On our way to visit our granddaughter in Texas and, then, on to New Orleans for Mardi Gras.
Both will be fun but, if asked to vote on the better of the two, visiting our granddaughter would win hands down.
Another good thing is that one of our daughter's friends in Texas -- whom we've met -- just had a little girl and we're going to get a chance to see her too.
I've written this before, but I'm going to do it again. Repetition, here, is a good thing given where we've arrived as a society with regards to kids.
I'll simply admit that I like babies. Always have. Always will. Fact is, I have trouble keeping my mouth shut around my two sons regarding the possibility of more grandchildren and nudging them in that general direction without being too obvious.
Too, were I ever asked for suggestions on kids in general, I'd offer a few that wouldn't be anything you'd likely hear from the experts that talk at us from the lobotomy box. That's because most of what I'd have to offer is simple and experts purely hate simple.
So, if asked for any advice by the parents of that baby girl, I'd tell them to just toss Dr. Spock's book and all of the other psycho-babble manuals too. Kids have been raised successfully since about forever by new moms and dads asking their moms and dads for advice and, better yet, by trusting their own instincts too.
I'd tell them to start by taking that child in their arms and giving her a hug. After that, make funny faces at her. Tickle her and blow raspberries on her stomach to make her laugh and, when she laughs, laugh with her. Hold her when she cries. Hold her until you can feel her warmth. Sing her to sleep.
And, as she gets older...
Catch lightning bugs with her. Show her spider webs and bird nests. Make pies and blow flour in each other's face. Make cakes and cookies and lick the batter together. Take her to the park. Put her on the swings and slides. Better yet, ride them with her.
Teach her how to fish and to ride a bike. Play together in the rain. Find puddles and jump up and down in them.
Read to her every night. Tell her about ghosts and goblins, princes and kings, knights and ladies, and lions and tigers. Teach her about maps and show her the world. Stay out at night with her and watch for shooting stars. Buy a small telescope and show her the universe.
Pick flowers and strawberries and blackberries with her. Teach her to play ball. Finger paint together. Fly kites and blow bubbles with her. Let her put the expensive ornaments on the tree.
Teach her how to hammer and saw. Make bird feeders and bird houses together. Let her have a pet and let it sleep with her at night. Teach her right from wrong. Teach her the difference between good and bad. Show her that manners and traditions are important.
Tell her about God or Allah or Buddha or Whomever it is you pray to when you realize you can't do it alone. Let her know that it's all right to feel that way and that there is Someone out there she can call on when she needs to. Let her know that you'll always be around, too.
Praise her for her successes and tell her how proud you are of her. Set boundaries for her and stick to them. Let her know that she's your finest prize and that you love her more than anything else on earth. Do these things and she'll realize that she's cared for and, more importantly, that she's worth being cared for. And with that one, simple realization she'll be ready to tackle the world.
Start today. Many of my generation got lost in the endless maze of "me" and drivel like "quality time" and the results have been predictable.
But, if you forget all else, you only have to remember that one small thing -- hug her every chance you get. It'll pay off. Always has. Always will.
Larry Simoneaux lives in Edmonds. Send comments to: larrysim@comcast,net
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