Monday, March 26, 2018

Grand Parenting - Grand Parent Boot Camp Part-III

So your little one wants a Skateboard which makes you want to take up that Xanax hobby you have been promising yourself!  What are you going to do now?  Here at Grand-Pa Boot Camp, I aim to fill in some blanks.  Here is your Skateboard 101, 102 and Advanced Placement for Skateboarding courses.

Skateboarding 101-
Skateboard or skateboarding was invented "according to Wikipedia" in 1944 by the Parents/Grandparents of French children who had skates attached to a wooden board.  More contemporary pieces of equipment were sold at a "1950's Surf Shop in LA, California" for "Sidewalk- Surfing" when the waves at the beach were too small to surf.  A skateboard in rudimentary form has several prefabricated components built together to accomplish the task at hand. A flat board mounted on 4 skate wheels, allowing such a rider to gracefully float or ride along stretches of concrete, sidewalk, or blacktop.  My first board was made of a child metal skates dismantled into two parts which were then nailed into a 2' chunk of 2x4.  Raw, noisy, bumpy, dangerous...just the way I like my entertainment.  Anyway, the Industry of skateboarding is a multi-billion dollar entity spanning the globe with 11+ million kids eager to dare and parents wary to spend hundreds of dollars for equipment.  The prime demographic of child avidly skateboarding is the 9 and under crowd.  After several years of boarding these young kids mature into the 10-14 demographic who are the ones wanting all the equipment, gear, and apparel.

Today's modern example of the Skateboard is a technical piece of equipment, precision tooled and constructed for maximum efficiency and safety.  Urethane wheels, sealed roller ball bearings, composite decks, trucks of various metals, and a gripping coated surface all come together to meet the specific functional needs of the rider and venue.  So what are these components that make a skateboard?

Deck = Flat plane of various materials 18" to up to 8 feet long.  Fiberglass, wood, plastic resin, composite mixtures, even metal can be used as a "board" or skateboard deck.  However, the deck should always have flexibility.  Stiff decks carry more vibration to the feet and are more difficult to control.  Some decks are flared up at one or both ends for a kick-tail.   Various shapes of the decks have been adapted over the years for specific riding style and function.  Long boards have always been for distance and speed.

Wheels = Polyurethane wheels of various colors for appearance, diameter and width for stability, and hardness for either smooth or course ride.  Wheels have ratings to pay attention to such as Durometer rating.

Trucks = Alloy metal structures that have spindles holding 2 wheels perfectly parallel mounted to underside of the deck.  Trucks have different height and width specifications depending on size of deck and wheels to be used with them.

Sealed Bearings = circular encased steel ball bearings resembling donuts that mount inside the collar of the urethane wheels, sliding onto the spindle of the trucks, held in place by locking nuts.  Bearings also have a scaled measurement to pay attention to known as ABEC rating.  ABEC is a measurement of ball bearing efficiency.  The numerical scale of 1 - 9 indicates machined tolerances and precision construction.   The larger the ABEC rating the smaller the tolerances and the greater the efficiency.

Grip = coating of composite material resembling sand glued to tape attached to top of desk to facilitate the grip of shoes/sneakers/feet on the deck surface.

There you go.  A modern skateboard in basic form.
1 deck
2 trucks
4 wheels
8 sealed bearings (2 per wheel or spindle)
Various hardware pieces to construct a skateboard

So how much is little Johnny's "Street-Rippa" going to cost you?  That depends on who is going to ride and what venue is going to be ridden.  A basic example for a new young rider can be gotten "up at the Walmart" for about $30.00.  A more customized piece of machinery will cost anywhere from $80 to several hundred dollars.  My Santa Cruz Tiger Shark complete board was purchased from a local skate shop at a cost of $125.00.
Congratulations you have graduated to Skateboarding102.

Skateboarding 102 -
a. Safety
OK so your getting your little one a board.  The kid is excited and you are terrified.  The last thing a Grandpa needs is an Emergency Room Trauma Visit  while on Grandpa's watch.  So, here is what you can do to mitigate risk, manage potential injury, and coach to success.  Where success = get on the board - ride the board - get off the board - no one gets hurt.

