Children, Holiday OverIndulgence…Grandparent Style!


 Do your children have Santa Claus for a grandparent?

Is there an overindulgent relative in your child’s life?

And do they disregard your requests about gift giving?

I am not quite sure how to handle this type of situation except to be very direct in your requests as a parent.

It seems that there are many parent ideas about what is appropriate when it comes to their children.

In some cases parents do not even agree with each other when it comes to defining what is “overindulgent”.

It seems that grandparents may be the biggest group of overindulgers when it comes to  children, Christmas and Holidays. At least, that was the recent consensus of a group of parents discussing the holiday stresses at my grandchild’s preschool.

It seemed that the grandparents were not deterred by requests of their sons and daughters in their gift giving habits.

As a grandparent, I can understand both sides since I was also a parent of young presents and childrenI remember requesting certain things for my children and making suggestions to their grandparents. I guess I was lucky in that my husband agreed with this approach. So for the most part we did not get “stuff” that was inappropriate and not useful.

Some suggestions

  • Be honest about your feelings
  • Have gift suggestions
  • Perhaps suggest college fund donations, even small ones so as the kids get older and more appreciative of money as a gift, this might become a habit of their grandparents.
  • Be thoughtful and respectful
  • Be empathic and understanding that your relationship with your kids is different than your parents’ relationship with them which is what helps to drive the overindulgence.
  • Be realistic if you have really difficult grandparents…and try to make the best of the situation.

Aunt Annie’s Childcare: When grandma won’t do it your way- Part 1: The overindulgent relative.

Celebrate…Four Seasons Chicago Staycation!

Happy Anniversary Champagne Toast – Four Seasons Chicago!

My husband and I have been married for 35 years.

Over those years, we have celebrated many memorable occasions together with our family at The Four Seasons Hotel, Chicago.

Birthdays, Mother’s Days, Christmas and even St.Patrick’s Day are some of many family holidays and events made more memorable by the wonderful staff at the The Four Seasons.

For our anniversary we agreed, it had to be something special and our 4 year old granddaughter needed to be with us. We also wanted a “stay-cation” in Chicago because we love to spend time enjoying the City that is so near and dear to us.

So it was natural for us to choose to stay at The Four Seasons …something for us and something for our granddaughter.

Jeff, “Welcome Home” Four Seasons Chicago

“Welcome home!”, Jeff said as he greeted us on our arrival.

It was so perfect that Jeff would meet us at the door. We have been met by him many times over the years. Even when we come to Chicago for the day, we stop to say hi to Jeff and ask about his family.

At check-in, we were greeted warmly and our granddaughter was treated to a small gift from the “toy chest” conveniently located at the front desk.

She was ecstatic!

We then made our way to our room in the sky…with a beautiful view of Oak Street Beach and Lake Michigan. Truly, one of my favorite corners of the city.

It is this view that is so spectacular when it is lit up at night and even more beautiful at sunrise!


“Room with a View”

After relaxing and enjoying lunch in our room…we were ready for “pizza making” with our granddaughter…so off we went to the Four Seasons kitchen…

Pizza Making with Chef Matt”

Thrilled is the word to describe our granddaughter when she met Chef Matt and the staff of the Four Seasons kitchen… donning apron and hat she went to work creating gourmet pizzas which were to be our appetizers at dinner later in the day.

“Afternoon Milk and Cookies”

After the “hard” work of pizza making she was treated to a delightfully refreshing chocolate milk shake which she made with the help of her “Papa” and fresh cookies which were waiting for her in our room…

“Happy Anniversary Grandma and Papa” from Four Seasons Chicago

My husband and I were greeted with chocolate covered strawberries and champagne from the Hotel staff along with some beautiful flowers from friends!

After our snacks, we headed out to the 900 Shops on Michigan Avenue.

Conveniently, the hotel directly accesses one of the premier shopping areas in the country. Our first stop was Galt Toys…a favorite for unique children’s items…a definite “don’t miss” on my trips to Chicago.

Then it was time for an early dinner at Allium. This was our first time dining there. For appetizers we enjoyed our granddaughter’s pizza….they were delicious as was the rest of our dinner.

The “Pappardelle & Chicken Thighs” was my entree choice, my husband feasted on the “Wisconsin Walleye”…just superb!

Pizza Appetizer compliments of our Granddaughter

A surprise Anniversary dessert arrived to  complete our delicious dining experience!

A beautiful Anniversary dessert!

Hello …Ice Cream Man!

Then it was time to retire to our room ….where our granddaughter was surprised by a visit from the Ice Cream Man.

After a bedtime sundae…it was good night to all of us!


