Wednesday, August 26, 2009

More Zach Observations from Grandpa

Here is another guest post by my husband. He seems to be getting into this blogging thing.

Zachary is very involved in family discussions. When visiting, he sits on my lap after dinner and participates fully in the chat. He babbles up a storm and waves his arms around so much you would think he was conducting the Philharmonic! He has no trouble getting attention when speaking; he’s like an attention magnet!

We have fun together too. He finds peak-a-boo to be moderately interesting but really gets a chuckle from me blowing bubbles on his toes! Grandpa, what are you doing? It turns out that the most fun of all is to stand up with minimal help. That always gets a super big smile from Zach. If a baby were alone in the forest and stood up, would he still smile? I think this one would!

Zach’s starting to be interested in song. I’ll admit I’m not the best singer in the world but I try to make up for quality with enthusiasm. He enjoys watching my silly hand and finger action when I sing Five Bottles of Beer on the Wall. I’m not sure if he’s wondering why I hold up fewer fingers with each verse or if he’s checking my math in case I slip up. We recently started singing the Hokey-Pokey where we put Zach’s right hand in and take Zach’s right hand out…

Visual things seem more interesting to Zach than any singing I do. For example, he likes contrast such as between light from a window and dark of the wall. He likes a particular striped shirt I wear. He likes the playthings Fran puts over him in his play gym. It’s all beauty and wonder to him. Someday he’ll enjoy that about a sunset or a campfire or a starry night.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Favorite Books on's List of 14 Best Baby Books

I am now hosting a group at called “New Grandparents.” It is a new group and we already have 22 members – please come join us and chime in on the conversation. is a great resource rich website for grandparents - it is really chock full of useful information.

A recent article entitled 14 Best Baby Books provides a wonderful list of books especially for babies. I recently went to my local Barnes and Noble and felt both overwhelmed and not enthusiastic at the same time as I flipped through the choices of baby books. The few books I liked seemed awfully overpriced and I wound up not buying any. Fortunately at my daughter’s baby shower many people brought a book and Zach has quite a wonderful starter library.

View the entire list with a summary review of each here

Here is my list of the top five books on the 14 Best Baby Books list. All 14 books are available at This list of five books met these two criteria:

Discounted at Amazon - up to over 50% off – or quite inexpensive
4½ or 5 star review by 5 or more reviewers at Amazon

1. Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton
$5.99 160 reviews – 5 stars
This book is not discounted but it is very inexpensive. I remember Sandra Boynton when I read to my own kids - starting with Fran 28 years ago – and she was always a favorite. It looks like she still is.

2. Ma! There’s Nothing to Do Here! Barbara Park
List price $15.99, $10.87 at Amazon 23 reviews – 5 stars
This book is highly recommended for an older child when a Mom is expecting. Looks like a winner to me.

3. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox, Helen Oxenbury
List price $16.00, $10.88 at Amazon 19 reviews – 41/2 stars
This book is a rhyming gem and Helen Oxenbury (another illustrator familiar to my children) make this book a winner – and a good buy with the Amazon discount.

4. Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
List price $17.99, $12.23 at Amazon 67 reviews – 41/2 reviews
This Caldecott Book winner with black and white illustrations is called “luminous” by one reviewer” and destined to be a classic by another. I know my kids were drawn to several books done in black and white and this one seems to spark the imagination and the heart.

5. Princess BabyList price $14.99, $10.19 at Amazon 7 reviews – 41/2 stars
I am actually not into the Princess theme but this book met my criteria

You can click on the title of the book in the Great Books for Your Grandchild box in the sidebar and go straight to Amazon if you are interested in any of these books.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Grandpa Brags.....I Really Can't Blame Him

My husband, Hugh, is the guest blogger for this post.

Zachary and I get along very well. One of our favorite routines is for him to sit on my lap at the table when the family lingers after dinner. He likes to be part of the action and seems perfectly at ease there. I hold him on my leg and lean him against me. One arm is around him and the other hand is on his chest or nearby just in case. He feels sooo good. I’ll always remember.

Another thing is that we have jokes together. The first laugh happened in an instant: Zach let out a noisy fart, I made giant bug eyes, and he smiled back. Since then he smiles when I joke with him as long as I’m a little silly about the punch line. Not everybody laughs at my dumb jokes so I really love this kid!

