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Grandparent I S L A N D

W I N T E R 2 0 1 8

Sharing Our Family Stories Here & There 10 Things to Do with Your Grandkids

Making Meaningful Memories


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Winter 2018  3


Sit back, relax and let the beach take over...

Welcome ................................. 5 Sharing Our Family Stories .... 6 Here & There ........................ 10 10 Tips for Tip-Top Time Outside ........................ 12 The ‘M’ Word ......................... 16 The First Date ....................... 18 Help Kids Get Back to Basics ............................... 20 Cut Grandparents a Little Slack ......................... 22 You Can Lead Toddlers to the Dinner Table ............... 24

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Family Traditions to Celebrate Nature .................. 26 Christmas Family Traditions ............................. 28 The Library’s Alive with the Sound of Music ..................... 29 Through the Years ................ 30 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.

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ever one to dish out advice while her three children were growing up, my mom had a way of getting her point across—without ever saying a word—while I was raising children of my own. Her strategies varied, but one of my favourites was when her advice arrived in the form of newspaper articles folded neatly and tucked inside her occasional letters. “How to Swaddle a Newborn”… “Calming a Colicky Baby”…“Healthy Snacks for Kids”… “How to Toilet Train Your Tot.” As any parent of young children will tell you, finding time to read the newspaper is almost impossible so instead of sitting down and reading each article, I’d scan the headlines. Judging by the pithiness of each one, I’m betting my mom anticipated my technique and chose articles that could impart their wisdom in four words or less. The bigger the font size, the shorter the headline—and, in turn, the fewer words of advice—which might explain why she avoided headlines written in

in 60pt font

a font size reserved for stories like FRANCE INVADED and MEN WALK ON MOON. I’m not sure if both sets of grandparents doubted my husband Barry’s and my competence in raising our children, but somehow, Dr. Spock’s Baby & Child Care made it onto our bookshelf. Not just one copy, but two. Each couple left their tattered, dog-eared and—in my mom’s case—strategically underlined copy for us to find. “Trust yourself,” Spock advised new parents. “Or better yet,” he should’ve added, “Trust your baby’s grandparents.” According to Help! I’m a Granny author Flic Everett, the hardest thing about parenting is being responsible for everything—and the hardest thing about grandparenting is accepting that you’re not. “You may hate the ironic Velvet Underground T-shirts your baby granddaughter is dressed in,” writes Everett, “or have severe moral objections to the amount of CBeebies she’s allowed to watch, but saying so is a fool’s errand. The only exceptions to this

rule are if you truly believe your grandchild is in danger…” The cornerstone of being a good grandparent is respect—for your own time, for the parents’ wishes and, of course, for your grandchild, adds Everett.

Sue Fast “Before you speak, always ask yourself: Is this helpful to anyone? Unless the answer is a resounding yes; don’t say it. That way, you’ll never go wrong.” No matter what your stance on advice, we hope this issue of Island Grandparent adds to your stores of hard-won wisdom. You’ll find articles on everything from the importance of sharing our family stories, spending time outside, and nourishing our grandchildren, to family traditions, helping kids get back to basics, 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.

Winter 2018  5

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Sharing Our Family Stories


love reading picture books to my three-year-old grandson, but recently I’ve begun sharing bits of family history as well. When your mom and your aunts were little like you, they lived in this house with Grandma and Grandpa. They liked to play outside, and they especially liked to climb the apple tree in the backyard. That tree was so special to them, they wrote it love-notes and tucked them inside a hole in the trunk. Would you like to see that tree?

6  Island Grandparent

As Kieran and his baby sister get older, my stories will get longer. I’ll tell them about the time their grandpa and I went for a date at Beaver Lake Park, and ended up swimming fully-clothed across a retriever training pond. Or about the disastrous results of my first cakebaking experience, when I measured the baking powder with a cup instead of a teaspoon. As their understanding gets more sophisticated,

Rachel Dunstan Muller we’ll go back even further in time. I’ll show them pictures of their great-grandparents, and their great-great-grandparents. I’ll tell them about their mother’s beloved Opa, and the grain-grinding windmill his family operated in Germany. I’ll describe Oma and the amazing pies she made. I’ll share the story of my own parents: their immigration from the U.S. in the 70s, and the rich life they built for their family. While I’ve always instinctively believed in the importance of passing on our personal and family stories, it turns out that social science supports my conviction: sharing our past has tangible value for future generations. In the summer of 2001, two researchers from Emory University made an astounding discovery. Dr. Marshall Duke and Dr. Robyn Fivush interviewed four dozen families, and asked the children a series of 20 questions that tested their knowledge of their family history. The “Do You Know?” scale included yes/no questions like: “Do you know where some of your grandparents grew up?” and, “Do you know some things that happened to your mom or dad when they were in school?” The main criterion of each question was that the children could not have learned the answers from direct, first-hand experience. The events in question either took place before they were born, or happened to relatives more distant than their siblings, parents or grandparents. Answering “yes” to any question therefore signified that the knowledge had been passed on to them, often through some form of storytelling. Duke and Fivush then compared the answers with a battery of psychological tests each child had received in advance. The results amazed them: the children’s scores directly

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correlated with their self-esteem, resilience, and social and academic competence. In other words, the more a child knew about his or her family history—both the good and the bad—the greater their emotional health and happiness. But as the two researchers have noted, getting these amazing benefits takes more than making copies of the 20 questions and drilling the answers into our grandchildren’s heads.

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8  Island Grandparent

a bridge between the past and the present. In Dr. Fivush’s words, “it is not knowledge of these specific facts that is important—it is the process of families sharing stories about their lives that is important.” Sharing our stories is a powerful act. It draws family members together, building a bridge between the past and the present. When we teach our grandchildren their family history, we give them a sense of rootedness. We tell them they belong to something bigger than themselves, that they’re part of a much greater narrative than they might have realized. They gain a deeper understanding of other family members, which may lead to stronger and healthier relationships. How we shape our stories also matters. When we tell our grandkids about the struggles we’ve survived, we tell them that they come from strong stock. When we tell them how we recovered from mistakes or failure, we give them permission to risk failure too, knowing they can also get back up if necessary. When we share our victories, we encourage our grandkids to dream, to reach for their own piece of the sky. Individual stories matter, but so does how we frame our family’s overarching story. According to Dr. Duke, psychologists have identified three distinct narratives: the ascending family narrative, the descending family narrative, and the oscillating family narrative. The ascending narrative tells the story of the family that started with nothing and gained higher ground with each generation. The descending narrative chronicles the family that started with everything but lost it all. The oscillating narrative tells the healthiest story: of the family that’s had both setbacks and victories. Stumbling and getting knocked

down is a normal part of life; it’s how we pull together and get back up again that matters. Hearing the oscillating narrative is what gives our grandchildren resilience.

