We were visiting with our younger daughter, son-in-law, and three-month old baby last weekend, and once again we found out that there are a lot of parenting things we never knew (despite having raised our own two daughters and having been fairly involved in the early years of our other three grand children).
For instance, did you know that a baby is ‘talking’ to you almost as soon as it’s born?
Yup. There are five types of crying (‘words’) that communicate five different messages, according to Australian mother and researcher Priscilla Dunstan. She has identified five universal sounds that babies all around the world ‘speak.’
When the crying sounds like Neh, with the emphasis on the n, that means the little tyke is hungry.
When it sounds like Owh, with the emphasis on the O, then the baby is telling you she’s sleepy or tired.
Heh, with the emphasis on the first H, the message is about discomfort.
Eairh, with the emphasis on the r, or the rh, then the kid has ‘lower gas.’
Eh, burp the baby.
You can see and hear more about these ‘crying words’ by going to this YouTube site, where Oprah extols what Dunstan has discovered and where you can get a short course in distinguishing the five types of cries.
So when my daughter told me about all of this, I, of course, wrote down all five cries/sounds and followed young Samantha around all weekend, listening to her cries and what she was saying.
For me, most of the cries sounded like Eh, the ‘burp me’ cry. But I know my hearing skills are questionable (I have trouble hearing what Ellen is saying to me when she is in the same room with her back to me). Fortunately, my daughter told me that these five sounds really only work from 0-3 months, and I felt better.
I also learned there is such a thing as a “Mantra Cry” — something about the difference between a cry for help and one that is not calling for you to rescue. This is a kind of ‘fussy’ cry, not one that demands any real action by its caretakers. Other things I learned had to do with putting the baby on its back in a crib, lots of new info about how much sleep the baby needs, why some babies don’t poop all the time, and info about the ‘right’ car seats. Also, apparently no matter what your question is about your baby, you can get endless answers/advice from the Internets, often directly opposing answers and advice.
How could we have raised our kids without all this information?
I think we were probably just lucky.
As for Samantha, it seems as if her parents are doing pretty well at understanding her and taking care of her needs.
Everyone knows about how tiring it is to have a new born in the family, what with sleep schedules that really are not schedules at all. Everyone has sympathy for the poor parents, especially the mother of the new born.
But what is it like for the grandparents? No one talks much about that.
In my continuing effort to inform readers of MillersTime about this ‘new’ station in life, see the two pairs of pictures below, taken in the middle of the day.
Grandpapa’s Eyes Are Open, but ten seconds later they are closed. Ditto for the grandmother.
Nonna’s Eyes Are Open, but ten seconds later they are closed too.
And what about the newborn?
Despite her mother’s attempts to instruct her in the necessity of walking 10,000 steps a day, the one-month old chooses muscle building exercise.
Note to new mother from Grandpapa: Your precious princess told me she didn’t know what “walking” was nor did she know the word “steps.”
…to get them started.
(Turn up the sound on your computer and click on the headline below; you won’t be sorry.)
Actually, on further reflection, I guess sometimes it may be too early to start the grand kid’s education. As can be seen in the photo below, when Grandpapa attempted to introduce three-day old Samantha Lauren to the importance of pitching over hitting, she slept through the entire lesson.
Now, before you get all upset and consider calling Child Protective Services, know that I did something similar with my own daughters. And read what the mother of our newest grandchild wrote when she herself was 21 in 2004 (when the Sox won the World Series for the first time since 1918):
I guess it started with Mike Greenwell. And Roger Clemens. And Wade Boggs. Two of three of whom went on to serve the evil empire in their quest for baseball domination. Not an auspicious beginning, I’ll admit. I’d come down for breakfast to study the previous nights scores because I knew I’d probably be quizzed on the box score on my way to school. It was my father’s fault. Some would call it indoctrination; hell, it’s probably a form of propaganda. But I didn’t care. I just wanted them to win. And sometimes I’d watch them win; sometimes I’d watch them lose. As long as they played, it didn’t really seem to matter to me.
But I soon realized that by virtue of being a Sox fan I’d have to accept heartache. And not just in an “oh our team sucks every year” kind of way, but in “oh our team is so close every year” kind of way. Trust me — it’s a lot easier to finish 15 games out of 1st place than watch Aaron Boone clock one of the left field wall.
It’s hoping you never have to say “next year”.
It’s not being comfortable with a six-run lead in the 7th inning.
It’s knowing that bullpen by committee was dead from the start.
It’s knowing when vintage Pedro comes to pitch, he will fuck you up.
It’s knowing that the most contentious issue in your parents’ relationship is the fact that your father listens to the game full blast in the study late at night.
