Grandparenting

TukaiTukai Shipmate
From what I can see on other threads, many shipmates are old enough to be grandparents.
Certainly, I am: the Marama and I have 5 grandchildren (so far) , ranging in age from 1 to 12.

Fortunately for us, all of them are intelligent and active and fun to be around (at least most of the time). Also fortunately for us, two of them live in the same city as us, so we see them - indeed mind them - one day per week, which is enough to be enjoyable but not so much as to be draining.

But we realise that some grandparents carry a much bigger load as carers, and it can be a real strain, as being a full-time or near full-time carer is harder at our age than it was when we were young parents.

So, how is your experience of grandparenting?
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Comments

  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited August 3
    A timely thread as we are about to become grandparents in November. (Oma and Opa as she will be a little German girl).

    We won’t be doing a lot of hands on grandparenting but we are looking forward to lots more visits to Heidelberg. I really hope they’ll be happy to leave her with us here in England while they go off on some adult holidays - they both love trekking and mountain climbing.

    My son is going to speak English, his partner Georgian and she’ll learn German just by living there.

    A trilingual little girl if they stick to their linguistic plans. We’ll see.
  • DardaDarda Shipmate
    "Normal" grandparenting must be great fun, but as @Tukal said, many of us carry a much bigger load as carers. Following a court case our granddaughter, who has special educational needs, has lived with us since she was three. She has just turned 18, and is about to move on. It has been tough at times for my wife and I, but also very fulfilling. Many people have said they think we are marvellous, and couldn't do what we do. However, I think that most people in our position would also just get on with it. Our faith has certainly been helpful, and many members of our church have given practical support and provided respite care. Now that our granddaughter is moving on, we are looking forward to enjoying retirement as a couple, particularly taking holidays as just the two of us.
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    We also have 5, ranging from 7 - 14 years. Sadly, they all live too far away to see often 😥, but I also see the downside of being expected to do a lot of childcare by many of my grandparent friends. Some, I think, are definitely taken advantage of, with little time to call their own and often feeling exhausted - a really tricky one. I think those who have the best (and healthiest!) approach are those who lay down ground rules of the ‘we can do 2 days a week and then for emergencies only’ type, but I realise this can be easier said than done. Having said that, I would love to have had that problem as I miss out on so much - thank God for Skype!
    @Boogie, I think the new parents plan re: language is an excellent one. My eldest son and his family live in eastern Belgium; he works and my 2 grandchildren go to school in Germany. The children are fluent in German, English, Korean (my daughter in law is South Korean) and they have been learning French since kindergarten. Readymade translators for their linguistically challenged grandparents when we go over to stay 🙂.
  • We have friends here who drive about forty miles at least twice a week to look after their grandchildren, and they visibly enjoy it. Our four are nearly 500 miles away in two different directions and for some of us, that's no longer an easy drive. However, the emergence of the Ipad as standard issue grandma kit and the invention of Facetime have been really good. Right now my wife is with one family on her own, but it took a 12 hour train ride to their place outside New York. It's not like Europe. The most wonderful thing about our grandchildren is that we would have none of them without medical procedures and social changes that were unimaginable not much more than a generation ago. (Three by IVF and one by a procedure that somehow jolted the production process into action).

    On the same topic, what do your grandchildren call you? The mid-western influence has two of them using our first names, which I like, but the more formal Chinese influence on the other two insists of prefacing the name with Grandma and Grandpa.
  • Tree BeeTree Bee Shipmate
    We are Grandma and Grandad (often silly Grandad) to our two, 9 and 12. They live about 9 miles away, in the same town as us. We used to be very much more hands on, even had daughter cb and the littlies living with us at one point. Now we are on call for one day a week in the school holidays and I babysit occasionally.
    It really is a joy taking them on outings and just chatting to them. Tiring too, but less so as they become more independent.
    This afternoon I went out locally with cb and the 12 year old, who is eminently embarrassable. Such fun!
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    I never particularly wanted children, but I wouldn't have minded grandchildren. I do have a now adult nephew and we talk on the phone at least once a week.
  • Huia, my aunts and uncles gave me some of fondest memories. I am so glad your nephew has you.
  • GalilitGalilit Shipmate
    edited August 4
    We have 2 grandsons on the other side of the world to us. Daughter is in some kind of coercive control type of generally unhealthy relationship.

    ...

    It is also important to me to feel that I can be honest to myself or whomever I choose about her situation and not embarrassed. At the same time, I don't have to tell everyone everything either.

