"I miss Marmie mom!" Lucy (age 4) said one day while driving home from picking up the boys from school.
"We can call her, do you want to call?" I said.
"No, I wanna send her a message (i.e. text)." she replied.
As soon as we got home, the dictating began. "I like you Marmie, you like me and we are friends. Do you like flowers? because I like flowers." and the half hour of texting back and forth began.
"Mom, I made this picture for Marmie of us with the daffodils, take a picture on your phone and send it to Marmie, okay?" and my mom promptly sent one back. Even now, if Lucy is having a meltdown moment she sometimes asks me to use the cell phone so she can call my mom, instantly involving her in the everyday she might miss. I'm happy to have someone else calm her down in the car when I can't reach or talk to either of them.
It seems technology still plays a huge role when we finally do get to visit together. Lucy spent hours recording herself singing songs which only a grandmother could love. The kids took turns playing with different apps while we waited in restaurants and my mom took endless pictures with her phone to send to my dad who couldn't come.
The letter writing to your grandparents days are gone but I must say while I miss it, my kids probably won't. The new alternatives are just so much quicker and easier. With his own e-mail account, my ten year old can keep in contact in a much more effective and enjoyable way. He can even send his grandparents links from his Flickr accout to his latest lego creations. While this requires us to keep a close eye for his online safety, it's well worth it.
With a little help, even the youngest kids can join in. Skype allows that face to face connection so grandparents can see kids grow or just help you tell them what to do. My mom was helping my nephew Ethan clean his room just a few weeks ago. How great is that? Now there is another person to watch the "trick" 57,000 times or even read a book.
Let's face it, if our mothers are on Facebook, they aren't falling behind in our tech loving world. It's all just an added bonus to new levels for our kids.
Do your kids use technology to connect with far away loved ones? If so, which forms are their favorites? Are your parents open to new technology or are they intimidated? Tell us in the comments.
I'm helping host a baby shower for a friend in her late 30's. I'm hoping one (or more) of the supersisters might have some creative ideas about baby shower themes or activities? Any great baby shower stories or things you would have appreciated?
Whenever I think about a baby shower, I always envision the movie Lady and the Tramp, with Darling's friends chatting about names and booties while Jim Dear and his friends pass around cigars. It's a rite-of-passage for every mother to be. It can be fun, meaningful, a nice gathering of support and love to welcome a new little person into the world.
Here are a few ideas for you Amber:
The Traditional shower- Tea and tiny cucumber sandwiches, pretty punch and cake served on china. Each guests can bring a baby picture and everyone can write down their guesses with the winner receiving a beautiful orchid or other enchanting potted plant. You might want to buy a leather bound journal and go around the room with each person offering their one bit of sage advice about babies and parenting. Add the amount of children and years of parenting represented in the room. Ask a crafty friend to sew that number of fabric squares together making a small baby blanket to be presented to the mother when the baby is born.
The Sweet and Sassy Onesie party- Onesies never go out of style and are always needed. Ask each guest to bring a sweet, sassy or artsy onesie as part of their baby gift. Hang the onesies on a clothes line against a wall, use bright and colorful clothespins. Vote on your favorite with the winner receiving a Starbucks card. Serve fun food that can be dipped or go all out and rent a chocolate fountain. Here is a great place to start looking for the perfect onesie. Finish the night with every guest signing a tiny white onesie with fabric markers. Messages of love and fun start before the babe is even born.
The Book Baby party- This is a great party for the mom-to-be who has everything. Ask every guest to bring a baby board book or their favorite children's literature. Take turns passing the books around. Have a short reading from a humorous parenting memoir or blog. Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott is a great start. Eat panninis, serve coffee and tea, and have decadent chocolate cake for dessert. Guess the baby's due date, weight, height with a promise of a Barnes & Noble gift card mailed to the winner in the baby announcement. Another group gift idea- Gather money for a candid photo session for the new family right after birth.
The Blessingway- A blessingway, rooted in a Native American tradition, is a way to honor the mother and encourage her before she gives birth. You can give a very pregnant woman a soothing foot bath with herbs and flowers. Ask each guest to bring a bead that can represent a blessing for the mom, string them together to make a necklace reminding her of the care and love surrounding her. Serve veggies and hummus, berries, fruit smoothies, a light cake and herbal teas. Shower the mom with gifts just for her, dark chocolate, nice pajamas, lotions, candles, etc. Light candles and make the space dreamy. It's a lovely way to invite a woman into the tribe of motherhood.
The Grandmother Shower- My mom has been invited to a few grandmother showers. The to be grandmother (usually with her first grandchild) and her friends get together to celebrate the upcoming event. The attendees give gifts of books, photo albums, some baby equipment and other memory making kind of gifts. Advice is exchanged along with funny grandparenting stories. The mother to be may or may not attend.
The Diaper and Dinner shower- This shower is for the frequent flyers, you know the ones who are on their 2nd, 3rd or even 4th baby. Everyone brings a package of diapers and a casserole that can be freezed or signs up for a date to bring a meal. I hear they are all the rage and deeply appreciated the second go around.
Well, hope that helps Amber. We need more ideas! Please share your best baby shower themes and party plans in the comments.