As valuable as our stories are to our grandkids, sharing them has benefits for us as well. We get the pleasure of revisiting special experiences and reflecting on the significant moments of our lives. Recording our stories in some form can be an even more rewarding process. My own grandchildren are too young now to appreciate their rich family history, but eventually they’ll be ready. When that time comes, I want to make sure our family stories have been preserved and are still accessible to them.

Enter Our Online Contests Every month at you can enter to win great prizes! Prizes include:

In their on-going research with the Family Narratives Project, Drs. Duke and Fivush have noted that grandmothers are often the family storykeepers. What a privilege!

• Family Getaways • Gift Certificates • IMAX Passes • Books, CDs & More One entry per family per week.

Rachel Dunstan Muller is a grandmother, children’s author, storyteller, and personal historian. You can learn more about her work at

Check out the prizes and enter the contests by visiting Winter 2018



Bug Zoo

…boasts nearly 50 fascinating species including giant walking sticks, beautiful praying mantis, glow-in-the-dark scorpions, hairy tarantulas and Canada’s largest ant colony. Knowledgeable tour guides will introduce you to the wonderful world of bugs, give a wealth of information about the animals on display and provide a safe bug-handling experience for the more adventurous.

Photo: The Butchart


dens Butchargat rdGenas,r rose gardens, Japanese

d s of sunken n’s Pavillion an …offers 55 acre with a Childre g on k, al al s W en rd ily ga Fam gardens, Italian Fossils Walk, a There’s a Living istmas (Dec l. hr se C ou ng ar hi C e yt er os R inations, Ev um Ill ht spectacular ig a , N , ts a boat tour turday nigh Sa on er m m the su paths, perfect 1-Jan 6) and, in acres of garden nd fi so al s enll u’ Yo lay. andkids’ endles fireworks disp some of your gr g in om nd s.c pe en ex rd d ga butchart for exploring an after to re-fuel. op sh ee ff co e th ergy. Visit

Royal BC Museum & IMAX

…are great rainy-day destinations this winter. What better way to warm up than taking in RBCM’s pow erful exhibition, Our Living Languages: First People’s Voices in B.C., a groundbreaking, interactive exhibition celebrating the resil ience and diversity of First Nation languages in B.C. From Dec 8-Apr 2, check out Wildlife Photographer of the Year, with a bran d new selection of 100 of the most stunning images from arou nd the world. At the IMAX Theatre, catch Rocky Mountain Exp ress, Amazon Adventure, Museum Alive, Wild Flight: Conques t of the Skies and more. royalbcm,

The Raptors

Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea

…is a state-of-the-art aquarium and marine learning centre in Sidney that focuses on the amazing ecosystem of the Salish Sea. Experience 160 species of marine life, a marine mammal artifact exhibit, and a Coast Salish art collection. Learn about, explore and conserve the Salish Sea Bioregion—its wildlife, waters, land, culture, and people. Take part in guided tours, scavenger hunts, Tot Tuesdays, and Sea Shirt Sundays, along with other kids’ activities.

10 10

es, get up close and personal with eagl …offers a variety of opportunities to k, haw a with ds woo a walk through the hawks, owls, vultures and falcons. Take self your g ersin imm day le spend the who look in to the eyes of an owl, or even -in-a-lifetime opportunities will help once se The ors. rapt of ld in the wor you r gran dkid s form a lasti ng resp ect for the natural world. Ten minutes north of Duncan, The Raptors Open daily from noon-3pm, Thu rsday-Su nday in December. Closed for maintenance and renovations in January and Feb ruar y. 1877 Her d Road. 250-746-0372 or

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

ily Sundaythsfrom 2-4pm (October-June) and AGGV’s Fam Sunday of the mon bitions and

exhi …are on the third of Greater Victoria rrent Art Gallery d afternoon of lle fi nfu a joy inspired by the cu en andchild and gr ur yo ing Br included with . is ing m programm ily. The progra fam ole wh e th r fo hands-on artmaking .ca gv ag . ion iss m ad

Victoria Butterfly Gardens

…invites you enjoy the beauty of thousands of exotic butterflies flying free in their own tropical rainforest environment. Wander through the orchid exhibit or carnivorous plant section. You’ll also see colourful fish and tropical birds. The on-site naturalists are full of fascinating facts and will answer your questions. 1461 Benvenuto Avenue in Brentwood Bay. Open daily. For hours and information, visit

Horne Lake Caves

…has something for ever yone. Take the 3-hour Wet & Wild Cave adventure, the thrilling winter (until April 30) trip that high tlights the powerful natural forces that carv e the underground tunnels and crystal-filled caverns. Follow undergraound rivers, slide dow n the ramps and ladders and climb an undergr ound waterfall on this fabulous adventure—a small taste of “wild” caving. Or opt for the 1-hour main cave experience that includes cons ervation ramps, ladders and Canada’s only cave slide

CRD Regional Parks Nature Outings & Events

m Nanaimo Mushiseu tor y and culture of

…builds upon the rich visitors on a visual Nanaimo’s past and takes m’s permanent seu Mu journey through the the industries that exhibits. Highlighting addition to First helped shape the city in styles of city resiNations histor y and the life seum’s galler y is mu dents, a tour through the ing experience not an informative and reward to be missed. nanaimom

…The Capital Regional District offers a variety of guided nature outings and activities for children and adults of all ages and abilities. These free and low-cost drop-in events, guided walks and hikes in regional parks throughout the district are engaging and interactive, to stimulate your natural curiosity and to help your grandkids develop a greater appreciation for the region’s natural environment. Plan to join a CRD interpreter and connect with nature through a range of events.

&There Winter 2018


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10 Tips for Tip-Top Time Outside T

en metres from the weather-beaten door and down 12 rickety stairs was the beach. The door and the steps belonged to my grandparents. Visiting my grandparents meant spending endless hours on the beach—digging for geoducks, building sandcastles, or engineering log stages for air band concerts. Sleepovers meant time with my grandparents and the beach, but not time on the beach with my grandparents. Don’t mistake this for a complaint; I was blessed with loving wonderful grandparents who—upon our return from the beach—were ready and waiting with hugs, kisses, fresh garden veggies and sandwiches with the crusts cut off. It would, however, been a different experience to explore with them. Before tramping out to natural landscapes with your grandchildren consider these tips:

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Share your history and experience. Do you have access to a natural place you enjoyed as a child? Explore it while regaling them with your favourite memories. Has it changed? How? Perhaps some of it has been lost to development or maybe it has been restored. Important conversations about conservation can have more impact coming from the personal experience of someone they know. When I was a child, Colquitz Creek was far from thriving but restoration projects, done in part by Colquitz Midldle School students, have improved the creek to a healthy state where wildlife are returning. Positive environmental stories are empowering in a time when we are barraged with environmental gloom and doom.

