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Centerpointe Research

Grandparent

Second Childhood

You have a chance at being part of a second childhood.  Did you miss your children’s childhood.  Were you too busy supporting them, caring for them, dealing with their misbehavior?  That first year really went fast, didn’t it.  Did you notice how cute they were, how adventurous they were?  Did you never get any sleep, did you ever get anything done?

farmgrandchildAre your grandchildren your second chance at childhood?  Can you take time and notice the things you didn’t when their parents were small?  Can you now schedule some time to devote to them exclusively?  Do you spot problems before they get bigger instead of not noticing them until there is a disaster?  Do you have the smartest, most creative, most appealing grandchildren of all (Oh, and by the way the same thing can be true of nieces and nephews if you don’t have grandchildren or even if you have grandchildren).

chinese-grandparents-sitting-grandchildren-26098101

Some people, when they think of a second childhood,  they think it is a person’s regression to the babyish, unproductive,  immature ways of childhood. Play which is the primary occupation of childhood, is a way to explore and learn about the universe but you might not appreciate it when you are raising children.  They keep getting into stuff, they want the same books read to them over and over, and you don’t have the time to listen to them when they try to talk.  Language is a pretty basic skill, but they have to learn it by using it and by having people talk back to them.  There is a fine line between talking and reinforcing baby talk and expecting them to tell you what they want so you can understand them.  Also babies, toddlers, and preschoolers are constantly learning and experimenting with things.  They learn by example and how many of us have studied early childhood education.  They can teach us how to teach them if we listen and observe and experiment with how we present things to them.

grandparent-and-grandchildBetter yet, you are never too old to play with grandchildren or younger members of your family and you may be the best playmate they ever have.  It is never too late to learn to play even if it is in your second childhood.  Playing with children is not the waste of time that some people think it is.  Raising children is one of the most important jobs on planet earth.  Why leave this job to people who don’t care?  Why put people down and pay them poorly for doing it if they do care?

 

 

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What A Way To Go

Thinking

Thinking (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

If you watch much TV or look at too many popular  magazines,  you might be led to thinking that you are all washed up when you reach 49.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I never thought that my grandparents looked anything but wonderful to me.  We are constantly told what we should look like, what we should wear, and what we should like to do.

How many well-to-do people get their houses “decorated” by an interior decorator and then worry about it getting, dirty, cluttered, or appearing “out-of-date” or well-worn?  What is the idea of having something if you can’t use it?  On the other hand, decorating a home with comfortable well-made furnishings that are pleasing to the eye can enhance your life and increase your house’s useability.  As a result, you spend more time there; you enjoy entertaining there; and the longer you have had it, the more you appreciate it.

You as a person do not have to be in style.  You can follow your own drummer and as you live longer, you can age well like a bottle of wine.  If you are over 29, 39, or 49, have you changed over time.  Are there things you know and do now that you didn’t do then that make a difference in the way you live your life?  What do you know now that you wish you had known then?  For example, I enjoy children  even more than when I was raising them.  I am freer to look at life with the perspective of some distance and little things don’t matter so much and sometimes they don’t even hurt as much.  I’ve learned from other people how others live their lives and I am not so narrow-minded and have gotten some good ideas on how to improve mine.

Early in life we often focus on getting things and on getting things done.  We sometimes have tunnel vision and we miss the forest for the trees.  As we get older, we can develop our own point-of-view of what is important in life and how to get it.  We may realize that we wasted time focusing on things we thought were important because that was what we were taught and not on what was really important when we started thinking for ourselves.

