Self Defense for Babes

wpid-img_20150419_154534-1.jpgGrandma’s first lesson in self defense: how to break a frontal choke hold.

Of course, I did not choke a six year old… I just placed my hands loosely on her neck and asked her to show me how to get away. She tried wiggling while pulling on my hands with her little fingers. Then I showed her how to use her core strength to break free by shoving both of her arms up fast and hard between mine, to reach for the sky with all her might instead of trying to pry hands off of her. We practiced. The first time she broke the resistance in my arms, her eyes got wide and I could see her confidence soar. So, we practiced some more.

When her brother started paying too much attention, we changed hand position from neck to shoulders as I do not want him to start playing choke your sister. He plays rough with her as it is, tries to throw her to the ground like a wrestler, so she already knows how to break those holds.

It is this scar by her neck, not rough playing siblings, that makes grandma think that she needs to learn some self defense techniques.

The scar is from an attack from a bully at school. She was in a toilet stall in the restroom when the older girl (a first grader) crawled under the door and snatched her up by the neck, choked her hard enough to leave bruises, and drew blood with fingernails.

The incidence sparked a controversy on Facebook between aunts and great-aunts, cousins, friends, and relatives all debating what should be done about it. Some think the school is at fault, that mama should raise hell with the school for letting a kindergartener (my granddaughter) go to the restroom by herself. Others think charges should be pressed on the bully and/or her parents, or at the very least, the bully should be suspended. As far as we know, the girl was just given a talking to by school personnel. It was treated as no big deal, just a fight between two little girls.

Men who see that she has no problem slamming her brother when he gets too aggressive, or tackling boys while playing yard football, do not understand that she is a little girl who certainly did not expect to be physically attacked on the toilet. They come off as if the attack was her own fault by asking, “Why did you let that girl crawl into your stall?” They tell her that she should have done this or that, kicked the girl in the head, stomped her hands, anything to stop her from crawling in.

This grandma wants to teach some self defense techniques that can be practiced, but not used to hurt her brothers. I am not sure what those are… what is age appropriate for a six year old?


Kiddie Art


Everyone colors at grandmas, but not in coloring books.  If you want lines, draw your own… although grandma will give you a swirl or something if you ask.  We talk color, compliments and neutrals, experiment with shading and blending… try this or that, see what happens, but bottom line is do what you want… it’s your art.


DJ (says he’s 11 now)


Zarah (age 6)


Scribble art by Zeth (age 2) and Zavie (age 3)

Scribble art by Zeth (age 2) and Zavie (age 3)

I’ve been told that I ruin kids for school, where coloring neatly within the lines using only one color of crayon per section will achieve the desired result, so we use paper and Prismacolor pencils instead of coloring books and crayons.

I am making a conscious effort to zone into things that really matter – art, peace, children, music, friendships, etc. It is kind of like choosing my battles wisely, as even though there are things here that hit me crooked and I know they are not right, advocating for change renders nothing.  All it does is waste my energy, like beating my head on a brick wall. Is it my problem? No… so I took a line from Paul Simon’s Gumboots and called the whole thing to a halt.





Snap Me, Snap You

My grandson Zavie, not yet two, thinks he is snapping a picture of me with his mother’s phone as I snap a photo of him. Dear sister is lost on crystal beads.