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Grand Spring 2020

Not only are grandparents keeping up with their grandchildren these days, they’re often setting the pace! In this issue, you’ll find a Q&A on Jeanne Socrates, the 77-year-old grandmother who sailed around the world—solo! Read about bridging the generation gap, helping your grandchildren deal with grief, the importance of laughter, and how to make the most of mealtimes. Learn how a grandparent’s involvement in their grandchild’s life impacts well-being—theirs and yours! Find out why simple pleasures are often the best and how children learn through play.

Not only are grandparents keeping up with their grandchildren these days, they’re often setting the pace! In this issue, you’ll find a Q&A on Jeanne Socrates, the 77-year-old grandmother who sailed around the world—solo! Read about bridging the generation gap, helping your grandchildren deal with grief, the importance of laughter, and how to make the most of mealtimes. Learn how a grandparent’s involvement in their grandchild’s life impacts well-being—theirs and yours! Find out why simple pleasures are often the best and how children learn through play.

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island<br />

GRAND<br />

parent<br />

Age Is Just<br />

a Number<br />

SPRiNG <strong>2020</strong><br />

Gone But<br />

Not Forgotten<br />

Helping kids deal<br />

with the death of a<br />

beloved grandparent


strollers • cribs<br />

shoes • books<br />

toys • clothing<br />

car seats • carriers<br />

maternity • sleep aids<br />

diaper bags<br />

high chairs<br />

skincare • bedding<br />

1581 Hillside Ave<br />

Victoria<br />

778•265•5651<br />

Across the street from Hillside Centre<br />

SHOP ONLINE AT<br />

MOMEASE.CA<br />

2 <strong>Grand</strong> IslandParent.ca


Swan Lake<br />

christmas hill<br />

n a t u r e s a n c t u a r y<br />

3873 Swan Lake Road, Victoria, B.C. Canada, V8X 3W1 | www.swanlake.bc.ca | 250-479-0211<br />

IslandParent.ca<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 3


SPRING <strong>2020</strong><br />

tABLeoFCONteNts<br />

5<br />

Welcome<br />

How grandparents are setting the pace.<br />

SUE FAST<br />

6<br />

<strong>Grand</strong>kids say the darndest things<br />

…so listen hard and have your pen ready.<br />

LORRAINE STEPHENS<br />

7<br />

Who said What?<br />

tools to record memories.<br />

8<br />

A <strong>Grand</strong> Adventure<br />

Sailing solo around<br />

the world…at 77!<br />

RACHEL DUNSTAN MULLER<br />

10<br />

Gone But Not Forgotten<br />

Helping kids deal with the death<br />

of a beloved grandparent.<br />

JACQUI GRAHAM<br />

12<br />

Bridging the<br />

Generation Gap<br />

…and smashing stereotypes.<br />

TIM COLLINS<br />

14<br />

Learning through Play<br />

Setting the foundation for language,<br />

thinking and communication.<br />

16<br />

simple Pleasures<br />

it’s the simple things that are<br />

often most memorable.<br />

SUSAN GNUCCI<br />

18<br />

Art With Nature at Heart<br />

Accessible to everyone—<br />

and outdoors.<br />

EMMA JANE VIGNOLA<br />

20<br />

Make the Most of Mealtimes<br />

eating is about more<br />

than just nutrition.<br />

JANE BARCLAY<br />

22<br />

Age Is Just a Number<br />

How grandchildren keep you young.<br />

SUSAN GNUCCI<br />

<strong>Grand</strong>’s cover, shot by Katrina Massey, is of her daughter, Aletheia, and her mother, Debbie Esselink, who sadly, passed away on February 3.<br />

The words quoted below accompanied a series of photos Katrina posted on @katrinajmassey in a tribute to her mom.<br />

“M<br />

y mom had a plan. First, my birthday. Then, my sister’s birthday. Then, my brother’s honours ceremony. Then, then it was high tea for my sister and my<br />

birthdays. Celebrated in style with our grandmother and Aletheia as well. All four generations.<br />

Even though my dad was visibly upset and pacing (and sat in the room adjacent the whole time). Even though it took four people to lift her in her<br />

wheelchair up the stairs to the tea room (her head held high, like an Egyptian Queen on her palanquin), even though she barely had sound left in her voice. Even<br />

though the whites of her eyes were alarmingly yellow and she couldn’t stand. She put on her finest warmest clothes, she wore her make up (and praised me for my<br />

choice in lipstick for her at Christmas—‘wasn’t it lovely?’) and donned a pretty headband. She gave the air that everything was fine. She was not gravely ill. She was<br />

just out to tea with her daughters, her mother and her granddaughter. And ‘wasn’t it just perfect?’ And it was. And it wasn’t. We all knew. But we all put it off for just<br />

those hours. We talked about the garden, about how delicious the tea was, how beautiful the tea house was, all the new and funny things Sybil was doing. Aletheia<br />

made some art. My sister smeared flourless chocolate cake all over her teeth and asked my mom ‘Mom, is there something in my teeth?’ We all laughed. The next<br />

day we met for our weekly lunch at my parents house and she smiled and hugged us all and then drifted in and out of consciousness. The ambulance took her to<br />

the hospital where we will love on her until the end.” • @katrinajmassey<br />

Aletheia (5) and<br />

In Memory of<br />

Debbie Esselink<br />

(Dec 5, 1964 –<br />

Feb 3, <strong>2020</strong>)<br />

ONtHeCOver<br />

island<br />

GRAND<br />

parent<br />

Gone But<br />

Not Forgotten<br />

Helping kids deal<br />

with the death of a<br />

beloved grandparent<br />

Age Is Just<br />

a Number<br />

Photo<br />

(of her daughter<br />

and mother) by<br />

Katrina Massey<br />

katrinamassey.com<br />

Jim Schneider Publisher publisher@islandparent.ca<br />

Sue Fast Editor editor@islandparent.ca<br />

Linda Frear Account Manager/Office Manager linda@islandparent.ca<br />

Kristine Wickheim Account Manager kristine@islandparent.ca<br />

Katie Derion Account Manager katie@islandparent.ca<br />

<strong>Grand</strong>, published by Island Parent Group Enterprises Ltd., is a biannual<br />

publication that honours and supports grandpparents by providing information<br />

on resources and businesses for families and a forum for the exchange of ideas<br />

and opinions. Views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher.<br />

No material herein may be reproduced without the permission of the publisher.<br />

<strong>Grand</strong> is distributed free in selected areas. ISSN 0838-5505.<br />

