Parenting: That Was Then, This Is Now

We all know that babies don’t come with an instruction manual. Parenting is an inexact science figured out on the fly. Learning while doing. All rooted in love.

But ideas about the “right thing to do” have evolved over the years.

This got me to thinking about how different parenting was in the ’80s and ’90s when we were raising our kids versus now when they are raising kids of their own. And, how different I am as a grandparent than I was as a parent way back when.

Times have changed bringing new, often better, definitely safer ideas to the world of parenting.

For example, my friends and I have all experienced this one.

Mocadeaux - unsafe crib

Unsafe crib filled with taboo extras.

The crib, in which our little babies slept, was carefully wrapped up and stored with the hope and expectation that we would someday have grandchildren who would, themselves, slumber peacefully in the “heirloom crib”.

Except that the design of these cribs, with their too wide apart slats, has been determined to be a deathtrap and all the cribs had to go to the garbage dump.

Not to Goodwill, not to a garage sale. In the trash.

These lethal weapons had to be tossed out along with the now deemed dangerous playpens, jumparoos and other pieces of equipment to which we had unwittingly trusted our precious babies.

If only Pinterest had been around in those days. There would have been boards upon boards of DIY projects to turn these hazardous items into gorgeous garden ornaments or something.

And car seats?

These life-saving devices were just coming on to the scene as “must-haves” when my babies were born.

It wasn’t until 1985 that all 50 states had mandatory car seat laws. Can you believe that???

Mocadeaux - car seat

Does this look safe to you?

When our first child was born, Peter had a bit of a heated discussion with my grandmother who insisted she was going to carry her first great-grandchild home from the hospital on her lap in the car just as she had done with her grandchildren (including me).

Needless to say, that didn’t happen. But it wasn’t such a far-fetched idea based upon the times. Today a suggestion like that would cause an international incident.

Heck, when I was a kid, we used to ride in the way back, rear-facing seat of the station wagon. I’m not even sure it had seat belts. Or, we would stow the seats and sit cross-legged amongst the bags of groceries. It’s what you did.

That was then, this is now.

Nowadays, car seats are engineering marvels designed with every single known safety feature and painstakingly installed, often by a local police officer or fireman.

For the protection of our little nuggets, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

As a parent, I relied heavily on the moms in my playgroup for advice.

Come to think of it, that hasn’t changed over the years.

Our moms and tots group continues to meet (sans tots but sometimes avec grandchildren) at least once a month as we have for the past 30+ years. Now we share stories and support with a few grandparenting tips thrown in for good measure.

My kids confer with their friends who have children but they also have access to an almost infinite source of advice in the form of the internet.

Parent forums, Facebook groups and Professor Google supply a dizzying array of suggestions to solve virtually every challenge of parenting.

In my parenting days, I would have been completely overwhelmed by this volume of information.

My kids take it in stride – vetting the sources, analyzing, deciding on a course of action and, ultimately, relying on their gut to guide them.

Even with all the information in the world, parenting still comes down to trial and error and following your gut. That’s something that hasn’t changed over time.

Back in the day, we had only the PBS classics like Sesame Street and Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood to entertain and educate.

Occasionally, we would pop in a Disney movie for fun but only after spending 5 minutes rewinding the VHS tape after the last viewing.

On road trips, we would play the alphabet game or highway bingo.

Mocadeaux - highway bingo

Now there are zillions of channels on the tv, access to on-demand shows, Netflix and downloads.

These shows can be watched on phones, tablets, computers and even the old-fashioned way, on the TV.

Screens, screens! Everywhere! Anytime!

But now experts recommend limiting screen time for young kids. Well, that’s confusing.

This parenting thing has gotten a lot harder than it was when I did it…

Grandparenting, on the other hand, is one of the sweetest gigs EVER.

As a parent, I worried about every decision.

How much should they eat? How much should they sleep? Jacket or no jacket? What school is best for them? Sleepovers? Dance class? Piano lessons? How much is too much and how much is not enough?

As a grandparent, I have none of that decision-making responsibility and all of the fun. Sure, I will offer if advice but I try really, really hard to do so only if asked.

I try to stick to my Grandparent Manifesto, focusing on my duty to provide endless love and support. The little guys make my job easy.

being a grandparent

Parenting has changed over the years. My role has changed. And I’ve changed.

But the one thing that remains constant through it all is the importance of love in everything we do.


Parenting: That Was Then, This Is Now is Chapter 4 in the Who I Am Project hosted by Bev at Linkouture and Dana at Kiss My List.

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Missing The Little Guys

Anytime I’m absent for a while, it’s a good bet that I’m spending time with my grandkids.

The reality of living many miles from one another is that when we are together it is all-consuming, 24 hours per day fun and when we are apart it is all-consuming, 24 hours per day missing the little nuggets.

First up was a week babysitting for little Andy while his mom traveled to Spain for work. It was a reprise of my time as granny nanny and I loved every single minute.

Mocadeaux - Andy at the playground

Mocadeaux - fun with cousins

Andy decided that his new favorite song was “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” which I sang to him hundreds of times. Fortunately, to save my sanity and to protect Andy from becoming tone deaf due to my not-so-great singing voice, I bookmarked this on You Tube.

Next up, the twins and their parents came to spend school vacation week with us in Chicago. Chip and Dale have recently discovered the wonders of dinosaurs and couldn’t wait to meet Sue and all of the other fabulous specimens at the Field Museum.

Mocadeaux - Chip and Dale at the Field Museum

The boys also loved the Beluga Whales at the Shedd Aquarium.

Mocadeaux - Beluga Whales

Since their departure, I’ve been putting away toys, catching up on my to-do list and, once again, fighting with my computer.

