Parenting 2.0

Posts Tagged ‘Grandad


This year we celebrated my dad’s, Niko’s grandad’s, birthday with an air of zesty surprise. Surprise, in that he had no idea it was coming, seeing as we were celebrating nearly a month early. But when the whole family, and I mean the whole family, even the parts that live in Uganda, and the one that used to live in France and all the little monkeys from Southern Ontario happen to be at the cottage at the same time, it definitely calls for a celebration. And seeing as my dad’s birthday was falling in the same month that we were all together, a surprise birthday celebration it became.

Does it matter that the guest of honour was recovering from Singapore jet lag? Apparently not. It was on with the show, and the birthday boy put on a darn good birthday face and seemed to thoroughly enjoy all the festivities, which included a homemade play by all his grand-kids, and two other little pals that have a cottage right beside ours. Even Niko joined in the play: when JR came down with a bit of stage (or should I saw lawn?) fright, Niko was there as a quick understudy ready to take over and play the part of the cowboy.


There’s nothing quite like enjoying the comforts of being held by Gramma and Grandad.

Most of these pics were taken on the day that we celebrated my dad’s (surprise) 65th birthday, and it actually was a surprise. Seeing as his real birthday isn’t until the end of the month and we surprised him at the beginning of the month, he was, indeed surprised.

This was also the week that my parents told us they’ll be moving to Singapore in the Fall. My dad got a job offer there, and they’ll be going for at least a year and half: selling the house we grew up in, putting their possessions into storage (or lending/giving them to me and my bro) and heading off on a new worldly adventure.


Things that don’t mix well: one tennis ball, two people (me and Niko), and three dogs (Frasier, Jupiter and Percy). You’d think that swimming in the lake and sitting on the dock on a sunny day at my parents’ cottage would be a recipe for fun, and for the most part it was. Niko had his first ever dip into a lake and although it was still a touch cold and I only went in to my knees, he seemed to do relatively well with the whole experience. It must be all the swimming lessons he took this past winter.

Anyway, we were alone at the cottage, waiting for my parents to get there. Lena‘s Grandparents have a cottage next to us and they were up, but when we headed to the dock there was not a soul in site, not even a furry one, well, except for Frasier. Anyway, after our swim Niko and I lay out a towel and just sat around for all of about thirty seconds. Basically we were like a magnet for the two other pooches that belong to Lena’s grandparents. One of the doggies came with a ball and all of sudden Niko and I were surrounded by three big dogs. The ball was dropped and proceeded to bounce about a foot from where we were sitting. This proved to be too much temptation for the three furry beasts and they all scrambled to get their teeth on the tennis ball, which also prompted a bout of snarling, growling, snapping, baring of teeth and even got Little Niko knocked over on his back.

Now in general, Frasier loves dogs. But seeing as he’s a timid pooch and depending on the personalities of the other dogs he encounters, he can end up being cowed. In most cases I do what I can to protect him, but in this case, when we were confined by the limited space of the dock, and Niko was knocked down I had to focus my attention solely on my baby, and couldn’t put an ounce of help out there for my pooch. So with my maternal instincts in full swing, I planted my feet firmly in a wide stance, bent over, hip checked the snarling dogs out of the way, swooped up my baby and got the heck out of there. Leaving the three furry guys to fend for themselves, which in the end worked out just fine. Although, Frasier’s confidence did seem a bit damaged, but I’m sure he’ll get over it.

PS – Niko was just fine too.

Note: I will add an actual picture of the weekend, once I find my camera cable, which is still MIA since the move.

Update (July 6): I found my camera cable. 🙂 The pic below is post dock trauma and as you can see the Little Man seems to have recovered quite well and is enjoying the company of Gramma and Grandad.

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You may be wondering: What the heck’s a gully blanket?, just as I was when I first heard the term. Upon having a child I have learned that there are many terms and phrases used for common baby items. For example, a soother may become a soo-soo, or a sooky, or a sucky, or a million other creative things that just seem to stick with certain families. Another baby item that has many different names is the infamous security blanket, you know the one that you see Linus from the Charlie Brown comics carrying around all the time? Different names I have heard for the security blanket are: blankie, bunkie, little special blanket (as Uncle Greg used to affectionately call his 🙂 ) and now gully blanket! Yes, gully blanket!

I discovered this term on one of my trips to Grandmother and Grandad’s house this week.  As I passed Niko into the somewhat resistant, but then appreciative arms of his Great Grandad he sort of started to cry – Niko, not my grandad. Upon hearing the fuss Great Grandad said: “Well, he probably wants his gully blanket”. “Gully blanket? What’s that?”, I wondered out loud. Great Grandad then said, “That blanket, the one that’s sitting over there on the couch where Niko used to be sitting”. And Grandmother chimed in, in agreeance, “Yes he might want his gully blanket”. My grandad then went on to explain that a gully blanket was so called because the child gets so attached to this blanket and then at times will suck on it and make a gully sound like this: “gully, gully, gully, gully, gully” and so on.  And when my usually quite composed grandfather was explaining this, he did so by mimicking a baby sucking his thumb and proceeded to make this funny gully sound over and over again, with a little smirk on his face! It was both cute and surprising to see my grandad acting out this scenario! And who knows, maybe one day Niko will also have a designated gully blanket of his own! But like my grandfather said, “Once he’s got one, you don’t want to lose it because it really can’t be replaced and the ensuing cries will prove it”!