Island Parent Magazine<br />

250-388-6905 islandparent.ca<br />

4 <strong>Grand</strong> IslandParent.ca


<strong>Grand</strong>parents these Days<br />

Not only are grandparents keeping<br />

up with their grandchildren these<br />

days, they’re often setting the pace.<br />

Hike up Mt. Finlayson, grandkids in<br />

tow?<br />

No problem.<br />

Cycle the Galloping Goose?<br />

Love to!<br />

Skydive over the Cowichan Valley?<br />

You betcha!<br />

Er, okay, maybe not skydiving.<br />

But maybe…<br />

Forget rocking chairs and knitting<br />

needles, grandparents these days are more<br />

likely to reach for their hiking boots or a<br />

bike when it comes to spending time with<br />

their grandkids. Sure they’d likely be happy<br />

sitting and knitting, too, but grandparents<br />

now are more active than ever.<br />

Take, for example, Guinness World Record<br />

holder, Jeanne Socrates, the 77-yearold<br />

grandmother who recently completed<br />

a non-stop, solo, unassisted circumnavigation<br />

around the world (profiled on page 8).<br />

According to the Statistics Canada<br />

report, Family Matters, there were 7.5 million<br />

grandparents in Canada in 2017—the<br />

highest number since the data started being<br />

collected. With more of us, being more<br />

involved and active than ever, grandparents<br />

and grandchildren benefit.<br />

<strong>Grand</strong>parents can act as “stress buffers,<br />

family watchdogs, roots, arbitrators, and<br />

supporters,” according to The Legacy<br />

Project. “<strong>Grand</strong>parents can be a major<br />

support during family disruptions, such as<br />

divorce, illness or death (see Gone But Not<br />

Forgotten on page 10). They are also historians—teaching<br />

values, instilling ethnic<br />

heritage and passing on family traditions.<br />

They’re very often role models and mentors<br />

for younger generations (see Bridging the<br />

Generation Gap on page 12).”<br />

According to a 2010 Oxford University<br />

study, there is a significant correlation between<br />

a grandparent’s involvement and a<br />

child’s well-being: A grandparent’s interest<br />

in a child’s hobbies was associated with the<br />

grandchild having fewer peer problems;<br />

being involved with their schooling was<br />

associated with fewer behaviour issues;<br />

and grandchildren who discussed future<br />

career plans with their grandparents had<br />

fewer emotional issues.<br />

And the benefits spill over to the grandparents,<br />

too. Studies show that having<br />

grandchildren can help boost your health<br />

in a variety of ways—and keeps you young.<br />

In 2014, Australian researchers found<br />

that spending time with grandchildren<br />

could sharpen cognitive skills. Not only<br />

that, but having grandchildren keeps you<br />

more active, lowers your risk of depression,<br />

keeps you learning, strengthens your<br />

immune system, helps you rediscover a<br />

sense of purpose, and motivates you to<br />

take care of yourself.<br />

And they make us laugh (see Kids Say<br />

the Darndest Things on page 6).<br />

So time together with our grandchildren<br />

is a win-win for all of us.<br />

Just like the time you spend with your<br />

grandchildren, we hope you enjoy every<br />

minute—and every page—of <strong>Grand</strong>.<br />

IslandParent.ca<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 5


<strong>Grand</strong>kids Say the Darndest Things<br />

<strong>Grand</strong>ma—or “Mimi”—to seven grandchildren, Lorraine Stephens is always ready<br />

with a camera and notepad to record her grandkids’ funniest comments and<br />

observations. Here is a small sampling:<br />

Noah puts on his flip flops and says<br />

“Hey, I sound like mom!”<br />

Three-year-old Micah looks at his mom<br />

and says: “Your hair is wild—did you<br />

have a nap?”<br />

I show Micah his mom’s wedding photo<br />

and say, “Isn’t your mom beautiful!”<br />

He says: “She is there, but not at our<br />

house in the morning!”<br />

5-year-old Micah tells me that if I am<br />

feeling sad to just look at him or to<br />

someone else I love and I will feel better.<br />

When Mae first met her newborn<br />

brother, she looks him over and says<br />

“he got no shoes!”<br />

Hollis and I are on a sidewalk and an<br />

ant crawls along and touches his bare<br />

foot. He puts is hands up and says:<br />

“They are trying to kill me!”<br />

Micah always refers to our house as<br />

“Mimi’s house.” Papa asks why and<br />

Micah very patiently says “Papa, you<br />

don’t have a house—Mimi let’s you live<br />

with her.”<br />

Micah at 7: “I don’t know if I will marry<br />

a boy or a girl, I just know they will be<br />

kind.”<br />

Noah and I are shooting a Nerf gun at<br />

targets and I am not doing very well.<br />

Noah says: “Watch and learn, sister, I’ll<br />

show you how its done!”<br />

While driving Lucia says: “Mimi I saw<br />

a cop. Good thing I’m buckled in, I<br />

wouldn’t want to go to jail…I’m just a<br />

kid.”<br />

We are in a restaurant and I ask Micah<br />

what kind of sundae he would like,<br />

chocolate or? And he says: “My favourite<br />

day is Saturday, not Sunday!”<br />

Three-year-olds Micah and Logan are<br />

arguing. Micah to Logan: “I don’t want<br />

to say yes.” Logan to Noah: “Don’t say<br />

no Micah—only mommy says no!”<br />

Papa is stretching, Micah asks why and<br />

Papa says it makes him limber. Micah<br />

says: “It makes you a limper, why<br />

would you want to be a limper?”<br />

4 1 ⁄2-year-old Hollis says “Mimi I’m hungry,<br />

I don’t want something healthy, I<br />

want a chunk of chocolate.”<br />

5-year-old Noah is listing off everything<br />

he does—goes to school, karate,<br />

etc and ends with: “I am such a busy<br />

man.”<br />

I am talking with 5-year-old Micah<br />

about my dad who passed way. I put<br />

my hand on my heart and tell him it’s<br />

okay, I hold him in my heart. His eyes<br />

widen in horror and says: “You ate<br />

your dad?”<br />

I say to 5-year-old Noah and 3-year-old<br />

Logan that they are the greatest. Logan<br />

stamps his foot angrily and says: “I<br />

am not the greatest, I am Logan!”<br />

4 1 ⁄2-year-old Logan was cold. He says:<br />

“Mimi…I’m a goosebump!”<br />

It’s a beautiful sunny day in Vancouver.<br />

Hollis gets out of the car, puts his hands<br />

on his hips and says “I’m just going to<br />

stand here a minute and look at the<br />

Alps.”<br />

Lorraine Stephens is a mom of three and “Mimi” to seven grandkids who light up<br />

her world with their many antics and words of wisdom. She feels no day is better spent<br />

than wandering the trails and beaches with her crew—it’s entertainment at its best.<br />

