I knew Granny as Granny, and I am sure that I didn't learn her last name until I was much older. To me her name could have been Granny, No Middle Initial, Granny, because to us it was about the way she made us feel, and how we felt about her, and the name Granny was all we needed to know. My grand kids call me Grandma, and for the longest time, that was my first and last name to them, and I didn't mind at all.
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My Last Name Is Grandma
By Ella Elliott Colvin
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Ella Elliott Colvin
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThese Two
Our grandkids are a part of the Z, silent, or internet generation (usually born in the late 90's and before 2004), and it is an awesome feeling to be a part of that legacy. While raising our kids, they were not always receptive to all the traditions that we tried to pass down from our parents. I now take joy in passing them to our grandkids. My husband and I have four that live within three miles of us. The older two of the four have provided me with numerous opportunities to share, and contribute to the outcome of their upbringing. It has been enlightening to watch each child teach the next child what they have learned from their parents, grandparents, each other and others. These Two together were a book waiting to be written, and I am just touching the surface of their lives.
* * *
The older of the two, KeeKee, was the first grandchild I saw being born. Being a nurse, I had seen, and helped with many births, but watching your own grandchild come into the world is totally different. That birth got me hooked on grandkids! As with most "first born" everyone showered her with love, affection and the gift of knowledge. She was introduced to music, reading, math, French, and computers early, and as a result she has great reasoning and memory skills. KeeKee has shown us that the attention she was given early in life has produced a very smart and talented girl. She tells us that she is shy, but she is openly affectionate, very strong willed, and she is an advocate of "boy power."
The younger of the two TraTra, was very sickly as a baby. I remember that she cried a lot as a baby and a toddler. Just as she was very loud with her crying, she is still using her voice, but in an imaginative way. TraTra is very outgoing and creative, and can make up a song, or a poem about anything: literally anything. Tiny framed with the energy of a hurricane, she is an advocate of "girl power." She constantly asked: why is Grandma doing all the work? I like this girl power!
The two of them spent a lot of time together, and as they grew, we could see their distinctive personalities. Their sisterly bond was, and is strong, and it showed when they were in trouble as they looked out for each during those times. Like my sisters and I, they have created a bond that will carry them through their child and adulthood.
Growing up with my Sisters produced a bond that carried "US" through our childhood, and made us even closer in our adulthood. Raised poor, we discovered that we could create fun by using simple things like strings to make pretend houses, and dirt to make food. Our times together made memories that we still laugh about today.
Each of us had different personalities, different ways of doing things, and we had different dreams for our future. While we all took varied roads, one common bond was the fun we shared. When we get together, one thing that we always share is Sisters Laughing.
* * *
When I was a kid growing up, my vision for the future included having a husband, ten kids, and a two story house with a picket fence (what kind of books was I reading). I craved that kind of life, because of all the fun I had growing up. Even though our family lived on a farm, and we were poor, we had things that money could not buy: home grown food, fun, and family. Our parents raised us based on how they were raised, and it was driven by Biblical principles.
I grew up with three sisters (I have four),one brother, and we claim a cousin as our brother too. My Father was the playful one, and my Mother was more of the disciplinarian. We were all close growing up, and now as adults share in the joy, and sorrows of our kids and grandkids.
I do not remember grandkids being part of my day dreaming when I was 16,but since my sisters, and I have become Grandparents, we have lots of stories to share. The stories we impart to each other really validates that our children are normal, and that our children, and grandchildren are great discussion tools. My sisters and I have spent many times on the phone discussing and laughing about our situations. That fun and joy we shared as kids continues through our kids and grandchildren. We have discovered that while life has many turns and twist, joys and sorrows, the situations usually are the same with different names or families. Often times I would call one of my sisters wanting to vent about something that was going on with the kids, or grandkids, and we would end up discussing the day's happenings. In the mist of our frustration and sharing, we found that by the end of the conversation our laughter had overtaken the situation that prompted the call: that same laughter that reminded us of our childhood. Most of the laughter was usually about ... We'll never tell. Let the laughter between Sisters continue.
Who Does What and When?
Where did parents get their guidelines that indicated when someone was old enough to do certain things? When did maturity outweigh age? Well, it didn't happen during my Baby Boomer generation, which included people born between 1947 and 1967. My parents literally stuck to their beliefs about their kids having to be a certain age to do things throughout our childhood.