Set a challenge to explore a new place once per month or more. The challenge is up to you. Visit a different regional park or perhaps different ecosystem—visit a forest, meadow, river, lake, or beach. Talk about similarities, differences, or potential connections between the places. Visit the same location through the seasons and observe changes. Watch leaf matter disappear as it decomposes or mushrooms pop up through the soil. Observe woody shrubs sprout leaves, followed by flowers and then berries. Looks for birds’ nests nestled on branches of leafless deciduous trees just to have

them disappear come spring (but you’ll know they’re there; the young birds protected by leaf cover). Does the stream transform from a raging white-water surge to just a trickle, or even dry out? And vice versa? Discover urban nature. Roam a seemingly metropolitan area looking and listening for signs of wild plants and animals. Can you find trees, wildflowers, bugs? Can you hear birds? With keen eyes and some patience you may be surprised what you find.

Jesse Holland Photography Lifestyle Maternity and Newborn. Birth Photography

Tina Kelly Make memories and take only pictures. Are you guilty of taking endless cell phone photos only to leave them on the phone? Get creative with one of the many simple online sites and create a photo album or memory book of your nature happenings. The polished finished product makes a special gift for grandchildren or their parents.

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MONTHLY PASSES Pass Holders have access to the pool, skating, weight room, drop-in spin, some fitness classes and drop-in sports.

One Month Pass* 2 Visits a Week $7.35 per visit


3 Visits a Week $4.90 per visit

4 Visits a Week $3.68 per visit

3 Month Pass* 2 Visits a Week $6.13 per visit


3 Visits a Week $4.08 per visit

4 Visits a Week $3.06 per visit

6 Month Family Pass* 2 Visits a Week $4.29 per visit


3 Visits a Week $2.86 per visit

4 Visits a Week $2.15 per visit

* Valid from purchase date. | 250-478-8384

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For 2018

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Winter 2018  13

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14  Island Grandparent

Investigate new discoveries. Did you come away with questions about a plant, animal or phenomenon? Where do the ducks migrate? Are those red berries edible? Is that mushroom poisonous? Borrow library books or look up the answers online to expand your knowledge together. Expand on their interests. Has your grandchild become inspired by a particular item or subject you’ve spotted together? Fascinated by fungus or excited about a seal? Foster their newfound joy and curiosity with shows or documentary movies, library books, scavenger hunts, games, or crafts about the topic.

E m b ra ce t e c h n o lo g y. Phone apps not only aid you in identifications they can also turn you into a citizen scientist. Your contributions will assist scientists study changes in habitat, migratory patterns, and even climate change and that’s cool! Coastbuster, Audubon, ebird, and iNaturalist are just a few.

Mon, Dec 4: David Cameron Mon, Jan 8: Ruth King Mon, Jan 22: Colwood Wed, Jan 31: John Stubbs, Rm 1151 Mon, Feb 5: Willway Wed, Feb 7: Poirier Mon, Feb 19: Crystal View Wed, March 7: Hans Helgesen Mon, March 12: Savory Engage the experts. Under the tutelage of a naturalist, you can expand your knowledge of a variety of natural history topics. CRD Regional Parks offers a wide range of free naturalist-lead activities, each with a different theme, snappy title, and a clearly defined age range. Many of these hands-on, sensory-loaded programs are geared to all ages but some focus on the under or over five. Try these programs—Bug Buddies, Tree-mendous Trees, Wonderful Woodpeckers, Fabulous Fungi, Bear Necessities or Squirrely Squirrels. These educational opportunities take place in majestic locations — Witty’s Lagoon, Island View Beach, Elk/ Beaver Lake, Coles Bay and East Sooke, to name a few. For a full list of programs, dates and times visit Keep your physical impact on a location to a minimum. Encourage fun and exploring while leaving natural items in the same area you found them. Leaves and shells break down and cycle nutrients back into the environment. Take pictures or write and sketch in a nature journal. Happy exploring, happy learning, and happy memory making. Tina Kelly is the Director of Learning at Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea. She’s been known to borrow friends’ kids to participate in a CRD Parks program geared to a younger age demographic.

Wed, March 14: Lakewood Mon, April 9: Saseenos Wed, April 11: Millstream

Join Us!  6 – 7 pm Ready, Set, Read Children ages 0 to 5 years

Join us for pre-bedtime fun! We will be playing games, enjoying snacks, and listening to a few delightful stories and songs. This FREE evening is for children aged 0 to 5 years and their parents/caregivers. Running shoes suggested, wear pajamas if you like. For more info contact

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Lilya wants to do. Everyone, it seems, defers to Mommy. Lilya sails down into my waiting arms. “Did you see how fast I moved?” she asks me, and runs around the back of the slide and climbs the ladder again. I’m thinking that life moves

Sharleen Jonsson



‘M’ Word

ne of the things no one ever told me about grandparenting was that I’d start calling my own daughter Mommy. I’m at a park with my daughter, Caitlin, and her four-year-old daughter, Lilya, when Lilya spots an exciting new challenge and tugs on my arm. I turn to Caitlin. “Can we go on the big slide, Mommy?” And even after four years, calling my daughter the same thing she used to call me when she was preschool age feels a bit surreal. It thrilled me when Caitlin first called me Mommy. As opposed to her early mamamama babbling, Mommy was a real word and when she said it, it was clear she meant me. What she really meant, I’d thought, was “I love you and I know you love me back.” She got older and said the word with various intonations, according to her mood or the situation, but overall using it was a sign she recognized I was the one who looked after things and who had to be consulted about decisions of importance. Now, just as my daughter’s father did, Lilya’s father will often point out the necessity of finding out what Mommy has to say about whatever it is 16  Island Grandparent