It’s checking bostondirtdogs.com every day in the off-season.
Being a Sox fan prepared me for disappointment; it taught me that there are some things that no matter how badly you want something, sometimes you just can’t make it happen. I think my perspective on life has truly been shaped by the virtue of my fanaticism for baseball. It’s taught me that life isn’t fair, you don’t get what you want, and other people can just be downright heartless.
So this year, can I finally rejoice in our successes? (And I say “our” because I feel as though I’ve truly deserved a spot on the roster). Yes, but I couldn’t do so without a little acknowledgement to my father. It would not be an exaggeration to say I owe it to my father. I mean I blamed him for the heartache for all the years right, so if I don’t give credit now, I probably never will. If it weren’t for him, I’d probably be like every other girl, trying to figure out the difference between a curve ball and a change up. Or not be the kind of girl who gets into arguments with strangers on the 4 train about why Jason Varitek is a better catcher than Jorge Posada. I’m glad they won it for me, but deep down I’m glad they won it for him.
More than anything, my father taught me to believe. And not just in the Red Sox, but in myself. Because if my team can come back from down 0-3 to the Yankees, and sweep the Cardinals in the World Series, really, there is no such thing as never.
I guess in the end, my obsession ultimately taught me that good things do come to those who wait. So I sit back and say to the rest of Major League Baseball, sit down; wait ‘till next year.
What people often say when you become a grandparent, after they congratulate you for your child having a child, is that it’s wonderful, especially because you can be as much a part of the grandchild’s life as geography, time, and willingness to be involved allow. And then you can go home, leaving the grandchild in his/her parents’ hands (i.e., more fun, less responsibilities, and certainly more sleep than you had with your own child).
That’s mostly correct.
But, if you talk to other grandparents, you’ll learn that there’s something else wonderful too.
Watching your children (son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law) become parents is as rewarding as watching your grandchildren grow, learn, and become human beings. Assuming the best scenarios (you get along with your children, you are welcome in their home, and you feel good about how they’re handling their new roles), I think the pleasure of seeing children you’ve raised become parents is even more satisfying than your being part of the grandchild’s life.
I guess that shouldn’t be so surprising, but no one ever mentioned that part of being a grandparent to me. With the birth of our younger daughter’s first child (Samantha Lauren) 10 days ago, we now have the good fortune to have four grandchildren. We also have the good fortune to be very much a part of their lives. And, most special, we get to watch our children become parents.
Of course, we’ve got to figure out how to observe what happens without interfering or being overly intrusive yet available and helpful when asked. Just as this is new territory for them, so too is it for the grandparents.
For those of you who like these sorts of pictures, here are some from a recent three day babysitting gig we actually enjoyed.
Here are a dozen of Ellen Miller’s favorite photos from our recent trip to Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Slovenia. Below these 12 are links to more photos in two slide shows.
"(T)error", "Anomalisa", "Dheepan", "Ixcanul Volcano", "Mustang", "Our Brand Is Crisis", "RAMS", "Remember", "The Club", "The Lobster", "The Pearl Button", "The White Knights, 24th Philadelphia Film Festival, Dalessandro's, Langiappe, PFF, Philly Cheesesteaks, The Best Philly Cheesesteak
Thanks to the encouragement and planning of long time friends, Ellen and I returned last weekend to Philly for its annual Film Festival. This time, between Thursday evening and late Sunday evening, we saw 12 films.
Many of these films are just now being shown in theaters across the country or will appear over the next six months. Many are subtitled, foreign films, some are documentary or documentary-like, and most are about women, families, or relationships that provided sobering assessments of the world, even though they were captivating films.
Here are brief notes on the 12, along with ratings by both Ellen and myself (five stars generally means an outstanding film, and anything rated below three stars, we clearly did not enjoy). We did not see each others’ ratings until I completed this post, but we did talk about the films with each other and with our friends throughout the weekend.
Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Damariscotta Lake, Ellen Miller's Photos, Maine, Marshall Point & Penquid Light House, Midcoast Maine, Nobleboro, Rockport., Round Pound, State Parks of Camden and Portland
Six photos and a link to a slide show by Ellen Miller from a very recent four day trip to Maine.
Most of the photos were taken from the midcoast area, including Damariscotta Lake, Nobleboro, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Marshall Point & Penquid Light House, the state parks of Camden and Portland, Round Pound and Rockport.