Safety Gear Checklist - These items can be had "up at the Walmart", sporting goods store, or Skateboard shop if you dare to go there.  Frankly, that is your best bet for all this equipment.  You can get dedicated safety equipment, sold by experienced sales staff, in a setting dedicated to skateboarding with an added benefit.  Parents of other children will be there buying such equipment and getting excited over it especially if you go there on a Saturday.  Call the local store near you and ask when is the busiest time.  Then go at that typical time and plan on spending a good long while in the store.  Let your little one browse, learn, and get influenced by some experienced peers willing to mentor your intrepid new rider.  Here is your checklist of what your daredevil needs...
Knee pads
Elbow Pads
Deck Shoes or sneakers
Visors, safety glasses, sunglasses
Large First aid kit
Ibuprofin, acetaminophen, first-aid spray
Did I mention gloves?

Alrighty then.  How can you coach a child on how to ride a skateboard when you tried to ride one once and once was all it took to land you flat on your back in pain for weeks unable to sit without pain for months!  I will tell you.  Skateboarding is all about linear balance, weight distribution,center of balance, foot placement, friction, and velocity.  You can become an expert on everything except the velocity part and demonstrate it yourself.  Before allowing the little one to roll on concrete get onto these instructions.
Get your or his/her safety gear on.  
Gain balance on the deck by standing on the board while the board is stationary on grass outside or carpet inside the residence.
Practice walking on the board back and forth without turning around then progress to turning around on the board.  After several minutes of gained composure you can try dancing on the board.
Get wild! Jump up with both feet in air several inches above the deck and land firmly.  Crouch down and touch the floor below the deck and stand back up.  Use bent knees to balance, move arms in tai-chi fashion to move about the board like it was a 3'x5' platform.  Spin slowly on the deck surface.
Repeat above until you and/or child can firmly balance on the deck for several minutes without violent arm swaying or loss of balance
Finally, on a stationary board master the balancing act of one foot on the deck and one raised up above the deck and then off to the side of the deck.  This is the most unstable maneuver to perform but necessary to gain the velocity part of skateboarding nirvana.   When you or your little one have mastered these activities then and only then may you attempt a roll.  If at this point with a stationary board under you or your child, there is err lack of confidence or balance.  I can recommend another exercise. You will need some smooth carpet at least 6'x8' and some rope.  Place the carpet on a flat surface indoors or out and hang the rope from above. Support structure and rope must be able to support your weight or the child's weight.  Hold onto rope while stepping up onto the board.  Pull yourself up crunch style dangling feet above the deck and plant feet back down on the board.  Now hold the rope, stand on the board with knees in slightly bent stance, and force the wheels to roll over the carpet surface back and forth in linear motion.  This will accomplish several important things.  Control balance, gain confidence, strengthen leg muscles, and experience controlled linear movement on the rolling board.  Practice makes perfect.

So you are an expert or you have coached your little one to a point where it is time.  Time to roll.  You have two options here for a first roll.  You can either repeat the rope trick on flat concrete without the carpet or dance with your partner.  Either you will be danced by another individual who can support your weight or you will dance the child on the board.  Hold onto the rope - step onto the board with one then other foot.  With both feet on the board, knees slightly bent and springy, feet at least 12-16 inches apart slowly pull the rope to maneuver linear roll of the board.  Do Not Let go of the rope!  If the board rolls out form underneath your center of balance support your weight and pull up off the board and let it roll away.  Keep trying to master this technique.  Otherwise, have a partner dance with you.  Partner must wear shoes or sneakers.  Hold hands with partner keeping hands at shoulder height while facing each other with board between you and partners feet.  Partner should place his/her foot in front of rear truck of the board to act as a wheel chock.  Place one foot on deck. Place second foot on deck.  Stay in standing position on deck until balance and confidence is gained.  Then partner can move foot from chocking rear truck and pull you slowly and gently forward in a slow roll.  Stop rolling and have partner roll you backwards without changing position on the deck.
Do this exercise until balance, strength, and confidence are gained.  Now - by golly I think you are ready.  Ready for the next step.  Yes, you can stand on the board while holding and supporting your weight with a rope or partner and even roll a few feet.  Yes you or the little one are really dangerous now. But, there is still lack of velocity.  Back to the carpet before you break your neck.
 Place board at edge of carpet.
Place the foot of your strong leg at front of deck just over the center of the truck or slightly aft.
Push off with foot on carpet and stand knees bent on deck.  Roll until friction of the carpet stops you.
Remove foot of your weak leg, then your dominant foot.  There you go.  You rolled under your own power, several feet, and no one got hurt.  Master this and its go time.