I’d much rather be playing with the boys than cleaning up this mess…

Mocadeaux - messy desk

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A Letter To My Grandsons

A letter to my grandsonsTo my dear grandsons,

They say that becoming a grandparent is one of the greatest gifts in the world. I did not have a full appreciation of that until you guys came into my life.

I loved you even before I met you in person. Once I laid eyes on you, that love grew by infinite measure.

It was an honor and a privilege to help your parents care for you after you were born, to watch you for endless hours as you made your adorable squinchy baby face expressions, yawns, coos and smiles.

To experience the bliss of having you sleep in my arms.

And now, I am having the joy of watching you grow and the delight of watching your parents guide you with love and devotion.

Your parents are pretty amazing people. Do you know how lucky you are?

Of course they will love and protect you forever but they are also showing you what you need to know to be a good citizen of the world.

I love the way that you cooperate and share with others. Your parents taught you that. May this kindness always be the cornerstone of your soul.

I love that you protect each other. Throughout your life, may you speak up whenever you see injustice and always defend those who are being picked on or bullied.

Your parents are showing by example what it means to be a true and loyal friend to others. Along with the close-knit family you are blessed to be a part of, friends should be an important part of your life.

May you have family who are your friends and friends who are your family.

Friends and Family - Mocadeaux

I love that you are so curious about the world around you. May you always have a keen interest in learning about people, places and things.

I love that you love books. May you always have a passion for reading and a thirst for knowledge.

Your parents will take your education very seriously and make sure that you are exposed to a wide range of cultures and ideas so that you can learn the importance of diversity and acceptance.

They will encourage you to always be true to your selves, to be an individual, to be the best “YOU” you can be. You are quite fabulous, you know.

Your parents will travel with you. You will have the opportunity to experience the beauty and wonder of places around the world. May you take advantage of every opportunity and may each experience make you yearn for the next one.

May you find things in your life to be passionate about. And may you be lucky enough to incorporate your passions into every aspect of your life.

May you someday be lucky enough to meet the person you are meant to be with. Your partner. The love of your life. Remember to always be kind, supportive and respectful of that person and always expect the same in return. You deserve nothing less.

Thank you for the joy you bring to our family. Please know that you are surrounded by people who love you fiercely and will support and protect you forever.

With all my love,

your Momo

 

mocadeaux

This post was written as part of the “Who I Am” series hosted by Dana of Kiss My List and Bev of Linkouture. This month, participants were to answer the questions: Who are the people you love, and who love you? How are they are part of your story? Please visit here to read more “Who I Am” stories. And, visit here to read more about the “Who I Am” series. 

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What I’ve Done On My Summer Vacation So Far

Last time, I shared the tale of my travel to Boston that almost didn’t happen because my dear, devoted, crazy-busy husband of lo these past 35 years forgot to let his office know that I would be joining him for the event.

But, make it to Boston I did and after days spent with the family and the work event at The Cape, Peter and I headed back to Chicago to prepare for all of the kids and grandkids to join us for a week of summer vacation.

It was an action packed time. We went to just about every playground in town, including the neighborhood park the kids enjoyed while growing up. The very truck-obsessed Chip and Dale had their minds blown when they saw the sandbox filled with construction equipment.

TRUCKS!

Chip and Dale were a great team navigating the hedge maze at another park.

hedge maze

Note that the boys are decked out in their Cubs jerseys for their first trip to Wrigley Field later that day.

We did a family photo shoot with the photographer that our son and daughter-in-law used for their wedding. Seriously, folks, if anyone is looking for an amazing photographer in the Chicago area, let me know. Tricia is your gal!

While Chip and Dale and their parents were off visiting other friends, little Andy enjoyed time in Momo and Tato’s luxurious backyard pool.

pool time

It took him about 3 seconds to get acclimated to the pool water but then he was all in!

We squeezed in a visit to Kohl Children’s Museum which is just down the street from us. The kids (and grownups) had a blast exploring all the rooms and activities.

Oh, and then there was the 4th of July parade and festivities.

We spent a morning touring Lincoln Park Zoo.

Lincoln Park Zoo

The excitement was a bit too much for one of us.

sacked out

(Actually, that’s pretty much how I felt at the end of every day!)

The boys all got a kick out of playing with toys like the Fisher Price garage and the Duplo blocks that had belonged to their parents. They added a slight twist to the dump truck’s load.

corks in a truck

This is what the grandkids play with at our house.

Little Andy-kins, at 8 months old, is not at all interested in crawling and seems only focused on strengthening his chunkster legs by standing at every possible moment.

Andy standing

We discovered that removing the sofa cushions a) makes for the perfect standing height and b) protects the cushions from buckets of baby drool. Win, win!

Sadly, Andy and his parents had to leave after a week but, because of their dad’s crazy work schedule, Chip and Dale and their mom got to stay for a few extra days.

We visited Wagner Farm – a real live farm right smack in the middle of our town.

Wagner Farm

The Wagner family operated this farm for generations. When the last of the family passed away, her will stated that the land was to be sold to the highest bidder with the money donated to her church. A group of local residents, determined to keep this little slice of rural life out of the hands of developers, approached the Glenview Park District with a plan. With community support the park district was able to acquire the property. It is now run as a museum/working farm with horses, pigs, chickens and sheep. Pretty cool, eh?

We also visited the fabulous, if a bit pricey, Shedd Aquarium.

Shedd Aquarium

I loved that many of the tanks were floor to ceiling so that the boys could see everything from the comfort of their stroller. My back really loved that part. The boys were mesmerized by everything but I think our favorite was the gigantic, scary but not to be missed shark tank. Amazing!

Soon it was the time for the last of our guests to leave. We ran out of time before we ran out of things to do.

No worries, there are plenty more adventures to come in the future at Camp Momo & Tato.

So what have you all been up to during your summer vacation?

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