fast, that being Mommy doesn’t last nearly long enough, and that my daughter hasn’t called me that (at least, not without irony) since around the time she started Grade 2. Mommy’s not my name anymore, it’s Caitlin’s. And just as Caitlin outgrew using the M word, so will Lilya—which means that I, too, will move out of this phase of addressing my daughter this way. Just as there are in parenthood, there are stages in grandparenthood. Lilya decides to try going down the slide head first. On her back, she brakes herself with her hands and laughs at how the world looks upside down. She’s especially amused at her mother, whose head is where her feet should be. And this gets me thinking not just about life’s stages, but its reversals. Is my life gradually upending before my eyes? Will there come a time when my daughter will be the wise one I’ll have to ask regarding whether it’s time to eat my lunch, swallow my next pill, or hoist myself into my walker for a shuffle to the park? Lilya gets off the slide; her world rights itself. She wants to stay longer but her mother feels the air is getting cold and we are therefore allowed only two minutes more. And here is where I slip automatically back into my own maternal mode, taking my sweater off and telling my daughter to put it on. “Do what your mommy says!” Lilya tells Caitlin, and collapses with giggles. The world has tilted again, putting her mother in her, Lilya’s, place, and me suddenly in the top spot. But I don’t want to be the boss lady anymore. I like the way calling my daughter the M word makes me feel like I’m on my granddaughter’s level, as if I’m her sidekick. I tell Lilya that we must leave the park if that’s what her mother says. But meanwhile, we have two minutes. “Let’s race Mommy to that tree!” I say and off we go, as if we’re both four years old, sprinting across the grass. Sharleen Jonsson is mother to three big people and amma to two adorable little people.

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Winter 2018


Mineral World and the Scratch Patch We are a unique, family-friendly attraction in Sidney. Come in and see our:

● Scratch Patch area for Collecting semi-precious stones ● Earth Science Education

The First Date I t was their first date, and he was nervous. He had brought her to this bird-themed retro cafe because of her fascination with wildlife. Sure enough, she gazed delightedly at the profusion of figurines, artwork, mobiles, and knickknacks. “Owl…penguin…bald eagle…parrot…well, it’s really a macaw.” The date was his wife’s idea. “You need to take her out, show her a good time,” she had said.

howled, you gave them back to their mothers. Small grandchildren were easy. You read them story books, walked them to the park, watched them go down the slide. You let them “help” you sweep the deck, or wash the classic Corvette. You hid, and they found you. They hid, and you pretended not to know where they were. And grandsons! You could do stuff with grandsons. Fishing. Golfing. Bottle depot runs. Baseball games on TV. Watermelon-

“But we have nothing in common,” he said. “I have no idea what goes on in that head of hers. What would I talk about?” “Don’t talk. Listen.” So here he was, listening, while she regaled him with fascinating facts about the habits of bald eagles, penguins, and macaws. As she launched into a detailed description of how owls swallow their prey whole and regurgitate the indigestible bits, he began to regret his choice of venue. Somehow his appetite had disappeared. “If you’re not going to eat your fries, Grandpa, can I have them?” She smiled up at him, her blue eyes sparkling. Grandbabies were easy. You tickled them, bounced them on your knee, changed their diapers, sang lullabies. If they spit up or

seed-spitting contests. And what boy could resist riding “shotgun” in your classic Corvette? Yup. Easy. But what in the world did you do with an 11-year-old granddaughter? “Take her on a date,” his wife said. “A date?” “Take her out to lunch. Take her to the movies. Take her for a ride in that Corvette of yours. Take her for a walk on the beach, or on the river trails. Take her to the roller rink. On second thought…better not do that, at your age,” she grinned. “But…a date?” “A young girl needs to know what a good relationship is like,” said his wife. “It will set the standard for all her future encounters with the opposite sex. You felt the same way when

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18  Island Grandparent

our daughter started growing up, and I gave Oh, that crazy laugh of hers! He searched his you the same advice. Remember?” brain for a comeback. He did. He remembered taking his eight“All right, smarty. Knock knock.” year old daughter on dates, and listening to all “Who’s there?” the things a little girl had to say. Now here he “Alvin.” was, listening to his daughter’s daughter, who “Alvin who?” “Alvin a great time, how about you?” She groaned dramatically, but her eyes shone. “Grandpa, can we order dessert? Please? Please please please pretty please with a cherry on top?” “What? Dessert? You haven’t even finished your sandwich. Besides, your mother would had moved on from birds and was describing a not approve. You know she doesn’t like you piano piece she was learning for a recital, and to have sugar.” a really good book she had just finished read“Mamma wouldn’t need to know,” she said, ing, and a boy in her class who was a real jerk smiling coyly and batting her eyelashes. Bambi (which probably meant she kinda liked him). eyes! Resist! “Hey Grandpa, why did the chicken cross “Finish your sandwich, chickie. Then we’ll the road?” go to my house, and you can help me deflate He played dumb. “I dunno…to get to the the tubes and rafts.” He had earned major other side?” grandpa points that summer by tubing down “Nope. To get to her house!” He groaned the Puntledge River with her family, while and rolled his eyes, to her obvious satisfaction. scaredy-cat Grandma stubbornly remained “Hey Grandpa. Knock knock.” on dry land. “Who’s there?” “Well, can I at least have ice cream after “The chicken, of course! It’s her house!” we’re done?”

Jacqui Graham

“I have a better idea,” he said. “We’ll make popcorn, and I’ll dig out one of my favourite movies.” She rolled her eyes. Oh, those eyelashes! “If you like it, Grandpa, I’ll bet it’s ancient. It’s probably black and white. I’m not watching some lame old black and white movie. What’s it called? Is it black and white? Can’t we watch something in colour? Can’t I pick the movie?” Listening was all very well, but dealing with this barrage of requests was exhausting. Time to move on. “It’s not black and white, it’s Disney, it’s animated, and I think you’ll enjoy it. It’s called “The Goofy Movie.” Your mother loved it when she was about your age. Come on, let’s go.” As they walked up the street to where he had parked the classic ’Vette, she reached out and took his hand, swinging it back and forth. “Can we go on another date soon, Grandpa?” “How about next Saturday?” he said. 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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Winter 2018  19

Areli Hermanson & Janelle Hatch

Healthy Families, Happy Families

Help Kids Get Back to Basics

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

250-519-5311 250-539-3099

hings are different for children growing up these days. Consider what childhood looked like just two or three decades ago: “Come back at dinner time” could be heard all over the neighbourhood as kids rushed out-ofdoors in search of the next game of tag, Red Rover or kick-the-can. Impromptu games of shinny sprung up on quiet streets and shrieks of laughter would cut through the stillness.

packaged, highly processed treats (think: high sugar, salt and fat) that were in days past day the exception, not the rule. Many grandparents, my mother included, take care of grandchildren on a fairly regular, even daily basis. Taking care of your children’s children not only helps parents in need of reliable (and affordable!) daycare, a muchneeded break, and/or a night out, but it also

Today, it is rare to see kids playing outside unsupervised. Gone are the gatherings of neighbourhood kids. Instead kids are seen stuck to phones, tablets and video games and being driven around town to their next activity. Play time is more often well-thought-out playdates booked one week in advance or participation in organized sports. And, let’s not get started on food—what’s available for children to eat today differs greatly from years past. Grocery shelves overflow with brightly

means grandparents get to spend precious time with their grandchildren. The impact that grandparents have on a child’s well-being is immeasurable. Even though the environment that children are growing up in today looks vastly different, it is still “back to basics” when it comes to what children need to be physically and mentally healthy: down time, play time, meal time and social time.

