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Archive for December, 2008


I’ve spent the past week in Vernon with my son Bob, daughter-in-law Dina,and two-year-old grandson Ben.  It’s quite true that grand-parents become quite simple when around their little one.  Ben is 30 months old and quite precocious.  As a former teacher I observe and evaluate his development.  I can’t recall most of what his father did at two years old, except have temper tantrums, so my comparisons may not be relevant.  But he seems awfully smart to my grandmother eyes.  Today he looked at his Thomas the Train computer game and identified over 30 different trains by name.  He only looked at the head-on shot for 2 seconds on average, then correctly said the name of the train.  It helps that he has all those trains in the play-room downstairs.  A very lucky little guy – at least three rooms are devoted to his toys.  So I’ve had great fun playing with Ben, observing, racing “vehicles” with him, reconstructing train tracks, building block castles, and watching him complete 12-piece puzzles.  Did I mention that he is smart?  I’ve also watched numerous shows of the Backyardigans and Einstein DVDs.  My knees have a few more kricks in them, and I’ve slept well at night.  Since I live far away, I have to get the most from my visits when I’m here.  Ben is funny, happy, entertaining, and a terrible tease.  An encouraging organizer too, who knows what he wants when he wants it, and uses gestures as well as words to get his meaning across.   He does not accept parental suggestions passively!  That part he gets from his father. 

He's learned to pose

He's learned to pose

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I listened to a CBC radio feature an hour ago, which said one of the best memory boosters for seniors is ballroom dancing.  How good is that?  The reasons, cited by the author of the research study, are because it involves learning something new, includes exercise, and is social.  I bet other features are because it is repetitive and requires a lot of practice!  The commentator compared other studies which looked at digital learning, especially internet use, among new and experienced seniors.  Those studies also showed a huge increase in brain function, according to the MRIs conducted on the subjects’ frontal lobes.  I think I prefer ballroom dancing!  It would get me away from the computer.  I would mix with other people, and also be in the midst of MUSIC!  Perhaps a big part of the success is the music, for it affects the whole brain, not just the frontal lobe.  The part that processes music is more connected with the emotional and right side, which deals with images too.  Add the exercise, the need to remember steps and routines,  the challenge of doing it all with people you may not know well, and being touched and moved by a partner … hey!  A pretty complicated process.  What a great way to improve  memory.   So if your kids tell you you’re too old to be going out to ballroom dancing, forget them!   Now where did I put those light-weight pink leather runners?  Where did I see them last?  Oh yes, about 15 years ago I gave them to my daughter, because she needed a pair of running shoes.  She danced around in them, too, exclaiming how light they were on her feet!  I wonder if she still has them?  If I email her, will she even remember taking them home with her?

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Tune:  It Takes A Woman

Now it will take a woman, a dainty woman, a sweetheart, a glamour mom too!

It is our Governor General who will take the reins now,

and tell the old boys what to do!

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