6 <strong>Grand</strong> IslandParent.ca


Who Said<br />

What?<br />

The Kiddies Store<br />

SINCE<br />

1978<br />

Dedicated to providing<br />

Vancouver Island families with<br />

high-quality infant and toddler<br />

products at affordable prices<br />

for over 25 years<br />

Strollers<br />

Safety<br />

Car Seats<br />

Playtime<br />

Furniture<br />

Baby Carriers<br />

Bedding<br />

Bath &<br />

Health<br />

Feeding &<br />

Kitchen<br />

Nursery<br />

Apparel<br />

One way to keep track of the darndest<br />

things our grandkids say is in the<br />

journal, My Quotable <strong>Grand</strong>kid. Filled<br />

with roomy pages for grandparents to<br />

record the hilarious and unexpectedly<br />

wise things their grandchildren say, this<br />

keepsake features a photo window for<br />

personalizing the journal, and a ribbon<br />

marker. Each page has a place for the<br />

quote, along with places to enter the<br />

grandkid’s name, age, and other details.<br />

3045–C Douglas St.<br />

Victoria, BC<br />

tjskids.com<br />

250-386-2229<br />

Douglas St.<br />

Finlayson St.<br />

Entrance off<br />

Larch St.<br />

Larch St.<br />

T.J.’s<br />

Classes,<br />

Community<br />

& More!<br />

Another way to keep track of memories<br />

and wisdom—yours and your grandkids’—is<br />

with 12 prompted letters that<br />

offer a way for grandparents to give the<br />

gift of a lifetime to their grandchild of<br />

any age. Seal your favourite recollections<br />

with the included stickers and postdate<br />

the letters for future opening. This paper<br />

time capsule becomes an heirloom for<br />

future generations. •<br />

Classes<br />

Ÿ Childbirth Preparation & Refreshers<br />

Ÿ Baby Care & Infant First Aid<br />

Ÿ Siblings - <strong>Grand</strong>parents<br />

Yoga & Fitness<br />

Ÿ Prenatal & Postnatal<br />

Ÿ Yoga for Toddlers<br />

Groups<br />

Ÿ Baby Groups<br />

Ÿ Pregnancy Happy Hour<br />

Retail Store<br />

Ÿ Nursing bras and tops<br />

Ÿ Breastpump sales & rentals<br />

Ÿ Baby Carriers<br />

Ÿ Baby Clothes, Books and Toys<br />

975 Fort Street, Victoria<br />

motheringtouch.ca - 250-595-4905<br />

IslandParent.ca<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 7


<strong>Grand</strong><br />

a<br />

adventure<br />

eanne socrates isn’t your typical grandmother.<br />

On September 7, 2019, the 77 year-old retired mathematician<br />

sailed past Ogden Point and into Victoria’s Inner Harbour,<br />

completing a non-stop, solo, unassisted circumnavigation of<br />

the globe. The voyage earned her a second Guinness World<br />

Record. In 2013 she became the first woman to sail solo nonstop<br />

around the world from North America, and the oldest<br />

woman to sail solo nonstop around the world. As of now, she<br />

is the oldest person to sail solo nonstop unassisted, eastabout jaround the world.<br />

8 <strong>Grand</strong> IslandParent.ca


If the summary of Socrates’ story is impressive, the details<br />

are astounding. A year before her most recent departure,<br />

Socrates fell 15 feet from the deck of her sailboat onto<br />

concrete while she was working in dry dock. She sustained<br />

serious injuries to her neck and ribs, which forced her to<br />

postpone her launch date by a year. The injuries may have delayed<br />

her departure, but they didn’t deter her from her goal.<br />

On October 3, 2018, she sailed out of Victoria.<br />

The voyage was supposed to take seven or eight months,<br />

but the wind gods sent a number of challenges. She’d been<br />

at sea for just over 11 months when she finally returned to<br />

Victoria, and hadn’t set foot on land in all that time. In fact,<br />

she’d only been able to see land for a few days of her journey.<br />

To satisfy the official record requirements, Socrates sailed by<br />

herself, without any assistance or shore-based support team.<br />

Her engine was sealed and inspected upon her return. She<br />

carried all the food she needed for the voyage—no provisioning<br />

along the way—and her fresh water came from a desalinator<br />

which ran off solar and wind-powered batteries.<br />

Socrates did her own weather routing, avoiding storms by<br />

using information she gained via radio and satellite. When<br />

problems arose—and there were many—Socrates had to deal<br />

with them herself, using tools and spare parts that were already<br />

on-board. A fair bit of improvising was required. By<br />

the end of her voyage, she’d seen damage to her mainsail,<br />

backup sail, radar dish and steering system, and her solar<br />

panels had disappeared altogether.<br />

I can’t imagine a more inspiring role model, so I asked<br />

Socrates if she’d be willing to be interviewed for Island<br />

<strong>Grand</strong>parent. She had already sailed down to Mexico when<br />

I reached her, but graciously agreed to speak with me via<br />

Skype.<br />

Q&a…<br />

you are a grandmother, and i understand that you<br />

keep in touch with your family via satellite phone<br />

while you’re away at sea. What do they think of<br />

your adventures?<br />

I have three grandchildren in England: my grandson is 14<br />

and my two granddaughters are 16 and 18. They came down<br />

to help me name my boat back in 2009. It’s the SV Nereida,<br />

named after the Nereids, the handmaids of Poseidon<br />

(the Greek god of the sea). My son follows my blog and<br />

my grandson is interested in what I’ve been doing, but they<br />

aren’t sailors so I don’t think they really understand what<br />

I’ve been getting up to.<br />

you must be aware that you’re a role model, both<br />

as a woman and as a 77-year-old. What role does<br />

that play in your decision to take on such big goals?<br />

It doesn’t affect my intentions, but it’s certainly very nice. It<br />

makes me feel that I’ve achieved something, that I haven’t<br />

been completely selfish. I love hearing that I’ve encouraged<br />

other people to try to do something.<br />

Were you born brave, or have you become more<br />

courageous over time?<br />

I don’t feel I’ve been particularly courageous. It’s about experience:<br />

the more you do, the more you find you can do.<br />

My first solo overnight sail was from Colón in Panama north<br />

to Providencia. The conditions were bad and the weather<br />

forecaster was telling me to abort and go back, but I was already<br />

committed. It was an exhilarating experience to arrive<br />

in one piece. My confidence was really boosted by that. Now<br />

I’ve come to know what to expect. I have total confidence<br />

in my boat; it’s pretty difficult in the middle of the ocean for<br />

the boat to sink under you. When conditions are deteriorating,<br />

I stay calm and keep safe by doing what I have to do.<br />

you’ve survived a number of serious setbacks and<br />

losses along the way: the death of your husband<br />

George from cancer in 2003, the loss of your first<br />

boat in 2008, and a nasty fall in 2017. Where does<br />

your resilience come from?<br />

My father died when I was five weeks old, and my mother<br />

struggled to bring me up. I was in an orphanage from age<br />

five to nine as a result. I learned pretty early on that if I<br />

wanted to achieve anything I had to make it happen myself.<br />

And I think there’s some determination in my genes. My<br />

mom’s sister lived in New Zealand and was a very go-for-it<br />

person. And when my mom joined a seniors’ group in her<br />

latter years, she would march right at the front, leading.<br />

Do you feel changed by each adventure?<br />

I certainly changed initially, as I got more confident. Each<br />

little step is actually a big step. You find that you’re coping,<br />

and so you keep taking bigger steps. Now an ocean crossing<br />

is almost nothing. It was a big thing initially, but I don’t really<br />

think much about it now.<br />

What’s next?<br />

I’ve got a literary agent in London waiting for the first pages<br />

of my book. And the Cruising Association of England is flying<br />

me back for their <strong>2020</strong> Flag Officers’ Lunch, so I’ll be<br />

able to visit my kids and grandkids. But my next big trip is<br />

touring Australia for four months in a motorhome.<br />

Where is home now?<br />

Theoretically it’s in Britain, but I’ve been in B.C. so much<br />

and I’ve got so many friends and so much support here that<br />

I call B.C. my home-from-home. I’m happy to be adopted as<br />

a Victorian!<br />

Rachel Dunstan Muller is the mother of five, and a children’s author.<br />

Her previous articles can be found at islandparent.ca.<br />

IslandParent.ca<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 9


Gone<br />

But Not Forgotten<br />

<strong>Grand</strong>pa is dead.<br />

Our beloved husband, father, and grandfather was stolen<br />

from us by a sudden and unexpected illness. A twinge in April.<br />

A funeral in August.<br />

Half a year later, we are still struggling to accept the reality of<br />

a world without “<strong>Grand</strong>pa G.”<br />

This man who delighted in his grandchildren: cuddling the<br />

babies, playing “horsey”and “Big Bear” with the toddlers, taking<br />

the big kids to cool places like the dump and the driving range,<br />

and letting them ride “shotgun” in his classic Corvette. Gone.<br />

How can that be?<br />

Three years ago my husband and I moved to Courtenay to<br />

be closer to our large family—six kids, four spouses, eight<br />

grandkids—who all reside on Vancouver Island and in the<br />

Lower Mainland. Our eldest daughter’s family lives in nearby<br />

Union Bay. When Bill became ill the rest of the family all came<br />

to stay, squeezing into our two houses, sharing meals, stories,<br />

tears, and laughter. Although we had to cancel our annual<br />

summer gathering at a Rathtrevor Beach family camp, those<br />

three weeks together brought us closer than any vacation<br />

could ever do.<br />

The grandkids, who range in age from 2 1 ⁄2 to 13, witnessed<br />

their parents dealing with the caretaking, the grieving, the finality<br />

of death. They visited their grandfather in the hospital, and<br />

later, in hospice. They drew pictures to decorate his room. Our<br />

eight-year old granddaughter Maysa, who has cystic fibrosis<br />

and is all too familiar with hospitals, made a card that read<br />

“Dear sick <strong>Grand</strong>pa, I love you more than ever now, and I wish<br />