    [Personal information deleted - Tubbs]
  • LothlorienLothlorien All Saints Host
    A gentle reminder Galilit that the Ship is a public forum which can be read by absolutely anyone from anywhere. Not only that, but anything will be accessible by anyone for just about forever. I am not meaning anyone in [articular, but anyone at all.

    Lothlorien, AS Host
  • I've understood there are programs on some places to match people who haven't grandchildren to those who would like to be grandparents.
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    I live four miles from my daughter and her two children whom I adore. I don’t see them on a regular basis, but I do see them quite often. I am called Granny. I am their closest GP in every sense, but, because of re- marriages, they have about eight sets of people of my generation who are in some way part of their lives. Names include Grandad x 2, Grandma, Nannie, Pop, then for the rest it is Christian names.

    They may come to me after school for tea before going to athletics, but I don’t and have never done regular childminding. I used to have them at times during school holidays but that is no longer needed. I pop in, by invitation only, and I love seeing them in their own home, with their pets. I recently attended the Leaving Service as the youngest left Primary School. Occasionally I am called out in emergency and will drop everything in that case, but otherwise my family respect that I have a life of my own.

    My other grandchildren live 20 miles away but we rarely see each other, though we get on well when we do. (Different lives.) These are my son’s children, and I think that makes a huge difference. Their maternal grandparents have always been closely involved in their lives.
    I have friends who are exhausted by the demands made on them for childcare of grandchildren and I feel sorry for them.
  • We moved across the country to be closer to our (then) only grandson, TIG (The Intrepid Grandson) and ended up living only a mile away. Now his mother is almost at the point of producing his younger brother and we have been able to be useful, not for childminding as he goes to nursery four days a week at his parents' workplace; but by having him while they go to ante-natal classes or to choose tiles for their bathroom, that sort of thing. They often come for supper on a Saturday, TIG has his and is bathed and goes to bed (he has his own room here) and his parents go home for a night of untroubled repose and a (slight) lie-in in the morning. It's so lovely that he is happy to be in our house and if any sort of emergency cropped up, he would be content to be dropped off here.

    We're about 45 minutes from our son and his wife (expecting our granddaughter in September!) so I don't imagine we'll ever achieve that level of ease and comfort with her, but that's still close enough to pop down without it having to be a Big Thing.

    Mrs. S, aka Grandma - Mr S is Grandpa and TIG's other Significant Elderly Persons are Nanny L and (Christian name)
  • sionisaissionisais Shipmate
    We have four grandsons born between August 2015 and August 2017. Lovely boys, all different and they all love to see us. Fortunately (well mostly) they all live nearby and they have an aunt and uncle nearby.

  • We have two teen age grandchildren. They live about an hour and a half away. Now that they are teens we see less of them. Mr Image is Granddad, but I am Minnie. No that is not my name but it is what first grandchild called me when trying to say Grammy. So Minnie it is now to all of the family. It is just as well because at a young age they had two grandmothers, and two great-grandmothers, so it could have been confusing.
  • TukaiTukai Shipmate
    Huia wrote: »
    I never particularly wanted children, but I wouldn't have minded grandchildren. I do have a now adult nephew and we talk on the phone at least once a week.

    [Selected] Aunts and (in some cases) godparents can have a similar role to grandparents in helping bring up children, especially as these roles often entail all care but no responsibility.

    I know that my children have much fonder memories of one of my aunts ("an old person who understands us") than of their grandmother (my mother, who in old age very much held strong and dated views on what was "right behaviour" and what was not), Both are now deceased.
  • Interestingly, when TIG's other Elderly Persons come to visit, we keep out of the way because it seems unfair on TIG to have two sets of grandparents with different views on behaviour! By instinct, and because we are so much more closely involved, we stick to the programme as laid down by his parents - after all, they know best how to work it so that everyone's life is as consistent and straightforward as possible. Nanny L and, especially, (Christian name) only visit every couple of months and therefore see it as an opportunity to bring presents and wind him up a bit.

    It makes life hard for him - and us - so although we know the others well and get on well with them in grown-up situations, we stay out of joint family meals etc.