"Consider the Lobster", "Consider the Oyster", Broome's Island, Calvin Trillin, Crab Cakes, David Foster Wallace, Gourmet Magazine, John McPhee, lobster, Maryland Blue Crabs, MFK Fischer, Patuxent River, Stoney's Restaurant
In a recent review of several movies (Five Movies to Recommend), I mentioned the name of a writer, David Foster Wallace, whom I somehow didn’t know. Or at least I didn’t know I ‘knew’ him. Thanks to an alert MillersTime reader (KC), I was reminded of an article he wrote in the now defunct Gourmet magazine in 2004 entitled Consider the Lobster. So I reread the article — I think I had never paid much attention to who authored it — and was again amused and delighted.
Wallace had taken on an assignment for Gourmet to write about the annual Maine Lobster Festival, held in July in the state’s mid-coast region. No doubt taking a page from MFK Fischer’s wonderful small book, Consider the Oyster, (written in 1941), Wallace’s essay took the opportunity provided by the festival to explore an issue many of us who love lobsters and prepare them at home occasionally ‘consider’.
Trust me on this one. If you’ve ever ‘considered the lobster’ and if you like the writings of Calvin Trillin and John McPhee (a high bar I know), I suspect you’ll enjoy Wallace’s Consider the Lobster. And be sure to read the 20 footnotes which are really just an extension of this amusing and delightful essay and likely the only footnotes you’ll ever read with pleasure.
Rereading Consider the Lobster also reminded me about how much Ellen and I have enjoyed an annual weekend that has been centered around lobsters and friendship.
Buddhist Temples, Bullet Trains, Ellen Miller's Photos, Golden Pavilion, Golden Temple, Hakone, Hiroshima, Japan, Japan: Food Picture Slide Show, Japan: Summer 2015 Slide Show, Japanese Baseball, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Maiko Performance, Mt. Fuji, Nikko, Ryokans, Shinto Shrines, Takayama, Tea Ceremony, Tokyo, Tokyo Tower, Torii Gates, Tsukiji Fish Market, Tuna Auctions, World Heritage Sites, Yokahama DeNa BayStars, Yomiuri Giants
As I promised last week, below are a few of Ellen’s favorite pictures from our trip to Japan. If you want to see more — lots more — check out her slide show of 126 pictures.
While the 15 photos below mostly capture gardens and temples, our activities were hugely varied. We went to the Tsukiji Fish Market and Tuna Auction at 5 AM our first morning in Tokyo, wandered through the teenage fashion and anime centers, viewed the city from the Tokyo Tower, and took a hands-on sushi-making lesson. We were treated to a full-on Tea Ceremony and a Maiko (Geisha apprentices) performance. We soaked our weary selves at three different Ryokan onsens (hot spas) until we shriveled. We saw Torii gates, Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples everywhere we went (in Tokyo, Nikko, Hakone, Takayama, Kanazawa, Hiroshima, and Kyoto). We visited a Gold Leaf museum/factory and a Sake museum along with the Edo/Tokyo museum, a ‘float’ museum, and the chilling museums and monuments in Hiroshima. Of course, there was a baseball game in the Tokyo Dome where we saw the Yokahama DeNA BayStars beat the Yomiuri Giants. We traveled by car, by van, by subway, by train, including the bullet trains, by boat, and we walked at least five or six miles everyday. We saw Mt. Fuji (barely), lakes, waterfalls, bamboo groves, and the wonderful Golden Pavilion. Everywhere there were gardens — miniature gardens, Emperor’s gardens, temple gardens, strolling gardens, rock gardens, ancient ones and modern ones.
Sheryl Sandburg, the Chief Operating Office of Facebook, the author of the 2013 book Lean In, and the mother of two children, has just posted the reflections below on her Facebook page, following the end of her 30 day mourning period for her husband David Goldberg, 47, who died in a recent accident.
When Ellen and I agreed to ‘watch’ the three grandchildren (6, 4, & 2) for a weekend while their parents attended a wedding out of town, I thought, “Well, at least I’ll get a good MillersTime post out of it.”
You know, one where I ‘gently’ chide the parents, ‘herald’ the wonderful grandparents, and feature the antics of the three young ones. As the weekend started, I jotted down some events that I knew would bring smiles (to readers, if not to the parents).
But then a ‘funny’ thing happened. All three kids somehow ‘performed’ well and were a joy. Plus, we didn’t even lose the youngest, as we have in the past. So rather than my expected post, I thought simply featuring Ellen’s photos would be the best way to ‘memorialize’ the weekend and entertain those of you who enjoy such things.
Little did I realize that four-year-old granddaughter Abby was also listening to the story of Harper’s ejection by the home plate umpire.
Later that night I got a text message from their mother.
Abby tells me that Harper got in a fight with the vampire and got kicked out of the game.
And that clarifies everything.