Parenting 2.0

Posts Tagged ‘Great Grandad


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”!


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…


Two days ago (December 18th) marked the 90th birthday of Niko’s Great Grandad (my mom’s dad): 90 years old and still looking fine! Anyway, this summer while I was pregnant, Borys and I made the trek to Halifax to visit family (even Carolyn was there, all the way from East Timor), and we spent a few days visiting with my maternal grandparents.  One day as we were all enjoying lunch together at my grandparents’ house, my grandad busted into this entertaining and unexpected story.  The story went something like this…

Around 30 or 40 years ago my grandad went hunting in New Glasgow, with a buddy who lived there.  He had been hunting many times, but on this particular occasion he shot and killed his first (and only) moose using his “nice semi-automatic rifle: [well with that] you couldn’t miss!”.  They tied the moose to his buddy’s truck and brought it to his dad’s garage.  His friend cut up the moose, leaving the head and skin all in one piece, and was to deliver these parts to my grandad in Halifax, and leave it under his back steps. My grandad had promised the head to another friend, and one of his sons wanted the skin, to turn it into a rug for the floor.

Well time passed and the head and skin were nowhere to be seen.  My grandad got in touch with his friend and said, “Where in the hell is the moose head? It’s not here!”. The guy was adamant that he had put it under the back veranda, but my grandad assured him it was nowhere in sight.  To which his buddy replied, “Well it is under someone’s back steps, because I dropped it off last week”. After some time, they figured the guy had dropped it off under the neighbours’ back steps instead of my grandad’s.  So, my grandad called up the lady on the corner and asked her: “Have you been under your back steps lately, because there’s a moose head and skin under your veranda!?” She went to have a look and sure enough there was the hide and head. Now, you can imagine that a moose skin and head left to it’s own devices would not be in the greatest of shape after lingering around under some lady’s veranda for a few days, but this lady was cool as a cucumber, as she was a hunter’s wife, so she wasn’t too concerned.  Don’t ask me how the neighbours didn’t notice rotting moose parts under their steps up until this moment, but this is just how the story goes…

So, my grandad went to the neighbours and retrieved the remnants of this now long-dead moose, still bound and determined to get the hide turned into a carpet for his son. He wrapped the skin up in a box, and brought it to the train station: apparently he needed to send it by train to get it to the taxidermist.  However (and surprise, surprise!), the guy at the train station refused to ship it, seeing as by that time the parcel really didn’t smell too good and considering the contents.  But my grandad was persistent and argued with the guy until he finally agreed to ship it.  Well, that day marked the last day that my grandad ever did see that moose skin.  From then on, he never heard anything about it ever again and he’s convinced that the man from the train station, appeased him momentarily, but then simply chucked it in the garbage and that was end of it!

Note 1: The picture below is taken by my sister Carolyn, and is Borys and a six month pregnant me, enjoying lunch at my grandparents’ house, on the very day he told us this lovely little anecdote.

Note 2: As you can see in the picture below, my grandad is dressed up dapper in a shirt and tie, even for this casual lunch.  And now that I think of it, I have really only ever seen him wearing a nice shirt and tie! So, this brings me to wonder, did he wear a shirt and tie even when he went hunting? 🙂


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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