The Thing From Bloggy Swamp

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Con Chapman

Con Chapman
Boston, Massachusetts, US of A
September 28
. . . is the author of over fifty books--some with paper!--available on and elsewhere.

MARCH 26, 2012 8:42AM

Some Grandparents' Final Goal is to Be Grandkids' Favorites

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NORMAL, Illinois.  Mary Louise van de Kamp and Letitia Ethridge would, at first glance, seem to have little in common.  The van de Kamps are soybean farmers in downstate Illinois while the Ethridges live in tony Evanston, north of Chicago, where both husband and wife were white-collar professionals before retirement.

“See?  They really do like us better!”

What they have in common is little Courtney Ethridge, a two-year-old grandaughter and the first for both, but the little bundle of joy who ought to be bringing the families together is tearing them apart.  “It makes family get-togethers impossible,” says Ellen Ethridge as she buckles Courtney into her car seat.  “After this past Christmas, I’m giving up.”

“We give you more money because we love you more, honey!”

It all started when the down-to-earth Mary Louise made an off-hand comment at a baby shower in praise of a pink outfit that the Ethridges purchased for the expected arrival, whose sex was known before birth because of an ultrasound.  “Yore young’un will look just as cute as a pea hen in them overalls,” Mary Louise said, causing Letitia to groan audibly.  “I hope you’re not going to talk that way in front of the child,” she said.  “I don’t want her to grow up sounding like a hick.”

Mary Louise bristled and retorted that she didn’t think there was anything wrong with her manner of speaking, and the gloves were off.  At Christmas, the van de Kamps made the trip to suburban Downer’s Grove and presented Courtney with a t-shirt saying “My other grandma is a grim battleaxe.”

“We don’t wear stinky diapers like your other grandparents.”

Sociologists say such open warfare between grandparents is more common now that couples are having children at a later age, leaving their parents with the feeling that the clock is running on the time they have to spend with their grandkids.  “Hearing loss plays a part as well,” says Dr. Michael Adams, a gerontologist.  “To an 80-year-old, an innocent comment such as ‘Please pass the mashed potatoes’ at Thanksgiving is sometimes understood as ‘Did you know we’re richer than your other grandparents?’”

Politics is another source of friction between grandparents, as some baby boomers cling to the ideals of their youth while others adopted the folkways of America’s business and professional classes on their way up the economic ladder.  “I like this one,” says Clinton DeWitt, a retired investment banker as he picks through the choices at a Talbots Kids store in Wellesley, Mass.  “My other grandpa is a liberal pansy.”

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That is why that phrase "Oh, they just love them to death" isn't such a great phrase really.
For some reason, my grandparents never fought over me.
having children at a later age, leaving their parents with the feeling that the clock is running on the time they have to spend with their grandkids.

That is correct. I have dogs as grandchildren..:)
They grow up so fast--it's like dog years!
Not that far from reality... at the age of two, my grandson has more toys than me and my two brothers manage to acquire over our entire childhood. I confine my contribution to two presents a year.
Are you saying there's something wrong with this?
Not if you agree to be my grandparent. I was stuck with a dour-faced old man who spanked me for the trivial offense of dumping sand in my sister's hair!
fueding grandparents, the cornerstone of a nutritious childhood (Hezekiel 3:17)
I would have given you a chocolate bar for that. One for your sister too, of course.
As if there is not enough dissent in the world. People are just so strange.
Come, child, I'll show you Grandpa's crypt.
"pea hen" is a female peacock
“Hearing loss plays a part as well,”
Wish I'd had my diapers on while reading that.
I'm sorry--what'd you say?
I have six grandchildren. I just hope one of them likes me well enough to feed me my mush someday.
To steal a line from Elton John, that's what straws are for.
This really hits home. I'm one of *8* grandparents! All four biological grandparents have remarried and the new spouses are considered grandmas and grandpas, too.
We are quite a competitive cohort and needless to say, my two granddaughters are ... a bit spoiled.
8? Do you have an office pool with brackets to bet on who gives the favorite gift?
This reminded me of a boar-walk in Bethany Beach, on the East Coast,
near the retort:
Atlantic City.
It's New Jersey.
Wear T- shirts.
His or Hers/
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