Baking with Oma

We spent yesterday anxiously watching the weather and spending our last day with our grandson. Daughter in law made Spritz cookie dough, and grandson and I sprinkled them with colored sugars. We only had pastels, and no Christmas colors, but he certainly didn’t mind. The dog hung out under our stools and gobbled up what ever we dropped. A good time was had by all.

Grandson likes doing things with us. He is a champion builder and train operator, shaping his wooden train tracks into interesting shapes and making up stories about the train trip with himself as the conductor. Many books were read, especially “We’re going on a Bear Hunt” by Helen Oxenbury. It was read multiple times, and was a sure bet for getting him all revved up.

I had good experiences with both sets of my grandparents, and I feel very fortunate to have had them around into my adult years. I am grateful that our grandson isn’t allowed to watch much TV or videos, and is always eager to do things with us instead of sitting around, exhausting as it may be.

What do you remember about your grandparents or older adults in your life? What did you like to do with them? What do you like to do with small children? What are your favorite holiday cookies?

28 thoughts on “Baking with Oma”

  1. I was the 5th and 6th grandchild in my grandparents’ families in the “second set” of grandkids, and mostly only saw them at the larger gatherings. I do remember watching Grandma B. rolling out kringla, and she had a flower bin/cupboard whose door pulled out… On my mom’s side, Grandpa S. would let me help in his garden. But I don’t remember any of them ever playing with me, or even reading a story.

    I love reading to little kids, and have a stash of books just in case! I also enjoyed playing dolls with Lola when she was our neighbor in Robbinsdale, wrote a blog post about that way back when. Also legos, and making secret forts in the yard, hide and seek type games…

    I love Russian Tea Cakes, but like a lot of others almost as much..

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  2. I was the youngest grandchild of my generation. My grandpa on mom‘s side had already died and grandma and dad‘s side died when I was about two. I spent a lot of time at grandmas house, it was close to my elementary school so I walked there often. And grandpa had various gardens out here on the farm so he was here a lot. I remember one summer day he had his hat off and because he cut his own hair it was pretty crazy looking and it freaked me out. I still remember that. He’s the one that played Santa Claus for a number of years and Uncle Sam in 1976.

    And I don’t have too many young children around here yet, no grandchildren, and most of the nieces and nephews are older. But we love to give neighbors kids the farm tour and let them drive the tractor.

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  3. my grandparents were schmucks
    grandfather was a guy who thought his hippy grandson should become a republican state representative
    grandmother was a kind clueless reader of the social register in the community section of the paper
    other grandfather was so stoic he was untouchable
    i liked working at the old folks home in high school
    they have good perspectives on life looking back
    i don’t like christmas cookies much but i guess shortbread things are closest to a favorite
    with small children i like to do stuff like walk and do art and go on slides play guitar and drink tea
    denver is a tea drinking grand baby ari not so much

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Father’s side: real father unknown; nasty mean stepfather died when my father was about 13. Grandmother died a few years before I was born. She spoke only German. Mother’s side: fun-loving beloved grandfather died two years before I was born. Which left my mother’s nasty mother as only living grandparent. Fortunately, after the age of four I only saw her 5 times. Mostly she ignored me, which my cousins said was fortunate. She was a piece of work. emotionally abused my mother. My sister has her first name. So what was up with my mother giving her daughter that name?
    My mother did not make a a warm and fuzzy grandma. My forgiving son has some fond memories. Same with my father. He barked at his grandkids, who learned to ignore him. My son again has fond memories of him. He chose to connect to his railroad life.
    Sandy was about a perfect grandmother to my daughter’s two kids. I have pictures of two small children sitting on the counter helping grandma cook. We spent a great deal of time with them, often babysitting and having them stay with us, G & G camp for a few days each summer month.
    Other grandson couple thousand miles away still struggles with his emotions and self-control. We hardly know him.
    Clyde

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  5. Interaction with small children isn’t like it used to be for this old, fat, single man. I am constantly aware to make sure others are around when interacting with kids. It’s simply a reality of life considering the child abuse we hear about. But with the proper setting, I enjoy teasing by asking questions of one person such as, “Spell cat” and the next person “Spell Constantinople”. Back to the first person, “What is 1 plus 1?” Moving to the second kid, “What is the square root of 2,432?”

