As most of you know, I have four grandchildren, ranging in age from almost three to twelve, three girls and one boy. And they are four of the lights of my life (I am so very fortunate to have MANY lights – I NEVER forget that, and am eternally grateful.)
I am “Gaga,” a name bestowed upon me by the eldest when she was first learning to talk, and it stuck. I LOVE my name, and the silly things they change it to, Gawgs, Gawgie, Gawgsmagawgs…We love nick names in our family!
I am fortunate to have a different relationship with them than many grandmothers have with their grandchildren. First, we live close by (and many don’t – even though they’d love to!) but the main reason for the difference is that I don’t have the luxury of spoiling them and sending them home. Because I care for them while their parents work, any spoiling means that I have to live with the little monsters I help to create. So, I have to restrain myself from giving them EVERYTHING they want, and I have to discipline from time to time. They have learned (for the most part) that they want to avoid the “wrath of Gaga.” I don’t lose it often , but when I do, they pay attention. I think their parents appreciate that I lecture, and counsel and remind them how lucky they are to have parents that love them so much and take such good care of them, and occasionally even stand them in a corner.
Now that doesn’t mean I don’t spoil them, because I have certainly been known to go a little overboard (don’t laugh, parentals, I could be a lot worse, trust me on that! I DO rein myself in pretty regularly.)
Most of my indulgences are educational in nature, particularly books. I LOVE to read, and I want them to, as well. Hannah was a bookworm from the get-go, like her mom before her. She’s not only reading far above grade level, but she’s a prolific reader. She’s got a book (or now, Kindle) in her face a LOT of the time. It took Bea and Josh a little longer to get hooked on reading, but Bea has arrived, and Josh is quickly getting there. If books didn’t have to compete with video games, I think he’d be there, too. He’s finally learned how how to put himself into the book, which is where the magic happens! Both Bea and Josh are reading significantly above grade level, as well. Lexi is following suit, and even though she doesn’t actually “read” yet, she loves looking at books, even ones with no pictures, because she sees the older ones doing it, and she wants to be like them, especially her brother! She’s already asked me to teach her to read, and is a little frustrated that she has to learn what the letters are called and what they say before she can actually read. It’s not that she doesn’t like the process, but it isn’t going quickly enough to suit her! She just wants to sit down and do it. Theres no doubt in my mind she’ll be an early reader.
Hannah is now taller than me, something she just LOVES. She likes to pat me on the head and call me “Little Gaga.” I pretend to be offended, but I have to admit I love it. The teenaged eye rolls, not so much – but I guess they come with the territory. I had hoped she would always think I was really smart (unlike parents who get dumber and dumber by the day, until that magical time when they realize their parents really did know what they were talking about, after all) but alas, I’m afraid I’m getting dumb, too. But, all the wisdom I’m imparting is going into the hard drive, and eventually she will be able to access it. I keep telling myself.
These days, my duties are really more that of a “chauffeur” for the three oldest, at least during the school year. I don’t feel like I get to spend enough time just goofing around with them any more. Games of UNO and Skip-bo are fewer and further between, and I miss them. Josh and I have have had lots of fun over cards – he is a good loser, although he’s been known to clobber me! We love the trash talk and laugh a lot.
Bea is probably closest to being my “mini-me” at this point. We love doing art together, although we don’t often have time! But Lexi may be following in our footsteps. She’s into decorating and loves to help Gaga shop for decor. She is a total enabler, often telling me, “you NEED that, Gaga!”
But, now there’s school, and sports, and dance, and coding class (yes, the three oldest are going to a class where they are learning HTML, and are constructing simple websites using code, rather than templates!) They are all well-rounded. There just aren’t enough hours in the day…
I LOVE it when they go along with my goofy ideas!
We like going to Big Spoon for frozen yogurt! And they like being silly!
We have a good time, even when it’s just going out to lunch!
You wouldn’t know it from the photos, but we aren’t ALWAYS eating! It’s just easier to get pictures when they are!
So for now, it’s mostly me and Lexi, although she’s just started pre-school, and goes to ballet, so even that is changing.
As much as I wish it would, time just won’t stand still.
I’m enjoying it as much as I can while I have it. Before I know it, they will all be off on their own, and their time with “Gawgs” will be a distant memory. Yikers!
I am looking forward to summer already!