Parenting 2.0

Posts Tagged ‘grandmother


One day last month when Niko and I were hanging out with his great grandmother, he didn’t know what type of mood he was in: one second he seemed to be on the verge of laughter and the next on the verge of tears. He see-sawed back and forth for a while: shrieking, giggling, smiling, and pouting, pretty much until he found comfort in catching some zzzs. I think my grandmother put it best when she said with a smirk and a smile, “Well, he just doesn’t know if he’s happy, mad, sad or glad”.

Since then I have noticed that there can be a fine line between Niko’s laughter and a bout of pouting. Sometimes when he’s tired his laughter and tears seems to be on the same plane. I mean one minute he’s almost in tears, only to be distracted and burst into giggles, and then just as easily, a second later, go back to crying. I tried to catch this range on video, but really the best display is in the Happy, Mad, Sad, Glad, series of photos below, taken consecutively within about a 15 second time span.


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…


Grandmother's NightieJust to finish up re: my grandmother’s gift. As I said, the outpouring of support from my friends and family since the birth of Niko has been amazing! This week I received a letter in the mail from my 88 year old grandmother informing me of a gift that was coming that she had hand made.

She said in the letter (after apologizing profusely for the state of her handwriting, which I really have no trouble reading), that she had made a gift as she is not one for shopping, but that I probably wouldn’t use it and it would be too small by the time it reached Ottawa. That said, a couple of days later her parcel arrived, bound in brown paper and tied by my grandfather with string. Inside was a beautiful little nightie: made out of white flannel and hand smocked with blue and yellow stitching on both the neckline and cuffs. So adorable and looking like it came from another time! I love it, and Niko looks oh so cute in it: like a little angel.

My mom tip of the day: Stay hydrated! Drink one cup of water each time you breastfeed!



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