GrandmaPad and 4 Kids

I am the new ‘typical’ grandma in some ways – and different in others. I work every day in a cubicle in an office building – which matches the 60% of grandparents with a full or part time job. I also use the Internet, read a paper or print publication (like Omaha Lifestyles – 50 Plus!) and live near all of my kids and grandkids.

Not so typically, I sing professionally. This is an occupation that is not known to be sympathetic to the aging voice or body. It is in that forum that I have heard cast members pale at being called “Grandma.” Surveys have shown that about half of grandmothers are called Grandma. The other half has an inventive, rich tapestry of different names.

48 is the average age of the first-time grandparent now. Combined with second marriages, step parents and extended families, grandkids have many sets of grandparents and even great grandparents. My granddaughters have 6 great grandparents and 6 grandparents to love and know.

Name that grandma!
So, how is a grandkid supposed to tell them apart? Grandma 1, Grandma 2? Sure, you can be referred to as “Grandma Sue” or “Grandma Klein” – but where is the originality in that?
If your family is like mine, the grandchild takes the lead in this Grandparent Naming Convention. The most inventive is my granddaughter Lily. From birth I have called her Lily Pad. Cute I think. Well, when she began to talk and ask for me – you guessed it – I became GrandmaPad.
I love it.
A grandma of different colors
Having a special bond with each of my grandkids is something I really cherish. Each grandchild is different – and I hope I am a slightly different grandparent with each one. For one of them, I am a playmate and that special person to spoil him. For another, I am an adult willing to be taught all the new things a 3-year-old discovers – reacting with wonder at each one.

I want to be the grandma made of playdough – and not cement. I hope I am fortunate enough to live to be a great grandma – and I want my grandkids to have important, unusual and fun memories of our lives together. I was lucky enough to have a ‘bucket list’ experience of singing the National Anthem at an Omaha Storm Chaser’s game last summer. My granddaughter attended and now says she wants to dream about “grandma singing on the big TV.” That is the type of memory I want my grandkids to have – not one of my sitting on the porch in a rocking chair.

A bit about me.
I am a grandma four times over. I also work full time, and care for my own mother as well as a kind of ornery beagle princess. I wasn’t the type of little girl to play with dolls. I never fantasized about becoming a Mom. Once I did, though, wow what an experience. And, becoming a grandparent is even more wonderful.

GrandmaPad chronicles the everyday joy and surprise she finds on the “grandparent journey.” She is a community expert on the local site ParentSavvy.com – sharing her grandparent experiences, feelings, decisions and challenges along with more than 100 local Omaha experts in everything from health to hilarity.

Homemade Applesauce

It is that time of year – crisp mornings, frost on the pumpkin. Here is a delicious treat you can make with your grandkids and let simmer in a slow-cooker. The cooking smell is delightful!

Ingredients:

14 apples (any kind – or a mixture of kinds)
2 Tablespoons of lemon juice
1 Teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
(Cinnamon and nutmeg can be adjusted to taste)

Directions:

1.Wash, peel and core apples
2.Cut apples into small chunks
3.Place all 4 ingredients in a slow cooker and mix with a spoon
4.Cover and cook on low for 4 hours

Use a handheld blender to blend the mixture inside the slow cooker.
When cool, serve in cups or bowls. Makes 20 servings.