All of the above will help you or your little daredevil to gain balance and strength on the board moving or not.  There is basic sturdiness that one must master while on the deck of a moving skateboard.  If you feel confident enough to go-go-go at this point then have at it.  Make sure you have others with you that can assist with your first aid or call 911 in the event of catastrophic failure and most certainly be with and around - near your little one the first time they solo roll.

Some things to keep in mind.  Friction is your friend and your worst enemy in the split second of time while rolling on a skateboard.  Too little friction creates a wildly smooth surface which makes it harder to control velocity and acceleration.  Ultra smooth surfaces like tennis courts/basketball courts, hard wood flooring, and school hallways are challenging.  Surfaces with random cracks, pebbles, and uneven planes are hazardous and can be deadly.  When a rolling skateboard wheel of about 2-3 inches in diameter meets a 0.5-1.0 cm pebble...wheel will stop abruptly and human will continue travel in centripetal velocity off the deck resulting in bodily injury and possibly death.
Wear all the safety gear
Pick a flat smooth wide open surface devoid of cars, animals, and other humans
Start with your dominant foot on the front of the deck aft of the front truck
Push with your minor leg and place minor foot on back of deck at least 12-116 inches aft of dominant foot
Keep knees bent and springy, arms raised and out perpendicular to motion of travel.
Roll until a stop or push off again with minor foot repeating over and over.

Now there is velocity.  Controlled movement.  Exhilaration, Excitement.  Whoo-hoo!  Keep going.  Practice, practice, practice.

c. Falling
What about the fall? What do I do if I start to fall.  Well hopefully, the fall will be forward and not a backward uncontrolled chaos.  If the board rolls out from underneath you and you lose balance and fall backwards - Well you are doomed.  Place your hands behind you and try to sit on your hands.  Avoid hitting the head.  Even with a helmet a severe blow to the head/helmet on hard surface can cause concussion, lacerations,  and trauma to upper vertebrae.  If the board stops and body continues with forward velocity, place hands in front of you to soften a crash to surface.  Take brunt of trauma to knee pads, gloved hands, and elbow pads if needed.  Crashing on a skateboard is an art form in itself.  I know from personal experience.  I have crashed hard enough and severe enough to cause enough gushing blood to paint a 3x5 Rembrandt recreation.  Now that movement is mastered you have graduated to Skateboarding Advanced Placement/Honors class.

 Skateboard Culture

Skateboarding is mainstream entertainment now.  It is everywhere.  Just driving the 8 miles to work back and forth 5 days a week I see at least one skateboarder riding somewhere.  After the "Hover-Board" craze burns out [pun intended], kids will be back to the old standby adrenaline rush tool - The Skateboard!  Why do kids love it so much?  How come adults can morph skateboarding into a sport, avid pass-time, ultimate adrenaline rush, money-making side job, or lucrative brick and mortar business.  Skate culture has been stigmatized over the years with iconic visions of young adult riders wearing baggy trousers, pony tails, un-kept dirty looking, needing a shower type of kids riding , performing tricks, and ruining local infrastructure such as curbs, railings, benches like such as...Skateboards can be terribly destructive.  Railings, walls, tennis courts, and bench seats can all be used to catapult some kind of trick on the board while suffering scrappage, paint removal, and worse.

Skateboarding is big business.  High tech equipment matched with apparel of the riders taste with a healthy mix of safety gear all make up the culture of the skateboarder of today.  Sure there are those "daredevils" out there - I mean really out there who attempt horrific stunts only to epically fail with road rash like bloody chop-meat skin, broken bones protruding from appendages, and spitting their teeth out like Chiclets. These are the counter-culture nuts that give boarding a bad image.  Sure, if you cruse 20 MPH down a hill and purposely crash into a tree you will probably will rack up some YouTube hits.  Not nearly enough to pay the the Emergency Room visit post ambulance ride.

In comes the age of the skate park.  Studies have shown that when municipalities build skateboard parks the resident kids commit less crime, and ultimately get into less trouble with the law.  Kids can spend all day at the skate park riding down walls of bowls, traversing galleys, and performing spectacular tricks defying gravity and logic.  Skateboarding takes great agility, balance, and strength to be able to ride day in day out day after day.  Riding flat surfaces is no picnic either.  It is hard work.  Riding up and down walls of concrete bowls is great fun, difficult to master, and strenuous.  Kids love skateboarding.  They can ride the board as transportation to the park, perform stunts all day long, and ride back home.  As a kid I rode my board all over town.  I had an Airedale Terrier dog who was greased lightning fast and had so much energy he would run run run.  I attached a harness to him and let him pull me while riding the board across town.  I did not need nor want a motorized board - I had Canine power.  I was a kid lucky enough to have an uncle who worked for Grumman Corporation - The people who made the Lunar Module for the NASA Apollo Space Program.  Uncle made me two skateboard decks out of diamond plate steel.  These two skateboards were perfect for destroying bicycle spokes.  I had jousting events with local bike riders and I never got hurt but the bikes all had to be carried home.