    Mrs. S, only too aware of her responsibilities!
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    I'm despairing of ever being a grandparent, though you never know, but as I have seven nieces see lots of opportunities for being a great-aunt in the future, a role I've always fancied. In the meantime my brother has a ten year old, so though technically an aunt I feel rather more grandparent like. My son certainly seems more like an uncle than a cousin to him.
    As for names, my parents were grandma and grandpa. My son was the first grandchild on my husband's side of the family and his mum came up with a complicated name that she wanted to be called. It never stuck so she's always been called by her first name by him.
    As a child I had big nan and little nan. I had to remember not to call big nan that in her hearing.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    This is all happening to me rather suddenly. One arrived nearly seven years ago. Because we live in different countries with a ditch between us I get to see him about annually ... I try to be a sort of Invisible Friend (with apologies to the erstwhile shippie of that name) and am working on Skyping and/or equivaents ...

    Then another one arrived in May ...

    ... and another is due in November ...

    ... and another in February

    And another daughter desperately wants one (IVF)

    ... and the first has re-partnered (thank God) so I'm suspecting ...

    Those frequent flier points may be accruing, though $$$ and a day job are a definite deleterious dimension
  • ChoristerChorister Shipmate
    Having grandchildren meant a huge change for us - moving 150 miles away from where we have (almost) always lived! Worth it, though.
  • Sarasa wrote: »
    I'm despairing of ever being a grandparent, though you never know, but as I have seven nieces see lots of opportunities for being a great-aunt in the future, a role I've always fancied. In the meantime my brother has a ten year old, so though technically an aunt I feel rather more grandparent like. My son certainly seems more like an uncle than a cousin to him.
    As for names, my parents were grandma and grandpa. My son was the first grandchild on my husband's side of the family and his mum came up with a complicated name that she wanted to be called. It never stuck so she's always been called by her first name by him.
    As a child I had big nan and little nan. I had to remember not to call big nan that in her hearing.
    I am as well @Sarasa . I never knew 3 of my own grandparents, and the remaining one died when I was just 7. I had a great aunt who'd never had children, and couldn't think of anything to do with us, so not a surrogate. My own parents were failures at grandparenting. They moved away the month our eldest was born, visiting for 2 weeks every second year, making it clear they were done with kids. My wife's parents were terrific, gone now for more than 15 years. Our children show no signs of anything after cohabiting for some 10 years. Most of our friends have school age grandchildren; as I consider stopping working, I wonder about finding some grandparentless children to play with. There are programs apparently some places, none here to match you up.
  • I have one step grandchild, last seen in 2014. I send birthday and Christmas greetings and gifts which go unacknowledged.

    The sons are unmarried and without permanent partners at the moment, so no patter of little feet likely for some time.
  • Lily PadLily Pad Shipmate
    Sounds awfully hard. I lament never having had children but I guess it could be worse.
  • @Sarasa , as my brothers were 12 and 14 years younger than me our family is a real mess for generations (The Dowager at one stage had grandchildren from almost thirty to newborn! well, of course the age differential is still the same :blush: )

    In some ways that's a real help as the younger members of one generation can relate more easily to the older members of the next :smile: than their parents can.

    For some reason, I had Granny (Surname) and Granny Dowlais (which was where she lived). Never knew why!

    So sorry, @TheOrganist - that must be very hard. And @NOprophet_NØprofit - your parents never knew what they missed out on.

    Mrs. S, on tenterhooks awaiting the next arrival
  • Indeed @The Intrepid Mrs S , this is a good reason to never fully retire from work, to keep busy, mentor young people, and not suffer the fate of pining for things which shall not be. It would be wicked of me to offer large sums of money to my children if they have babies, but the devilish thought has crossed my mind. Having lost 3/5 of the family in the slaughter WW2, thus almost no relatives and contemplating the extinction of the family (my siblings have not reproduced) - the shadows of that wickedness continue to haunt me, until I have another cup of tea. I think my parents' withdrawal from family had to do with that pain, and having the peculiar comfort that total annihilation can bring: forced unacquaintance with love, friend to death. The things which psychotherapy and good literature can answer, but must be reached for.
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    Sarasa wrote: »
    I'm despairing of ever being a grandparent, though you never know, but as I have seven nieces see lots of opportunities for being a great-aunt in the future, a role I've always fancied. In the meantime my brother has a ten year old, so though technically an aunt I feel rather more grandparent like. My son certainly seems more like an uncle than a cousin to him.
    As for names, my parents were grandma and grandpa. My son was the first grandchild on my husband's side of the family and his mum came up with a complicated name that she wanted to be called. It never stuck so she's always been called by her first name by him.
    As a child I had big nan and little nan. I had to remember not to call big nan that in her hearing.
    I am as well @Sarasa . I never knew 3 of my own grandparents, and the remaining one died when I was just 7.

