Tuesday, April 25, 2017
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Hello, Grandpa. Hello, Grandma. Our toddler granddaughter had a two-way audio-only baby monitor in her bed. Digital wireless video baby monitor (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Her parents thought that, since her bedroom was two stories above theirs, they’d better have a way of checking on her, once they were willing to move her from a crib in their room to a bed in her own room. We visited when the baby-monitor was still in place. “Oh, Grandpa. Oh, Grandma,” she sang into the baby monitor one evening to call us after she’d been in bed for a few minutes. We’d completed the nightly ritual bedtime... (Read More ...)

Back to Sleep 2,327 infants died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in 2006. A sleeping male baby with his arm extended (Photo credit: Wikipedia) With the “Back to Sleep” campaign, launched in 1994, now 25% of infants sleep on their stomach. It used to be 85%. As a result, the rate of SIDS deaths has been cut in half, from 1.4 babies per live birth in 1988, to .55 babies in 2006. While the cause is still unknown, we do know some of the SIDS risk factors: Sleeping on the stomach Exposure to tobacco smoke Very young mother Mother smokes during pregnancy Mold No breastfeeding Excess soft... (Read More ...)

That’s What Grandpas Are For – Grandchildren Quotes. My husband has been downloading public domain books ever since he got a Kindle late last year. Our grandchildren are now six years old and read well. So, my husband decided to download Peter and Wendy, the original Peter Pan book, so our grandson could read it the next time he came to visit. Here is how the book starts “All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. “One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with... (Read More ...)

When Did We Start Teaching Animals Sign Language? For nine months in 1931-1932, Luella and Winthrop Kellogg raised a chimpanzee, Gua, as though she were their infant son’s four-months younger sister. ASL phoneme of the word "WHAT'S UP / WHAT'S NEW" (Photo credit: WikipediaFor nine months in 1931-1932, Luella and Winthrop Kellogg raised a chimpanzee, Gua, as though she were their infant son’s four-months younger sister. After nine months, the chimp’s reading and understanding were ahead of their son’s. However, at just over a year old, the chimp could not say any words.... (Read More ...)

Have You Ever Seen the Cherry Blossoms in Washington, DC? On a too-rare day I played hookey recently. Japanese cherry trees adorn the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. during the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The Washington Monument is visible in the distance. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) The sky was a faultless blue. The air, at 70 degrees, was slightly breezy, with no sign of the coming summer’s humidity. A Monday, traffic was light, incremented only by the tourists who planned their trips ahead of the scheduled festival. And, the cherry blossoms in Washington, DC were at their peak. When Is... (Read More ...)

When Was the Last Time You Grew Sweet Potato Vines from a Sweet Potato? Sweet Potato I just saw a video about potatoes and the difference between those grown with pesticides and those grown organically. This is also a story about how a little girl and her grandma conducted a science experiment to show the difference dramatically. When you were growing up, did you ever grow potato vines by sticking toothpicks in a potato and putting one end in water? Did you ever pick up potatoes from a dark potato bin and find that the roots had been growing because you left them too long? Did you conduct a scientific... (Read More ...)

Got Milk? Chocolate Milk My grandson took out the milk and the chocolate syrup, put them on the counter and waited for permission to drink chocolate milk. I said, “Well, at our house I only offer milk or water, but I’m willing to defer to your Mom.” Mom said, “He only gets chocolate milk at a couple of places we go out for dinner. At home, he gets milk or water.” And, it was settled. I put away the syrup and poured him a glass of milk. Grandma is happy because she wants to protect those precious baby teeth from a regular diet of sugar as long as possible. Grandson was happy because Grandma’s... (Read More ...)

Downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, by Night Jelly Beans. Sidewalks. Grandmas. Five-Second Rule. True or False?  The theory is that if you drop food on the ground and pick it up in less than five seconds, it does not have time to pick up any germs that will hurt you. My mother’s rule was – you don’t pick up food off the ground. No matter how long it’s been there. No matter if you were the one who dropped it there. It was my grandmother who introduced me to the five-second rule, calmly handing me back a piece of candy I’d dropped. “It’s fine,” she said. “You can eat it.” And,... (Read More ...)

Earthquakes and Plate Tectonics Earthquakes. Tectonic Plates. What Causes Earthquakes? When I was in high school, earthquakes were explained as disturbances from the movement of molten lava below the earth’s surface . Eruptions of molten lava sometimes became volcanos. Tsunamis were tidal waves caused by storms at sea Mountains were rooted in granite to the core of the earth, from which they had erupted. Tectonic Plates – A New Theory The year I graduated, 1965, scientists decided, after more than 20 years of study, that the surface of the earth moves. They call it plate tectonics. And,... (Read More ...)

Teddy Bear Grandchildren Droppings There are press-on stickers on the couch. There are jars of shells next to the television. There are jars filled with dirt and unhatched moths on the kitchen counter.            The teddy bears are not where they belong. There are large cardboard boxes taped together by the back door. The homemade racecar with CDs for tires sits next to a bowl of fruit. A cardboard tube from a paper towel roll, once a megaphone, now hides under a bookshelf. Most of the things the grandchildren played with when they visited this summer have been put back in the guest... (Read More ...)