I was honored and pleased to be Zach’s first babysitter. He was still pretty new but doing just fine. I visited with him often and was very comfortable caring for him. I could do all the necessary things such as preparing bottles, feeding, burping, changing, etc. It had all come back to me. And very importantly, I listened to his Mommy (a.k.a. my daughter) and followed her instructions very carefully. Then one day Fran and Marion told me they were going on an outing for a couple of hours and I would be caring for Zach. Yippee! We did just fine together. Since then I’ve watched him several times and am happy to do so.

Zach’s learning to stand. He does it best when holding him face to face on my lap. He pushes himself up to a standing position. He’s wobbly of course and I hold him carefully but he really likes to do it. Sometimes he seems squirmy and it’s not hunger or a wet diaper or anything like that … he just wants to stand. And when he does it there’s no mistaking the pride on his face. Look at me Grandpa!

I sing to him to. If a lullaby is in order I may sing Amazing Grace, or If I Fell (the Beatles), or Hush-A-Bye. But since I generally see him during awake times, the songs are more lively like the one about Dancing With a Dolly With a Hole in Her Stocking or about how I Love to Go A Wandering. I can’t really say he’s into songs yet; he just looks at me and turns to something more interesting. But we’re working on it. I expect some day Zach and I will sing songs together like The Wheels on the Bus, or Old MacDonald Had a Farm or A Hundred Bottles of Beer on the Wall. It’ll be fun!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Zach Tidbits

Well I am going to try to post more often as not every post should be some major event. Here are just some “Zach Tidbits.”

My daughter has bought a small pool and Zach loves spending hot summer afternoons in the pool. His Mom is a great swimmer and she is of those people who can hold her breadth forever underwater. So Zach – I bet swimming is in your future.

I am having a wonderful time introducing Zach to new people and they all seem to enjoy seeing my transformation into a beaming grandmother.

I went to the flea market at our summer community on Saturday and noticed something that I haven’t noticed before. There were great values on toys for young children and all the customers in this section were young children and grandmothers. Parents are hoping to rid themselves of more of this stuff but grandmothers all think it is cute and looks like lots of fun. I bought the most adorable lawnmower for a toddler…maybe next summer Zach – I have it stored in a safe place. Some friends were buying toys such as a tractor and a vacuum cleaner. What fun! I haven’t shopped for this kind of stuff…well in a generation!

Sometimes Zach looks like he is sleeping but he really isn’t. We know this because if you try to lie him down he immediately is awake. My daughter has this look pretty down pat. She calls it his “Grandma Look.” His brow is slightly furrowed and Fran says “He is thinking and concentrating like his Grandmother always does.”

Well that’s it for now. I hope you enjoyed the tidbits. Please leave a comment with some of your own tidbits about you and your grandchildren. People who read this blog also mention the comments to me and so they are read.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Zach Throws a Picnic and Meets his Extended Family

Now that Zach is a little older he is ready for some social life. We kicked that off with a big bang. I had been emailing with our two nieces, Clare and Kathleen,

about stuff they had and were offering for Zach. Their children are in the 7 – 10 age range and the motorized ride-on jeep – with a spare battery, sandbox, seesaw, bouncy seat and Baby Einstein videos were gathering dust and taking up valuable space.

So I invited them with their children and their Mom to a picnic lunch to meet Zach. We started out with our nieces and their children holding Zach while my husband took pictures with his fancy new camera. Zach was as cooperative as could be and rather enjoyed being held by the new cousins he was meeting. Our nieces, by the way, are our children’s godmothers. It was a nice day and we shifted the activities to the backyard and enjoyed a picnic lunch and being outside.

At last my husband's sister, Clare, also got to hold Zach. As the mother of five and grandmother of seven, she knows her way around babies pretty well.

Then it was time for a bigger adventure. We packed ourselves up, my son, Hugh, with Megan on his shoulders, and went to the park. My son headed up the paddleboat ride with his younger cousins – Mike, John, Shannon and Megan. Zach isn’t quite ready for that so Fran and Josh strolled Zach over to the playground to check things out. My son treated the kids to ice cream and some further adventuring in the park as Zach headed back to our house for a rest and clean diaper.

When we all came home there was dessert that my nieces brought and finally figuring out what new equipment would stay at our place and what would find a home at my daughter’s home.

It was a wonderful day. We were concerned about how Zach might respond to a lot of chaos but everyone was respectful of his space and I think he really enjoyed meeting his extended family. Perhaps now he knows that family gatherings will mean lots of fun. And we all had a lot of fun. .....But why is my house beginning to look like I’m the one who just had a baby?