you couldn’t die. I hope you are feeling OK, I know how you<br />

feel in the hospital.”<br />

The day came when, one by one, the children were brought<br />

in to say goodbye to <strong>Grand</strong>pa G.<br />

In accordance with his wish to be buried in a simple pine box,<br />

two of the uncles built a plain, yet elegant, pine casket. An hour<br />

before the funeral, six-year-old Julia asked if we could tie a red<br />

ribbon around it “so <strong>Grand</strong>pa will be wrapped in love.” (This<br />

sent her mother on a frantic last-minute search for several yards<br />

of three-inch wide red ribbon; a local florist came to the rescue.)<br />

10 <strong>Grand</strong> IslandParent.ca


The family graveside service took place on a hot, sunny August<br />

day. Bill’s best friend, a retired pastor, led a short service.<br />

Family members read psalms, played guitar, and sang songs.<br />

Two-year-old Charlotte joined in lustily, undeterred by the fact<br />

that she didn’t know any of the words.<br />

Afterwards, the children chased one another around the huge<br />

grassy field, while Charlotte played a game of her own invention:<br />

running from one grave marker to the next, then yelling<br />

“I win!”<br />

The grandchildren were told that <strong>Grand</strong>pa was in heaven—<br />

presumably playing golf with God and hanging out with all the<br />

dogs, cats, guinea pigs, and gerbils we had ever owned—and<br />

that someday they would see him again. One of the mothers<br />

read them a story book about a magic thread that connects us<br />

to those we love, wherever they may be.<br />

I wondered just how much Charlotte understood of all this,<br />

and whether she would even remember her grandfather. I need<br />

not have worried.<br />

Two months later we gathered at my house for our traditional<br />

Thanksgiving dinner. It was a gloomy affair without “the<br />

Patriarch” presiding at the head of the table. The eldest son<br />

said grace, referring to our dear, departed Dad. In the poignant<br />

silence that followed, Charlotte pointed to the ceiling and hollered,<br />

“HEY GWAMPA! GET DOWN HERE! WE EATING!”<br />

She could not understand why everyone burst out laughing.<br />

After all, people are supposed to come to the table when dinner<br />

is ready!<br />

The other day I looked after Charlotte and her brother Max<br />

while their mother took their older brother Oscar skiing at<br />

Mount Washington. Charlotte turned three in December, of<br />

which she is inordinately proud. We were eating cereal together<br />

when she spotted a framed photo of <strong>Grand</strong>pa on the wall.<br />

“My daddy really misses Gwampa,” she remarked.<br />

“I miss him too,” I said, “but I know I will see him again<br />

someday.”<br />

“Can Gwampa see US?” she asked, looking up at the ceiling.”<br />

“What do YOU think?” (My standard response to difficult<br />

grandkid questions.)<br />

She thought he could.<br />

Then came the question I dreaded.<br />

“Why did Gwampa die?”<br />

I took a deep breath (and a good-sized slug of coffee) and<br />

plunged in.<br />

“Charlotte, how old were you before your birthday?” She<br />

held up her index and second finger.<br />

“And how old are you now?” The ring finger refused to join<br />

the other two. She surmounted this difficulty by raising her<br />

thumb instead.<br />

“And how old will you be when you have your next birthday?”<br />

“Four!” Up went all the fingers.<br />

“Are you sure? Maybe you’ll be two again.”<br />

“No, silly Gwamma. I be four.”<br />

“You’re right! People grow up, not down. That’s the way<br />

things are. And soon you’ll be going to school, and one day<br />

you’ll be a teenager, and before you know it you’ll be a grownup,<br />

and maybe you’ll get married and have babies.”<br />

Her eyes grew wide. “LOTS of babies!” she crowed.<br />

“And your babies will turn into kids, and go to school, and<br />

grow up and get married and have their own kids, and when<br />

they do…” I paused for dramatic effect. Her eyes grew wider.<br />

“You’ll be a grandma!”<br />

“Like YOU!”<br />

“Exactly! And someday, when you’re a very old lady with<br />

white hair like <strong>Grand</strong>pa’s, God will say “Well, Charlotte,<br />

you’ve had a good, long life down there, but now I need you up<br />

here.”<br />

“AND THEN… I SEE GWAMPA!” She tilted her head back,<br />

aimed a big smile at the ceiling, and waved.<br />

“SEE YOU LATER, GWAMPA!”<br />

Yup. She gets it.<br />

Jacqui Graham has six grown kids and eight delightful grandkids age<br />

6 months to 11 years. If she had known how much fun grandkids would be,<br />

she would have had them first!<br />

IslandParent.ca<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 11


Bridging the<br />

Generation Gap<br />

boomer.”<br />

I suppose that I shouldn’t<br />

“OK,<br />

have been surprised when I<br />

overheard my 10-year-old granddaughter<br />

and her friends use the phrase recently<br />

as they discussed a rule that an elderly<br />

teacher (actually, one not quite my age)<br />

had imposed at school.<br />

After all, the refrain had spread like<br />

wildfire in our ever-connected world and,<br />

given that my granddaughter and her<br />

friends are no strangers to social media<br />

and are surrounded by older pre-teens<br />

and teenagers, it was bound to happen.<br />

The funny thing is that boomers once<br />

espoused the same sort of views.<br />

We were convinced that our elders<br />

could never understand our positions on<br />

civil rights, wars (the Vietnam War at<br />

the time), women’s and gay rights and,<br />

in general, a counter-culture approach to<br />

addressing those challenges.<br />

As teens (myself included), the boomer<br />

generation pushed social conventions<br />

about dress, sex, drug use, music, and<br />

general decorum to make our point.<br />

We questioned materialism and conspicuous<br />

consumption, never realizing that<br />

Pick up your<br />

copy of the<br />

Family<br />

Resource<br />

Guide <strong>2020</strong><br />

Still, even though I’m relatively<br />

certain that they don’t have any deep<br />

understanding of the collective eyeroll<br />

that the phrase represents,<br />

I’m pretty sure that<br />

they have an instinctive<br />

understanding that it’s a<br />

way of delivering a verbal<br />

eye-jab to an older generation.<br />

And as much as I struggle<br />

to contain my innate tendency<br />

to step up to lecture<br />

anyone using the phrase about<br />

their need to respect their elders<br />

and realize that they would be better<br />

served by listening to some of the<br />

experiences of the boomers they dismiss,<br />

I realize that initial reaction to be a mistake.<br />

I have, instead, been thinking, with a<br />

weird sort of fascination, about the fact<br />

that our society keeps getting the same<br />

things wrong.<br />

Today’s youth, at least some of them,<br />

are convinced that the tastes, values and<br />

lived experiences of baby boomers have<br />

little value to their world and that the<br />

ills of society—everything from climate<br />

change to racial injustice to the unfair<br />

distribution of wealth—are the fault of<br />

boomers.<br />

it was the postwar economic boom that<br />

allowed us the freedom to do just that.<br />

But in doing all of this, we made the<br />

same mistake that today’s teens are now<br />

repeating.<br />

Climate change, economic disparity,<br />

social and political problems are not the<br />

fault of an entire generation. There are<br />

lots of boomers (again, myself included)<br />

who are just as upset about climate<br />

change, for example, as Greta Thunberg<br />

and are just as passionate about trying<br />

to address that existential challenge to<br />

mankind.<br />

12 <strong>Grand</strong> IslandParent.ca


The real divide that separates society<br />

is the same one that separated young<br />

boomers from the establishment that they<br />

challenged.<br />

“The man” of the 1960s wasn’t really<br />

everyone over 30. That was never the<br />

divide.<br />

What we were fighting, and today’s<br />

teens should be standing up against, had<br />

more to do with power than age.<br />

As teens (myself<br />

included), the boomer<br />

generation pushed<br />

social conventions<br />

about dress, sex,<br />

drug use, music, and<br />

general decorum<br />

to make our point.<br />

In fact, by highlighting age we made<br />

the same mistake that teens are making<br />

today.<br />

Make the mistake of pitting one generation<br />

against another and the discussion<br />

about power will get lost on a narrative<br />

about a generational gap.<br />

A better approach for teens, and one<br />

that’s a lot tougher to understand and act<br />

upon, is to realize that the very boomers<br />

they dismiss can be their greatest allies.<br />

At the end of 2019, Greta Thunberg,<br />

did just that when she spent time talking<br />

to, and listening to, David Attenborough,<br />

the 93-year-old icon of journalism and<br />

environmentalism.<br />

She realized that it wasn’t an older generation<br />

with whom she had a problem,<br />

but those in power who were sending us<br />

into an unimaginable future if climate<br />

change is not addressed.<br />

She realized that pegging a problem to<br />

a generation alone is misguided and only<br />

serves this in power who are contributing<br />

to whatever problem we want to address.<br />

As boomers, we made that mistake.<br />

Ironically, it was Peter Townsend’s ’60s<br />

anthem that might still offer the best advise<br />

to today’s teens.<br />

He sang “Don’t get fooled again, no,<br />

no.”<br />

Just a little advice from a boomer.<br />

Tim Collins is a writer and freelance journalist<br />

living and working in Victoria.<br />

SUMMER<br />

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<strong>Spring</strong> programs also available!<br />