When my husband, and I raised our kids, we used some of the age gages we grew up with, but we also busted the mold on some of those traditions. While helping to raise our grandkids, we found that they were much smarter, and some of those gages didn't work. We decided to use age and maturity as our gage to determine: Who Does What and When.
* * *
Some adults continue to use age as their gage to indicate when people should be allowed to do certain things. For example, when I was growing up, I could not date until I was 16. I could cut my hair one time, but I had to be 16 to do that too.
We told our Grandkids that because we were older, that only Grandmothers, Grandpas, Moms, Dads, Aunts and Uncles could use a knife, turn the stove on, pick them up from school, etc, etc. We also told them that only Grandmothers, Moms, or Aunts could wash their private parts. As they were processing the information, one of the girls asked, what about Granny (my Mom). Can she wash us too? I quickly added her to the wash list.
Kids are taught their age early in life, and can repeat it when asked. I didn't believe that they had any real concept of age related gages, until the older of the two, KeeKee, proclaimed one day; Grandma is older than Papa, but Papa is taller. These comments from her showed me that she did understand the concept of age, and she used it in such a way that indicated that both her grandparents had good qualities. I believe she was indicating that Grandma was older, and she could do certain things, and Papa was taller, and he could do certain things. It was little nuggets of information like this from KeeKee that highlighted her thinking, and reasoning ability at an early age. She was perhaps suggesting that it was not always about how old you are, but about the qualities that the person has that enables them to do certain things. So as we decide who should do what, and when at what age, we should look at the capabilities of the person. This will be very beneficial as their generation enters the work force. They will be younger, and I believe much smarter in certain areas than the Baby Boomers, Generation X,(the generation after the baby boomers), and Generation Y, (the ones after the Xers). So many of us may have to change our thinking about age related capabilities being the driving force behind who does what and when. The ability of KeeKee to see each grandparent's quality reminds me of someone who speaks politically correct. If politics is in her future, she is starting early!
It's My Turn
I wanted to believe that growing up my brothers, and sisters did not always use schemes to promote something for themselves. I wanted to believe that what they did was for the good of all of us. I also wanted to believe that when everyone encouraged me to take their turn to ride a chainless bike with my eyes closed while they pushed me, that they were being nice, and had no ulterior motive (that was not the case!). Just as me and my siblings maneuvered situations to get ahead, or have fun at the expense of each other, we are finding that our grandkids are using tactics to help themselves get ahead as well. They learned that going first had its advantages, so will try anything to be able to say, It's My Turn.
* * *
Listening to our grandkids talk to each other, I realized that they, like my siblings, were always scheming or competing with one another to determine who's better, who goes first, or gets the fullest cup? KeeKee occasionally reminded TraTra that she went first last week, and it is her turn now. However, She learned early that she could get "cookie points" if she let TraTra go first. "Grandma, I am letting her go before me because she is the youngest." This made her look good, and may have gotten her extra goodies. But most of the time, She will ask TraTra, do you want to go first or last? If you go first then I will be last. If you go last then, I will be first. The youngest usually chooses to go first, and the oldest shouts, "I always have to go last." TraTra yells, "Grandma, she won't let me go first."
Enter the wisdom of grand parenting. "Everyone has to share going first. If one goes first this time, the other one goes first next time." This seemed to be a simple solution. The only problem is that you, the grandparent had to develop a system that helped you remember who went first last time. You had to remember who you gave food to first, who got in or out of the car first, or who you said good night to first. Believe me, they remember! I believe this is a good place to interject the "notion" that one should give the older grandchild more berries than the younger one without the younger finding out and feeling bad. I believe this can be accomplished up until the younger one can count. After that, I suggest giving everyone equal amounts, or maybe use a non see through bowl for the oldest. Of course, KeeKee will sometime shout out, I got the most, and Grandma served me first. This should put an end to the idea that the oldest gets more, or goes first because they are the oldest.
Watching the two of them battle over who goes first, or decide whose turn it is, I let them solve their own conflict sometimes as it develops their negotiating skills. A good indicator that I needed to get involved was the familiar cry from one of them, "Grandma it's my turn, and she won't let me go first."