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Down Time Often parents, and grandparents overlook the importance of providing the time and space for children to do quiet activities. Children need down time each day for reading, drawing, crafts or puzzles. When children are in school, daycare or preschool, their days are so full of structured activities that supporting them to have down time (NOT screen time) is important. Just remember that down time doesn’t replace sleep time. • Sleep time is incredibly important for a child’s healthy growth and development • Children age 5-13 need nine to eleven hours of uninterrupted sleep each night

Play Time Children naturally want to play and move their bodies in all sorts of ways. Childhood is the time for children to develop physical literacy, meaning the skills, confidence, and love of movement to be physically active for life. Canada’s physical activity goals for schoolage children include accumulating at least 60 minutes of physical activity that makes them breathe harder plus several hours of lighter activity each day. For younger children (age one to four years), the advice is to be active throughout the day for at least 180 minutes. Whenever possible, take children outside to explore natural environments and be active. Check out the ParticiPACTION 150 Play List ( for a fun list of uniquely Canadian activities such as pickle ball, dancing, hockey, basketball, paddle boarding and much more. For more on activity ideas to support physical literacy, visit Active for Life,

Meal (and Snack) Time “Back to basics” is also a good way to look at the foods to nourish young, growing bodies. At regular meal and snack times, children need foods that provide all the energy and nutrients their bodies need to grow as nature intended: plenty of vegetables and fruit, whole grains, and good sources of protein, and calcium. Eating together as a family and in community groups used to be the norm. Now it is recognized just how important it is for children to eat together with family and community. Children who eat with one or more adults at least once a day achieve better grades, higher self-esteem, a greater sense of resilience, are less likely to participate in high-risk behaviour in adolescence, have lower risk of depression, eat better and have a healthier body weight.

Looking for mealtime conversation ideas or tips for staying screen-free, look no further. Let’s Talk…Mealtime Conversation Cards for Toddlers & Preschoolers ( These cards offer great conversation starters and they help children to learn about food: what they are eating, where it comes from and how it is produced or grown.

Island Parent on for Vancouver Island


30 Years

The Resource Publicati


December 2017

Social Time Children need opportunities to socialize and interact with peers, family, and other adults. Social time fosters a child’s sense of belonging, connectedness and being secure. Community programs through your local library or recreation centre are good places to start to find programs and groups in your area. “Back to Basics” is an excellent motto for connecting with and fostering healthy growth and development in children. Grandparents are important role models for grandchildren and play a special role in the lives of young people. Take a Back to Basics approach to down time and play, meal and social time with grandchildren and make the difference for a young person today and tomorrow. For the Canadian 24-hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth, visit Canadian24HourMovementGuidelines2016. pdf.

The 5 (slightly tongue-in-cheek) Best Things about Being a Grandparent:

1. The opportunity to be a positive role model on the leaders of tomorrow. 2. The chance to have a positive influence on a growing mind and body. 3. The potential to embed a sense of cultural heritage and family history through your sharing and storytelling. 4. The opportunity to love and be loved and to make them feel safe. 5. The fact that you can give them back at the end of the day.

Areli Hermanson, RD and Janelle Hatch, MHSc, RD are mothers to young wildlyamazing children and are truly grateful for the grandparents in their children’s lives.

The Question of Santa Claus

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Cut Grandparents a Little Slack


y eight-year-old granddaughter stood at my side as we looked at the “beautiful dresses” we’d spied on display at the local department store. She’d picked out a couple she absolutely loved and had been excitedly explaining to me how each one would be perfect for the upcoming holiday season. “…and I could wear this one for our Christmas party in class, and this one for getting a picture with Santa.” She was revelling at the prospect of the new clothes when, from a distance, I heard my daughter’s voice. “She doesn’t need a new dress!” I looked down at my granddaughter and saw her roll her eyes as only an eight-yearold girl can. “Darn it,” she muttered. Not wanting to be involved in the lecture she knew was coming , she casually walked away as my daughter swept into the area. “She has dresses that are perfectly fine and I sold some on Varage Sale just the other day that had hardly been worn. She doesn’t need a new dress, and she knows it.” My daughter glared at my granddaughter who had suddenly, and silently, begun feigning an interest in a display of men’s jackets. I knew better than to argue, particularly in front of my granddaughter. This was, after all, a continuation of a friction point that, in reality, had less to do with my granddaughter’s wardrobe requirements than it did with my daughter setting boundaries for my behaviour as a grandparent. And it isn’t a conflict unique to the Collins’ household.

22  Island Grandparent

Grandparents who are close to their grandchildren, particularly when they share the same residence or where they provide a substantial level of care for their grandchildren, have a tendency to stray into making some parental decisions. It’s a trap that can too easily ensnare even the most level-headed grandpa. Take meals, for example. My theory is that if a child doesn’t want to eat their supper, it should be no big deal. There are times, after all, when we all look down at a plate and find that we just don’t want to eat what’s placed in front of us. Perhaps we’re legitimately not hungry. Perhaps we’ve had enough of a certain dish to last a lifetime. (No offence to the quick noodle concoctions that have crept into our diets, but I’d rather eat the attractive packaging than the glop that results after you remove the mess from heat “for five minutes, to allow it to thicken.”) When I am watching my granddaughter for the evening and she doesn’t eat, I let her excuse herself with the understanding that, when she arrives in a few hours complaining of hunger, her choices will be leftover supper, fruit or raw veggies, or a healthy snack. No cookies, chips or other junk food will be on the menu. And while I see a certain elegant logic in my approach, my daughter is inclined to make the child sit there, sullen and unhappy, as a battle of wills unfolds with the predictably unhappy results. I’ve learned not to comment during those episodes but am aware that my

granddaughter is learning that two divergent standards of behaviour exist. I’m certain she prefers my approach, and that makes me simultaneously pleased and uneasy. It’s not my intention to undermine my daughter, but…good grief. Cut the kid some slack. For advice on how to resolve the question of when, as a grandparent, I was treading over that invisible line into my daughter’s domain as a parent, my first instinct, as a journalist, was

