Island Grandparent Summer 2018

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Grandparent I S L A N D

S U M M E R 2 0 1 8

Here & There 10 Things to Do with Your Grandkids

Celebrating Family Heritage


Making Meaningful Memories

Grand Gifts Made Easy!

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CONTENTS Welcome.................................. 5 The Little Things...................... 6 This & That.............................. 8 Grr-and Ventures.................. 10 Act One, Enter Giggling......... 11 Keeping Gramma Company................................ 12 Here & There......................... 16 Summertime Music with Grandkids...................... 19 The Art of Storytelling........... 20 Supporting Healthy Language Development......... 22 Eye Rolls & Pontification....... 24 Natural Sun Safety & Outdoor Skin Care for Kids.... 26 Building a Love of Reading.... 28 Model Grandmas................... 29 Celebrating Family Heritage..................... 30

FRED PENNER Legendary Canadian Children’s Performer

SUN FEB 10 | 2:30 PM

ONE MAN STAR WARS TRILOGY performed with permission of Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved

Island Grandparent, published by Island Parent Group Enterprises Ltd., is a biannual publication that honours and supports grandparents by providing information on resources and businesses for families, and a forum for the exchange of ideas and opinions. Views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher. No material herein may be reproduced without the permission of the Editor. Island Grandparent is distributed free in selected areas.

Island Parent Magazine

830–A Pembroke St, Victoria, BC V8T 1H9 250-388-6905  islandparent.ca

Sue Fast Editor

Mark Warner Publisher/Owner

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Next Issue: September 2018 Advertising Booking Deadline: August 15 On the Cover: Alison Wilensky with Ailinn S, Nimiway S and Odin S. Photo by Darshan Alexander Photography, darshanphotography.com


Welcome to Island Grandparent L ooking for a name more creative than Grandma or Grandpa? Then pick up a copy of Georgia Witkin’s The Modern Grandparent’s Handbook and look no further. Along with the standard grandparent name variations—Nana, Papa, Granny and Pop—Witkin lists over 250 alternatives, dividing them by gender into three categories: Traditional, Trendy and Playful. Not keen on Granny? How about Gitchie, Gadget or Jamagramma? Pops not quite playful enough? What about UmPaPa, G-Dude or Faux Pa? According to a poll at Grandparents.com, 64 per cent of those surveyed agreed that, yes, traditional names are too formal; 23 per cent “had to” choose a flashy new grandparent name because the traditional ones were already taken; and 13 per cent answered “Why reinvent the wheel? A name is a name.”

The same survey asked participants if they like their grandparent name: 44 per cent said “Yes. My grandchild chose it,” 43 per cent said “Yes. I chose it myself,” nine per cent said “Yes. Even though someone else chose it,” four per cent said “Not really, but I’ll live with it,” and one per cent said “Not at all.” One reason some grandparents might not like names such as Grandpop or Granny is because they can conjure up “gray hair and orthopedic shoes,” writes columnist Paula Span in Generation Grandparent for The New York Times. We too often won’t use hearing aids, even if we need them, she argues. And we may not claim the senior discount at the movie theatre. So it stands to reason that “We don’t want these wonderous new creatures calling us names that signify old age either.” In this day and age, when children often have more than two sets of grandparents and

all the good names might already be gone, it’s wise to have a few back-ups in mind. But don’t get too attached to your chosen name. Chances are, your new grandbaby will add a slight twist of his or her own. Be prepared for an array of deviations such as Gander, Dinghy, Dud Dud and PooPaw. No matter what name you’ve chosen—or how your grandchildren pronounce it—we

Sue Fast hope this issue of Island Grandparent adds to your stores of hard-won wisdom. You’ll find articles on everything from celebrating family heritage, the gift of grandchildren, and an old man’s advice on communication, to natural sun safety and outdoor skin care for kids, building a love of reading, and 10 things to do on the Island with the grandkids. Just like the time you spend with your grandchildren, we hope you enjoy every minute—and every page—of Island Grandparent.

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Summer 2018  5


The

Little Things

Y

ears ago, when my daughters were on the edge of adolescence, a neglected item of clothing allowed me a moment of time travel. In a burst of spring cleaning, I found one of my old jackets wedged deep in the back of a closet. When I searched its pockets, I discovered a tiny doll. In an instant I was transported back to the season when my pockets were perennially full of little toys, bits of driftwood and pretty stones. As I held that doll, I tried to remember the last time I’d been entrusted with one of my children’s treasures. I couldn’t. An entire life stage had somehow slipped through my fingers without notice.

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Island Grandparent


My daughters are grown women now, and the two oldest have children of their own. But as I get caught up in the busyness of daily life, I still find it too easy to take the little things for granted. A friend of mine inadvertently reminded me how fortunate I am. Her own children are both in their thirties, but there are no grandchildren on the immediate horizon. My friend is dating a man who does have grandkids, however, and the youngest one recently presented her with a lovely drawing. My friend gave the drawing pride of place on the front of her refrigerator and drew attention to it at our last visit. “Do you have any idea how long it’s been since I received a piece of children’s art?” she asked. Point taken. I returned home that evening with a new appreciation for the knee-level handprints on my sliding glass door and the plastic dinosaurs lurking behind the couch—evidence of the three-year-old in my life. Gratitude is the perfect antidote for taking life’s little gifts for granted. I first turned to gratitude as a conscious practice following my mother’s premature death from cancer five years ago. It was initially a way to cope with grief, but it became much more. Through the lens of gratitude—a discipline that can be cultivated—I discovered that I was surrounded with gifts, both big and small. Some were obvious, while some required more intentional observation. Our grandchildren are certainly gifts, simply by their existence. What could be more primally fulfilling than knowing that life goes on into the next generation? But our children’s children bring smaller gifts to our lives as well, gifts that can be missed if we aren’t paying attention. The impossible softness of newborn skin. The trusting grip of little fingers. The proud grin that follows a soccer goal or a well-executed gymnastics routine. Gratitude and the practice of mindfulness seem to go hand-in-hand. When practiced formally, mindfulness is also known as meditation—time set aside to clear the mind of distraction, to get quiet and centred while anchored in an awareness of the breath. Practiced informally, mindfulness is about fully entering the present moment, focusing the attention on one thing, at one time, without judgement. While mindfulness is rooted in Buddhist tradition, western medical professionals are increasingly recognizing its benefits to mental and physical well-being. Health benefits aside, as a grandparent I’m interested in how mindfulness can enrich my relationship with my grandkids. Life is busy and our grandchildren don’t always live nearby. Mindfulness won’t give us more time IslandParent.ca

together, but it will help us make the most of each moment we do get. How do we practice mindfulness with our grandkids? We put aside our phones in their company. We focus on one thing at a time. We invite them to join us in our work in the garden or at the kitchen counter. We explain what we’re doing in words they understand. We choose to see them, to look into their eyes when they’re speaking—whether in person or on Skype. We choose to hear them, to really listen to what they’re saying. We savour the little things: the dimples in an infant’s arm, the dusky smell of a toddler’s hair, the bangs that fall into a teenager’s eyes. We put aside judgement about what they’re wearing or how they’re behaving in a given moment, surrendering those responsibilities to their parents. We learn to respond rather than to react. This kind of moment-by-moment presence should be easier to practice with our grandkids than it was when we were parenting their moms and dads. In theory we’re older and wiser this time around, and more aware of the calendar turning. Most of us have less responsibility as grandparents, less need to multitask or to control outcomes. We can afford to slow down, to appreciate each life stage before it slips past. But it does take intention.