Now that our trip is coming to a close, both Niko and I think it has been a great success! We managed to fly here, rent a car and make our way around Halifax (in part due to our trusty GPS, aka Susan).  Most of our trip has been made up of visits to friends and family including: Grandmother and Grandad, Uncle Bob and Deb, Joan and Doug, Aunt Marion and Wayne, and today to finish off with Aunt Angela, Emma, Noah, Uncle Jimmy and another visit to Grandmother’s house. And of course our lovely hosts: Natalie, Darren, Charlotte and Lauren have been most welcoming and gracious! Charlotte and Lauren have taken a particular interest in little Niko and have supervised and helped out with many a diaper change! I am sure they will make fabulous babysitters one day, but at the ages of six and four they remain babysitters in training.

Tomorrow Niko and I are flying back to Ottawa and we are really excited to be reunited with Borys and Frasier! On our daily telephone chats Borys has been talking to Niko and it is so cute to see Niko’s expression as he tries to figure out where that familiar voice is coming from: eyebrows raised, half-smiling and curiously adorable! This trip has definitely helped to build my travel confidence and also reiterated how challenging being a single parent would be. I mean to take care of the babe on my own 24/7, despite the helping hands of Charlotte and Lauren has been a learning experience. Actually, Niko has been a wonderful baby this trip, it was just last night when he had sort of a bad evening right around bedtime and was screaming almost unconsolably for about two hours: as Darren said, “Whew, Niko’s pissed!” And he was! But who’s to blame him? He had been constipated for about 48 hours, and only finally got some relief this morning! Yah, as dealing with a gassy child during my impending travels (including a stopover) tomorrow is a challenge I would not necessarily want to face alone.


Even though there is no Big Bad Wolf (phew!) and neither Niko nor I have a red riding hood, there is something Little Red Riding Hood-esque about going off for a visit at Grandmother’s house. Yesterday Niko and I made our first trip together to Chestnut St. aka his Great Grandparents’ house, and upon arrival I experienced that wonderful welcoming and nostalgic feeling that can only be brought to life by a visit to see these two!

The feeling was a bit new this time seeing as I was introducing Niko to his Great Grandparents for the first time: and weren’t they delighted to see him! He enticed smiles from them, as they both held and cooed over him – I didn’t know that my Grandad liked babies so much, but according to the tell-tale smile on his face when he looked at little Niko, this is the case. Of course, I wanted to take a picture documenting the visit (gotta keep up with the blog, you know) and they both sort of resisted – Grandmother explaining that no one was even allowed to take a picture of Grandad on his 90th birthday, this past December. But then I convinced Grandad (after a short tutorial on how to use a digital camera) to take a photo of me, Niko and Grandmother, after which and probably to his chagrin I enticed him into a pic as well! Even though his eyes were closed I thought I better just count my blessings and take what I could get – so a closed eye pic it is, but a pic documenting the reality of the moment nonetheless.

Of course Niko went through his full baby cycle of wakefullness, sleepiness, and then hunger during our visit, and when he got sleepy, I wrapped him up like I normally do, only for Great Grandmother to say: “He looks just like a little papoose”. Then she wisely suggested I lie him down on “this blanket that had just blown in one day”. “Just blown in?”, I questioned. And she said yes, after some sort of storm it ended up on their lawn and when they hung it out to dry and no one came for it they adopted it for themselves, which eventually lead to Niko lying down on it’s thick and comfortable surface.

Grandmother spoiled me with a slice of her homemade apple pie while I was there (can you say YUM!), saying she had thought of me the day before when she was baking it! How sweet!!! Niko and I stayed for a good three hours and plan to go back this afternoon. There is something just so sweet about seeing their smiling faces waving from their front door when we arrive and and upon our departure.

Note: Yes, I am aware that it is winter and Niko and is shoe and sockless, but this is because Great Grandmother and Great Grandad got so much pleasure from seeing and touching his bare little feet! Hence the lonely Puma that sits on the edge of the table…


As we – Grandma Sara, Grandad Greg, Borys, Niko and I – sat around our living room last night debating about what movie to rent from Rogers on Demand, I soon found out that even though the majority wanted to rent one that I had already seen (Julie and Julia – which upon watching the pieces that I saw of it for the second time, made me realize this was the movie that inspired me to start this blog), it really didn’t matter because Niko had other plans anyway.

He wanted to be heard loud and clear; he wanted to overcome the volume of the movie by showing off the power of his own lungs.  Now, we can only sit and watch the movie with a crying Niko for so long, until we have to admit to the fact that we just can’t follow the movie as the distraction of the crying baby is just too much. Even though we attempt to sooth him by bouncing him on our knees, rocking him in our arms, burping him, feeding him, etc. at some point the only way for everyone to actually follow the movie is for us to pause, rewind and for Niko to be brought elsewhere until he calms down. And seeing as I was the one to bring him elsewhere and calm him down, it was a good thing I had already seen the movie as it was easy for me to just jump back in at any point, and fortuitous of us to have rented one that I had already seen, otherwise watching the movie would have been really slow going: having to pause (and probably rewind) every time little Niko did a shout out!

Note: Pictures 1 and 3) Niko enjoying the comforts of Grandad’s arms. Picture 2) Grandma multi-tasking: watching a movie and knitting socks for Audra.


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