Visit pise.ca/kids-programs for more information.<br />

IslandParent.ca<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 13


Learning Through Play<br />

Family members are the first teachers<br />

children encounter. While you<br />

are spending precious time with<br />

your grandchildren, you can incorporate<br />

simple methods to help them become<br />

familiar with words and numbers. These<br />

skills will set them up for success in<br />

school and beyond.<br />

Below, librarians from the Greater<br />

Victoria Public Library share ways you<br />

can help young children practice using<br />

words and numbers. These tried and true<br />

methods—popular at the GVPL’s storytimes<br />

and other free programming at the<br />

library—set the foundation for language,<br />

thinking and communication.<br />

Storytelling<br />

Encourage your grandchild to create<br />

stories with action figures, dolls and<br />

puppets. <strong>Grand</strong>parents can engage in the<br />

storytelling using the CAR method: Comment,<br />

Ask, Rephrase. Comment on what<br />

the child is doing; ask a question about<br />

the action; and rephrase what the child<br />

said and add something more. “I see you<br />

have a toy giraffe and a bird; what is the<br />

giraffe doing with the bird?” “What are<br />

they going to do next?” “They’re going<br />

to the playground? Are they going to use<br />

the swings or the slide first?”<br />

teach your grandchild to prepare food.<br />

Make something from a recipe passed<br />

down through the generations or borrow<br />

a cookbook from the library.<br />

I Spy<br />

This classic game helps little ones notice<br />

colours, textures and details in the<br />

world around them. When it’s their turn<br />

to say “I spy with my little eye,” don’t<br />

be afraid to ask for hints to keep your<br />

grandchild engaged and talking. Taking<br />

turns creates a conversation and gets kids<br />

chatting, listening, observing and having<br />

fun with you, and all the while, they’re<br />

building communication skills.<br />

Alphabet Game<br />

Take a walk around the block, in the<br />

mall or through the library, and, letter<br />

by letter, go through the alphabet finding<br />

things that start with each letter. Some<br />

letters are trickier than others; if you<br />

can’t think of a word, look for the letter<br />

on a sign or license plate. Not only does<br />

this activity build literacy skills, it makes<br />

kids more aware of their surroundings.<br />

Kitchen Time<br />

Cooking and baking provide myriad<br />

opportunities for developing literacy. Following<br />

a recipe teaches food and kitchen<br />

vocabulary and helps kids practice math<br />

concepts while measuring and learning<br />

about quantities. They’ll also build fine<br />

motor skills by handling utensils and<br />

ingredients. Plus, time in the kitchen is<br />

time spent building memories and learning<br />

about family and nutrition as you<br />

Counting<br />

Count the boats on the water; the<br />

driftwood at the beach; the swings at<br />

the park; the roses in grandma’s garden.<br />

Compare the quantities and use them to<br />

bridge into a new topic of conversation.<br />

“Why do you think there is only one<br />

slide but there are four swings?” “Why<br />

did <strong>Grand</strong>ma plant 12 tulips and only<br />

one rose bush?”<br />

14 <strong>Grand</strong> IslandParent.ca


Family Stories<br />

Pull out photo albums and tell stories<br />

of the people in it. Young children are especially<br />

interested in stories of themselves<br />

as well as stories about how they are like<br />

or unlike their parents, siblings and other<br />

close relatives. Children love learning about<br />

where they come from and where they fit<br />

in the family tree. Ask open-ended questions:<br />

“Why do you think X happened?”<br />

“What do you think happened next?”<br />

Sing Songs You Love<br />

“This was your dad’s favourite song<br />

when he was a baby.” “I remember my<br />

mother singing this lullaby to me.” Sharing<br />

songs that are meaningful to you<br />

will get you singing together and enjoying<br />

each other’s company. Plus, singing<br />

builds vocabulary and teaches the rhythm<br />

of language, which will help your grandchild<br />

read and write.<br />

Write Letters<br />

Become pen pals with your grandchild.<br />

Not only will their parents model reading<br />

when your letter arrives in the mail, but<br />

the kids will also get a chance to interact<br />

with words in your handwriting, and<br />

then write back, choosing which words<br />

and thoughts to communicate. They can<br />

practice writing their name at the end of<br />

the letter and draw a picture.<br />

Active Reading<br />

There is nothing like cuddling up and<br />

enjoying a book. To help your grandchild<br />

engage with the book’s content, take your<br />

time with reading, and teach through observations:<br />

point out features like rhyming<br />

words and alliteration; ask your grandchild<br />

to identify letters and look for that letter on<br />

every page; point out elements of the pictures<br />

and talk about them; identify expressions<br />

on faces; or imagine what a situation<br />

might feel like. Visit a library near you to<br />

find new books to love together.<br />

A library card is your passport to learn<br />

through play with books, movies, games,<br />

music and more. You are welcome to join<br />

us with your grandchildren for free yearround<br />

programming at a branch near<br />

you. Visit gvpl.ca today or find a library<br />

branch near you at change-your-mind.ca.<br />

For Greater Victoria Public Library’s complete<br />

list of 100 exceptional picture books for<br />

babies, toddlers and preschoolers, visit<br />

gvpl.ca/100books.<br />

Culture &<br />

Recreation Passes<br />

In partnership with local organizations, GVPL offers cardholders the<br />

opportunity to enrich mind and body with hands-on experiences at<br />

the cultural institutions and recreational centres.<br />

• Art Gallery of Greater Victoria<br />

• Craigdarroch Castle<br />

• Maritime Museum of British Columbia<br />

• Royal BC Museum<br />

• Bateman Foundation Gallery of Nature<br />

• Saanich Recreation<br />

• Victoria Butterfly Gardens<br />

Passes for Craigdarroch Castle and Victoria Butterfly Gardens are offered<br />

through an e-pass. Learn how you can use an e-pass, and reduce your<br />

wait time to visit these two attractions.<br />

All of the passes are very popular, so be ready to wait. For information,<br />

visit gvpl.ca.<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

SOCCER CAMP<br />

<br />

<br />

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<br />

IslandParent.ca<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 15


Simple Pleasures<br />

I<br />

recently baked a birthday cake with my four-year-old grandson,<br />

and after we had iced it, I offered one of the beaters to<br />

him. Because he has always been on a sugar-restricted diet,<br />

he gave me a quizzical look as if to say, “Really?” I had cleared<br />

it with his mother of course, so when I told him that, he readily<br />

accepted my offer and trotted off with his treat as if he couldn’t<br />

quite believe his good fortune.<br />

He sat with that beater for the better part of 15 minutes, his<br />

little tongue manoeuvring in exquisite concentration. When he<br />

returned it, it was spotlessly clean and he beamed at me with<br />

an icing-rimmed mouth. He did not ask for the other beater; he<br />

was satisfied just to have experienced one. The contented expression<br />

on his face as he scooted off made me think that every<br />

little kid should enjoy licking a beater at least once in their<br />

childhood! I have no doubt he will remember the experience for<br />

a long time.<br />

As I have aged, I realize it is the simple pleasures in one’s<br />

childhood that come to mind the easiest and still hold meaning<br />

even after many decades and life experiences have passed by. In<br />

my own childhood, I vividly recall diving and huddling under<br />

my bed covers listening with a mixture of both trepidation and<br />

awe at the frequent thunderstorms that seemed to shake the<br />

entire house. I can still feel the goosebumps that rippled my<br />

young flesh just thinking of the power the heavens released during<br />

those storms.<br />

I can also easily recall riding my bike for the very first time<br />

without training wheels, my dad jogging alongside just in case I<br />

toppled over. It felt like a moment of profound accomplishment<br />

16 <strong>Grand</strong> IslandParent.ca


to a seven-year-old child, and I can still<br />

savour the sense of pride and accomplishment<br />

I felt that day.<br />

And how could I ever forget our annual<br />

family road trips? Our trusty station<br />

wagon was packed to the brim with<br />

books, games, blankets, and pillows<br />

with which my siblings and I spent hours<br />

amusing ourselves.<br />

Perhaps my fondest memory is that of<br />

cuddling with my mother; I can still recall<br />

the sense of warmth and security I sought<br />

from her and the feeling of belonging her<br />

closeness instilled in me. I would often<br />

interlock our pinky fingers—I remember<br />

that distinctly.<br />

With my own children, I’m sure they<br />

can easily recall our own family camping<br />

trips where they learned the art of<br />

toasting a marshmallow over a campfire<br />

without torching it, or how to fashion a<br />

walking stick. Equally memorable, I’m<br />

sure, were all the camping weekends<br />

when we played board games hunkered<br />

around a picnic table in inclement<br />

weather!<br />

No doubt, my sons can easily call to<br />

mind all the afternoons we spent feeding<br />

ducks at Beacon Hill Park—and how to<br />

do so without getting mobbed, no less.<br />

Perhaps one of their most enduring<br />

memories is picking berries in the long,<br />

lazy days of summer vacation. As I’m<br />

sure they can attest—I took berry picking<br />

season very seriously as I stocked our<br />

freezer for the winter months with what<br />

we picked. Equipped with an ice cream<br />

bucket that they were supposed to fill, my<br />

sons spent their time instead eating their<br />

fill of berries, playing tag or hide and<br />

seek amid the rows of bushes, or pelting<br />

each other with the berries they found on<br />

the ground (as boys are wont to do). In<br />

short, they were no help at all, but they<br />

loved those outings in the countryside as<br />

much as I did and they eagerly agreed to<br />

“help” me every year.<br />

The universality of favourite childhood<br />

memories is not surprising. Who could<br />

forget tossing coins in a fountain and<br />

then pestering a parent to empty their<br />

pockets for more change? Or splashing<br />

in puddles—with or without boots on?!<br />

Or jumping on the bed despite parental<br />

admonishment not to? It’s hard not to<br />

think of these memories without the tug<br />

of a smile. They are so simple and yet so<br />

memorable.<br />

It is the time we invest in these simple<br />

pleasures that make them so precious;<br />

time with our children, grandchildren<br />

and loved ones. A good friend of mine<br />

who ran an in-home daycare for many<br />

years, told me once about a little boy<br />

who upon learning that his grandmother<br />

was going to pick him instead of his father,<br />

asked: “My grandma who buys me<br />

things or my grandma who plays with<br />

me?” When my friend told him which<br />

grandmother was coming, he was happy<br />

it was the grandmother who played with<br />

him.<br />

So when I think of all the things I’d<br />

love my grandson to see and do, I try to<br />

keep in mind that it is often the simplest<br />

of pleasures that will truly hold the most<br />

meaning for him in the years to come. I<br />

have no doubt he will fondly reminisce<br />

about his sleepover weekends with<br />

Nonna (complete with pancake making),<br />

afternoons spent at the beach digging for<br />

buried treasure, and visits to the library<br />

for that next favourite book.<br />

Susan Gnucci is a local author and a proud<br />

“nonna” to an adorable five-year-old grandson.<br />

She enjoys sharing her experiences as a firsttime<br />

grandparent.<br />

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IslandParent.ca<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 17


Sing with us!<br />

Prelude Choir<br />

Non-auditioned, fun and engaging.<br />

Registration opens April 1<br />

Ages<br />

7 – 9<br />

Ages<br />

10 – 12<br />

Recital Choir<br />

Sing great music and build wonderful friendships.<br />

Auditions May 2 & 9<br />

art with<br />

Nature<br />

at Heart<br />

Concert Choir<br />

Share your singing passion in rehearsals, camps,<br />

performances & tours. Build lifelong friendships.<br />

Auditions May 2 & 9<br />

CONCERT<br />

Glorious World of<br />

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Monday, June , <strong>2020</strong> • 7 pm<br />