I’ll be babysitting my three-month-old granddaughter this evening. She knows how to take a bottle, but this will be the first time her mother hasn’t nursed her to sleep. There may be some tears, but I’m confident we’ll get

Rachel Dunstan Muller through them. I’ll bounce her gently, croon soft lullabies near her ear, feel the warm, squirming weight of her against my chest. And when at last she falls asleep, I’ll listen to her breathe for a while before tiptoeing gratefully from her room. We can’t stop time or even slow it down, but we can learn to be more present in the moments we’re given. Being mindful of even the little things can help us to see our grandchildren fully and love them unconditionally. Isn’t that our job as grandparents? Rachel Dunstan Muller is the mother of five, and a children’s author. Her previous articles can be found at islandparent.ca.

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This &That

Visual Ways of Storytelling 1. Make a family photo album and share it with your grandkids. 2. Create a family history picture compendium online. Perhaps you can even get some computer tips from your grandchildren for this one. 3. Fill in a family calendar with important dates for your family and discuss it periodically (weekly, monthly, seasonally, etc.) 4. Create a set of matching cards using pictures of family members and/or events and play it with your grandchildren. You can assign bonus points if they recount facts about the pictures on the cards.

From Passing On Your Family History to Your Grandkids by Dave Price at sixtyandme.com.

Other grandparents tell me how much more patient and attentive they’ve become, how much less anxious, how willing to be silly. Freed of the oppressive conviction that everything we do, or fail to do, shapes children’s futures, we can simply revel in being with them.

Paula Span at nytimes.com

GRANDPARENTS RAISING GRANDCHILDREN SUPPORT GROUP

Are you are a grandparent raising your grandchildren? You are not alone. To talk with someone about resources and programs that you may not be aware of, call the province-wide GRG Information Line toll free at 1-855-474-9777. You can also find out about programs on the Island that provide opportunities to meet with other grandparents who are raising their grandchildren, along with information, support and activities. Find out more by visiting parentsupportbc.ca.

Grandparents’ Health & Family Well-Being

Canada’s 7.1 million grandparents and great-grandparents make unique, diverse and valuable contributions to families and society, serving as role models, nurturers, historians, sources of experiential knowledge and more. As with the general population, the grandparent population in Canada is aging rapidly, sparking some concern in the media and public discourse about the potential impact of this “grey tsunami.” However, despite being older, data show that the health of grandparents has improved over the past 30 years. This trend can positively impact families, since healthy grandparents can have a higher capacity to contribute to family life and help younger generations manage family responsibilities such as child care and household finances. From the Vanier Institute of the Family at http://vanierinstitute.ca.

7 Ways Grandparents Affect their Families Dr. James S. Bates, who studies the effects of grandfathers on their families, divides the kind of activities they do with their grandchildren into seven categories (which apply to grandmas too): 1. Lineage. The effort to help grandchildren learn about and interpret the family’s history. 2. Mentoring. Efforts to teach and pass on practical skills and knowledge. 3. Spiritual. Offering comfort, encouragement and advice. 4. Character. Efforts to nurture and shape grandchildren’s character and personality as they become ethical and responsible members of society. 5. Recreation. Efforts to organize, facilitate, and participate in leisure activities with grandchildren. 6. Family identity. Efforts to encourage strong family relationships and appropriate interpersonal behaviors among family members. 7. Investment work. Assisting grandchildren in becoming financially self-reliant in adulthood. From Why Kids Need Their Grandparents by Brett & Kate McKay at artofmanliness.com

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Island Grandparent

Top 5 Grandparent Rules

1. Remember you are the grandparent, and not the parent. You must earn the parents’ trust. The responsibility feels even greater than when you were a parent. When you were younger and driving your kids from place to place, you did not think twice about it. But now, these are not your own kids. They are your children’s children, and that is a bigger and more intense responsibility. 2. Learn to zip your mouth. This is a hard and steadfast rule that must be followed. If you are the parent of a son, you learn this rule right away. But, as the mother of a daughter, the boundaries may be less stringent. There are times when you want to step in and express your opinion. Wait until you are asked! And then, tread lightly. More importantly, practice self-control even when you know the answer. 3. Pay attention to the parents’ rules. Yes, they have their own set of rules that are established in the dynamics of their family. Again, it’s their child and their home and their life. And the child rearing guidelines are always evolving. We had our chance to be the parents. Now it’s their turn! 4. Make your own life a priority. It’s so easy to plan your life around your children and your grandchildren. Do not sit and wait all the time to be directed and contacted. You need to continue to create your own daily fulfillment and if you are not…well, we suggest you start. Yes, we agree, it’s even easier to worry about them—and obsess over the worrying, but, it’s your life too. Take care of you. Enjoy your time, your spouse, and all the life experiences you can create. 5. It’s not necessary to buy love. Okay, here’s where it gets sticky. This is a hard one. We like to do, and go, and buy. But, what you can’t buy is quality time. Enjoy the moments. Be present. Be mindful of what you are doing now. Playing a game together, reading a book, taking a walk, singing your favourite songs—these are all memories that money can’t buy. It’s best for you and for them not to create the association that you come bearing gifts all the time. This is not a good example any child will benefit from. From Are there Grandparent Rules? by Leslie Zinberg & Kay Ziplow at huffingtonpost.com.


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Three Priceless Gifts of Grandparents That Schools Need to Hack By Michele Worth, educator and parent

Reflecting on grandparents, my own and my children’s, I felt nostalgic, tender-hearted, and then frustrated knowing that the gifts grandparents give aren’t being valued as they ought to be. This age-old role offers an innovative ideal from which schools need to learn.

A

s an educator and parent, I often wonder why schools do not draw inspiration from the authentic relationship of grandparent-grandchild. While some schools welcome grandparent volunteers, few, if any, ask, “What are the components of learning with one’s grandparents that facilitate success, and how can schools adopt these principles as the underpinnings of learning?” Grandparents as Educators My children’s grandparents have watched as childhood has been made smaller by anxiety and fear. Children no longer roam and discover the world away from adults. Honouring the quality of wonder that comes from looking at the sky or listening to summer cicadas, especially when an iPhone or tablet is at-hand, are pleasures many children, my own included, don’t know in the way that their grandparents did as children. Cultivating curiosity is the gift that grandparents give their grandchildren; whereas, schools are often focused on “delivery of curriculum,” instead of exploration and experimentation. The roaming that does occur for kids today is walking from class to class waiting for the teacher to ‘download’ information. What if learners were free to ‘roam’ with their ideas and questions? What if school time was spent cultivating that ready-made desire to learn that lights up the faces of children? Creative and critical thinking, essential skills for the 21st century, require a school culture where mistake-making is encouraged. Mistake-making is how we learn. Grandparents know the power of trying and failing and intuitively supporting this.

Grandparents as Seers Grandparents ‘see’ their grandchildren separate from the hurriedness and domestic juggle of daily living. Perhaps the greatest gift given to a child is that of being witnessed— seen, heard, validated. This is one of the super-powers that grandparents possess. Observing my parents with my children allowed me to integrate the connections between my personal and professional worlds. The mentoring role is essential for ensuring kids thrive. The reality is, this is not doable in traditional school settings where most kids wait hours, days or weeks to get a fraction of the one-on-one time they need. Learning communities need to be environments in which, as psychologist Gordon Neufeld asserts, “a child can realise his or her full human potential.” Grandparents as Advocates Where and how grandchildren spend their time away from family is crucial, and often we default to having children split their time with a school, without doing a fact-check. Kids spend an average of 11,700 hours in classrooms from K-12. One thing that grandparents know in spades—time is irreplaceable, and often the most exceptional lessons take place outside the four walls of the school. With 25 years teaching experience, I know that meaningful learning is dynamic and hands-on and shouldn’t be limited by logistics; logistics need to shift for learning. Explore chemistry by setting up and monitoring an aquarium; understand watersheds by exploring one; make a bow by first walking in a forest, exploring properties of different woods and selecting the just-right shape that will convert itself into the physics of an arrow’s flight.