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  6. I have mostly good memories although probably a little strange. My mom’s father was not really a good interactor with kids. He had OCD and he was not happy in his life. I didn’t learn until I was older that he had been physically abusive to all of his kids; he never laid a hand on any of the grandkids. We did learn to love goldfish crackers from him – it was his nighttime snack while watching television. I didn’t know my mom‘s mom as well because a lot of her life was subject to trying to keep my grandfather happy. She was the one who made seven meals, one for each night of the week because that’s the way he liked it. I do remember though that she always kept pop for the grandkids in the extra refrigerator in the basement.

    My dad‘s mom had us over a lot and she tried to teach me to play bridge when I was little but I was never interested (or that capable). She would get nervous about what we kids were doing, like when I climbed the tree outside her apartment building. She would say “don’t give your grandma heart strings.” As an adult I have no clue what she meant but as a child I was sure it meant that our behavior was going to cause her to have some kind of anxiety attack. My dad’s father died in a car accident when my dad was 13. My grandparents had divorced when my father was fairly young due to my grandfathers alcoholism, which also caused the accident killed him.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. OT. If a bunch of you got together off-line to decide that if you all mentioned Die Hard enough times, VS would take the bait and watch it, your ploy worked. But now you all owe me.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. My mom’s mother, my Granny in Drogheda, is the only grandparent I’ve ever met. I recall her vividly, despite not having much of a relationship with her. My memories of her all stem from a three week visit to attend my Uncle John’s wedding when I was eleven.

    Granny was a tall, slender woman with a very wrinkled face. She had long gray hair that she wore in a bun at the nape of her neck, and she used snuff. She’d pinch the snuff between her right thumb and forefinger and insert them into each of her nostrils and inhale. Being anywhere near her would send me into sneezing fits, and because I had the dubious distinction of being her favorite grandchild at the time, she insisted that I spend as much time sitting on her lap as possible. I haven’t come across anyone else since then who uses snuff, but I’m certain that if I did, I’d be right back at Granny’s house.

    Granny would take me around to visit with various relatives, partly to show me off, and partly so they could contribute to my pocket money fund. This was, of course, never said outright, but it lay in the air. At eleven I was a skinny little kid with strawberry blond hair and freckles, and I always wore dresses. My Uncle Tucker, who owned a shoe store in Dublin, had gifted me a pair of saddle shoes that I loved, and which I’m sure I never took off except when I went to bed (in Granny’s snuff infested bed).

    So Granny and I would traipse around town to meet these various aunts and uncles (really her brothers and sisters and their spouses). “Say Hello to Uncle So-and-so or Aunt So-and-so,” she’d say, and I would stick out my right paw and curtsy. It was the curtsy that set me apart. All polite little Danish girls were taught to curtsy (at dancing school), apparently that wasn’t the custom in Ireland. I didn’t catch on to this until I caught Granny poking one of her sisters in the ribs, nudging her to observe me as she instructed me to say “Hello” one more time.

    One lasting memory of Granny was the day I accompanied her to some office in downtown Drogheda to pick up a monthly check. The check was compensation of some sort for a son who had been killed in a motorcycle accident a couple of years earlier.

    After collecting the check, we went to a local pub and were seated in a small private compartment sheltered from view of the rest of the pub by swinging, louvered doors. Granny ordered herself a glass of Guinness and a soft drink of some sort for me (which she made me pay for myself with the money she knew I had collected from her relatives). She then retrieved a photo of Frankie, her deceased son, and propped it against her purse on the table in front of us. Showing me the check she said tearfully “This is all they give me for my Frankie.” She took a sip of her Guinness which left a mustache of foam on her upper lip. This she transferred to Frankie’s head when she kissed the photo.

    That evening a huge row broke out at Granny’s house when John, who was getting married the following day, realized that Granny had taken me with her to the pub. It was an epic fight that scared the daylights out of me. It also gave me a small glimpse of what kind of crazy family my mother grew up in.

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  9. Stopped for gas outside Bismarck on our way back wehome.. Son made a joke that the Omacron varient was a visitation from a ticked off German grandmother.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I doubt that there is such a thing as a perfect family. The degree to which we deviate from “normal” – whatever that is – varies. One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how many people I know who, even late in life, are still struggling with things that happened to them when they were very young. It takes a lot of work to learn let go of that pain.

