Tag Archives: Sharon

Toddler Prep

My 21 month old granddaughter is coming for a visit over the Thanksgiving holiday and needless to say I am very excited and in a bit of a panic at the same time.

It has been many years since I’ve had a toddler in my home therefore my home is far from being “kid proof”. Friends are telling me that I will need to remove the glass candle holders from my coffee table. But gee they look so nice. Now I’m wondering, ok, what else do I need to do? When raising my sons I never put anything up, but of course I didn’t have a whole lot to speak of back then.

I would like to throw this out to the young moms and grandma’s reading this in a quest for some advice on the prep work that I need to do prior to the arrival of my little angel and her parents for five days. I need all the help I can get.

Thanking you in advance.

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.

Toddler Alert

Having managed Step2’s Customer Service Department for over 19 years, I have learned the importance of age recommendations, safety guidelines, parental supervision and warnings outlined in product assembly instructions and oftentimes displayed on cartons and products.  Much research and testing (both internal and third party) goes into determining this information.   The majority of incidents involving children reported by consumers generally occur when children are unsupervised, not age appropriate for the product or recommended guidelines not followed.

This recently hit home with me when I learned that my precious granddaughter was hurt riding on her first “foot to floor” ride-on toy.  The product involved was age appropriate however, clearly noted on the box was the statement that shoes should be worn while playing with this product.  Since the product is used indoors and my son and his wife have a “no shoes worn in the house” policy, my granddaughter was in her bare feet.  Unfortunately, my son did not see exactly how the injury occurred as he was in the kitchen and she was right outside the kitchen door, in the hallway.  He was alerted that something was amiss when his daughter suddenly let out a loud yelp followed by many tears.  Luckily, it was not a serious injury however she did bruise her foot.  (She showed grandma her “boo boo” in our last Skype session.)  This resulted in a trip to the pediatrician’s office and then on to the hospital for a recommended x-ray.

Having raised two boys myself, I learned quickly that toddlers need constant supervision.    It only takes a split second for a mishap to occur.  As much as we want our children to be independent, the younger years are not the time to be concerned about independence as there is plenty of time for that.  And of course, we all think our children are smarter, more advanced or bigger than average and suitable for toys beyond their years.

Please know that I did not lecture my son for lack of supervision or for not following the “shoe” rule – I’m sure he beat himself up plenty without my help. Although, I did say that little girls are more fragile than boys and he agreed.  All parents go through situations like this at some point or another.  It is just a reminder that during those tender toddler years when they are exploring and innocently trying new things, it is important to keep them in full view.

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.

First Time Grandma

Believe it or not, becoming a first time grandma has been a bit of a learning experience. As a new mother back in the day, I would call my mother almost daily with, what do I do about___, is the baby ok if he is ___ or why won’t he stop crying, the list goes on. I don’t know what I would have done without her and the knowledge she acquired after raising three kids herself. And of course, she always had the right answers.

Well things are different now. Parents today are reading more books, (and there are many with different parenting approaches – in my day we only had Dr. Spock), blogging with other parents and reading articles online about what babies should be doing at every stage. Needless to say, to us older more mature parents/grandparents, some of the techniques that these young parents (my son included) are using today make you want to scratch your head and go, what? Oh, and don’t offer your opinions if they are to the contrary – they do not want our opinions or our advice. My son made it very clear that he did not want any advice, as they were getting it from so many directions, including friends that never had children. I told him that I am entitled to my opinions and if he didn’t like them, he didn’t have to follow them.

Since it was made clear to me that my advice was not welcome, I have made a concerted effort to not give any out of respect for my son’s wishes. (Of course I slip every now and then – it’s such a natural instinct for us isn’t it?) What I have learned from this is that rather than telling them what you think they should be doing, I find it is much more effective to show them or make subtle comments. And then low and behold, I will see or hear him doing something that I did or subtly mentioned in passing. Needless to say, because of the distance between us, these cases are far and few between (although Skyping helps). My son has even thanked me at times for the way I would turn my granddaughter’s tears to laughter during a Skype session.

I believe our children want our advice, it’s just in how we present it.

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.

Going It Alone…

Written by Sharon

Having been a single parent raising two sons, I beam with pride watching my oldest with his daughter.  What a wonderful father he has become.  As a teenager he would often complain that he had become too sensitive being raised solely by a woman.  I would assure him that someday, someone would really appreciate that trait.  Well, that time has come.

Sharon and sonsSingle parents often get a bad rep. I found a great article outlining some of the positive effects that I had found to be true despite the hardships that often exist:

Parents tend to develop strong bonds with their children that do not end when they turn 18 but continue to evolve into their adult years.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, “It takes a village to raise a child”.  This is even more evident when extended families and friends step up to help out.

Shared responsibilities versus token chores to earn an allowance are a necessary contribution to the family.  This in turn teaches children the value of their contribution and pride in their own work.  I am reminded of a time when I went on a grocery shopping strike (they were both older and driving) because they didn’t like my idea of the three of us taking turns with this weekly task.  They, being stubborn teenagers, held out until the cupboards were literally bare.  Once they gave in they started to enjoy the task as they could pick up some of their favorite things.

Children learn to handle conflict and disappointments early in life.  These can be valuable growth experiences resulting in them becoming more sensitive, empathetic and caring adults by helping them to express and deal with their emotions.

Children learn to balance their own needs and wants with those of the family.  They receive the assurance that they are the parents priority however not treated as though they are the center of everyone’s universe.  They learned early on that mom needed her alone time, even if it was to lock myself in the bathroom for a long bubble bath.

Sometimes things don’t work out the way we hope. In my case, I became a single parent. I am proud to say that with a lot of hard work and perseverance I was able to raise my boys to be happy, healthy and responsible adults.

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.

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.

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.