— Michele Worth, Director of Inquiry, Arc Academy of Inquiry (www.arcacademy.ca)

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Summer 2018  9


Grr-and

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Get into the waves and on to the Wibit! Victoria’s only wave pool with a 10m waterslide, diving boards, Wibit inflatable, rope swing and loads of fun! Enjoy 4 ozone treated pools, steamroom, sauna and swirlpool. Family changerooms and family rate of just $13.50. Birthday party packages, library, café and free parking. This world class facility is a ‘must-visit’ for out of town guests! 4636 Elk Lake Drive

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Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites March or run; spy or signal your position; climb or go underground at Fort Rodd Hill, a 100-year-old coast artillery fort. Then steer a ship; sound the fog horn; master the games inside Fisgard, the oldest lighthouse on the west coast. Participate in spectacular special events planned for the summer, pick-up an Xplorer activity book and stay overnight in one of our new oTENTik tents. These special places, only 15 minutes west of downtown Victoria, are so cool. Admission is FREE for youth age 17 and under. 250-478-5849 pc.gc.ca/fortroddhill Facebook.com/FortRoddFisgardNHS Twitter.com/FortRoddFisgard


Act One, Enter Giggling “H airbrush Mom!” Natasha, sweet 16 this month, is trying to get rid of knots before she leaves for school, but her mom won’t lend her brush. “Use your own!” “But mine’s not working properly. The bristles are worn.”

Thirty seconds of dead silence. I check the phone’s volume, thinking I’ve caused the pause. “I came to you for sympathy but I see I’m not getting any!” My eldest granddaughter gently scolds on her way out of my daughter’s bedroom. (Exit hurriedly) “There’s a comb on the floor in my bathroom,” my daughter shouts. They moved away in the summer. A career opportunity for Dad. I’ve gone from spending time with them every few days to intruding on their antics as they get ready for school each day. It’s a fair trade I guess. Their mom calls

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me upon waking and they fly, traipse, bounce and barge into her room. (Exit, Far Right) Dad goes downstairs to start the porridge. Dashiell yells “Bonjour Grandma” as his eyes dart about the room, looking, my daughter tells me, for electronic devices that were confiscated the evening prior. Chess club after school today; he always

desk. Gabe is in his final year and when off duty from Student Council, appears to live in his “office” under the stairs. “Jac walk the dogs! Feed the birds! Rabbit! Guinea pig! Cat! And what time is your game?” The other cat didn’t come home. Gabe flies by. “Have a good day Gabe!” “Thanks Mum!” (Exit, laughing) They all shout at each other. I brought that up once and daughter told me the volume’s

Elizabeth Olson

absolutely necessary. It’s like listening to an old-fashioned radio play. Then all of a sudden there’s a lull and my daughter launches into whatever topic comes to mind. She touches on the news, injustices. She relates the events of the day before, laments on the weather and brings me up-to-date on the kids’ grades. Saturday morning daughter stays in bed even longer and chats with me while awaiting her waffles. Ditto Sunday. It’s taking a awhile. “Fraser, what’s Dad doing? Oh here comes my orange juice. My fork’s dropped, somebody.” Munching noises. “Go and ask Dad to help you and close my door. Sorry. Mum what were you saying? It’s like Grand Central Station in here. Out! I finished knitting the baby sweater and sent it off. I said out you little monkey! (Exit doing cartwheels) Did you say something Mom?” As soon as the Coquihalla is passable, I’ll be flying along the highway to get up there. For now, packages fly up with books and magazines and must-reads from Tanners, cushioned with balls of yarn and knitted scarves. And then there are the phone calls back and forth several times a day. There is always catching up to do and my daughter’s wins, even against the teacher. But his clothes beyond proficient at multitasking. Son #1 just moved away in the other direcare on inside out and backwards today, just tion to live/ski in Whistler, work in Vancouver. like most of the time. Fraser, the youngest, (Enter to Centre Stage, They’ve finished the adoption course and bouncing) comes in to ask for a drive to school. are awaiting home visitations. They tell me a “It’s Dad’s turn and anyway, it’s w-a-aay baby is on the way. (Enter screaming) I’ll be too early! And you need to brush your teeth ready for Act One, Scene One, maybe even and…do you even have underwear on? Close graduating to Skype this time around. my door!” Elizabeth Olson recently retired from Five grandchildren, aged 18 down through six, in three schools. Two bus stops. None Galiano Island Books and spends a lot of time these days in bookstores in Sidney. of them have cottoned onto the concept of Her own grandfather was a pirate who matching socks. Some pack balanced lunches. spent his retirement searching for Inca Nine-year-old Dash eats three full sandwiches before recess and leaves wrappings around his gold on Cocos Island. Summer 2018  11


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She scrambles off the bed (ouch!) and returns with my white board and the four markers that have survived the ravages of her male cousins: red, orange, blue, and brown. I generously insist she go first, hoping for a few moments of shut-eye during the creative process. Unfortunately, the creative process is not silent. There are questions. Where are my pink and yellow and green and purple markers? Was my doctor the same one who fixed her daddy’s knees a few weeks ago? Which do I like better, cats or dogs? And could I not possibly BELIEVE what happened to her at kindergarten this morning…? I pretend to answer while she draws an orange cat and a brown cat with word balloons coming out of their mouths. The cats are saying “I love you” to each other. She tells me that I am the orange cat, and she is the brown cat. In the margin she has printed the words “To you. Love from Maysa.” (She explains that there wasn’t room to write “To Gramma” without running into a cat.) While I am admiring the picture, she is IslandParent.ca

called away to eat her snack. I have just settled into a somnolent state when I hear a small sigh at my bedside. It is my granddaughter, looking quite subdued. She has been thinking deep thoughts. “Gwamma, I am not sure what happened, but this is what I fink happened. I fink the doctor made a little hole in your body, and reached in and pulled out all the bad stuff, and sewed up the hole. Is dat what happened?” “Close enough, my dear.” She vaults back onto the bed (ouch) and snuggles beside me, while I draw a picture of a brown-haired little girl in a red dress holding a blue-and-orange striped balloon. Her mommy says it’s time to go. “Gwamma, is your body still sore?” “Yes, my dear.” She considers this. “Well, I want to give you a hug. Are there any parts of you that are safe for me to hug?” We find one. It is the next afternoon, and I am cozily arranged on the family room couch, surrounded

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Summer 2018  13


by pillows and tissues, indulging in chocolate therapy, and binge-watching “Outlander” on Netflix, when the doorbell rings. “Hallooooo…????” It is my daughter, who has come to clean my house, fold my laundry, and make sure her father and I don’t starve to death. Somehow our roles have been reversed and my 38-year old darling is calling me “young lady,” and plumping up my pillows, and bringing me food I don’t want, and proffering painkillers I don’t need. Finally satisfied, she leaves the room, exhorting me to “rest.” Fat chance. Maysa has come along to keep me company. So we snuggle side by side on the family room couch, and eat my snack, and talk about this and that. She sighs deeply. Her cute little nose wrinkles, indicating deep thought. She has more questions about my surgery, and her daddy’s recent knee operation. “Okay Gwamma, dis is what bothers me. I don’t get it. I just don’t get it. How do doctors KNOW how to fix people? I mean, when doctors look at you, dey can’t see inside you. So just how do dey KNOW what to do?” My mind—still wauchlin’ hame wi’ Jamie Fraser o’er the misty hills of 1743 Scotland— snaps back to the present. “Um… x-rays. They

14  Island Grandparent

take pictures of people’s insides. You remember when you were little and broke your leg?” She considers this. “But I still don’t get it. How…” “Scientists.” I am paddling madly away from the murky waters of vivisection. “Scientists,

um, figure things out. And…try things to see if they work.” More considering. The light dawns. “And den the scientists fix the people?” “Er… Yes. Well, no. See, there are not nearly enough scientists to go around, so the scientists, um, teach people to be doctors. In special doctor schools. In fact, because

there is so much to learn about fixing people, they have to go to doctor school for SEVEN WHOLE YEARS!” She is impressed. I’m on a roll. “And that’s not all! You see, scientists are always finding out NEW ways to fix people, so doctors have to keep on learning THEIR WHOLE LIVES!” I pause for breath, and wait for the next question, but she seems satisfied. We finish our snack and resume our drawing contest. She colours the entire white board blue and draws two little fish with word bubbles coming out of their mouths. The fish are saying “I love you” to each other. I am the brown fish and she is the orange fish. Now it’s my turn to draw, and I am racking my brain for a subject when her mommy rescues me. It’s time for them to go. “Gwamma, is your body still sore?” “Yes, my dear.” “Is that one part still safe to hug?” “Why don’t we find out?” It is. Jacqui Graham has six grown kids and eight delightful grandkids age 6 months to 11 years. If she had known how much fun grandkids would be, she would have had them first!


