I saw a notice on Yahoo recently that the comedian, Jim Carrey, is going to be a grandfather soon. Jane, his daughter with Melissa Carrey, is pregnant. The father is reported to be her long-time boyfriend, Alex Santana. I got to thinking about all of the advice that Carrey (the father, not the daughter) probably needs to know about being the World’s Next-Best Grandparent. The honor of Best is already taken by, of course, Perfect Boy and Perfect Girl’s Nana (that being me). Since he wouldn’t take my calls, I decided to write him a letter including all of the not-to-be-ignored advice. You are welcome to add your own additions as you see fit.
- Read. Read. and Read some more. You cannot read to a child too much. This comes from a veteran teacher as well as a veteran Nana. Children are never too young or too old to be read to. Hubby still reads Way of the Wolf ‘s “Barrington Bunny” every year at Christmas to Perfect Daughter. That and The Littlest Angel. His momma read that to him. Relearn your nursery rhymes. There are lots of life lessons to be found in them.
- Sing. Sing even if it’s tunes you are creating with your grandchild (and I hope you do that). In fact, I hope you are already singing to this precious grandchild of yours. He/She will love you for it!
- Play music. Recorded music is fine; just do it. If you need the research on that, I’ll be glad to pass it along. You will, of course, need to return my phone calls. BTW, start a fund right now for music lessons for him/her. Trust me. You’ll thank me later on
- Always have popsicles. Someone once told me that, and I now agree. Blue popsicles are best according to Perfect Boy while Perfect Girl prefers pink (of course!). They both think that Nana’s homemade popsicles are the best ever. You need to know that popsicles are really good eaten while still in your pajamas – either before breakfast or in the middle of the afternoon --- still in your pajamas. It’ll be our little secret.
- Tell stories. Not lies, mind you. Never lie to a child – they will always know when you do. Made-up, on-the-spot stories that somehow contain their names, the names of their friends (both real and make-believe), and anyone else that they might remotely remember. Telling stories is a great way to pass the time while potty-training – lots of great ones have been created during these special quiet moments. If you can remember these long enough to write them down, you might have a best-seller on your hands.
- Swing. Swinging (especially in the world’s tallest tree swing created by OoHoo) creates a tremendous bond of trust. Your grandchild will trust you to push faster and higher and you will trust your grandchild not to bail off without stopping the swing! Or kicking you in unmentionable places. Make sure that you sing “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” ---other appropriate swinging songs are okay but this one is best.
- Cook. Cook with him/her. Cupcakes, cookies, mashed potatoes…doesn’t matter. DON’T JUST COOK IN FRONT OF THE CHILD. He/she can learn all sorts of “stuff” by doing it himself or herself. DON’T TELL THEM THAT THIS IS LEARNING, HOWEVER. NEVER EVER DO THAT! Leave that sort of phrase to momma – grandparents don’t have to LEARN ME anything (an almost quote from P.B.)’. The bigger the mess, the better the taste.
- Play. Really play. Pretending to play is no fun for anybody. Rediscover your inner child. It will be the most fun you’ve had in years. Believe me. Camping out or building a fort in the middle of the living room will make you every child’s dream grandparent. Oh, and dressing up in a frilly apron for a tea party won’t hurt any either. Or, playing baby dolls. You’ll be a hero to that little prissy miss. If the paparazzi should snap your picture while dressed this way, you’ll be a hero to every grandparent.
- Be kind. To everyone. Their grandmother, their momma, the garbage collector, the grocery clerk --- even the rude neighbor lady who is probably just lonely anyway. Let them see you being sincerely kind. Except, of course, to that stranger who might hurt them. Then it’s okay to not be nice. In fact, be mean.
- Pray. Lots. Often. Daily---sometimes more. Let him/her see you praying and pray with him/her as well. It wouldn’t hurt to take the kid to church WITH you either. Frequently is best. You might try reading the Bible while you’re at it. If you need it, they make great children’s versions. Adults can even understand them. Go figure. (Hope I’m not stepping on any religious toes here but you get the idea.)
And last, but definitely not least ---
- Love. Unconditionally. Without restraint. Selflessly. This child needs to know that whatever happens, you will be there with all of your heart. No strings attached. Harvard or County Tech. Butcher. Baker. Candlestick Maker. Doesn’t matter. Teach him/her to love others by loving others yourself. You can do that when no one else can. Don’t hold back. It will be the best gift you give yourself. Again, trust me on this.
Advice from me to you. Free and clear. Just because this is the best starring role you will ever have. You don’t have to thank me; thank God.
Love, hugs and kisses,
P.S. It wouldn’t hurt you to return my calls. Oh, have a good crock pot recipe that you are willing to share? Sign up with Mister Linky below.