Skateboarding is/can be a big business but has to be the right venue to make money.  There are estimated to be 25+million skateboarders in USA alone. Brick and mortar stores nearby the local skate park in town can do well.  The big warehouse type facilities with massive square footage require pricing to be so high because of liability issues that kids and parents just can't afford to make it  an avid past-time for the kids.  Many cities and towns are constructing quality skate parks and the kids are having a real great time.  There are estimated to be about 500 skateboard parks across the country.  Mostly is the western states.  I myself have visited a couple by my home and I was impressed at the construction and execution of the parks.  The best part is the $200,000-400,000 construction cost is picked up by local tax collection to construct the park then the kids ride for free.  It is a win-win.  The kids stay out of trouble, get exercise, and build muscle, stamina, agility, and confidence.

Skate culture clothing, apparel, and gear  are a big money maker.  Brands such as Nike, Vans, and Nixon have become iconic in the culture.  Skateboard design and construction has undergone transformation over the years where now incredible technology is constructed into the boards and cost of the technology is affordable.  A $20-30 board acquired at Walmart is significantly better and safer than anything that could be had in 1960.   A complete board like pictured above  is incredibly agile, stable, and fun to ride.  I still have a board that I acquired when I was a young teen.  I purchased the components to make the complete board.  The APEX mag wheels [see below]cost me $15.00 each back in late 1970"s.  I still ride them today.  I found recently a set of 4 sold for $189.00 at auction.  Hey I invested well when I was 16.

Scott R. Mayorga  A.A.S., BS MT (ASCP)H CLS
@hematech - See more at:
So my intrepid street surfers do not be afraid.  You have the knowledge.  You have the technology.  Now go out there and scrape your guts together to gather up some glory.  Keep rolling and stay balanced.

Scott R. Mayorga  A.A.S., BS MT (ASCP)H CLS

Friday, December 18, 2015

Grand Parenting - The Grandparent Boot-Camp part-II

Here comes Santa (err Grandpa)...
   As the holidays are upon us this can be a most difficult time for Grandparents.  Living on fixed income, budgetary constraints, rising expenses, and expectation that the Christmas or Holiday gift giving is going to be immense can really stress this Grandpa out!  End of year taxes (Thanks Obama), Obamacare Skyrocketing costs, property taxes, and income taxes can really pack a one-two punch in your gut.  So what to do?  You have Grand Children you want to spoil.  The children make Holidays a magical time of year.  Their glowing faces, sparkle in their eyes, excitement building...then the gift giving culminates in a fury of shredded wrapping paper and happy faces.  This is not all what Christmas is about though. Love for fellow man and woman, neighbors, your peeps, good health and good cheer.  Peace on Earth.  All this is such an abstract concept with all the trouble going on in the world.  As a Grandparent it is my job to bring sparkle to the holiday season, stitch love together like a patch-work quilt, and make the Grand Kids feel warm and loved.  A tall order for the untrained Grandpa or "Crampa" as my 6 year old grandson calls me. What's a Santa wanna-be to do?  Here are some ideas that you can use to bring that sparkle into the Holiday season and not empty your wallet.

Be creative - Be resourceful
When stuff breaks like old toys, old appliances, broken stuff in general take the stuff apart. Save the parts.  Get some small empty boxes and save the plastics, the metals, the flat pieces, the rubber pieces.  Save the screws, clips, metal rods, rollers, wires, bulbs, etc.  If it looks like it can be used again to create or repair save some of it.  I have several boxes of "Stuff".  I use this stuff to create toys for my Grand kids out of nothing.  I also use this stuff to fix toys that break in the normal action of wear and tear with my Grand kids.

Come up with ideas to capture imagination
Some of my best creations have come from recollection of toys I played with as a child.  Toys of today are marvels of artificial intelligence that interact with computer chipped sounds, flashing lights, and very little else.  Being bright and flashy they attract attention for a short time but then their appeal subsides and then become the next items to dissect for parts. What I have found is that my now 6 year old Grandson gets immense enjoyment from concepts I create that invoke his imagination, his motor skills, and challenge his senses.