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ens, rose s of sunken gard s Pavillion & …offers 55 acre ith a Children’ w g on al s en Walk, rd ga n Walk, a Family gardens, Italia a Living Fossils ghts ’s ni re ay he T rd l. tu se Sa Rose Carou ns and, on io at in um Ill sp ht eworks di lay. a boat tour, Nig spectacular fir a , er m ing m su e rfect for explor throughout th rden paths, pe ga op of s St . re gy ac er d en s’ endless You’ll also fin your grandkid om of s.c e en m rd so g ga rt in el. butcha and expend op after to re-fu by the coffee sh

…invites you enjoy the beauty of thousands of tropical butterflies flying free in their own tropical rainforest—the size of almost three basketball courts. Wander through tropical flowers and carnivorous plants. You’ll also see colourful fish and birds. The on-site naturalists are full of fascinating facts and will answer your questions. 1461 Benvenuto Avenue in Brentwood Bay. Open daily 9:30am-5pm ( July 1-Aug 31). butterflygardens.com.

AX Royal BC Museum &e ofIM the Pha-

…are featuring Egypt: The Tim ization raohs. Experience a time when civil skythe ed dott s mid pyra , grew along the Nile ng amo ed walk s god ved belie le peop line and e som , acts us. With more than 300 original artif n bitio exhi this old, s an astounding 4,500 year n life, from covers all aspects of ancient Egyptia ization civil n ptia Egy ent anci of ce the emergen an Rom and along the Nile to the Ptolemaic ay) ursd Th to day eras. Open 10am-5pm (Sun Saturdays and from 10am-10pm on Fridays and Theatre, X IMA the At . mer sum the out through zon AdAma , catch Rocky Mountain Express istoric Preh s: saur venture, Walking with Dino m. useu lbcm roya e. mor and Planet, Dream Big . 7226 356250bc.ca or

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Riptide Lagoon Adventure Golf

…is located at Oceanside Village Resort, and is an easy walk from Rathtrevor Beach and other nearby resorts. Come and experience mini golf at its finest. Young and old alike can enjoy themselves for a fun and challenging game on the 18-hole course. Open from 9:30am-9:30pm, 7 days a week during the summer months.

10 16

…draws world class maste r sand sculptors who create inc redible works of art. This year’s competition runs July 13-15 and then the exhibition continues from July 16-August 19. Once the masterpiece s have been completed (from just san d and water, and a lot of ingenuity!) and judged, the site is open to the pu blic. Wander through starting on July 13 at 2pm (then open 9am-9pm dai ly, starting July 14). parksvillebeachf est.ca

Things to Do With Your Grandkids For more ideas and a fun map of the Island, pick up a copy of the Kids Guide to Vancouver Island at Tourist Info Centres or at your local recreation centre.

Island Grandparent


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Bug Zoo

sonal with live itors get up close and per …Victoria Bug Zoo lets vis tarantulas and ry hai ds, nti ma n-eyed praying giant walkingsticks, alie er roughly 50 fasons, to name a few. Discov glow-in-the-dark scorpi If you’re feeling Canada’s largest ant farm. cinating species including array of arachnids an , nts ld some of the reside ho can you us, uro ent adv of the Empress HoStreet, one block north and friends. 631 Courtney 250-384-BUGS(2847). tel. victoriabugzoo.ca or

rse …is hosting Saturday Summer Star Parties on July 7, 14, 21, and 28, August 4, 11, 18, and 25, and September 1, from 7:15-10:45pm at the Dominio n Astrophysical Observator y, 5071 West Saanich Road. During the summer stargazing nights, both the Centre and the Observatory will be open, with planetarium show s, lectures in the auditorium and displays. Entr y gate s close at 10pm and attendance is limited and admissio n is by ticket only. Tickets are free and will be available during the week preceding each Saturday at summerstar parties.eventbrite.ca.

Miniature World

…has been called The Greatest Little Show On Earth, with over 85 miniature scenes. See the world’s smallest operational sawmill, marvel at two of the world’s largest doll houses, experience one of the world’s largest model railroads, visit the wonderful world of the circus, take a spaceship to the stars, travel through the Enchanted Valley of Castles and more. 649 Humboldt Street. For more details, visit miniatureworld.com, or phone 250-385-9731.

Ucluelet Aquarium

very Centre BC Forestu caDnisridco e e the rails, walk th …is where yo ing mubits ina 100-acre liv trails, see the exhi d expean in y riding the tra seum. Spend the da e into ps m gli a t heritage. Ge rience BC’s forest p. m ca g gin log ’s the 1930 k the past by visiting ac sn d und, picnic area an ity Enjoy the playgro un m m co o home to many . bar. This site is als tre en yc er ov bcforesdisc festivals and events. 13 com or 250-715-11 IslandParent.ca

…is Canada’s first catch-and-release aquarium, where you’ll get an up-closeand-personal encounter with a diversity of local marine life. The touch tanks provide an interactive and fun, hands-on learning environment, and the displays are full of beautiful, interesting creatures and are always changing. Learn about the local marine ecosystems at the mini aquarium, and help raise awareness about local marine biodiversity and promote respect for the ocean environment. Open daily, including holidays, from 10am5pm. uclueletaquarium.org or 250-726-2782.

&There Summer 2018

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Together w e a re Family

The Cridge Centre for the Family is about people: children, adults, seniors, survivors of brain injury, women leaving abuse, refugees and immigrants, families with children with special needs and young parents. The Cridge Centre for the Family is about connection, about building community and partnerships, and about belonging and being valued. The Cridge Centre for the Family is about being at home and feeling safe, about achieving goals and reaching potential. The Cridge Centre for the Family is about all of us, working together to care for the vulnerable.

Won’t you join our family?

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Island Grandparent


Summertime Music with Grandkids

S

ummer is here, which means school is over and the grandkids will be looking for activities to keep them busy— maybe hiking, biking, swimming, and playing at the beach, as well as spending more time with Grandma and Grandpa. This is an excellent time to take them to summer concerts and performances and introduce them to a variety of music styles; the more the better. Research shows that music can have numerous positive effects for children, including memory development, creativity, and self-expression. All summer, Victoria and surrounding municipalities will be staging family-friendly outdoor music concerts and performances. And the best news is that many are free! Children love the outdoors so a trip to the park or the beach is always a good idea. You’ll be tapping your feet and snapping your fingers with your grandkids, making it lots of fun for everyone in the family. Whether you like jazz and blues, classical, folk or swing, there’s something for everyone at the free afternoon concerts at Beacon Hill Park as well as the Folk Music evening series. These free concerts take place Friday to Monday afternoons from June to September, and on Tuesday evenings in July and August at the Cameron Bandshell. Bring a blanket and a picnic for an enjoyable time for all. Grab your shades and sunhats and attend the Memorial Park Music Fest in Esquimalt on Tuesday nights from June 26 to August 7. There is a fantastic lineup of performances such as The Bobby Dazzler Band, Soul Shakers, Stephanie Greaves and Bijoux du Bayou. Bring your chairs and a picnic, and also plan on visiting one of the onsite local food vendors for a variety of multicultural snacks and beverages. Oak Bay Parks and Recreation is offering free concerts on the beach throughout the summer. The musical line-up features local talent with many musical styles. Audiences can expect something different each time and a chance to enjoy music outdoors. Bring

