Newest Member Of The Family – Grandson #4

Did you miss me?

Did you think I was still celebrating the Cubs World Series win? Or that I moved into a cave after the election?

Both good guesses but the actual reason for my blogging break is way better than that.

I’ve been in Boston for an extended stay to welcome the newest member of our family. Grandson #4.

This guy.

Introducing Harry

For those of you keeping score, baby Harry joins his big brother, Andy

and twin cousins, Chip and Dale.

(All names have been changed to protect the little nuggets. And, it is my policy to not show their beautiful faces on this public site. Trust me. They are, in my completely biased but accurate opinion, ridiculously adorable.)

Particularly in light of the current tumultuous state of affairs, these precious boys are a compelling reminder of my obligation to do everything in my power to make the world a better place.

I want these boys to grow up in a world where kindness, inclusion, and compassion are the guiding principals. Where “love your neighbor” means ALL your neighbors, not just those who look, think and act like you.

This sentiment was expressed beautifully by our daughter, Annie, in her remarks at Harry’s Bris.

(These excerpts are shared with Annie’s permission.)

“…may you always stand up and fight for your beliefs and the beliefs of others. Speak up when you see others being wronged. Love everyone fiercely, not in spite of your differences but because of them.”

“Use your history as your guide. You are the great-grandson of Holocaust survivors whose mere existence is the strongest form of resistance. You are also the great-grandson of a politician who fought for civil rights. Remember this compassion for your fellow man. The fight for equality lives on in you.”

“…we pledge to raise you to live up to your name and your history, to encourage empathy and understanding and to reaffirm that the most important thing you can do is to be an ally and friend to your fellow man.”

Welcome, little one. We are so happy to have you as part of our wonderful, loving family.

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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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