The Airport Creation - "Glide Slope"
I created a concept he calls the "Airport".  I call it "Glide Slope".  It consists of 4 large pieces.  He plays with the air field part in the house on bad weather days.  I spent about $10.00 USD on it.  Hobby store black foam panel 3' x 4' makes the basis for the air-field.  I purchased a small set of  battery powered blue lights to line the airfield with taxi way lighting.  The second part is the 6 foot runway made of sheets of black dense card-board with strips of cloth holding at the seems.  This is where his airplanes land then taxi onto the airfield.  I painted runway lights with glow in the dark paint.  I created a decal for the runway personalized for him with his name.  Third are the planes.  Basic model planes are best especially the snap together kind.  Quick assembly is key.  The kid is going to crash them up anyway.  Finally, the action.  The magic.  Fishing line and fishing tackle pieces create the magic.  Along with the Cockpit, the fishing line allows the planes to fly through the air under his control and land on the runway.  The cockpit lights up, has a working electronic automobile compass, a game console joystick, and a spinning radar dish.  Aside from the auto-compass all parts were acquired from stuff.  Wires, motors, lights, a plastic clear dome, screws, clips, metal brackets, and paint.  My Grandson asks to play with this toy at least 3 times a month.  He loves it.

For my next concept - "Spin-Art"

I remember a toy I had as a kid called Spin-Art.  It spun paper while you poured paint on it creating artwork.  I am making spin-art as a family gift this holiday season.  It will bring us all together to play and create so even the little guy can play.  I did purchase some parts as clearance items together with the batteries cost me under $12.00 USD.

"Letters from Santa"
Last Holiday Season I sent my Grandson a letter from Santa.  I single page letter on nice paper with Santa' likeness on it.  Whimsical, a little sarcastic, a smidgen of risque innuendo to keep Mom interested while she orates to junior and presto - Instant magic for the holidays.  It was a big hit last year.  St. Nick will be sending out the 2nd edition soon.

"The Set-Train"
This one toy I had a great amount of enjoyment creating and still enjoy watching Grandson and now his little sister playing with it.  It is a train set made of wooden trains, wooden track, set up permanently on a solid wood platform.  Grandson loves it.  It is indestructible.  He can stand on it, walk across it, slam on it and it is still going strong.  I found a 4' x 5' wood platform at my job sort of like a pallet.  I placed the wood track on the platform rearranging until I could get the most elaborate track array on the 4x5 space.  I permanently mounted the track then custom painted the platform for play.  I mounted some fine wood trim around the edges, sanded down sharp corners, and attached plastic utility handles to make carrying the "Set-Train" easy.  All kinds of trains are sold for the wooden track sets including motorized and remote controlled units.

As you can see with a little imagination you can play Santa Clause, build in your own Santa's Workshop, and create magic for the little ones without breaking open the piggy bank for your last dime, eating hot-dogs until July to pay help pay off  holiday shopping charges.

Take care my friends - Merry Christmas - Happy Holidays - May you have a blessed, happy, and healthy new year.

Scott R. Mayorga  A.A.S., BS MT (ASCP)H CLS

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Grand Parenting - The Grand Parent Boot-Camp part-I

As the Grand Father of three beautiful children, two beautiful daughters, and a wonderfully talented wife I believe I have enough life experience to share some worth-while reading material to anyone who is about to become one of life's greatest titles - Grand Parent.  Sure it is easy to become a Grand Parent...Have children, raise them, clothe them, furnish them with their every need, send them off to college or careers, attend wedding, and then attend birth of grand child or a special adoption procedure.  Voila - Instant Grand Parent.  See. easy right?  Here are some tips on how to be a better Grand Parent, smooth the bumpy ride a little, and enjoy every second of "Grand Parent-Hood" where its all good in the hood!  What happens at Grandma's stay's at Grandma's.  There is nothing like the love of a Grand Parent - Nothing like the love for a Grand Child.

Let me start off first by saying of course I love my Grandchildren and they are the center of my fragile little world.  But, my Grand Children are not old enough to commit felonies, misdemeanors, or even a parking violation.  I have no experience with what some Grand Parents go through on a daily basis with a young adult Grand Child who may be responsible for a violent death committed during a robbery for example.  Bless their pointed little heads the ones that get on TV and claim "My little Johnny would never do that" or "Not my my Grand Child"?  That is not what this posting is about.  I am talking boot-camp for the impending earned title of Grand Parent.  There is nothing like earning this prestigious virtual badge of honor.  The birthdays, the holidays, the weekends, the dinners, lunches, sleep-overs, the teaching, the creating...and Here we go!