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Ages<br />

11 – 17<br />

Join us as we celebrate the best of the VCC<br />

from the past 19 seasons under the<br />

leadership of Madeleine Humer.<br />

Registration opens April 1:<br />

250-721-0856<br />

VictoriaChildrensChoir.ca<br />

When you think of art, you likely<br />

think of paintings in an expensive<br />

gallery or sculptures that<br />

have taken hours to make, but art can be<br />

accessible for everyone when it’s made<br />

outdoors. Art can be about connecting<br />

to your surroundings in a new way and<br />

slowing down to notice things you might<br />

have otherwise overlooked. A fun, easy,<br />

cost-effective and environmentally-friendly<br />

way to incorporate art in you and<br />

your family’s life is to make art in nature,<br />

using materials you find outside. Not<br />

only will you be able to express your creativity,<br />

but you will also get outside and<br />

connect with your natural environment,<br />

which has been shown to have numerous<br />

physical and mental benefits. Making art<br />

in nature also allows you to see familiar<br />

places with a new lens. Here are some<br />

activities that focus on shape, colour and<br />

texture to get you started.<br />

Shape: Nature Mosaic<br />

Explore shape by using natural items<br />

around you to create a mosaic on the<br />

ground. Create images of animals, places,<br />

a favourite cartoon character, or even<br />

a self-portrait. Breaking the items into<br />

pieces allows you to isolate what shapes<br />

go into making an image. If you want to<br />

create something more abstract, arrange<br />

objects in a geometric pattern while<br />

experimenting with repetition of similar<br />

shapes and objects of different sizes. Use<br />

your imagination and the opportunities<br />

are endless!<br />

Colour: Value Bar, Colour<br />

Wheel & Colour Hunt<br />

Make a value bar, a gradient of the<br />

same colour from light to dark, by arranging<br />

natural items in a line. If there<br />

are a lot of different colours around,<br />

make a colour wheel by arranging objects<br />

of every colour of the rainbow in<br />

a circle and transitioning gradually between<br />

shades. If there aren’t many items<br />

on the ground that you can pick up, try<br />

doing a colour hunt. Bring some small<br />

pieces of coloured paper (paint colour<br />

samples from a hardware store work<br />

18 <strong>Grand</strong> IslandParent.ca


Photo: Emma Jane Vignola.<br />

well, or you can make your own with coloured markers or<br />

construction paper) and try to find items in nature that match<br />

the shade on each piece. Repeat these exercises at different<br />

times of the year to experience the seasonal changes in colour.<br />

Texture: Crayon Rubbing<br />

Document the variety of textures in nature by making a<br />

rubbing. All you need are some pieces of printer paper cut<br />

into whatever sizes or shapes you would like and a few wax<br />

crayons (with the paper removed). Simply place your paper<br />

over the item and lay the crayon flat over the paper. With<br />

firm pressure, rub the crayon over the paper and watch the<br />

textures emerge onto the page as you go. Good items to make<br />

rubbings with include dead leaves, tree bark, western red cedar<br />

branches, fern fronds, or anything relatively flat. Nature<br />

rubbings make great cards or decorations for recycled giftwrap.<br />

With these activities in your arsenal you’re sure to experience<br />

nature in a new way, express your creativity, and connect<br />

with your family at the same time! Please remember that you<br />

can help ensure our natural spaces stay healthy when making<br />

art in nature. Please stay on designated trails to protect habitat.<br />

When looking for materials to use in your nature art, use<br />

loose items you find on the ground and avoid picking living<br />

plants. Instead of removing items from nature, you can take a<br />

picture of your creations to take home. The best approach is<br />

to take only memories and leave only footprints.<br />

Looking for nature programs the whole family will enjoy?<br />

Join CRD Regional Parks naturalists for free guided walks<br />

and drop-in events for all ages. For more information, visit<br />

crd.bc.ca/about/events.<br />

KALABANTE:<br />

AFRIQUE EN CIRQUE<br />

A stunning evening of extraordinary Guinean<br />

drumming and acrobats, suitable for all ages.<br />

“Amazing and breathtaking.” “A real crowd pleaser!”<br />

kalabanteproductions.com<br />

tickets.uvic.ca | 250-721-8480<br />

SATURDAY<br />

APR 11<br />

7:30 PM<br />

Emma Jane Vignola is a CRD Regional Parks naturalist.<br />

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#102 – 2517 Bowen Rd, Nanaimo 888.390.1775<br />