Red Light Green Light
When I am driving, and approach a traffic light, I have decided that I would rather encounter a red light rather than a green one. Red because I know I have to stop. A green light indicates that I may have to get ready to stop, or I might not make it through the intersection. A red light gives my brain a rest from having to make a decision about traffic lights. Our Grandkids took a totally different approach to the traffic lights. The more lights that change colors the better they liked it, because for them, it was game of colors: Red Light Green Light.
* * *
Traffic signal lights area great way to teach grandkids colors, and it keeps them busy when traveling. They played a game that allowed one grandchild to say one of the colors on the traffic signal. They eventually developed their own way of determining who would say what color when we approached the light. KeeKee indicated to TraTra, yesterday, you said red light, so I say red light today, green light tomorrow, and yellow light on Wednesday. Today you say yellow light, red light tomorrow, and then green light. Grandma, do you want to say red light, green light? The answer should always be NO!
As grandparents, you do not want your memory tested, especially when you drive through hundreds of traffic lights when traveling. I am still trying to remember who I gave orange juice to first this morning. I am not going to add another memory exercise to my brain.
It really is good to have young minds with great memory skills. We have used those skills to locate remotes, keys, books, etc. They remember everything. My husband installed a keyless number lock on our front door. Of course KeeKee, the older grandchild has memorized the combination, and has mentioned it out loud on occasion. After a brief discussion of the consequences of unwanted intruders, she finally understood that a show of her memory skills is not always appropriate at certain times, especially when people are around.
Good memory has pros and cons, and as my husband, and I mature in age, I am beginning to believe that the pros outnumber the cons. We can always change our keyless number combination, if we believe it has been compromised. The memory building skills they are obtaining and using (even red light green light) will help them with the memory challenges (such as spelling test and math), that they will face in their life.
Less Is Good
I do not know of many instances where less could be considered good. I believe that we walk in the Spirit humbly with our God, and that the meek shall inherit the earth. Isaiah 60:22 states that a little one shall become a thousand and a small one a strong one: I the Lord will hasten it in his time. In that sense less is good. In the earthly realm, it would take some creativity for someone to convince me that Less Is Good.
* * *
I believe that every grandparent has a "great story" to tell about their grandkids. I also believe that every grandparent believes that their grandkids are the smartest, and the prettiest. Well, we are no different. I was amazed at the wisdom our grandkids displayed early in their lives. Their thought process is very young, and you have to wonder how they are able to figure things out at such an early age. KeeKee and TraTra were five and three years old, and were eating dinner at our house one night, when KeeKee, the oldest began a conversation with TraTra, that really showed that early development. She stated, "I have some good news, and I have some bad news for you. The good news is that you are beating me eating. The bad news is that you have less food. Because you have less food you are beating me, which means I have more than you." TraTra happily proclaimed with a smile, "Grandma, Grandma, I've got less!" Indicating she had the winning hand. "Wasn't KeeKee too young to be able to put that concept together?" I am still wondering how she was able to devise a scenario that made TraTra feel good. KeeKee did show great reasoning ability early, but I was always amazed every time I saw her using that skill. I am sure that she uses it when she wants to get ahead. But it appears she had a way of not making the other person feel bad about it.
Our daughter mentioned just recently that when she talks to KeeKee, or ask her a question she stares at her for a few minutes without answering her. My daughter indicated that her teacher had noticed that she also does that at school. I believe I understand why she pauses, or stares before she answers. She is thinking of all the ways she can answer the question, and make it a win-win for all. We have asked her not to stare at the person when she is asked a question, but to say "I'm thinking" so that the person would not think she is being rude. I hope we are not interrupting her thinking process. Anyone who can make someone feel good about having less must be allowed to utilize their reasoning ability to the fullest.
Excerpted from My Last Name Is Grandma by Ella Elliott Colvin Copyright © 2011 by Ella Elliott Colvin. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Who Does What and When?....................15
It's My Turn....................19
Red Light Green Light....................23
Less Is Good....................27
What I Learned at Pre-School....................35
Let Me Tell You About Her....................39
Don't Deny Papa His Joy....................49
Oops! Excuse Me, I burped....................53
I Don't Like Chili's....................57
Going To Church....................61
Grandma He's Speeding Again....................67
At Granny's House....................71
What Does That Mean?....................81