First Introductions:
The birth of a child is a wondrous occasion.  Human life arriving into the family unit is a grand occasion and you must not miss this event as the Grand Parent if possible.  Meeting the little one for the first time brings such joy whether in the delivery room, hospital nursery, or at a home coming.  This event will melt hearts, water eyes, and fill you up with feelings of instant love and devotion.  Not all baby's are beautiful to every one's eyes but your Grand Child is spectacular to your eyes.  After the birth and through the first few weeks of life little baby Grand Child will develop quickly some mannerism's that you cannot afford to miss which will offer some glimpses of future personality traits.  Holding the little bundle of joy for the first time will bring incredible feelings of love, responsibility, and joy.  After the birth of each of my Grand Children I immediately met them and was able to bond quickly.  My thoughts ran a gamut of emotion.  I helped produce this baby, this child is here because of me and my wife.  My parents also had a part of this as well.  We all would not be here if not for the love of our parents for each other who took on the responsibility of giving birth to us, we in turn give birth to our sons and daughters, and thus here are Grand Children.  God is Great! Praise the Lord!


What will you think when you first hold that Grand Child in your arms?  How will those feelings be validated when your Grand Child holds onto you,clings to you for safety for the first time, asks you a question, or maybe the same question over and over again...There will come a time when a Grand Child physically demands your support for the first time and trusts you with their well being.  When that situation occurs you will immediately see the light bulb light up, you may get a chill in your spine, or you will just get affirmation that you are loved, you are trusted, you are depended on for needs of that child.  This trust you earn will come in handy someday.

Instant Love:
Even before the birth of your first Grand Child there will be mixed feelings and confusion.  You have no idea what you are feeling and you will not know until it clobbers you over the head.  What is it?  It is Love.  Before the birth you will observe the pregnancy as it progresses along, the preparations, the celebrations...But, you will have weird feelings?  Will I love this baby?  Can I love this baby like my own children?  What if I don't?  What is wrong with me?  Don't worry.  That is instant love.  You don't know you love that child but you do.  How can you?  The child is in your daughter's or daughter-in-law's body?  You do love that child.  Trust me you do.  You just don't know it yet.  You can't understand it!  There is inner strength derived from this impromptu love affair yet to begin.  When you hold that baby for the first time you will know.  With each Grand Child you will feel it.  The first Grand Child will scare you to shreds.  The second baby will give you feelings of "I can get through this" and "I have experience with this". The birth of the third one will feel strange.  You are confident you love the child even before birth but worry about bonding.  How can you supply love to all these Grand Children...sometimes all at once no less.  Family gatherings with all the children present at the same time can be scary.  Don't worry.  Remember, that instant love comforted you before the birth - it will carry you along and support all your Grand Children with inner strength even when they are all around you.

Sharing the Love:
Spreading the love is not just presents, treats, or materialistic things you give to your Grand Children although you will enjoy immensely doing so.  "Spreading the love" encompasses teaching, supporting, respecting, bonding, and disciplining the Grand Child.  Rewards given to your Grand Child from you are special though.  While teaching children stranger-danger there is a delicate balance of gaining and fostering trust between you and your Grand Child.  Attaining the level of trust that you can give your Grand Children anything and they will trust you that you will not harm them or in the case of medication or health care; it may not taste or feel good but it is necessary. It takes the good parts and the bad parts together to make everything alright.  Let me give you an example.  Grand Son was 4 years old.  A difficult age.  Very active, very aware, and hard to control.  Grand Son got a terrible splinter from the decking outside the house while my wife Leslie and I had him for the weekend.  We tried to get the splinter out of his foot to no avail.  He screamed, he kicked his legs, and cried in pain.  He cooperated as best he could but it was just too much a task for Grandma and Grandpa.  So off to the pediatric clinic we went.  What an ordeal.  It was really bad.  Screaming, crying, fighting, pain, tears on every one's faces.  After the splinter was cut out of his foot the most important aspect of the whole ordeal occurred.  It was so sad.  But, it made me so proud to be a Grand Parent.  The little guy told the Doctor and Nurses he was sorry for screaming and kicking so much but it hurt so bad.  He hugged his Grandma while bandage was applied.  The Doctor had tears in her eyes.  This little 4 year old went through a very painful ordeal and apologized for screaming.  What a good boy.  He trusted us.  He depended on us as Grand Parents to fix his foot.  It broke our hearts to have him go through that.  I was so proud that he was able to respect strangers he knew he had to depend on, show them gratitude, and have so much bravery in  such an ordeal.