Early morning quiet time on the window seat!

Sunday sunrise did not disappoint!

Our little one was enjoying a relaxing moment on the window seat while we enjoyed an early breakfast in our room.

At quick trip to LEGO Water Tower Chicago!

These days a trip to Chicago is never complete without a visit to LEGO in Water Tower Place!

A quiet lunch before heading home!

After Water Tower Place we sat down for a quiet lunch at Allium before leaving to return home.

Since we were also running a little late…our server, noticing we were concerned, arranged for us to have a later check-out so we could relax a little bit longer and enjoy our meal.

After lunch it was time to leave…

Good bye and Thank you…Four Seasons Chicago!

Our weekend was wonderful…The Four Seasons made our stay so memorable. We left with smiles and stories to tell … this being one of them!


I was not compensated for this review. We were given a special rate on our accommodations. All opinions, as always, are my own.

Grandparents in the Loop

A continuation to yesterday’s post…. some valuable information from  ZERO TO THREE

Grandparents—whether living near or far—enjoy a special relationship with their grandchildren. Grandparents are the ones who are often willing to read the same story over and over, play a silly game, or say “who’s there” to a knock-knock joke more times than they can count.

via ZERO TO THREE: On Your Lap, In Your Heart.

Grandmothers…”Discuss Amongst Yourselves”.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be a grandmother.  Several friends of mine including myself are now grandmothers. All of us agree, it has been an awesome experience, one that cannot be imagined until it actually happens.

Recently, I read somewhere, as a grandparent “You actually are in love with someone else’s child”… how well put. But if this is so…how do you explain what being a grandmother is all about?

In searching for an answer, I came across a website……where a few contributing writers really nail down some controversial grandparent feelings, which let’s face it, we all at times experience, whether we want to admit it or not.

My grandmother friends just happen to all be maternal grandmothers, which seems to create a special bond between them and their grandchildren. I can attest to this since I was raised in a three generation home. My maternal grandmother was, for the most part, my primary caretaker since my own mom was divorced. She worked outside the home, had two jobs in NYC, which kept her away from early morning until after 9 pm at night. As a child, my grandmother was the person who was always there for me and my mom was a phone call away at all times.  I did not know any different and thought that all grandmothers were as caring as mine.

When I first met my grandchild…I did fall in love. At the same time, memories of my own grandmother flooded my thoughts. I wanted to be a grandmother just like her…warm, caring and always there, when needed. Fortunately, for the most part, I have been able to be present in my granddaughter’s life on a regular basis since her birth. She has been a joy beyond all expectations.

I have to say, my friends express feelings very much similar to mine. In particular, one close friend, who has been taking care of her grandchildren regularly since their births has loved every tiring moment of the time she has devoted to them. Both of us look at our grandparent experience as a gift, admitting to having more patience as grandmothers than we did as moms. As moms to two girls a piece, we find ourselves among the sometimes “coveted” group of maternal grandmothers.

Our styles of grandparenting are not seen as the same as own grandmothers. We think of ourselves as younger versions…whether this is true remains a question in my mind. However, we do not seem as “old” as our mothers were at our age and of course nowhere near as “old” as our grandmothers were either.

As maternal grandmothers, we enjoy a bond with our granddaughters much like the bonds that we have with our own daughters.

I, myself, remember my grandmother saying “a daughter is a daughter for life…a son is a son ’til he takes a wife”.  When it comes to being a paternal grandmother I am lacking in experience since I have no sons. For this, I have to rely on what moms of sons tell me.

At times, I can imagine grandchild/grandparent relationships can be lopsided for many reasons…multiple sets of grandparents can complicate situations, distance, and marital relationships all factor into the grandparent/grandchild picture.

In reading some grandmother blog posts, I found a few in particular to share…see what you think. In some cases, the comments that were generated imply some sensitive nerves were touched by these articles.

In general, I have learned, life is about balance and when the balance is off for any reason…it takes time to equate itself.

Grandparents are part of the family dynamic but they are no longer in charge. For many this secondary in command position takes some getting used to. It can be quite an adjustment, not necessarily on their terms or their schedule depending upon many mitigating circumstances

Many feelings and emotions are involved in family life, which make generational relationships tricky. Hopefully, due to some prevailing wisdom of age, grandparents are more equipped to gracefully accept their rightful positions in the family constellation which is in my opinion, supportive, emotional and yes, sometimes financial, providing unconditional love and attention to their grandchildren.