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Understanding and Accepting Handicaps Part IV

Nederlands: Elleboogkruk

Nederlands: Elleboogkruk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A pair of reading glasses with LaCost...
English: A pair of reading glasses with LaCoste frames. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have to add that sometimes you can get the experience of being disabled whether by birth, accident or aging.  Gloves can effect the touch; blindfolds, the sight.  Food can taste funny especially if on a special diet and hard to get into bite size servings without help.  You also may not be able to chew it or get it to your mouth. Some times, the food is ground up, ick.  You can try out a walker or crutches.  By the way, those rollators (those walkers that you can use as a seat) are awkward and heavy to get in and out of the trunk. (At one point lifting a gallon of milk was an effort for me.)  Also they are easily “goosed” as they have four wheels not two like on a walker and you have to use a parking brake on the wheels in order to sit safely even then you can move some.  Some people swear by them.  My sight is pretty good.  By the way I am used to it now but my cataract surgeon goofed and put the wrong strength lens in one eye and then I started seeing double and his optometrist made me glasses which made it worse, instead of better.  I now use reading glasses only and I am driving with my optometrist’s permission.

Then I started thinking what were my mother’s and my aunt’s experiences.  I was curious.  I had underestimated how many problems they had and what praise they should have gotten for living with them.  I am choosing my aunt as her experience was unique.  In her thirties, she was struck down by polio and she had a boy about my age and a girl younger about my younger brother’s age.  She spent more than a year in an iron lung far away from home and then when she came home to my grandparents‘ house, she had to do rehabilitation exercises and she looked like a concentration camp victim.  She died unfortunately at sixty three from post-polio syndrome; but not after doing some amazing things.  She went back to being a teacher of home economics and she even put on a big fashion show each spring.  She got pregnant and had another baby (he is now a competent, well-recognized professional).  I didn’t think about those things when I thought of her, but I just remembered that she would get her hair done once a week in a beehive with lots of spray.  She always wore a brace on her right knee and at times, she used crutches.  She wrote by guiding her right hand with her “good” left hand.  I am sure there were things that she did that were just as amazing considering her handicaps.  All I could focus on was her skeletal figure, her armored hairdo (she couldn’t reach above her head with both hands to do it herself), and the fact that my elderly grandmother had to do the housework for her.  She had three children to raise and no help from the father.  She never wound up in a nursing home; my grandparents were a factor in this.  Both my father and grandfather provided transportation for her.  She had many doctor’s appointments away from home.  My father served as an unarmed referee when her husband was there.  Also my father helped her to get her own house to live in.

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Patience for the Next Generation

Funny Grandparents At Play Sign

Funny Grandparents At Play Sign (Photo credits: www.smartsign.com)

Ever lose your patience?  It can easily happen especially when it is someone else’s kids that are causing a disturbance.  Children require a lot of patience.  They are not very quiet nor do they stay very still.  Sometimes the longer it has been since someone has had kids, the less patient they are when they have to put up with someone else’s kids.  Mood changes, screams. crying can all be expected from young children.  The longer it has been since you have had children, sometimes the less tolerant you become.

Children require patience.  When extended families lived together, at least, people knew what to expect from small children.  Now people can live in complexes where children are not allowed except to visit and maybe not even then. For example, these places can be for seniors or singles only.  In this case, absence does not make the heart grow fonder.  What is amazing is that the seniors may have raised children of their own and the singles may have or have had younger brothers and sisters.  It is easy to forget what it was like to live with children.

Raising children is a noisy and frequently disruptive process,  Unless you have a live-in nanny or a daycare setting that will keep your child all hours of the day and night, you sometimes or all the time have to deal with them entirely on your own.  No one is a saint, especially when it comes to raising children, and if they tell you that they had an easy time of it and their children were angels, bring out the lie detector (just kidding).

Patience is the primary ingredient needed to grow a good crop of children for the next generation.  They explore, they learn, and they grow.  Yes, we have to keep them safe and teach them how to get along with others while at the same time letting them do what they need to do to grow up with the most potential. There is always hope as the next grandparents are created with the birth of their children’s children and they discover that their grand children are fascinating and that almost any of their grand children’s behaviors can be accounted for as just their little darlings being upset and that they couldn’t help what they did.

 

 

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