IslandParent.ca

a blanket and picnic. All concerts in this summertime series will take place at Willows Beach Park, starting at 6:30 p.m. The ultimate summertime musical event is the Symphony Splash, which is fast approaching on August 5. Splash is an annual Victoria event that takes place on a floating stage anchored in the Inner Harbour. The Victoria Symphony performs on the stage and the event has become one of the largest symphony events in North America, attracting close to 40,000 people. A selection of classical and popular music is performed with the culminating performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture accompanied with carillon bells, navy field guns and a spectacular firework display. The Symphony Splash is an outdoor event so it’s best to bring folding lawn chairs or a blanket for your family to sit on the Legislature lawn. The Inner Harbour can be breezy and chilly in the evening, so bring extra sweaters and blankets. Another good idea is to pack a picnic basket or cooler with water and snacks. Make sure you have your grandkids’ favourite music in the car or at home for when they visit and encourage them to sing along. Research shows that children whose grandparents sing with them show better vocabulary and emotional development. When you sing songs, you are facilitating language acquisition and speech development in children. For very young children, sing simple nursery rhymes such

as “Twinkle Twinkle little Star,” “Baa Baa Black Sheep,” or “Row Row Your Boat.” A fun activity is to have your grandchild sing the missing lyrics from nursery rhyme songs. For example, you sing “Mary had a little____” and encourage her to sing “lamb” or sing “Hot Cross _____” or “Merrily we roll ______.” An

Jerri Carson excellent book to read with your grandchild is Singing Bee! by Jane Hart. It is a collection of lullabies, nursery rhymes, finger plays and action songs. Songs in the book include “Hush Little Baby,” “Pat-a-Cake” and “Where is Thumbkin.” Toddlers love these rhymes as you’ll see from their laughter and smiles while doing these activities together. Singing lullabies is another wonderful music activity with your young grandchild. A soft lullaby gives a child a sense of peace and comfort. Lullabies have soothing lyrics and if you have a rocking chair you can rock your grandchild to sleep. Choose easy lullabies with simple lyrics that your child can sing along with, such as “Rock a Bye Baby,” “Are you Sleeping,” or “Lavenders Blue.” Music is an enjoyable and wonderful way to spend time with your grandkids this summer, especially when it is presented in an outdoor venue. By taking the time to explore music, you will be expanding your grandchild’s music appreciation and creating memories for your whole family. Jerri Carson is a retired music teacher. She now spends her time playing the piano and cello.

Summer 2018  19


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Island Grandparent

espite the fact that I read to my own children from the time they were babies, I never thought to tell them stories. I must admit that storytelling seemed almost oldfashioned, something my grandparents may have done, like a lost art. Not only that but I am not the least bit dramatic or creative—two qualities I assumed you had to possess in order to be a good storyteller. What I didn’t understand is that all you have to have is a love for the spoken word, just as I have always had a passionate love of the written word. And of course, an appreciative audience never hurts! Reading has always been part of my threeyear-old grandson’s bedtime routine whenever he stays overnight with me, but I have only just started to incorporate storytelling as well. For one thing, I find it is a great motivator to get a reluctant child into bed. I only have to mention telling a story and my little grandson hops up onto my bed and buries himself under the covers, squealing “Which story, Nonna? Which story?” Or if he has a current favourite, he’ll demand that one. Admittedly, my repertoire was rather limited at first—I fell back on a few tried-and-true fairy tales—but I have since branched out into many others and I’ve even taken a stab at a few made-up stories based on my grandson’s interests. Delving into storytelling has allowed me to revisit an interest in fairy tales, folktales, myths, legends and fables, many of which I remember from my own childhood. Of course, I have to consider what is age-appropriate for a three-year-old, but other than that, the choices are endless. The themes of many of these stories are universal and they are inherently relatable; that’s part of their appeal. They not only entertain, but they are also often informative, providing a springboard of sorts from which my grandson can learn about other places and cultures. And often in a subtle way, many of them illustrate and instill important lessons and values. Still further, some of them effectively model basic problem solving strategies. Like reading, storytelling has a multitude of other benefits. It not only nurtures good listening skills, it allows a child to tap into their own creativity and imagination because they


have to come up with their own images of the characters and settings. Storytelling develops a child’s ability to pay attention without the benefit of a visual aid, and it expands their vocabulary. Memory is also strengthened; because my grandson is engaged, he remembers. I am sure he could tell many of my stories off by

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Susan Gnucci heart. In fact, I have often heard him quoting from a story I have told him. And he’s quick to correct me if I skip over something or forget a particular scene: “But Nonna, you forgot the part where the…” What I love most about storytelling though is that it allows me to physically connect with my grandson; I am able to give him gentle back rubs, stroke his hair, or simply hold his hand in mine. We are able to connect face-to-face and eye-to-eye in a cozy, quiet setting so that he is able to see all of the facial expressions and gestures that go along with the telling of a good story; these effectively add another dimension to the tale being told. Not only that, but I am also able to gauge his reaction as to which parts of the story are his favourite (and are therefore worthy of a little embellishment). In short, storytelling is an effective means to foster our connection with one another. Storytelling also has the added bonus of preparing my grandson for going to sleep. Not surprisingly, our sessions never fail to relax him; two or three stories later and his eyelids are usually droopy. Even on nights when our stories spark questions and conversation, these are carried out under the covers with his favourite stuffed animal as our only companion. Free from distractions, there have been times when he has fallen asleep literally in mid-conversation. I consider storytelling to be a wonderful addition to my grandson’s bedtime routine on our sleepover nights. In fact, I wish I’d thought of it sooner. I hope it becomes a memorable part of his upbringing that he will want to share with his own children one day. After all, I’ve come to believe there is a storyteller in all of us. Susan Gnucci is a local author and a proud “nonna” to an adorable two-yearold grandson. She enjoys sharing her experiences as a first-time grandparent. IslandParent.ca

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Child, Youth & Family Public Health South Island Health Units Esquimalt Gulf Islands

250-519-5311 250-539-3099

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Peninsula 250-544-2400 Saanich 250-519-5100 Saltspring Island 250-538-4880 Sooke 250-642-5464 Victoria 250-388-2200 West Shore 250-519-3490

Central Island Health Units Duncan Ladysmith Lake Cowichan Nanaimo Nanaimo Princess Royal Parksville/ Qualicum

250-709-3050 250-755-3342 250-749-6878 250-755-3342 250-755-3342

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North Island Health Units Campbell River 250-850-2110 Courtenay 250-331-8520 Kyuquot Health Ctr 250-332-5289 ‘Namgis Health Ctr 250-974-5522 Port Hardy 250-902-6071

viha.ca/prevention_services/ 22  Island Grandparent

Supporting Healthy Language Development A s a Speech-Language Pathologist, I work alongside many kinds of caregivers to help support the healthy language development of children of all ages. Most frequently, this means I am working closely with the parents of children who have communication delays, but I always love when parents wish to include other people who are important to their child’s development. This generally means I am privileged/fortunate to meet the grandparents! You are a trusted influence in your grandchild’s life, and as such you have the opportunity to make positive impact on their overall development. To help support healthy language development in your grandchildren, ditch the technology. Put down the phone or tablet—yours and theirs—and turn off the TV. Both the Canadian Pediatric Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that children under the age of two have no screen time, and that children between the ages of two and five have under one hour of screen time per day, if any. An increasing amount of research shows the link between screen time and language delays, specifically, more screen time equals higher likelihood of an expressive language delay (for example, a delay in a child’s ability to use words and sentences). There’s no denying it is possible for technology to be an effective learning tool for older children if it is used in the right way, however as it stands, I see the use of technology by both caregivers and children as one of the biggest barriers to supporting healthy early language development at this time. For caregivers scrolling through their phones/ tablets, technology is a barrier to tuned-in interactions where we can match our child’s experiences and interests to language; for children playing games on tablets or watching TV, technology monopolizes attention so that they have difficulty attending to anything but the flashy lights and sounds.