    Similarly, three of my grandparents died before I was born. I have one memory of meeting my maternal grandmother when I was two. I know from observing my children's relationships with my mum and Mr Nen's father (neither with us any longer) that it can be a very lovely thing and I'm holding on to the hope that I'll know it one day.

    Nen - enjoying this thread meanwhile.
  • I shared a wonderful grandparenting moment yesterday. Long long ago, when I was a teenager, I sewed from felt a set of the animals from the Winnie-the-Pooh stories, and these were located on Wednesday at the back of one of the Dowager's numberless cupboards.

    Well, Mr. S always loved reading those stories to our children, doing the different voices, and has been impatiently waiting for The Intrepid Grandson to be old enough to listen - the original books have none of the big coloured pictures that today's small children are used to. However, the felt animals provide a lovely way for TIG, at three-and-a-half, to engage with the story - as each animal is named he finds it in the basket, and it joins in with the action :heart:

    Mrs, S, doting
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    I shared a wonderful grandparenting moment yesterday. Long long ago, when I was a teenager, I sewed from felt a set of the animals from the Winnie-the-Pooh stories, and these were located on Wednesday at the back of one of the Dowager's numberless cupboards.

    Well, Mr. S always loved reading those stories to our children, doing the different voices, and has been impatiently waiting for The Intrepid Grandson to be old enough to listen - the original books have none of the big coloured pictures that today's small children are used to. However, the felt animals provide a lovely way for TIG, at three-and-a-half, to engage with the story - as each animal is named he finds it in the basket, and it joins in with the action :heart:

    Mrs, S, doting

    Absolutely lovely!
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    I enjoy being read to. I'd love to watch and listen to The Intrepid Grandfather in action. :smiley:
  • edited August 14
    Oh, you would - I think his favourite is the Just So story of how the elephant got his trunk :heart: though I recall sitting on the landing outside Master S's room, tears running down my face, as he read 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'.
  • MrsBeakyMrsBeaky Shipmate
    I am off this morning to do a couple of days grand-parenting with Little Beaky and Baby Beaky who are the two youngest of our six grandchildren. (Our third grandchild, Joshua was stillborn so we would have had seven). Two grandchildren are 10 minutes walk away, Little Beaky and Baby Beaky are a two hour journey and the other two are in New Zealand!

    One of Little Beaky's challenges is that he cannot really see at all but his excellent hearing means he recognises us by our voices. So a lot of play with him involves multi-sensory toys and us singing and he definitely has favourite songs.

    We are known as Babu and Bibi (Kiswahili names for grandparents) as when our first grandchild was born 10 years ago her other grandparents were already called Granny and Grandpa by their older grandchildren. We remembered how complicated it was for our own children when they were small to figure out which set of grandparents we were talking about as both wanted to be Granny and Grandpa so we opted for something completely different.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    We're childless-by-choice, but we have a great-niece and two great-nephews, the younger of whom we met for the first time last week.

    I don't feel that I'm particularly good at children, but we did have a lovely afternoon with all three yesterday, and we're hoping to see the littlest one again this afternoon before we head home. :heart:
  • When we took The Intrepid Grandson into hospital to meet his new brother (with whom he was very smitten!) he snuggled up to his mother and enquired conversationally 'So, what else have you been doing?'

    Well, she had only been in full-blown labour for 4 of the 24 hours...
  • TukaiTukai Shipmate
    Some useful, though not entirely comforting advice on one of the minor perils of close involvement with a small grandchild (colds and flu).

    But such involvement can be/ is very rewarding in other ways (says he with his 1 yo grandson grinning broadly as he takes his first few strides).
  • LothlorienLothlorien All Saints Host
    Mine were generally ok till they started preschool. Then they brought germs home.

    Somewhat like the first year of teaching. New teachers catch everything doing the rounds.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited August 18
    I’ve had some concentrated grandparenting practice this week. Two friends and their six year old girl have been staying with us.

    Each morning, as soon as they hear me downstairs, they send her down and have a nice lie in, while I give her breakfast and entertain her.

    I’ve enjoyed every minute and she adores the dogs. Walking Tatze on her lead in the park is her favourite activity.

    Here they are - best friends!