IslandParent.ca<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 19


Healthy Families, Happy Families<br />

Child, Youth<br />

& Family<br />

Public Health<br />

South Island Health Units<br />

Esquimalt 250-519-5311<br />

Gulf Islands 250-539-3099<br />

(toll-free number for office in Saanichton)<br />

Peninsula 250-544-2400<br />

Saanich 250-519-5100<br />

Saltspring Island 250-538-4880<br />

Sooke 250-519-3487<br />

Victoria 250-388-2200<br />

West Shore 250-519-3490<br />

Central Island Health Units<br />

Duncan 250-709-3050<br />

Ladysmith 250-755-3342<br />

Lake Cowichan 250-749-6878<br />

Nanaimo 250-755-3342<br />

Nanaimo 250-739-5845<br />

Princess Royal<br />

Parksville/Qualicum 250-947-8242<br />

Port Alberni 250-731-1315<br />

Tofino 250-725-4020<br />

North Island Health Units<br />

Campbell River 250-850-2110<br />

Courtenay 250-331-8520<br />

Kyuquot Health Ctr 250-332-5289<br />

‘Namgis Health Ctr 250-974-5522<br />

Port Hardy 250-902-6071<br />

islandhealth.ca/our-locations/<br />

health-unit-locations<br />

Make the Most<br />

of Mealtimes<br />

If you have ever watched babies eating<br />

their first foods, it’s clear that eating<br />

is about more than just nutrition. It is<br />

about smelling, feeling, tasting and experiencing<br />

the food for all its sensory glory.<br />

Babies explore the food unhurriedly,<br />

eating what they want and leaving what<br />

they don’t.<br />

Offering first foods is a developmental<br />

milestone that parents and grandparents<br />

anticipate with excitement. If we could<br />

just retain the joy of those early meals<br />

through our lifetime! Too often, as children<br />

get older, meals become an inconvenient<br />

need that takes a back seat to other<br />

priorities in a busy and hurried life.<br />

strong connection with family. <strong>Grand</strong>parents,<br />

who may have more time than<br />

harried parents to spend preparing and<br />

eating meals with their grandchildren,<br />

can play an important role in maximizing<br />

mealtime opportunities.<br />

<strong>Grand</strong>parents can help to keep culture<br />

and food traditions alive by sharing them<br />

across generations. Talk about your own<br />

experiences with food and memories<br />

from your own childhood. Have your<br />

grandchildren help you prepare a traditional<br />

dish or family favourite meal. Talk<br />

about where foods come from and where<br />

you can get them. Invite other family<br />

members or friends, set the table and<br />

Changes with BC Medical Services Plan<br />

premiums mean that families eligible for partial<br />

payment of some medical services and access<br />

to some income-based programs now must<br />

apply for Supplementary Benefits through the<br />

Government of BC. Applications can be done<br />

online and take approximately 15 minutes.<br />

Families who previously qualified for MSP<br />

Premium Assistance should not need to re-apply<br />

if taxes are completed yearly. It is advised to<br />

confirm coverage before proceeding with<br />

treatment to avoid paying out of pocket.<br />

For more information, visit gov.bc.ca/gov/<br />

content/health/health-drug-coverage/msp/<br />

bc-residents/benefits/services-covered-bymsp/supplementary-benefits<br />

The Canada Food Guide expands the<br />

definition of healthy eating to include<br />

the where, when, why and how to eat.<br />

It urges us to take time to eat, notice<br />

when we’re hungry and when we’re full,<br />

to enjoy our food and to eat meals with<br />

others. Mealtimes should be about more<br />

than just staving off hunger.<br />

Making the most of mealtimes can<br />

have a life-long impact on a child’s wellbeing.<br />

Mealtimes offer children a chance<br />

to develop a healthy relationship with<br />

food, be heathy eaters, learn social skills,<br />

improve language skills, and build a<br />

sit together. Not only does this expose<br />

children to new foods, it helps them learn<br />

about family history and fosters a sense<br />

of belonging.<br />

Meals can be a chance to learn literacy<br />

and social skills. Studies have shown that<br />

children who eat together with their family<br />

have improved language skills in the<br />

preschool years and improved school performance<br />

in the school age and teenage<br />

years. Family meals can include a grandparent<br />

eating with their grandchildren.<br />

Use mealtimes as a time to communicate.<br />

That means turning off the TV, put-<br />

20 <strong>Grand</strong> IslandParent.ca


ting away the phone and talking to each<br />

other. <strong>Grand</strong>parents can use the time to<br />

tell stories about their own childhood or<br />

ask questions that can get the grandchildren<br />

talking about their own experiences.<br />

Use fun, open-ended questions and keep<br />

the conversation lively and positive.<br />

Start questions with “Tell me about…”,<br />

“What would you do if…”, “Why do<br />

you think…”<br />

If you are stuck for things to talk<br />

about, there are tools available online to<br />

help stimulate conversation. Check out<br />

the “Let’s Talk….Mealtime Conversation<br />

Cards for Toddlers and Preschoolers”<br />

available at BetterTogetherBC.ca. There<br />

are conversation starters for older children<br />

online as well. You can help bring<br />

back the art of conversation before it is<br />

lost to the world of technology.<br />

Mealtimes offer an opportunity to help<br />

your grandchildren develop and maintain<br />

a healthy relationship with food, a<br />

job that’s easier than it might sound. All<br />

you have to do is offer meals and snacks<br />

at regular times and offer a variety of<br />

foods, including foods they’ve never tried<br />

before. That’s it! Resist the urge to coax,<br />

bribe or force them to eat or try new<br />

foods. Some children will need to be offered<br />

a new food 10 to 15 times before<br />

they will try it. The best thing you can do<br />

is eat it yourself.<br />

Children learn to eat and try new foods<br />

by watching the adults in their lives. They<br />

should have the freedom to choose what<br />

they eat and how much. Children are<br />

very good at self-regulating how much<br />

food they eat. The less we interfere, the<br />

better. And don’t rush. Make meal times<br />

a pleasant and positive experience.<br />

Eating together with family helps children<br />