If you are a grandparent who relies on technology to connect with your grandchild on a regular basis due to distance, video chatting platforms such as Skype and FaceTime are likely safe exceptions. This is because these platforms are used for the sole purpose of conversation and connection. Talk with your infants, talk with your toddlers—language quantity is important. Infants are learning language long before they start using words. Since children first learn through experience, talking to your infants and toddlers about what is happening in the moment can help support the development of their understanding of language. Try to really “tune-in” to your grandchild and pay attention to what they are interested in. You can then match words to their experience, highlighting key words as you speak. Infants love repetition, and repeating those important words will really help them link meaning to words. I also encourage all caregivers to play like a child—be silly and creative. This playfulness and fun will keep children engaged longer, which will result in more opportunities for learning. Remember that language learning happens any time, any place, so try to take advantage of all of the one-on-one time, even while doing the mundane, such as grocery shopping, or even washing your hands together. Conversation is a two-way street—quality interactions are also important! Remember, developing good communication skills is not simply a matter of hearing lots of words—children need the opportunity to practice using those words with adults. Children naturally receive feedback on their language use when speaking with others, and this feedback is very important. When children say a word incorrectly or use words in an incorrect way, caregivers can gently provide the correct substitution. If, for example, a child says, “I falled down” a parent might say, “You fell down? Oh no!” Feedback may also involve building on the child’s sentences to make it


longer or more grammatically correct. For example, if a toddler shows you their stuffed animal and says, “bunny,” an adult might say, “Yes, a bunny. It’s a soft bunny. Hi Bunny!” Help support your grandchild’s understanding of words and concepts by speaking at a pace that is slow but natural, and by using simple but grammatically correct sentences. Make sure to stress key words by making them louder and longer, and use real objects, gestures, or pictures whenever possible—you can literally help your child see what you mean. Then repeat, repeat, repeat—use new words often, and in as many different contexts as

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possible, and try and have your child experience the words as you talk about them as well. Parents and caregivers love talking about colours, numbers and object names. While this is an easy fall-back, remember that there are many more interesting things to talk about. Provide vocabulary-rich language models— just think of how limited your child’s words and early sentences would be if all they used were nouns, colours and numbers. It is also good to model a variety of ideas. Talk about things that are beyond the hereand-now in a way that is accessible to young children by linking it to a their experiences. For example, if you’re baking a cake with your child, you could talk about the past (“last time we made a cake for nana’s birthday!”); the future (“soon, we get to put candles on the cake and sing ‘happy birthday.’”); feelings (“You’re sad because there’s no more icing left on the spoon”); and we can explain things (“We have to put the cake in the oven so it will bake”). Using your child’s experiences to talk about things other than the here-and-now can help them understand and one day use language in the same way. Remember, frequent, quality caregiverchild interactions are critical to developing good communicators that are ready to learn at school. As a grandparent, you have the power to have a strong positive influence on your grandchildren’s development when you tune in and make the most of your time together. Caitlin Bittman, M.Sc., R.SLP., S-LP(C), CCC-SLP, is a Registered SpeechLanguage Pathologist. IslandParent.ca

Grandkids visiting?

Make a difference. Leave a legacy. Help save Vancouver Island Wildlife through planned giving. For more information and a copy of our Wildlife Legacies brochure and video, please email NIWRA at wildlife@niwra.org. We provide care to critically sick, injured and orphaned wildlife such as eagles, owls, song birds and black bears. Help care for these animals by partnering with us through your legacy gift donation. They depend on us, and we depend on you… Thank you for your support! North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre 1240 Leffler Rd, Errington 250.248.8534 niwra.org

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Eye Rolls & Pontification Does your child have difficulty reading? • can’t read words just read earlier • letter reversal • symptoms of dyslexia • “sounds out” words but can not blend them correctly • confuses similar sounding words • avoids reading/poor speller I offer an effective program that works! Call for more information or to arrange your individualized one-on-one tutoring solution.

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24  Island Grandparent

An old man’s advice on communication

I

spoke to a young mother recently who was bemoaning the fact that her daughter, now 12 years old, had made an early start into the eye-rolling teenage years, the ones that once prompted Mark Twain to write “When a child turns 12, you should put him in a barrel, nail down the lid, and feed him through the knot hole.” Knowing that I had managed to survive my own children and was now actively involved in the life of my grandchildren, she asked me if I had any advice on how to maintain communication with children as they enter an part of their lives where they mistakenly believe that they have all the answers. I laughed. Then I tried my best to disabuse my friend of the belief that grandparents are imbued with any special wisdom. Older, I said, did not naturally translate into being wiser. In my case, I was almost certain that it did not. But my friend persisted and I recalled that I’d had a similar conversation with my own daughter about why my granddaughter never seemed to roll her eyes at me, but seemed to reserve that particular action for her mother.

I stopped laughing and thought about it. “I don’t know,” I managed. “Over the years I guess I’ve learned that there isn’t a person alive that doesn’t know something that you don’t. I guess I try to let kids know that I believe that and I listen to them,” I said. But how do you get them to talk in the first place?, my friend asked. Despite my denying having any special wisdom, I was being sucked into the role of wise old teacher. The answer, I said, is to ask questions that are impossible to answer with a monosyllabic response. Ask them about their opinion of school as opposed to asking if they had a good day. And when you ask a question, actually listen to the answer without allowing your mind to think about something else. Letting our minds wander is a natural thing to do, of course, and we all do it. Someone is talking and you’re already thinking about the next thing you’re going to say instead of trying to understand what the person is saying and how they really feel about the topic.


I’m not sure my friend was listening any more, but, hey, I was on a roll and kept talking. “When you do listen—and that’s a lot harder than most people think—let the conversation flow. Regardless of where your intended road map for the talk says you should be heading, if your child (or grandchild) wants to steer the dialogue toward some esoteric discussion of the merits of tattoos or why a teacher always smells a little like vanilla extract, let it go there. You might be surprised what you find out.” By now I was in full Socratic mode.

Tim Collins “You know what will turn off a conversation with a kid faster than anything?” I asked my friend. “Pontificating.” No kid wants to hear your opinion of what they’ve just said. They sure don’t want to hear that what they’re feeling is wrong. You can try to steer them in that direction, if it’s important, but tell them they have to think a certain way and you’ve ended the conversation. I went on to say that another big mistake was to try to equate your own experience with theirs. “Never tell a child that you know exactly how they feel. You don’t. And don’t tell them that you’ve experienced the same thing. You haven’t. It’s always going to be different and your kid is going to pick up on those differences as soon as you start talking,” I advised. Finally, I said, admit it when you don’t have the answers. Nothing will set eyes to rolling faster than a parent or grandparent who tries to fake it. Children are not stupid, and if they catch you saying something that isn’t right, your chances of having them believe the next thing you say is pretty well shot. I glanced at my friend and I might have caught her rolling her eyes. I shrugged. Maybe it was genetic. “Hell, I don’t know,” I said at last. “Maybe it’s just as simple as really liking the kid you’re talking to. I guess if you do, and you can make them like you, they won’t roll their eyes at you quite as much.” “And if they do,” I said with a grin, “tell them to knock it off.” Tim Collins is a writer and freelance journalist living and working in Victoria.

