But just when I thought I couldn’t bear one more comment about how “grown up” she looks (she really does — it’s not often you come across a 4-foot-tall kindergartner) or one more conversation with her that included vocabulary words usually reserved for double-digit kids, I got some reassurance that she’s still my “little” girl. The other day, she sat at my desk at work and watched an entire “Dora the Explorer” DVD with rapt attention. While Dora’s voice grates my nerves, it was music to my ears to hear Emma repeat the Spanish vocab (with a pretty darn good accent I must admit), and answer Dora’s standard end-of-episode question: “What was your favorite part?”
It’s a good thing she still likes la pequena embajadora d’Espanol, considering her lunch box and plastic sandwich box (don’t you love those?) are both adorned with the always smiling Dora and her sidekicks Backpack, Boots and Map. (Not to mention, her favorite T-shirt, her bedsheets ... you get the picture.)
The hardest part of the back-to-school adjustment at our house is the earlier “up” time — for me, not her. She has adjusted just fine to an earlier bedtime and subsequent earlier rise time. I on the other hand am struggling with my 5:45 a.m. wakeup. I suppose I’ll get used to it in a few weeks. On the other hand, I love getting to work early, which allows me to pick Emma up from school (last year, Grandma did the honors). The chatter explosion in those first 10 minutes after pickup could register on the Richter scale some days — which is a good thing! Sometimes we head home, and other days we go back to my office, but I am really enjoying getting to spend more time with her after school. We have gone for walks, chased butterflies, played puzzles ... and when the weather turns cold I hope to add crafts and cookie-baking to the itinerary. Back-to-school isn’t so bad, after all.
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Speaking of grandmas, Sept. 11 is Grandparents’ Day this year. Do you plan to encourage your kids to do something special for your parents? Maybe they could cook them a meal for the g-parents, or put on a show. You could go out to eat or just spend time hanging out together, playing, reading, telling or reading stories. If your parents are not local, you could send a handmade card, or plan a special phone call or Skype session.
It is a fact that grandparents today do so much more for their grandchildren. According to the 2010 Census, nearly half the U.S. states had increases of 40 percent or more over the last decade in the number of grandchildren living with grandparents. With more grandparents being employed than their grown children, grandparents more and more are acting as the safety net for today’s youngsters. Thank God for that.
Unfortunately, not all grandparents are there for their grandchildren, for whatever reasons — life choices, health, jobs, personality conflicts. If your children are lacking time with their grandparents, consider finding an older adult in the neighborhood to “adopt.” Frequent exposure to the “older, wiser” generation will enrich your children’s lives in ways you never even imagined. If you are an older person reading this, is there perhaps a family in your neighborhood or at church whose children could use a grandparent figure in their lives?
Happy Grandparents’ Day to all the grandmas and grandpas in the Ohio Valley. God bless you!
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