Tim Collins to go to the font of all wisdom, the internet. The results were, as they often are with the internet, disappointing. I found a lot of silliness there that essentially took the parent’s side and warned grandparents against giving gifts without permission, expressing criticism about any decisions made by the parent (even in private), and even such absurd notions as not referring to your grandchild in a possessive way, as in “How’s my sweetie pie today?” Apparently, all these actions somehow diminish the parent’s authority and control over the child. In the end, of course, it’s got to be a matter of balance. I’m willing to accept that I can’t and shouldn’t overtly contradict my daughter’s decisions regarding her child’s welfare if she is willing to allow me some flexibility in return. If I want to buy this perfect little girl a new dress, and don’t care that it may only be worn once, then I don’t see the harm. If I decide to buy her a pony, an espresso machine, or a professional Yamaha drum kit with pink cymbals for her room, then I may have crossed the line and may deserve a reprimand So the battle will continue, with no end in sight and, perhaps, we’ll get better at it in time. But I sort of I doubt it. By the way, I did eventually talk my daughter into letting me buy one dress. The red and white one with the pretty ribbons on the hem. It’ll be perfect for the picture with Santa and she looks so darn cute in it, it even made my daughter smile.

Tim Collins is a writer and freelance journalist living and working in Victoria.

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Winter 2018  23

You Can Lead Toddlers to the Dinner Table …but you can’t make them eat


ecently, I placed a plate of dinner in front of my three-year-old grandson only to receive a resounding “YUK!” after he surveyed it. The way he said it was simply hilarious; he dragged out the first syllable as if to give emphasis to his displeasure – “Ye-e-e-uk!” Trying desperately to suppress my amused reaction—I didn’t know he even knew that word—I found myself giving him the same lecture my own parents gave me when I was a little girl: “If you want to grow up big and strong, you must eat your dinner.” That reasoning fell flat as he wrinkled his

few bites of the main course. Returning several minutes later with my own plate of dinner, I was disappointed to find he hadn’t eaten anything other than those few peas. Time to resort to a different strategy. My daughter-in-law told me that she had recently introduced the concept of “first this, then this,” so I thought I would try her approach. My grandson loves fruit so I cut up a few slices of apple, placed them on a plate, and set it on the table in front of him. His eyes lit up and he immediately made a grab for the plate, but I was faster, sliding it slightly out of his reach.

If I thought I had won at that point, I was sorely mistaken. He sat there for ages chewing that measly piece of chicken to death, and I mean to death. Any prompting to eat another piece was met with a dramatic wave of his hand. I gave him a look that let him know I knew what he was up to. After all, Nonna has been down this road before. It was time to pull another trick out of my bag. My grandson loves his stuffed dog and always asks for it whenever he comes to my house, so I retrieved “Doggy” and sat him

Susan Gnucci

in one of the chairs at the kitchen table. My grandson’s interest was immediately piqued, prompting him to sit up tall in his booster seat. “Why don’t you show doggy how you eat up your dinner?” I suggested. That proposal was met with a quick swallow of his chicken wad, and he even picked up his fork this time to spear another piece of meat which he popped proudly into his mouth, grinning as he did so, legs swinging happily under the table. I got a lot of mileage out of Doggy—three more pieces of chicken and two bites of potato. And after a couple of airplane rides with a spoonful of peas and potatoes, all to impress doggy, of course, the bulk of his dinner was done. Time for some apples. Any parent knows that getting young children to eat properly can be tricky, to say the least. You almost have to be a child psychologist to get them to eat what’s good for them. Dinnertime can be especially trying. My own parents never made me or my siblings eat our dinner if we didn’t want to, but if we didn’t, we weren’t allowed anything else for the rest of the night. As a result, I ended up going to bed hungry on more than one occasion, but I knew better than to ask for a snack. Other families have a rule that everyone is allowed to serve themselves, but whatever you take, you are expected to eat. I suppose this is a good way to teach children portion control. And then there are those families for whom “First some of your dinner, then some dinnertime is a social event, where conversanose and simply repeated his initial reaction, tion, sharing, and stories keep children at the this time with even more gusto. Once I pointed apple,” I advised him. The look he gave me was priceless. He gri- table, and eating is treated as a leisurely affair. out the peas, something he likes, he finally relented and gingerly picked one of them maced as if to say, “Oh, I get it. You’ve been It only stands to reason that the more time up, careful to choose one that didn’t have talking to Mommy.” His desire for some apple children spend at the table, the more likely any sauce on it. I left him to his own devices won out, however, and he grudgingly popped they will be to eat, nibble, and graze. for a minute, hoping one pea would lead to a piece of chicken into his mouth. another which might then actually lead to a 24  Island Grandparent

Looking back with my own children, I am frankly amazed my oldest child never developed an eating disorder. As a new mom, I fretted incessantly if he didn’t eat the recommended amount from each food group every single day. I was like to a drill sergeant when it came to meal time—dumped bowls were refilled and any time my son opened his mouth, I was quick to stuff something into it whether he wanted me to or not. At one point, I distinctly remember sitting in my doctor’s office seeking his advice on how to deal with what I saw as my “finicky eater.” Although I didn’t pick up on it at the time, I’m sure my doctor was amused because he was quick to reassure me he had never seen a case where a child had starved him or herself to death. He sent me on my way with some sound advice: stay away from sugars and processed foods, of course, but other than that, allow a child to eat what they like and gradually expose them to a wide variety of food. I remember his advice to this day. And so I was delighted at a recent meal with my grandson when he happily popped a piece of steamed broccoli into his mouth. Broccoli? Really? Go figure.

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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.

Winter 2018  25


ne of my most beloved pictures of my grandmother was taken at a local salmon run. I remember the day well: the autumn light streaming through the maple trees, the river swollen with rain and chum salmon, and the air filled with the songs of a little bird called an American dipper. My grandmother wasn’t up for walking far that day, but luckily we could see salmon not far from where we parked. We all marveled at their incredible tenacity.