IslandParent.ca

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Natural Sun Safety & Outdoor Skin Care for Kids The season for fun in the sun is now upon us, and it can be hard to know what the best options are for sun safety and outdoor skincare, especially for babies and young children. With recent scares surrounding the safety of some mainstream sunscreen products and bug repellants, it’s even more important to look at natural solutions for our tiny humans. The following is a brief overview of some great sun and outdoor skincare safety products that are ideal for use with babies, children, and sensitive adults too!

Lyra McLean

Mineral Sunblocks Unlike traditional sunscreens that use chemical UV absorbers to provide sun protection, mineral sunblocks utilize zinc oxide as a natural physical UV blocker. Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen is a great example in this category, and is an award-winning sunblock that contains non-nano zinc oxide. It is also water-resistant up to 80 minutes, contains no parabens, phthalates, PABA or other harmful chemicals, and provides the highest level of broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection at an SPF 50+ (as per FDA ratings). Mineral sunblocks are generally recommended for use in babies from 6 months of age onwards, and are an ideal form of natural sun protection for the entire family.

Natural Insect Repellents Natural bug sprays work by using essential oils to safely repel those pesky outdoor insects and help prevent itchy and painful insect bites. Beyond the fact that they are natural and safe to use on children and during pregnancy, these bug repellents are effective and smell amazing, too. Many even contain gentle moisturizers like Aloe Vera Juice that work to leave the skin feeling smooth and soft while deterring insects at the same time. The made-in-Canada Peas In A Pod Take A Hike Outdoor Joose is a popular choice for a natural bug repellant. Take A Hike Outdoor Joose is crafted from pure essential oils in a Witch Hazel base with 25 per cent Aloe Vera Juice, contains no chemicals, and does not come in a pressurized container, making it safe for both you and the environment.

Sun Tents, Sun Suits, Sun Hats & Sunglasses For the youngest of babies, it’s generally recommended to avoid using too many products on their delicate skin, so physically protecting them from the sun’s harmful rays with UVprotectant products is a great option instead. • Sun Tents. Umbrellas can blow over and don’t offer any wind or sand protection, and many sun shelters are so large that they can impede visibility at busy summer hot spots. The Babymoov Anti-UV Pop Up Sun Tent is a great alternative for a day in the sun, and features a 5-second set up and take down, plus mesh door flaps to help protect against sand, wind, or insects. The Babymoov Anti-UV Tent also includes a convenient carry bag for easy portability and folds up


• UV Sun Suits. UV sun suits are a convenient way to protect children from harmful UV rays. Most sun suits feature a one-piece design that is comfortable and convenient, and offer high UV-rated sun protection for little sunbathers. Look out for designs with back zipper closures which make it a breeze to take these sun suits on or off, and provide easy access for quick diaper changes, too. • Sunglasses. The importance of protecting young eyes from UV rays cannot be overstated. Studies have shown that less than 30 per cent of parents protect their children’s eyes with sunglasses, and it’s estimated that kids receive up to three times more annual sun exposure than adults. Young eyes are more susceptible to sun damage because they have larger pupils and clearer lenses, and continued UV exposure can lead to serious eye conditions such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Choosing comfortable sunglasses can make all the difference in getting kids to wear them happily. Brands like Babiators come in multiple sizes for an age-appropriate and stylish fit, plus they offer 100 per cent UVA/UVB protection, and are designed with durable and flexible kid-friendly frames. The bonus for caregivers? Babiators are backed by a 100 per cent replacement guarantee against loss or breakage in the first year.

Lyra McLean is a mom to three busy boys and one newborn baby girl. Lyra and her husband Adam own and operate Momease Baby Boutique, a boutique baby store featuring modern baby gear, furniture, and parenting products from newborns to toddlers, with a focus on local items and exceptional customer service. Browse instore in Victoria at 1581 Hillside Ave, or shop online at momease.ca.

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Building a Love of Reading Reading with your grandchildren reinforces the special bond between grandparent and grandchild and sets them up for success. These early learning experiences help foster a love of reading that, research shows, will affect children’s success in school and life. This summer, spend some quality time forming new reading traditions together. The Greater Victoria Public Library recommends five ways grandparents and grandchildren can bond with books.

Family reading time

Get yourself a library card

BC Summer Reading Club encourages kids to read 20 minutes a day during the summer. Lead by example and set aside time to read together. Seeing their grandparents make books and learning part of their routine shows kids it’s important to prioritize reading and nurturing the mind. To sign your grandchild up for BC Summer Reading Club, visit a library branch near you.

An outing to the library is full of fun: checking out new books, playing with the library’s toys, participating in a storytime, and discovering educational kids’ games on public computers. Do you have a library card, too? Checking out your own reading material models good habits that kids will remember for years to come.

Carve out a special place for your grandchild to read

Get high tech together

Having a room—or a place—of one’s own is a point of pride and helps develop a sense of ownership. Let your grandchildren choose where they’d like to read: Grandpa’s recliner, Grandma’s porch swing, the kitchen table, the fancy couch. This spot will become their special realm for spending time with books. Bonus: Make room for their books on your bookshelf. Having their own space will help the kids associate grandma and grandpa’s place with reading, comfort and autonomy. 28  Island Grandparent

For kids and grandparents, using technology together provides new opportunities to develop common interests and build memories. Challenge yourself to use one of the library’s digital collections for kids; Tumblebooks is a good one to start with. Go to gvpl.ca/read, click on and log in to Tumblebooks with your library card, then, sit with your grandchild and watch books come to life with sound and animations.

Recommend books they’ll love Do you remember your favourite childhood story? Help your grandchildren find theirs. Visit a librarian to discover the best books for every age, or choose from the books below, selected by GVPL librarians to match your child’s interests. Decide if your grandchild is curious, creative or an epicurean, or take a quiz at gvpl. ca/yourbrain to get a personal suggestion. Books for an Adventurous Child 1. The Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escapes by Wade Albert White 2. Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World by Jennifer Armstrong 3. The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett Books for a Creative Child 1. Emily of New Moon by L. M. Montgomery 2. Try This!: Extreme 50 Fun and Safe Experiments for the Mad Scientist in You by Karen Romano Young 3. Frindle by Andrew Clements Books for a Curious Child 1. Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman 2. History’s Mysteries: Curious Clues, Cold Cases, and Puzzles From the Past by Kitson Jazynka 3. Olga and the Smelly Thing From Nowhere by Elise Gravel Books for a Healthy-Minded Child 1. I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness by Susan Verde 2. Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper 3. Restart by Gordon Korman Book for an Epicurean Child 1. All Four Stars by Tara Dairman 2. Chef Gino’s Taste Test Challenge by Gino Campagna 3. This Book is Not Good for You by Pseudonymous Bosch

Go create…and celebrate the artist in each child Looking at books of beautiful artwork reveals what is possible when we use our imaginations. Check out some art books, and then borrow one of GVPL’s new plein air easels. Gather some paper and crayons, and head to your favourite view point with your easel in tow. Set up the easel and watch your grandchild express their unique creativity on paper. Grab your easel, and go create! Learn more at gvpl.ca/gocreate.


Model Grandmas R alph Waldo Emerson said “What you do speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you are saying.” Have you ever thought about what your actions are teaching your grandchildren? Rumour has it that my maternal grandmother was the first woman in Winnipeg, Manitoba to drive a car. My mother worked full-time starting in the 1960s, long before this was the norm. I didn’t run into the idea that women were second class citizens until I went to university. These amazing role models definitely shaped the woman I have become. Mrs. McLeod, my Grade 3 teacher, Sister Catherine Cecilia who taught me Grade 9 Math, and Anne of Green Gables were also

role models who shaped my character, but none quite as powerfully as family members. As a teacher and a high school principal without children of my own, I loved the role that I played for my students, modelling choices that were different from some of the others in their lives. In helping hundreds of young people figure out what kind of adults they hoped to become, I came to believe that a diversity of role models was one of the most wonderful influences a young person could have in determining their adult personas. Recognizing a wide array of options absolutely affects the decision-making process, both consciously and unconsciously. Since moving to Victoria two years ago, I have been cycling with an incredible group IslandParent.ca

of women from Victoria Grandmothers For Africa (VG4A). We train for one of two cycle tours held annually as the main fundraiser for this group, supporting the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign of the Stephen Lewis Foundation. From September 7 to 9, about 30 women over 55 will cycle 275 km, from Campbell River to Victoria. On the final day, another group of about 30 women will do a 50 km ride in Saanich. The two groups will meet up for lunch and ride together to the Victoria Legislature for their 12th annual celebration. The dozens of women I have met in this cycling group are nothing short of inspirational.

hills, and support each other through illness and injury, of selves and family members. We also support our African sisters. Victoria Grandmothers For Africa have raised over $1 million since they began in 2007.

