What Could Be the Connection Between Neurological Changes in Our Brains When We Become Grandparents and Our Grandchildren’s Shoelaces That Never Stay Tied Even When We Grandparent Experts Have Taught Them

Becoming GrandmaIt does not matter if I am with the thirteen year old or six year old grandchildren.  Both the youngest and oldest, and the grandchildren in between, consistently have their shoelaces untied.  With all the grandchildren, I feel I am constantly saying, let me tie your shoelaces because they are untied and I am worried you are going to fall.  Okay, I am the most spoiling grandmother.  I will bend down and tie even the thirteen year old’s shoelaces.  Of course, with him, no one can be around or see, and I cannot tell anyone that I tied his shoelaces.

When the oldest was the only, I took it upon myself to do more than I thought I would ever do with the grandchildren.  If he had a poop, I volunteered.  I wanted those few extra alone minutes to talk and sing to him, and even a poop is special with a grandchild.   With my own children, it was a chore that I dreaded.  I had been known to gag a few times.  Somehow the gag re flux went away with the grandchildren’s poop.  I have to be honest that vomit is still something I avoid.

I just read that Lesley Stahl, the forever CBS “60 Minutes” correspondent, wrote a book, now being published in paperback, Becoming Grandma: The Joys and Science of the New Grand parenting.

We grandmas do not need lessons on the joy, it just permeates from us, but the science behind the joy was interesting.  She said in an interview for an April 16, 2017 Sun Sentinel article that, for the book, she interviewed a neurobiologist who described “neurological changes of a grandma when she holds her grandchild for the first time. . . our brain neurons changed and we get doused with this chemical that gives us a real high. . .I felt like I was addicted to my grandchildren.  It’s the feel-good bonding hormone.  We are addicted to them, and we fall in love with them in the classic sense.”

Yes, and we grandmas offer to clean their poops, and now I know why.  The chemicals in our brain are stronger than the smell of the poop.  Somehow, though, with subsequent grandchildren, we feel it is okay to skip a poop here and there.

We also take the responsibility to teach grandchildren things that are really the responsibility of the parents, like how to tie shoelaces.  I remember that with the first, I started when he was too young.  Of course, I thought (and think) he is brilliant and fully capable of learning to tie shoes at age 3.  Wrong, it should be age 5 to 6.  I did not have the magic way to teach as there is now according to this YouTube video that went viral and shown on the Today Show last year.

I did the old two bunny ears way shown on Kid Spot.

“Fold each end of the lace into a single “bunny ear.” You can hold the “ears” in place between your thumb and pointer finger on each hand.  Cross the bunny ears so that they form an “X” in the air. Loop the bottom bunny ear over and through the top bunny ear. This will create a second knot. Pull the bunny ears out to the side away from the shoe. This will create a square knot that will not easily come undone and will hold the shoe in place.”

Finally, when he was about five, it clicked.  Why was I surprised.

What surprises me now is how each grandchild’s shoelaces are perpetually coming undone.

Our immediate first reaction is that the shoelaces were not tied properly.  Now we grandmas can show how smart we are.  We can tell the grandchildren, and the parents of the grandchildren, that researchers in California have figured it out.  Shoelaces do not come undone because they are not tied properly.  It is gravity!

In the New York Times, April 18, 2017, Christopher Mele, writes that “Loose Shoelaces [Are] Explained” this way:

“When running, the foot hits the ground at about seven times the force of gravity.  The knot stretches and relaxes in response.  As it loosens, swinging legs apply an iertial force on the free ends of the laces, and pretty soon they are flopping around like overcooked spaghetti.  To fix the problem, fix the knot.  A weak knot will typically have one loop pointing toward the toes and one toward the ankle.  A stronger knot, usually based on a square knot, typically has the loops oriented on opposite sides.”

Wow! The best way is the old fashioned way.  The two bunny ears shoe tying is helping the child tie a square knot, and a square knot is what keeps shoe laces from coming undone.  So, one of the easiest knots to learn, what we first teach our grandchildren, is the best way to keep the shoelaces tied!

Thank goodness for the internet.  When we talk gravity, we will have to explain what it means to our youngest grandchildren. Gravity is the downward pull of the earth, what keeps you on the ground, what causes objects to fall, and is why the objects fall down rather than up. We can find lots of gravity experiments to show the younger grandchildren.   One of my favorite websites for this, Little Bins for Little Hands, uses the grandchild to show gravity by his or her own movement.

A full circle in learning and chemicals—and science is the connection. Our chemicals are directing us correctly and now we just have to reteach early learning with all of our grandchildren.  I think I will start with the youngest this time and reinforce the bunny ear, square knot, method.  I wonder if the grandma chemicals work stronger with the younger grandchildren.  But, at least the six year old can teach his older sibling and cousins that gravity works against us and reteach them to how do bunny ears.

Or, this Grandma could just keep bending down and tying shoe laces.

I vote for bunny ears.







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