Tracey Moss

Family Traditions to

Celebrate Nature 26  Island Grandparent

My grandmother was from England and came over as a war bride. She brought many traditions with her when she started a family in Canada: we made mincemeat pies before Christmas, our turkey was always stuffed with sausage meat, and afternoons were for a hot cup of tea and a visit. Although it was a new tradition for her to go see the salmon run, it was something we enjoyed doing together as a family. Whether you have been here for many generations, or are new to the area, there are so many wonderful “natural” traditions in our region that we can share with our families. I have started some new family traditions with my husband and daughters. We swim in the ocean or river every Canada Day, we watch the turkey vulture migration in the fall at East Sooke Regional Park, and we do a family walk on Boxing Day. Slowly we are building a list of traditions old and new that celebrate the nature of the region. No matter the age of your kids and grandkids, it isn’t too late to start some new family traditions to celebrate the natural beauty that surrounds us on the Island. Here’s a list of ideas for starting some nature based traditions of your own:

January: Go for a family New Year’s Day walk June: Celebrate the summer solstice by enin your favourite park or explore a new one! joying some of the lowest tides of the year and go tide pooling at your local beach. February: Make a nature-based craft with your grandkids for Valentine’s Day. You could July: Go for a Canada Day swim at your paint hearts on smooth rocks for valentine’s favourite lake, river or beach. gifts or go on a walk and try to find heart shaped August: Enjoy a family camping trip or set natural items to take pictures of. up a fun campout in the backyard. March: Go on a neighborhood birdwatching walk for spring break. Little kids love making September: Go to see the raptor migration and decorating toilet paper roll ‘binoculars’, at East Sooke Regional Park and join in for and older kids often enjoy getting to be in the annual Hawk Watch event at the end of the month. charge of the real binoculars. April: For Earth Day, go to a nursery together and buy a new native plant or some seeds to plant in your garden or in a container for your home and watch them grow. Or go to a natural area that is special to you and pick up a bag of litter. May: Help the kids organize a Mother’s Day picnic. If you are on the south island, go for a walk to see a Garry oak meadow in full bloom with wildflowers.

December: Make a nature-based advent calendar with a different nature activity to do each day. Gather some leaves from your garden and make leaf printed wrapping with recycled paper. Make birdseed ornaments to hang outside for the birds.

There is nothing like spending time with a grandparent. My grandmother taught me love for nature, gardening and the outdoors. I cherish the time I spent with her watching birds and trying to outsmart the deer who were frequent visitors to her English rose bushes. Today, I love watching my daughters develop a relationship with my parents and learn our October: Buy some fall harvest produce at family traditions from them. Should the day your local farm and go for a Thanksgiving come that I am blessed with grandchildren, Day family walk on one of our regional trails. I look forward to taking them to the salmon run and sharing with them the story of watchNovember: Observe a salmon run. Victoria ing the ancestors of these salmon with their area runs usually peak around Remembrance great great grandmother on that beautiful Day, but can start in October and last through autumn day. to December in some rivers depending on the conditions that year. Most people know the Tracey Moss is the Coordinator of Goldstream River for viewing salmon, but Environmental Interpretation at CRD some other good places on the south island Regional Parks. The Capital Regional are the Sooke Potholes Regional Park and the District offers year round family-friendly Charters River in Sooke. nature outings and events. For details please visit:

Winter 2018  27

Christmas Family Traditions E ach family has its own special traditions during the holiday season. My two sons are grown now, but from the time they were babies, we would bundle them up every Christmas Eve and tour the famous Butchart Gardens light display with aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. It was a chance for our sons to wear off some of their boundless energy, and we were all excited to spot new additions to the display each year. Our evening was always capped off with hot chocolate and a snack at the restaurant on the grounds. Christmas dinner provided another opportunity for a family favourite—my Christmas crackers. In the months leading up to Christmas, I worked tirelessly to create beautiful handmade crackers. They were simple to assemble using a paper towel roll and snappers bought from a craft store, and I stuffed them with little gift ideas—lotto tickets, chocolates, gum, candy canes, dollar store toys, etc. Each one was elaborately wrapped in paper and ribbon and they were always a hit. Christmas ornaments were a big deal in our family. Every year, we purchased a new ornament to put in our boys’ stockings. These were carefully marked with their initials and the year so that by the time our sons moved out on their own, they would each have a set of ornaments to decorate their first Christmas tree. Every year when we hauled the Christmas storage boxes up from the crawlspace, both boys were giddy with excitement to lay out all of their ornaments in chronological order, reminiscing about the accomplishments or special interests each one represented. Looking back to my own childhood, I fondly remember many of the Christmas traditions my family practiced. Growing up in a small town in the interior, we bundled up each winter in our snow suits, boots, scarves, and mittens in order to venture into the nearby woods to chop down our own Christmas tree. Now that I am both a parent and a grandpar-

28  Island Grandparent

ent, I realize the work involved in getting three squirming, excited young children suited up, but my mother accomplished it with the patience of a saint. We always selected our tree from the woods along the power line which meant hiking in a good distance. To be more accurate, my parents hiked in—my siblings and I enjoyed a carefree ride on a toboggan. Finding a suitable tree and chopping it down with three kids running around giving constant advice must have been taxing for my father to say the least. It took us the better part of the day, and by the time we returned home with our tree in tow, we were all warmed and rosy-cheeked from our excursion. When it came to trimming the Christmas tree, my father battled fiercely with the old strings of lights that would not work if even one bulb wasn’t screwed in just so. Trying to figure out exactly which bulb was causing the trouble had him cursing and muttering under his breath. He would lay the entire string along the full length of the hallway and screw and unscrew each bulb until he identified the culprit that was causing him grief. After decorating the tree with ornaments, my siblings and I were allowed to help with hanging the tinsel. My father was raised during the Great Depression which is why I think he saved the tinsel every year by carefully storing it strand by strand inside Christmas cards which were then taped shut. I never remember the purchase of any new tinsel over the years so we must have used the same stock throughout my entire childhood. That man knew the meaning of a dollar! Tinsel in those days was made out of heavy gauge aluminum foil so it hung very differently from the flimsy tinsel you buy today. My father’s method of hanging tinsel was exacting—each strand was hung individually and the spacing between strands was just so for an even, uniform look. I remember trying to live up to his standards, my tongue between my teeth in intense

concentration. I have no doubt that after my siblings and I went to sleep, my father probably corrected much of our work. Every Christmas Eve, my parents hosted an open house and I loved all the busy preparations in the kitchen beforehand. My Italian grandmother helped to lay out a choice selection of meats, pickles, olives, antipasto, crackers, cheese, and buns and my mother assembled a platter of her famous shortbread, tarts, and squares. The highlight of the evening was the big bowl of mandarin oranges set out in the middle of the coffee table. Mandarins were only available during

Susan Gnucci the Christmas season back in those days, so my siblings and I stuffed ourselves silly on them. Christmas Eve was a chance to see all of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents in their finest and our living room was a hub of chatter and laughter. My father always lit a fire in our fireplace and I can still remember the warmth of it against my back as I jockeyed for a position on the hearth. My parents never wrapped our gifts “from Santa” so when we inevitably woke up early on Christmas morning, we had to call out from our beds: “Can we get up now?” We were not permitted to just get up whenever we wanted—we rose as a family or not at all. If it was too early, we were shushed and told to go back to sleep. I remember dying of excitement as I huddled under my covers, waiting in delicious anticipation for the “go-ahead” to get up, at which point, my siblings and I tripped over ourselves in a mad rush to get into the living room. We all cherish Christmas family traditions, those from our childhood and those we create with our own families; they bind us, give us a sense of belonging, and nurture our souls. In truth, they hold more meaning than any gift ever could.

