled with oil painting and enjoys interior decorating as a hobby.  She is the Customer Service Manager for Step2.

How Times Have Changed: Motherhood in the 1970s vs. 1990s

Written by Sara R.

I personally don’t know any other parents my age in my situation, but I’m sure there are a few out there. All my friends that I graduated with are experiencing “empty nest syndrome.” But with 4 children, ranging from teens to 30′s, I on the other hand, have not had the opportunity to experience this syndrome quite yet.

I have two teenagers at home – ages 14 and 16.   My oldest daughter, age 34, is married and has a 3 yr old son, my grandson, who calls me “Nonna.”  They live about 2 ½ hours away, a term they lovingly refer to as the “buffer zone.” My oldest son who is 20 just moved out 3 months ago, I sometimes wonder if he’ll be back.

Statistics show 85% of college grads move back home, aka boomerang kids.  I don’t know if he’ll return, as he seems pretty happy living on his own.  After all he doesn’t need to answer to mom or hear me nag him about cleaning his room, taking out the garbage, feeding the dogs, etc. I’m in the process of re-doing his room into a guest bedroom. I’ve always wanted a guest bedroom.

There have been many changes from the mid 70′s when my first was born to the late 90’s when my youngest was born.  Here are a few:

  • 70′s – When I gave birth via c-section to my first born, I was in the hospital for 7 days (that was the norm). Five of those consisted of a liquid diet only.  Believe me when they brought that tray of Jello, broth, & hot tea on the fifth day, I started crying……I was sooo hungry.  The good news was once I left the hospital I fit back into my pre-maternity jeans.
  • 90′s – My doctor encouraged me to have my next three children by regular birth, which I did. I  was in the hospital a total of 3 days, if even that.   I chose my meals from a menu.  It took months to fit Into my pre-maternity jeans again.
  • 70′s-Right after I had my oldest, the nurses whisked her away and I didn’t get to see her for about 12 hrs.   Back then they had a nursery where you and other members of the family could view the babies from a large window. The nurses took care of the babies for the most part.  They feed, changed and bathed them. The mothers concentrated on getting better and relaxing.
  • 90′s – The baby stayed with you the whole time. You had to feed them, change them and get up     in the middle of the night when they cried.  That was a rude awakening. I kept wondering when that nurse was coming to take the baby so I could get some rest!
  • 70′s – Fathers were confined to the waiting room until after the child was born and then they could view their newborn child from the nursery window.
  • 90′s – Fathers were expected to be with the mother from the time you entered the hospital and stay to coach the mother through her labor and hold the baby as soon as it’s born.
  • 70’s- Breastfeeding was something only the “hippies” did.  I breast fed which meant they brought my baby to me for feedings only and then she was whisked away again.  I had to either go down to the nursery to see her or ring the nurse to bring her to me.
  • 90’s – Breast feeding was encouraged and strongly suggested.

In the 70′s I had never heard of ultrasounds, amniocentesis, birthing rooms, water births or hypno births. We were not required by law to have our children in a car seat.  When I brought my oldest home I held her in my arms, heck I don’t think I was even wearing a seat belt. As my daughter got a little older, 3 or 4 she sat in the front seat and the seat belt was my arm going across her chest if I had to make a sudden stop.  There were times when she was standing up in the front seat. Now that I think back of that it scares me to death.

Today the law requires all children to be in a car seat/booster until they are 4ft. 9 in. Due to my Italian genes and my husband whose family is not what you would call on the tall side either, my youngest was barely 4 feet tall in the first grade! I remember taking him to soccer practice when he was seven, one of his friends came running up to the car to meet him and when he saw my son was sitting in a booster seat his friend looked a little puzzled and asked “Why are you sitting in a baby seat?”  I went home, took the booster seat out of my car, put in on the garage shelf and never put it back in my minivan again.

One thing that never changes is I still worry about my children and would like to be able to keep them safe and happy whether they are 14 or 34. I will say having children later in life keeps you active and young at heart!

About Sara R.

Sara is a mother of four. She has two daughters – Jamie age 35 and Taylor age 16 – and two sons – Justin age 20 and Christopher age 14. She is also a grandmother of one – Andrew age 3. She lives in Mantua, Ohio with her husband Bill. She has worked at Step2 for the past 12 years (before that she was a stay at home mom for 9

Technology Brings Us Closer

Written by Sharon

How lucky are we as moms and grandmas to be living in this amazing age of technology? We can tweet, facebook, email, or, my favorite, Skype. With children fleeing the nest, and often times moving out of state, we can now stay connected with technology literally at our fingertips.

Since my one and only grandchild lives nearly 2500 miles away, the anticipation and excitement awaiting our weekly Skype appointment gives me much to look forward to. We have been Skyping since she was just a couple of months old (with the accompaniment of her dad, my son, of course). I get to see her grow and witness all the changes from infant to toddler (to include diaper changes, as she gets excited when we Skype). We’ve even enjoyed many virtual games of Pat-a- Cake and Hide and Seek.

On top of that, it’s been great for her to recognize her grandma’s face and voice, although two-dimensional, with us being so far apart. Of course I can’t help but wonder how her little brain perceives seeing a flat grandma on a screen and then seeing three-dimensional grandma in person. I’m guessing she will figure that out as she gets older.

Her parents have chosen not to expose her to television until she’s about three so I guess you could say I’m her cartoons, Sesame Street and Teletubbies all rolled into one. I do try my best to be entertaining.

To say that I’m grateful to be living in an age of today’s technology that keeps my granddaughter and I close would be an understatement. With that said – gotta run – Monday is Skype night!

About Sharon

Sharon became a first time grandma in February of 2011 and had the pleasure of celebrating her granddaughter’s first birthday in San Francisco where she lives with her oldest son and his wife.  Sharon welcomes the opportunity to spoil her granddaughter after having raised two boys.  Sharon is an avid lover of the arts and has dabbled with oil painting and enjoys interior decorating as a hobby.  She is the Customer Service Manager for Step2.