Eight years ago, when Ryan Adair Anderson, the cross-eyed little scrap of a thing, arrived on the planet to make me a grandmother, I was struck by how little the word “grandma” fit me. My hair was not gray. I held an iPod, not a lace hankie in my hand. I was a baby boomer. We had made middle age hip and would do the same with grandparenting.I was, in short, Grandmother 2.0.The experts agreed with me. Mattie Dychtwald of Age Wave and author of Cycles, How We Will Live, Work, and Buy said, “We’re the generation that’s going to transform the image of grandparenting.”

via Grandmother 2.0? Ha! –


So much effort to go to, I think, when the mother of the mother is the real grandmother. I read that the mother of a daughter who then gives birth to a girl is the closest kind of grandmother there is. This is so obviously true that I am amazed some days to remember that the girls have only some of my genes. Ryan, certainly, is a little replica of me, right down to the crossed eyes, straight brown hair — and tendency to interrupt people. And Maggie clearly got her left-handedness from me. I don’t see the other grandparents in them at all. Also, both Trevor and Morgan, although they are now separated, live closer to me than they do to the other grandparents.

via How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Other Grandmother –


There is a mysterious transmission of accumulated wisdom and babycare know-how that seems to pass along bloodlines from maternal grandmothers to their adult daughters. No doubt this is biology at work, and paternal grandmothers are simply not part of that intimate loop. Still, I successfully raised a child myself and so when my daughter-in-law turns primarily to her mother for advice, I’m caught off guard. Feeling like a third wheel on a hot date is not something I anticipated.

via Are You the Left-Out Grandparent? –

Lazy, Hazy Summer…

Yesterday was a day spent at the village pool with friends and very young grandchildren..3 girls all under 5 years old. It was exhausting but so much fun.

We were fortunately able to spend time on both Saturday and Sunday watching our granddaughter get back into the “swim” of things.

At 3 1/2 years old, she is totally comfortable in the baby pool…playing with water toys and of course having squirt  and splash contests with us and who ever else will join in the fun.

However, the “big” pool is a challenge which requires some serious trust that we will not let go of her even with the promise that her “water wings” will keep her afloat….unlike last year there was no screaming and clinging to us for protection …there was just understanding that we would not let go of her until she was ready.

Surprisingly, it did not take long for her to want to be on her own…of course…with us nearby.

I am always amazed at growth and development even after so many years of working with children…they are so predictable and yet so unpredictable all at the same time. I love it.

Strides were definitely made in the swimming effort this weekend…”staying afloat” in a pool full of mostly strangers definitely takes on many meanings.

Have a happy Monday…

Attention: Grandma and Grandpa…


Tummy time” and “Back to Sleep” weren’t part of the playbook when Ginny Fountain gave birth a generation ago. This expectant grandma’s got a lot to learn about newborns, which is how Fountain, 64, wound up in a grandparenting class offered earlier this month at a hospital in Seattle.


But as it turns out, learning about all the new developments is actually the easy part; what’s trickier is figuring out how to play a supporting role and how not to bigfoot the new parents. If you think the birth of a grandchild is an opportunity to show off what you know, think again. The I-raised-you-and-you-turned-out-okay argument doesn’t cut it anymore. “Parents are very smart today,” Peel cautions her class.

via Grandparenting 101: Teaching Grandma and Grandpa About Modern Parenting | Healthland |

Grandparenting styles are something I often think about. I am a maternal child nurse and a social worker specializing in children. That being said…it is difficult for me to keep my mouth shut in my role as grandmother.

So that is one of the reasons I began writing  ”parenting in the loop“. It gives me a voice and helps me understand the depth and width of parenting in 2012,  some thirty years after I began my journey as a mother.

Mothering and parenting have always been learning experiences. At times the learning  learning curve is a steep one. We had Dr.T. Berry Brazelton, who was preceded by Dr. Spock. They were the physician experts in the 60′s  70′s and 80′s.

But oh …how times have changed …with the advent of the internet, we are all able to share our experiences and personal preferences when it comes to parenting. The information is more than abundant, so it is no wonder that today’s generation of parents can have problems when their parents say,”we did it this way and you turned out okay”!

Here are my simple recommendations for grandparents:

  • Take a grandparenting class prior to the arrival of your first grandchild (even if your kids turned out okay).
  • If there are no ‘grandparenting classes’…go ahead and sign up for a parenting class like the one at your local hospital.
  • Learn how to listen to your children about their parenting preferences.
  • Incorporate your child’s parenting style into your grandparenting style.
  • Respect your grandchild’s parents…listen…think before you make comments or suggestions…smile often.
  • Visit some of the mommy blogs to become familiar with contemporary parenting styles.
  • Enjoy the heck out of your grandchildren.