develop social skills and can lower<br />

the risk of adolescent mental health problems<br />

and addictions. Research shows that<br />

children who eat at least one meal a day<br />

with an adult are less likely to smoke or<br />

use drugs or alcohol. They are less likely<br />

to be bullied, and have lower risk of depression<br />

and suicide in the teen years.<br />

Family meals help children feel more<br />

secure and stable, with a greater sense of<br />

belonging. A strong bond with grandparents<br />

can widen the circle of support and<br />

increase a feeling of family connectedness.<br />

Enjoy the company and conversation,<br />

as well as the food.<br />

<strong>Grand</strong>kids visiting?<br />

Make their stay easy by renting gear from<br />

B a b y E q u i p m e n t R e n t a l s<br />

Vancouver | Toronto | Victoria<br />

weetravel.ca 1.800.933.0810<br />

Ballet Victoria……………………………………… IFC<br />

Challenger Sports………………………………… 15<br />

Cinecenta……………………………………………… 21<br />

The Farquhar at UVic…………………………… 19<br />

Island Circus Space……………………………… 12<br />

Island Health………………………………………… 20<br />

Kool & Child…………………………………………… 19<br />

Momease…………………………………………… IFC<br />

AdvertisersDirectory<br />

Mothering Touch……………………………………… 7<br />

Pacific Christian School………………………OBC<br />

PISE………………………………………………………… 13<br />

Shannon Oaks……………………………………… 17<br />

Swan Lake Nature Centre……………………… 3<br />

TJ’s The Kiddies Store……………………………… 7<br />

Victoria Children’s Choir……………………… 18<br />

Victoria Symphony…………………………………… 5<br />

Wee Travel…………………………………………… 21<br />

Jane Barclay is a Registered Dietitian and<br />

Public Health Nutritionist with Island Health.<br />

IslandParent.ca<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 21


age is Just a Number<br />

One of the funniest recollections from my teaching days<br />

goes back to something a little Grade 1 boy named Christopher<br />

said to me. He was the type of student that teachers<br />

adored, studious, well-mannered, biddable. This child bent to<br />

every task asked of him with a single-minded purpose, his little<br />

tongue wedged squarely between his teeth in avid concentration.<br />

So you can imagine my surprise when he came to school one<br />

day with I could only describe as “ants in his pants.” He couldn’t<br />

sit still long enough to focus on anything. By the end of the day<br />

when he couldn’t even stay in the line-up for dismissal, I finally<br />

took him aside and asked him what was up.<br />

He beamed at me and answered in a flurry of excitement, the<br />

words tumbling from his mouth in one long-winded explanation:<br />

“Today is my dad’s birthday and he has the day off work and<br />

he’s picking me up and we’re going out for supper and there will<br />

be cake and I have a present for him!”<br />

I had to suppress the tug of a smile as I nodded. “I see. I see.<br />

Well, that answers things then.” The bell rang and as Christopher<br />

exited the class, he paused and said, “I don’t know how old<br />

my dad is, but I know he’s less than a hundred.”<br />

When I saw his father in the hallway, I wished him a happy<br />

birthday. “And I hear from Christopher that you’re less than a<br />

hundred!”<br />

When I asked my little grandson recently how old he thought<br />

I was, he pursed his lips in contemplation. I gave him a hint by<br />

admitting that I was a lot older than he was. A logical child, he<br />

replied with the largest number he could count to: 20.<br />

The look on his face as I counted past that to my actual age<br />

was priceless. It was a mixture of wariness—was Nonna pulling<br />

his leg?—mixed with fascinated disbelief, as I’m sure he had no<br />

idea numbers went that high.<br />

When I was a young adult, I never feared aging; back then it<br />

felt like I had all the time in the world. That was before children.<br />

After I had my sons, I didn’t have time to worry, let alone think<br />

about aging! Those early years were a blur of diapers, teething,<br />

and sleepless nights. Typical of most new parents, I slogged my<br />

way through, oblivious to the passage of time other than to survive<br />

from one day to the next.<br />

Once over those initial hurdles, the school years were no less<br />

hectic with playdates and a myriad of school functions; my<br />

time was taken up with bake sales, costume making, homework<br />

checking, lunch packing, and innumerable soccer and softball<br />

practices. The years simply flew by, and before I knew it, I was<br />

turning 40. Even then, I wasn’t phased; after all, 40 was the new<br />

30, right?<br />

Over the years, I’ve come to understand that age is really a<br />

relative term—I try to keep in mind that I am older than some<br />

and not as old as others. And besides, age is just a number anyway.<br />

I may not be as nimble as I once was and I forget the occasional<br />

thing now and then, but I still play cars and trucks on my<br />

hands and knees with my grandson, run through the sprinkler<br />

with him on a hot summer’s day, and toboggan with him on the<br />

rare snow days in Victoria—over jumps no less!<br />

When I look in the mirror, the face that stares back at me has<br />

succumbed to the inevitable ravages of time. I note with dismay<br />

the greying hair, the deeply lined furrows, the slackening of muscle<br />

tone, and yet despite all of that, I still feel like the same young<br />

girl inside. The eyes that look out at me have the same mischief<br />

lurking in their depths in spite of the sorrows and burdens they<br />

have witnessed.<br />

Now that I’ve reached middle age—and then some—I can truly<br />

understand and appreciate the old saying that grandchildren<br />

keep you young. Their blessing is that they free the young person<br />

inside each of us. They remind us of the simple joy of just living,<br />

of not dwelling on what has been or worrying about tomorrow,<br />

but of living fully and completely in the moment. When I am<br />

with my little grandson, I feel quite simply—ageless.<br />

Susan Gnucci is a local author and a proud “nonna” to an adorable<br />

five-year-old grandson. She enjoys sharing her experiences as a first-time<br />

grandparent.<br />

22 <strong>Grand</strong> IslandParent.ca


has been to<br />

the spa and is<br />

back refreshed!<br />

islandparent.ca<br />

IslandParent.ca<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2020</strong> 23

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