      Liked by 4 people

        1. Having spent fourteen years working at an alternative school where the vast majority of our students were adjudicated youth, I was in closer contact with troubled families than I ever imagined possible. Among them I’ve seen a few real heroes who have somehow risen above all the crap, but the vast majority just didn’t have the wherewithal to turn into “normal,” functioning adults. Most people just don’t have a clue what some people go through.

          Liked by 2 people

  10. Yes, mine too. I felt uncomfortable replying to this before reading all of the others. My grandparents on my dad’s side were really dysfunctional. My grandpa was a country doctor who got himself addicted to his own medications: morphine and codeine. Later, he blinded himself in a rather bizarre gun accident. I won’t elaborate on that except to say that doctors know where the optic nerve is. I had to stay with him one night while everyone else went out for dinner. Grandma warned me not to let him have his medication before 9 p.m. She said he would want it. She wasn’t kidding. By 7 he was screaming at me and swinging his cane in as wide an arc as he could, demanding I bring him his medication. Looking back, I don’t think that’s the most healthy and supportive situation to put a young girl in. My grandma always gave me a 50-cent piece. It was such a big deal to her, giving me that coin. As if it made up for all the other behavior.

    My grandparents on my mom’s side were much more fun. Grandpa loved fishing and picnics and fish fries. He was great at grilling fish and his beer batter panfish was the best I’ve ever had. He had a large (about 2 1/2 inches) cyst in the inner crease of his right elbow. Of course, we were fascinated as kids. I asked him, “Grandpa, what’s in there?” He answered, “Well, Tootie, that’s where I keep my worms!” That still makes me laugh.

    They had a huge garden with all the veggies, especially peas and sweet corn. I loved the peas and sweet corn, hated the tomatoes, string beans, and carrots. I love them all now but as a kid I was pretty fussy. Grandma made a lot of soups like vegetable beef and other hearty kinds. I wasn’t a big fan of those either. But she also made the best rhubarb meringue pie in the whole world. I loved it. Had to eat the soup before I was allowed a piece of pie. My grandma was loving and funny and mischievous and sweet. She was in a nursing home after Grandpa died and I visited her weekly. If she was depressed, it didn’t show. She had a mild dementia but it seemed to just bring out her natural mischievous personality. She used to pinch the nurses aides in the bottom. Then she’d look away, like “Who, me?” And shake like a bowl of jelly with laughter. I’d say, “Grandma!” I really was shocked but she really was funny. She’s the grandma who told me before she died that she was “going to hell.” I said, “No, of course you’re not.” She said that she had taken my grandpa away from his church (he was Catholic, she was Protestant) and that the sin was unforgivable. I told her that love is the most important thing and of course God wouldn’t send her to hell because she loved my grandpa. I hope she believed me.

    Not many kids in my life anymore. Not much baking either because I love baked stuff and it’s really not good for me.

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      1. If my comment turns into a lengthy one, I’ll often stop and copy and paste it into an email draft. That has several advantages and eliminates. the possibility of it being accidentally erased or lost. I suppose it depends on what you use as your primary “tool.” I use only my MacBook Air for making comments here.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. have you done anything to anger the gods that suck your thoughts into the vapors?
      it’s taken me a while to realize how to accomadte them
      word doc has an anti spell feature built in to combat this
      do you typing on word doc or google doc and it’s almost guaranteed to make it through
      unfortunately i usually remember this just after they sucked up another one
      i anger them regularly

      Like

  11. Wow, my families sound absolutely tame, almost boring!
    I do remember my mom saying that her mom was very insecure, She’d been orphaned in Sweden by the age of 4, came to the U.S. on a boat at age 15 to live with an older sister already here.. She had this lilting Swedish accent and was a bit zany, would sing at the drop of a hat, and played their old upright piano by ear, according to my mom.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. My father’s father died before I was born, and my father’s mother lived till I was about two or three, so I don’t really remember her very well. Just have a vague recollection of visiting her in a hospital.

    My mother’s parents lived on a South Dakota farm which featured a poorly insulated tarpaper house and an outhouse. My mother didn’t enjoy visiting there very much, but we went for a visit most summers until I was about nine or ten. My grandfather seemed quiet and spent much of the time we were there attending to the chores. He had cows, a horse, and a dog. In the morning he would bring fresh milk to the house with thick cream on the top.

    My grandmother was plump and cheerful and did a lot of cooking and baking and canning, typical of the farm wives of her generation. She always had Highlights magazines for us to read.

    Liked by 2 people

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