Kanesha had a chance to talk with Nancy Shapiro-Swern about her gorgeous lullabies, upcoming book, and fantastic work as a granny nanny.
Nancy, thank you for this opportunity to talk to you about Granny Nanny’s Lullaby and your new book “The Adventures of Granny Nanny in: Zzzzz’s please!”
I think all versions of Granny Nanny’s Lullaby are soothing. Your voice is beautiful. What inspired you to write and create Granny Nanny’s Lullaby?
I was inspired to create my lullaby as I held my first grandchild in my arms and rocked him to sleep. It stirred within me such emotion and love. When Aidan was old enough to talk he requested it and then one day his best friend slept over and the two of them started humming it when we are out during the day and that is when I created the entire melody and words.
That sounds magical.
It can be a challenge getting little ones to take naps or go to bed. What pearls of wisdom can you share about making bedtime less traumatic for kids, parents, and grandparents?
Bedtime can definitely be a challenge for many children as well as parents and grandparents. “One more glass of water, one more kiss and hug, one more …..” I think it is important for parents to have a structured night time ritual which you really try and keep.
What I recommend is to make bedtime fun but yet help the child unwind. Get them in bed, tuck them in, dim the lights and start to read a story or play lullabies for them on a CD player which should last at least 20 minutes with a variety of music. My grandson loves Kumbaya (besides my lullaby) and he automatically starts to relax and drift off to dreamland quickly.
One more recommendation that worked with my daughters when they were small was singing together at bedtime. We would have our routine of 3-4 songs and once we finished them they were more prepared to go to sleep. And no sugar after dinner!
I’m so happy to hear about your use of music with your children and grandson. Music is very important in our multigenerational household, and we often use it to set the mood or tone for my children.
My mother-in-law lives with us and she provides a large amount of childcare for my two children. How often are you in the caregiver role for your grandchildren?
I have had a significant role as a caregiver for my older grandson and now I have an 8 month old grandson from my other daughter and I find that I am involved more and more in his life and assisting my daughter as much as I can. My work day is very hectic but I do have flexibility working from home and so I juggle a lot to make both of my daughters’ lives easier as well as enjoying my time with the grandkids. It is now more of a balancing act since I have two daughters with children that need me to help them frequently.
Yes, we parents can for sure use the extra help from a grandparent. I swear by it!
Do your grandchildren ask you to sing to them?
Aidan still asks me to sing to him at night and I do as well as have him listen to tapes. We sing in the car often. He loves his Disney radio and when I do recognize a song you will hear the two of us singing very loudly not worrying who might be listening
I love it. My mother-in-law likes to expose my kids to music she loves, and they sing a lot in the car. Currently my kids are enjoying Bob Dylan.
Tell us about your new book. What motivated you to pursue this project?
I have just completed my first book in the series called “The Adventures of Granny Nanny in: Zzzz’s please!” which is a story based on my song “Granny Nanny’s Lullaby” in English and Spanish.
Granny Nanny moves into a new neighborhood and very quickly discovers that the street is full of very tired children, as well as the cats, dogs, bugs, even the birds. Granny Nanny comes to the rescue bringing special surprises that changes everyone in some way. A surprise friendship between Granny Nanny, Max, and the young boy who lives next door ensues.
Granny Nanny is a youthful, vivacious, baby boomer and gets her feathers ruffled when Max calls her old. “Old? You calling me old Max?” Wait right here she tells him as she quickly comes back in her purple roller skates, the most amazing that Max has ever seen. “One, two, three” and the race is on between them.
Hmmm….. who is the winner?
Hint: Granny Nanny is a former roller skating champion.
That’s so awesome! The “look” of being a baby boomer is so diverse. How great that you are highlighting this in your story.
What do your children and grandchildren think about Max and Granny Nanny?
My daughters enjoy the relationship between Granny Nanny and Max. It does show that friendship comes in different sizes, shapes, races, ages which my children have always experienced and it has been an important part of their own childhood experience. Aidan gets a BIG kick out of Max racing Granny Nanny and he finds their friendship believable and desirable. I am sure since Aidan and I are very close so he identifies easily with the storyline.
If you had to provide the top five “must-dos” to be an amazing grandparent, what would they be?
The top five “must dos” to be an amazing grandparent is the following in my opinion:
- Listen when they talk.
- Watch what they do.
- Praise them whenever you can and it’s “real” praise.
- Spend a lot of time with them and help them identify their strengths.
- BE THEIR BIGGEST FAN!
Anything else to share?
I would emphasize being their biggest fan, having them know they can come to you with any and all of their worries, and keep in close and steady contact with them. If they don’t live close by, make sure you pick up the telephone and call them often. Even texting is a great way to stay connected. Writing notes and letters on the computer often. If you live close by make sure you go to their school activities, concerts, and ballgames. Take them to the park, to the zoo, the beach, even for a hike or walk. Let them know how much you love them.
Thank you, Nancy! I look forward to adding your book to our summer reading list!
Nancy Shapiro-Swern, otherwise known as Granny Nanny, was born in New York but was raised in Los Angeles where she currently resides with her husband and family (two grown daughters and two grandsons).
Granny Nanny was inspired by her grandson Aidan who was having a difficult time going to sleep (until the lullaby).
Granny Nanny is currently working on a book series with the lullaby, a plush toy series and other wonderful products to help children look forward to dreamland.
“The Adventures of Granny Nanny in Zzzz’s please!” will be an e-book that will be available in August on the Nook, Ipad and Kindle. At the end of the book it will play the Granny Nanny Lullaby in English and Spanish.