Jake and Ben were blessed with the good fortune of having not one, but two of their grandmas travel out from Michigan this weekend to stay with them while Ryan and I were out of town for a wedding. (In fact, one grandma brought out a favorite friend, so they were triply spoiled!) While Ryan and I had fun celebrating our friend’s marriage and the anniversary of our own, our children were getting lavished in attention from every direction. The grandma’s made them special foods, got them treats, took them shopping and to the children’s museum… They were even pampered with special Lightening McQueen bubble bath and entertained with Wii tennis and bowling teams. In retrospect, the grandmas coming out to visit in this manner is probably the equivalent of us mothers going in for spa treatments at a swanky hotel/resort. Suffice it to say, they thoroughly enjoyed their trip. Once the grandma’s are home and the pictures are all developed, I may invite each grandma to be a guest blogger and give us an account of their special times together!
I sent the kids off to school as the grandmas were getting into their car and heading towards the mitten. (For those of you who aren’t familiar, Michigan is shaped like a mitten. Ask a person from Michigan to show you where they live. They will immediately pull up their hand and start pointing. It’s quite amusing.) I figured that the boys might have a little more issue than normal behaving, as often times, they like to acquire “grandma syndrome”, which all mothers who have long distance parents seem to be all too aware of. First, I picked up Ben from school. He was calm and quiet, and I could tell he was pooped out from his weekend, but to the contrary of my predictions, he was also quite well behaved. We headed over to pick up Jake. Now, generally, Jake is my more rambunctious child, and so I figured he would be the catalyst that got the boys overstimulated, furthering their bout of “grandma syndrome”. And, just as I had predicted, Jake was super excited. He jumped in the car and started babbling…
Once I settled my mind into listening to him, I was surprised and amazed to hear that he was all riled up about his spelling test results. On Thursday, Jake had tantrum after tantrum not wanting to do his homework. (He was tired, the grandma’s had just arrived, and all he could think about was playing with them…) So, after Jake and I went round and round about his homework, his grandma’s took over and helped him study. Their efforts had paid off. Jake received his best ever spelling test results, which were a 48/50 possible points. He was ecstatic. His teacher had actually wrote “good work!” on the top of his paper.
When I got home, I braced myself once more for the onset of grandmaitis… but none came. Jake quickly got to work study his new spelling words for the week, and Benjamin asked if he could take a bath with his new bubbles and toys. I got them started on their requests, and began to put away the mountains of clothes that were cleaned, folded and stacked neatly in my absence. (Seriously, much better work than I do myself.) Then, I set to work looking through all the new groceries that had made their way into my cupboards and refrigerator, until I found some acceptable after school snacks. (Believe me, I had tons of things to chose from.)
The only bone of contention that arose throughout the whole evening was that Jake wanted to get onto his grandmother’s facebook page and care for her aquarium application and his other grandmother’s farm for them. I didn’t think it would be appropriate to allow Jake to do this, even if he did know her password. I explained to him that it is inappropriate to log into other people’s emails, facebooks or read their private diaries. (Though by the time he’s old enough to keep a diary, no one will know what that is, since we all blog these days instead…) He was disappointed because he thought this would be the best way to show off to his grandmas that he did indeed think of them when they weren’t around.
I sat and pondered that thought, along with the idea that he had done so well on his spelling test… and it occurred to me that I really had nothing useful to do, since the grandma’s had done all my chores for me. So, I decided to allow Jake to have a facebook page. We worked together to set him up an email account and then a facebook log in. I quickly friended my own account with his, and set to work friend suggesting all of my family (that can keep their facebook status’s PG enough…) that I could suggest in one swoop. (If you’re reading this, and you’re family/friends that would like to be on his page, drop me a line in the comments. I will review your application and we’ll go from there, lol!)
Jake set straight to work on his applications that he had been helping his grandma’s with. Very quickly, the friend requests and acceptances started rolling in. He face lit up as he saw each person accepting. Each time facebook would notify him of a new post on his wall, he would get extremely excited, and read them aloud. He quickly learned to comment back on posts, though his typing skills are slow and he only types small words because of that. Ryan taught him how to use emoticons, and that was probably his favorite part of the day. He practiced chatting with his Grandma Goo for a bit, and he was excited to see Aunt Judy had typed on his wall. Specifically, he thought it was funny that Aunt Judy had let her infant grandson push random keys, and then she noted it was Hayden saying “hello”. Jake was most impressed that in the middle of gibber, Hayden had spelled the word “in” correctly.He’s a crazy smart infant. After a while, Jake had a little frustration with typing, so at one point, I decided to take over. I decided from this point on, if I am typing on his behalf, I will type (mom’s typing) in the statement so that everyone is aware. Otherwise, I look forward to watching his spelling and typing skills improve as he learns.
I think this new facebook page and email will serve as a good way for me to monitor Jake (since he uses my computer) and to help him learn how to better his speech, typing and spelling skills. There’s also a great element of social learning involved. I think this will open up the doors for necessary conversations about age appropriate behaviors and internet predators, which unfortunately are a real issue for his generation. It is my hope that if Ryan and I do a good job of interacting with him and helping him, we will teach him good internet habits and make the internet become the positive communication experience that it has the potential to be.
Meanwhile, I need to send a big thank you out there to Grandma Linda, Grandma Goo and friend Shirley, because this was the most productive case of “Grandma Syndrome” that my children have ever had. Thanks ladies!!!