  • LothlorienLothlorien All Saints Host
    Lovely photo, Boogie.
  • With the threat of nasty viruses harming newborns, many of our hospitals are now demanding proof of vaccination before admitting visitors to maternity wards and nurseries. Although we are both covered, we waited until our newest grandson was discharged before visiting.
  • Yep it cuts both ways. Anyone who wanted to hang out with an immuno-compromised Captain Pyjamas had to have all their vaccinations up to date.
  • I have to share this - yesterday I had a truly lovely afternoon. I had offered to drive to Bristol and collect The Intrepid Grandson from nursery; it was his first day back after the baby's birth and his Dad is still on leave. Well, it was a beautiful sunny day and when I went out into the nursery garden, I couldn't see him. Suddenly there was a loud cry of 'Grandma!' and he came running down the slope, flung his arms around my legs and said 'It's so lovely to see you!'

    He was even more thrilled to discover I had brought the MX-5 and I promised him that if he was quiet while we drove through the Bristol traffic, I would stop and put the roof down - which we did. Driving over the old Severn crossing, with a cry of 'Hold on to your hats!' was a moment of pure joy, and we had a glorious drive home.

    As he sat at the table having his second supper, without any prompting he turned to me and said 'Thank you very much for picking me up from pre-school!'

    Mrs. S, basking in the moment
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    What a lovely memory @The Intrepid Mrs S 💕💕
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Indeed, a wonderful day
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    💖💫 life affirming!
  • LothlorienLothlorien All Saints Host
    It was my birthday today and I have spoken with each of my grandchildren. All five have contacted me. I have two step grandchildren and even after a couple of years we are still settling in to a relationship That is partly due to some
    Mental health issues got both and partly due to experiences before we met. Things are easier than they used to be and hopefully will continue to grow
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    When we took The Intrepid Grandson into hospital to meet his new brother (with whom he was very smitten!) he snuggled up to his mother and enquired conversationally 'So, what else have you been doing?'

    Well, she had only been in full-blown labour for 4 of the 24 hours...

    Love that! Belated congratulations to the Intrepid Family.
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    edited August 23
    That trip sounds lovely @The Intrepid Mrs S , and the sort of thing The Intrepid Grandson will remember. My son still remembers all the times on his grandad's much loved narrow boat for instance.
  • ChoristerChorister Shipmate
    Thoroughly enjoyed taking Grandboy and Grandgirl for a day out (each) last week. For various reasons, they are not able to access the same experiences, so it was fun to try to match the activity to the child, so they both had the best day out. The memories, and photos, will be a reminder for a long time to come. We are so fortunate to have the time, and still have the energy (just about) to do such things.
  • How lovely, @Chorister !
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    Chorister wrote: »
    Thoroughly enjoyed taking Grandboy and Grandgirl for a day out (each) last week. For various reasons, they are not able to access the same experiences, so it was fun to try to match the activity to the child, so they both had the best day out. The memories, and photos, will be a reminder for a long time to come. We are so fortunate to have the time, and still have the energy (just about) to do such things.

    Special days. 🥰

  • carexcarex Shipmate
    I have one 9-year-old granddaughter who lives in Hawaii, so not particularly convenient to go visit (especially while I am still employed). We talk via Facetime, and she comes to visit once a year during her summer vacation. This was the first year she came by herself, for 3 weeks before her mother joined her.

    I have several important tasks, such as teaching her to climb trees, read a map, whittling, go camping and backpacking, split wood for a campfire, and maths beyond her school level, that nobody else in her life can (or is willing to) do.

    Names: my wife is "Tutu", which is Hawaiian for "grandmother", and, being a matrilineal society, a very honored role. I started as Grandpa Carex, then we went through a period of shortening names, so I became GpaC, and finally just "G". Sometimes Tutu gets shortened to "Tu", but these days it appears to have morphed to "Toots" by the whole family.
  • TukaiTukai Shipmate
    In the Fijian language, the word for grandmother is Bubu, which is linguistically very similar to Hawaiian Tutu, as both are Polynesian languages. For what it's worth Tukai in Fijian means "Grandpa" . (There is also a more formal word to describe the relationship.) However my wife and I are known by the more prosaic names of Granny and Grandpa.

    Grandparents do get asked to provide all sorts of unexpected services, some of them akin to those referred to by Carex. One classic arose after our 4y.o. grandson had heard a Dr Seuss tale which featured a meal of ham and green eggs, and wanted the same for his lunch. Since lunch for him at our place usually features scrambled eggs, , we simply added a little [tasteless] green food colouring to the eggs, and put a bit of ham on the side - and voila! there you are.
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