What about that Stranger-Danger? Am I a stranger and "The Order of the Secret Hand Shake"!
Here is a valuable tip for the Grand Parent to be.  Stranger Danger is a natural feeling almost all children will develop.  You just don't know at what age they will develop this sense of well being and who from which they will use it to protect themselves.  Develop a Secret Handshake with your Grand Child at an early age.  How early?  Start at 2-3 months old.  Let me give you an example here of secret handshake.   With my Grand Daughter I started a secret handshake when she was weeks old. I count her fingers and toes on each hand and foot.  Then I take her hand and touch each of my fingers when I count to five.   So, when my Grand Daughter was about 8 months old in her own home upon meeting me one evening she had that sense of stranger danger towards me.  Her Grand Mother was holding her in the kitchen area.  Grandma said "Want to go to Grandpa"?  Little darling looked at me and did not quite look like she wanted any part of me.  I put my hands up as if to reach out to her like I have so many times before.  She cried, turned away, and buried her face in my wife's neck.  Luckily, I had the secret handshake.  I took Grand Daughters hand and I slowly counted her fingers.  Upon reaching 4...she turned to me and stopped crying.   I held out my hands again after 5...and she then came to me.  I held her in my arms and she put her head on my shoulder.  That is how Grand Parents melt.  You should develop this technique of your own.  If not counting fingers, identify eyes, nose, ears, hair.  It can even be some special sounds like gentle whistling, clicking, purring, or singing.  It must be a unique combination of gestures and repeat it often especially when meeting the child after an absence of a day or few days. You will never know when you need it but you will need it some time.  I felt terrible she did not trust me for a moment.  But it is a natural reaction for all children.  It is part of their defense system of self protection.  Being able to break through that defense was priceless.  Here is another example.  My youngest Grand Child born Sept. 2015 loves to lay on his Grand Mothers Chest.  Well I don't have that comfy kind of chest.  So at 5 weeks old, I was holding him on my chest and he was fidgeting, fussing, and starting to cry.  I had to come up with something anything to comfort him.  I started Purring like a cat.  A deep purr so my chest would vibrate under him.  He quieted down, relaxed, and fell asleep.  That was priceless as well. 

Nurturing:  What is that?
How as a Grand Parent can I affect nurturing in a Grand Child?   Nurturing a Grand Child is probably the most important aspect of being a Grand parent. It is a life long process.  You will nurture your Grand Child for the rest of your life.  This is the stuff that will make your Grand Child hurt and cry in pain when you pass.  You may have probably observed with your own children and your parents the power of nurturing and the agony of a child losing a Grand Parent who nurtured them along in their life.  Nurturing stems from wisdom.  Wisdom allows us to teach.  Wisdom gives us street cred with our Grand Children.  When we teach and learn them we have a high level of respect.  One - because this is not Mommy or Daddy teaching.  Two - We are not Mommy or Daddy; we are different.  We have the respect of our children and our Grand Children see that.  This further gives our Grand Children affirmation that we are knowing, have valuable lessons, and can affect our Grand Children immensely.  For example; my wife taught our older Grand Son about "Compassion".  Compassion for Mommy, Daddy, Grandpa, Grandma, Family, other people, animals, and nature.  He is a good little boy with a warm heart and caring spirit. I can skateboard.  My 6 year old is amazed.  I can put him on the front of my skateboard and run him down the street with me.  I can do lots of things he can't.  He is amazed.  My wife Leslie has talents he appreciates as well. When he gets a scrape or bruise he knows Grand Ma can fix him up and make him feel better.  He watches, learns, soaks up information and emulates as best he can. With our 2nd Grand Child Leslie taught her "Kitty-Face".  What is Kitty-Face you ask?  Squint your eyes and extend your mouth sideways.  That is Kitty-Face!  Grand Daughter picked up on that real quick.  Now anytime she wants something like a toy, cookie, milk, juice or whatever; she does "kitty-Face" and sometimes repeatedly in rapid succession I might add.  It is so cute and smart.  That is nurturing.  The secret handshake is nurturing as well.