Lauren Wilson

I think often about the example these Vancouver Island women are setting for their daughters and granddaughters. Life should be lived fully, actively, and generously, with lots of fresh air and warm relationships. Women are strong and able to tackle difficult challenges throughout their lives. This aspect of grandmothering might be the saving grace for the African grandmothers who motivate us to continue cycling and being strong. These women are raising their grandchildren orphaned by HIV/AIDS, grieving their children’s deaths, growing gardens, maintaining homes, supporting one another, and finding income-generating activities so they can feed their grandchildren and send them to school. But they worry about what will happen when they die, many of them before their grandchildren are adults. Margaret, a woman in Kenya, lost her husband and five of her children to AIDS. She was so devastated by grief and by the stigma associated with this disease that she wished for her own death. Her grandchildren begged for help for her, and helped nurse her back to mental and emotional health. She found a support group through the Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign, and today she is empowered, consulting with other grandmothers, and advocating for their rights with local politicians. Rose Mary, Christine, Kay and Lisbie are all What are you modelling for your grandchilin their 70s, Jocelyn and Kathe in their 60s. dren? Is it something you could make more Rose Mary is one of the fastest and strongest intentional, or transparent? Is it something going uphill, passing me and almost everyone you’re proud of? else in the group regularly on hills. Christine Thank you to my beautiful mom who is still has done the 275 km ride 10 out of the past active and feisty and full of ideas and advice. 11 years. Kay wears shorts almost all the time I also feel the presence and the influence of except for a couple of months in the winter! my grandmothers, though they are not here Lisbie rushes home from cycle training to with us, and more faintly, their mothers and work with a refugee family and participate grandmothers, with gratitude and awe. in the local theatre scene. Jocelyn has helped me understand how important our solidarity is with the African grandmothers in what we Lauren Wilson is Victoria Grandmothdo. And Kathe is the strongest cyclist of us all, ers for Africa’s Media and Commuthoroughly and definitely “back” after having nications coordinator for Cycle Tour a serious accident alone on her bike last fall. 2018. For more information, visit We encourage each other to embrace the victoriagrandmothersforafrica.ca. Summer 2018  29


Ad Directory Abra-Kid-Abra..................................................21 Arc Academy of Inquiry......................................9 Aspengrove School.........................................IFC Beacon Hill Children’s Farm............................10 Blue Vista..........................................................12 Browne and Associates....................................21 Butchart Gardens.............................................23 Chemainus Theatre............................................4 Cridge................................................................18 Darshan Alexander Photography.....................21 Flourish Individual Training.............................24 Fort Rodd Hill...................................................10 Glenn Lindsey...................................................23 Howie’s Car Corral...........................................27 Island Circus Space..........................................19 Kaleidoscope Theatre.......................................25 Kool & Child....................................................IFC MacDonald Realty............................................27 Math4Me...........................................................12 Merit Travel.......................................................20 Momease........................................................IFC Mothering Touch.................................................7 North Island Wildlife Recovery........................23 Pacific Christian............................................. BC Parksville Beach Festival.................................20 Queen Margaret’s School.................................13 Saanich Commonwealth..................................10 St. Margaret’s School.........................................3 Swan Lake........................................................15 Total Learning...................................................24 Uvic Farquhar.....................................................4 Victoria Academy of Ballet............................ IBC Victoria Symphony............................................14 VIHA...................................................................22 Wee Travel.........................................................23 Westmont Montessori......................................21 Westshore Dental...............................................5

Send Us Your Stories! Island Grandparent is looking for articles for upcoming issues. Some of our best content comes from people just like you—Vancouver Island grandparents who are passionate about their extended families. Share your experiences, your thoughts on a particular issue, your ideas on places to see or projects to do—anything related to grandparenting. Check our Writer’s Guidelines at islandparent.ca for specific information on submissions. We’d love to hear from you. Please email submissions to editor@islandparent.ca.

30  Island Grandparent

Celebrating Family Heritage

H

anging on our wall is a large family tree that dates back to 1760. It’s fun to count how many “Benjamins” there are throughout the generations, and sad to see how many children died before they were four years old. This is a copy of the tree, painstakingly compiled by an aunt. The original has little notes about individuals such as “died after being bitten by a dog,” or “moved to Virginia 1865” or “died leaving a fortune of $20,000.” Family history is so engaging because it is always personal, quirky and a wondrous mix of characters. Grandparents are ideal people to lead the way in exploring this as they are uniquely poised and connected between generations. Relatives are not only individuals but representatives of their own cultures and eras. The echoes of these elements build over time like rings in a tree, part of who we are but not exactly who we are, as we are a blend. I find children love hearing family stories as they intuitively know this is part of who they are. Maybe it’s time to pick an afternoon and peruse those photos that have been put aside in a box (or boxes!). Another bonus of being a grandparent is the availability of copious amounts of traditional photos, rather than digital. This allows them to be spread about, piled up, handed out and passed around. Making a basic family tree with children is straightforward. One could use a large poster and attach photos to the names. I knew someone who painted a huge tree on her wall and attached the photos there. For teens, a family tree can involve going back a lot further and researching several generations. This brings history to life as one learns about the time periods ancestors lived through. Add a science component and perhaps consider trying a custom genetic test such as “23 and Me” which can be fascinating. Of course biology is only one aspect of who a person is. In the modern, interconnected world, we see more cultural blending in families. Culture is so much more than the obvious food, costumes and dances. It can be attitudes, communication styles, traditions, humour, and priorities. How many of these do we implement daily without being aware? It just seems “natural.” My family is originally from England and when I lived in my parents’ downstairs suite when I first returned from travelling, I realized

that I used the term “bathrobe” downstairs but once I walked up to my parents’ part of the house I automatically changed it to “dressing gown.” I lived on tea and toast and automatically held my tongue as the phrase “it’s best not to say anything” seemed to be embedded in my head. Then I married an Algerian, whose loud, chatty, generous, forthright, food-centered family threw my own cultural standpoint into sharp relief.

Louise Berry You would think it tricky to juggle these disparate components, and sometimes it was, but it resulted in a lively mix that incorporated both backgrounds. We have afternoon tea and spicy dishes, Christmas and Ramadan, the use of expressions that originate in four different languages and children that feel they are welcome on three continents. Most importantly, it provides an example of tolerance, love and humour. What elements of your heritage would you like to share and celebrate with grandchildren? It could be a cultural tradition or something that is specific to your own particular family. It could be creating a scrapbook or collage, or compiling a memory book. Cooking together or collecting a selection of recipes to keep and pass on is common in many families. Language, expressions and humour can reflect a culture or a region. Exploring your heritage could be a simple greeting whenever you meet or a special trip to a country of origin. Whatever it may be, it is sure to enrich your relationship with your grandchildren as well as their sense of self. Honouring and celebrating family heritage provides an appreciation for our own ancestors and the unique blend that makes us both an individual and a member of a family group. It also builds interest and empathy in other people in the world and that can only be a good thing. Louise Berry is a mum of three, an avid gardener, writer and lover of chocolate!


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