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.

More advanced students can learn chord progressions and intervals, how to compose songs and how to start a music business. Lynda. com offers more than 9,000 beginner courses related to music, including ukulele lessons, mandolin lessons, plus hundreds of thousands of courses to improve professional skills like web design, photography and business. Help your grandchild compose a song, and then perform the masterpiece side by side in your living room, standing in for Carnegie Hall. You may be laying the foundation for a Learn with Ready to take the next step in your musical lifelong passion for musical expression. education? You and your grandchildren can go deeper into the art of music by taking video Listen Live, Listen Later In early 2018, Pacific Opera Victoria will be joining the GVPL’s Culture and Recreation Pass program, which lets library cardholders borrow passes to local attractions like the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Royal BC Museum and Saanich Recreation. The first passes will be available for POV’s February production of Puccini’s La Bohème. “Pacific Opera Victoria looks forward to sharing the opera experience with the community through our partnership with the Greater Victoria Public Library,” says Ian Rye, CEO of Pacific Opera Victoria. “Patrons can borrow a culture pass to see a live performance, and continue listening with Naxos recordings,” adds Rob Martin, chair of the Library Board and municipal councillor courses through, an e-learning for Colwood. The Greater Victoria Public Library supplatform that, like Naxos, is available to access with your GVPL library card number ports learning experiences that enrich our lives and expand our minds. Let music be and password. Learn music notation, take music theory your catalyst to learning, discovery and a courses, study rhythm, harmony and scales. life-long bond.

The Library’s Alive with the Sound of Music Musical education at home, in the community and at the library


isits with the grandkids mean spending quality time, including sharing books, movies and music, helping youngsters form connections to arts and culture they’ll enjoy throughout their lives. The Greater Victoria Public Library’s collections and digital resources provide a full-service, multi-disciplinary experience to bolster your grandchildren’s musical education—and, when shared together, reinforce your bond. With GVPL’s recent launch of Naxos Music Library, a streaming classical music collection with more than two million tracks and 130,000 albums, the library makes it easy to share the universal language of music with your grandkids. Cardholders can log in with their library card number and start listening to music instantly. “Music is a great jumping off point for learning,” says Maureen Sawa, CEO of the Greater Victoria Public Library. “Starting with a single song, children and adults can study vocabulary, language, composition, history, ideas, emotions and so much more. Naxos is a great addition to the library that will give families the chance to listen and learn together.” To help the library launch Naxos, students and faculty from the Victoria Conservatory of Music played a concert inside the Langford Heritage Branch. Spectators were invited to “Listen live then listen later,” as they were encouraged to look up the music performed in the branch on Naxos and listen to different versions. “A group of flutists played ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen,” says Sawa, “which prompted spectators to talk about the movie and compare and contrast the original version to the one they were experiencing live. I hope children went home eager to learn more about playing an instrument and expand their musical education.” In addition to songs to listen to, Naxos offers educational resources. Its Junior Section includes information about composers, the instruments of the orchestra and playlists of songs chosen for kids.

A Musical Idea Introduce your grandkids to The Sound of Music by borrowing the DVD from the library. You’ll love watching the kids fall head over heels for Maria and the von Trapp children, just as you did years ago. Then, extend the experience by logging on to Naxos and choosing one of many versions of the musical’s songs to listen to together—the original Broadway cast, the Broadway revival cast, instrumental and jazz renditions and more. Continue your grandchildren’s musical apprenticeship with Naxos’s educational resources. Read composer biographies, a glossary of musical terms, opera libretti and synopses, and explore the junior section, where kids can learn the history of classical music, meet the instruments of a symphony orchestra, and enjoy music playlists created just for kids.

Musical Storytimes Follow up your digital learning experience by attending a storytime at the library with your grandkids, a program that includes a musical component. The lyrics to songs are a great way to familiarize young children with new vocabulary and to engage older kids with nuances of rhyme and rhythm. For times and locations and to start listening and learning today, visit

Winter 2018  29

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Through the Years M

y name is Jessica Sargent. In 1992 my mother wrote an article for Island Parent about the bond that my father and I shared. In 2005, when I was 17, I wrote an essay that ran in Island Parent about how my relationship with my dad had evolved and grown through my childhood. Twelve years later, here I am writing about my wedding day with an update and a “full circle” type of story about my dad and me. It’s often difficult for me to describe the father-daughter relationship I have with my dad. How do you put into words the special bond you share? You know the memories you have, but you aren’t sure if they are true memories, or if they are imprinted in your brain because you have been told the story again and again? That is my earliest memory with dad. We’re camping at Long Beach in Tofino and I’m maybe two years old. We are walking on the beach together. I’m stretching as high as I can to grab hold of his finger. A tiny two-year-old, and a nearly six-foot-six man, walking the beach together—finger in hand. In 2015, I met my future husband. He is a

important walk of my life. He gave me away to the man of my dreams and sat proudly in the front row as my husband and I exchanged my vows.

man like my father: strong, hard-working, kind, and loving. Leading up to the wedding it was hard for Dad to talk about it. He didn’t want to practice our dance, he had trouble going through baby pictures with Mom for the slideshow, and he didn’t like to talk too much about the details. Though he would never admit it, we all know it was hard for him to “give me away” and watch his little girl get married. My big day came and went. Dad walked me down the aisle in the most

of us. Dad chose a song that I knew would be a hard one to dance to, a song about giving away your little girl. How could you not get emotional? About half-way through our dance, Dad said “hold my finger, Jess, like we’re walking on the beach.”And we danced under the hanging lights—finger in hand. I love you, Dad. Thanks for the dance.

Jessica Sargent Our father-daughter dance was an emotional one. And even as I write this now, I’m trying not to get emotional about how much those three minutes meant to me—to both

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 for specific information on submissions. We’d love to hear from you. Please email submissions to

30  Island Grandparent

Photo: Nunn Other Photography, Victoria BC

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Jessica Sargent (nee Alexander) lives in Victoria and is proud to be a “daddy’s girl.”

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Winter Island Grandparent 2018  

Winter Island Grandparent 2018