Sadness - Happiness  and Understanding:

Your grandchildren growing up are going to go through periods of happiness, sadness, and hysteria on either side of the emotional scale.  It is important to cope with these swings, manage, control, and nurture at the same time.  Letting little Johnny get away with bad behavior because in a few hours he will go home to his Mother does no one any favors.  Stability, cohesiveness, fairness, and leading by example are so important.  The bad behavior you let the Grand Children get away with even out of apathy will intensify as the child gets older.   Reward, guide,  and counsel your Grand Children through their various stages of development.  Counsel with kindness the bad - reward the good.  The child's mind is like a sponge. Empower them with small wins or accomplishments.  They will respect you and someday they will come through for you.  Here is an example.  My little guy had just turned 5 years old.  He is starting to get really interested in cars, mechanical stuff, engines, how stuff works, etc.  So I taught him how to start a gas powered electric generator.  I brought him outside, Instructed him in the procedure of how to start the machine.  I demonstrated.  Then I asked him to start the machine.  He refused.  He was afraid of the noise.  I told him to do it but the engine will not start because the gas flow will be off.  He demonstrated the procedure for me in a dry run.  Then I asked him to repeat for real.  He did.  He was so excited.  He accomplished it and he felt empowered.  Not more than a month later his Father purchased a generator of different model, color, size, etc.  Little guy was home with his mother and the electricity went out.  He was able to start his Father's generator for his Mother when it really counted.  Now, every couple of months when I test start the generator I have my little guy do it.
When the children hit a low emotional point it is important to respond appropriately as well.  Don't feel inclined to try to give them the world to make them feel better.  They probably just want someone to babble on to, complain to, rant, whatever you want to call it.  Don;t let them be disrespectful or mean but let them vent.  Support but firmly guide them away from mean trash talk and despair.  Kids want guidance and fairness.  Give it to them.  Also, meal time is so important to maintain stability as well.  No toys or electronic devices at the table.  No TV or distractions.  Just nutrition, conversation, and good behavior.  For the best behavior there will be desert.  For bad behavior there is no desert.  Plain and simple.  No screaming, no yelling, no threatening language.

Gather up some tools for success:
Lets face it - kids like to receive stuff as gifts, surprises, and for just whatever reason.  You are the Grandparent. It is your right to reward your little ones.  Don't break the bank though.  Here are some tips to get prepared.  Gather up some art supplies such as paper, paints, craft kits, markers, pencils, crayons, etc..  These are great for when the weather is too bad to go outside.  Shop the clearance sections at hobby and toy stores.  Garage sales are also a good source of stuff.  After Christmas sales, after Valentines sales, etc.  Shop and save the items.  Distribute to the kids when appropriate.  Do the same with sports equipment, fitness, etc.
Kids like the simple stuff but They want interaction and activity.  They love games and play.  They love that interaction right up to bed time.  Get some books that are are relaxing, calming, and have happy subject matter to read.  Read to the kids before they go to sleep during sleepovers.  A  snack, a bath, and some important time together to relax and read is perfect before bed.  Start at young age like two or earlier and continue as long as you can.

Injuries, hurts, sickness oh my:
  It is inevitable; the kids stay for long periods of time and they are going to get injured or hurt under your watch.  Be smart and prepare.  Work out the details before hand about doctor visits if needed, emergency room visits, minor over the counter medication administration and such.  Work out all the high level details with you kids about what to do with the Grand Children in such circumstances.  Obtain a copy of medical insurance cards, note social security numbers, and for long periods of watch like more than 2 days get written documentation from the parents to be able to administer care.  It is called "Loco Parentis".  If you have the Grandchildren and your son or daughter is on extended vacation on a ship or across the prepared.  Leslie wrote an intuitive blog post on "Traveling With Children" on her blog   Take a look to review the post for insightful info on traveling with Grand Children written by a Neonatal/Pediatric Nursing Professional and former School Nurse.

Obtaining the title of Grand Parent is easy.  Being a great Grand Parent is difficult.  I am fortunate to have a great partner; my wife Leslie of  The Grand kids adore her, respect her, and are crazy in love for her.  She is a Pediatric/Neonatal ICU Nurse so that is an added bonus for all in our family.  We all can't be Pediatric Nurses.  But, if you maintain fairness, be practical and stable in your guidance of your Grand Children you will succeed.

Have fun, love your Grand Kids, and don;t be afraid.  Be that Great Grand Parent!

Scott R. Mayorga  A.A.S., BS MT(ASCP)H CLS
@hematech - See more at:
Scott R. Mayorga A.A.S., BS MT (ASCP)H CLS

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