Posted by: gaylejervis | January 19, 2011


During my many years of being ill, Greg has often accused me of putting the needs of our children before my needs.  He is always concerned that my health is being compromised by any extras I try to do.  Often he is right that it has affected my physical health.  But there is more than just a physical component to always being sick.  There is a tremendous desire to still be needed, a desire to “rise above” my physical limitations, and a desire to continue demonstrating to my family that they are my first priority.

The only thing that has changed in that priority is how I am able to demonstrate that they are important to me.  The other change occurred when my children married and my priority has been extended to their spouses.  And now that I am blessed with a grandson (and soon, 2 more grandchildren), developing a relationship with them is tremendously important to me.

Therefore it is an easy decision for me when I must assess whether I am “able” to take care of my grandson.  As long as my decision doesn’t jeopardize his safety, or if I can’t seem to get out of bed at all, I will opt to have a weekly play date with my grandson.   If I’m doing particularly poorly, Lisa doesn’t mind that he and I spend the morning watching movies while he plays or while we snuggle and chat.  Fortunately, for me he always has a long nap in the afternoon.  I think he often feels like it is a good place to catch up on his rest since he knows that his Grandma also is having a nap and he isn’t going to miss any action around here!!

This morning,  I woke with less pain and knew that Jackson and I could do more than just watch movies together and I was very grateful!  When Jackson first arrived he asked if he could watch Frosty the Snowman, the movie “Grandpa and I got at the library.”  While he watched it, I prepared our morning activities.

Last night I had thawed a frozen loaf of bread dough and as we talked about how Joseph was able to explain the meaning of Pharaoh’s dream, he added raisins to the bread.  As I explained how grain was made into flour and then into bread, he nodded his head quite knowledgeably and said, “Yes, just like in the Red Hen that Mommy read to me.”  Wow!   I think that was pretty smart for a three year old to take one piece of knowledge and apply it to something else.   Or at least a very unbiased Grandma thinks so!  Anyways, he certainly enjoyed spreading raisins on the dough and of course he  enjoyed eating a few raisins also.

After  I read to him a couple of picture books about Joseph,  he glued a plain brown coat onto Joseph as I explained  how Joseph spent time  in prison for something he didn’t do.    I quite enjoyed his repeating to me the dream he interpreted for Pharaoh as he said quite enthusiastically, “the fat cows ate the skinny cows.”

Before I had a chance to tell him we were going to do more crafts, he saw another picture of Joseph and said,  “Let’s do more crafts Grandma.”  He proceeded to decorate another tunic for Joseph when he had become a powerful ruler under Pharaoh.  He added stickers to the decorative paper and glitter glue.  Later when his Mom came to pick him up, he told her that was his favorite picture.

Then Jackson saw a coloring page of Joseph with his brothers that I had partially colored and he said, “Let’s do that, Grandma.”  I was  pleased by his enthusiasm but   he was even more enthusiastic when I gave him a small plastic tray and sponge roller to paint some watered down tempera paint over the entire coloring page.   Later when Lisa came to pick him up he had us chuckling when he said he wanted to make another picture of Joseph when Joseph was half naked in the pit!

Then we read a beautifully illustrated book by Jan Brett called The Mitten.    We went upstairs with an old mitt  and we pulled out his plastic animals from a plastic bucket.   I suggested we see how many animals we could stuff into the mitt to imitate the story of the animals in the forest that kept squeezing into a white mitten.  At first he got a little sidetracked by my suggestion as he  built a fence around his animals so that they couldn’t get to the mitten!  However, eventually he opened his “fence” and the animals could begin entering the mitten.  We made all the animal sounds as we squished each animal into the mitten.  We even located a plastic bear even though it was a white polar bear and not a brown bear and a small mouse to complete this story.  At the very last, Jackson put the bear into the mitten and the small mouse on top of his nose.  We both simultaneously sneezed, “Ahhhchoo.” And I surprised Jackson by dumping out all the animals and threw the mitten up into the air.  He laughed and said, “Now Nicki can find his mitten.”  Yes, indeed that is how the little boy located his white mitten in the story!  He enjoyed this game so much that we did it several times.

Then I asked him to come into the basement with me where I had hidden some mittens.  I told him that he could be Nicki looking for his lost mitten.  He learned that if I said, “Cold”, he wasn’t close to any lost mittens and if I said, “Hot”, he was close.

After lunch I told him that we were going to make Marshmallow Snowmen.  When he saw me pull out a small box of  Smarties he immediately said, “Those are his buttons.”  As it turned out, the snowmen never got buttons since he got so excited about eating them!!  However, he learned to stick pretzel sticks into three marshmallows to create the snowmen and to poke raisins into the head for eyes and mouth.  That ended up being a little harder to do than I expected so that the snowmen look a little spooky!!

When Jackson woke from his nap, his Grandpa was home and his mom had arrived. We all ate his freshly baked raisin bread.      Today was another special day enjoying my grandson’s company; another day developing a special relationship with him.



  1. What a great tradition you are starting with your grandson. Grandparenting should be about ‘special times’ and not doing housework or too much disciplining like parentng. He will remember these times later into his adult years. You can’t replace these memories. With technology now, these stories will also be a great keepsake. Don’t forget to download, copy, print & save!!

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