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做年轻祖母的优势在哪?

2014-05-06    来源:英语点津    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

The secret to anti-ageing?

近日英国女演员兼《英国达人》评审阿曼达•霍尔顿(Amanda Holden)表示希望自己能做个“年轻的祖母”。一年多前,我也许会认为这个想法很荒谬。

A little over a year ago, I would probably have dismissed Amanda Holden’s newly revealed ambition to become a “young grandmother” as absurd.
I would have raised my eyebrows and frowned (something Amanda herself might find hard to do) at the idea that the 43-year-old actress and Britain’s Got Talent judge was interested in anything other than turning back time.

What woman – I used to think – would seriously be anxious to undergo the most ageing experience of her life? Particularly Ms Holden, who was pictured just days ago slipping out to supper in white shorts and six-inch stilettos?
“Young grandmother”, I always thought, was the ultimate contradiction in terms.

But 12 and a half months after the arrival of my granddaughter Edie, I now know how wrong I was – and how right Amanda is to worry that she won’t get to be a granny until she is 80. Far from turning my hair grey and hastening the advent of false teeth and Tena Lady Pants, grandparenting has been ridiculously rejuvenating and made me just a little smug that – unlike Amanda and an increasing number of other women today – I had children in my twenties (Amanda had her first daughter at 34 and her second at 41).

Indeed the “Edie Effect” on my life – for which, thank you, Bryony and Harry – has turned out to be the most marvellous anti-ageing procedure anyone could imagine, to a point that is very nearly infantile (particularly when my granddaughter and I are crawling round the house together whooping with laughter).

More uninhibited and less pressured as a young grandmother than I was when I was a young mother, I can live in the moment with Edie, happily spending hours sitting in the garden looking for “birdies” (her favourite thing right now) and singing along with Igglepiggle and Upsy Daisy as we watch In the Night Garden on CBeebies (a programme that makes Mummy ill).

Sadly, though, the pleasure and privilege of being a young grandmother is something that more and more women will miss out on as the move to later motherhood continues (three babies a week are now being to women in their sixth decade).

As a result, among my own peer group (women in their sixth decade!) there are clear signs of the development of “granny envy”.
It is only with my friends who are also grandmothers that I can really relax and talk with undiluted sentimentality about the beauty and the brilliance of “my Edie Bear”.

Just as motherhood is a universal bond, so is grand-motherhood – and, yes, maybe there is an element of competition also, that makes me sometimes check myself when I overhear the oft-repeated words: “Oh, she’s so bright/adorable/funny/beautiful…”

But there is a practical and quite serious reason, too, for Amanda Holden’s admitted desire to be a young grandmother. In an age when financial pressure means that both parents often have to work and child care is so prohibitive, granny (and granddad) provide a vital support.

Britain’s 9.8 million-strong army of us look after our grandchildren for an average 8.2 hours a week (saving our children between £1,659 and £2,437 a year).

And while in your fifties and sixties you are mentally alert enough to cope with things such as collapsing and reassembling a Bugaboo Cameleon, operating a digital baby monitor or using the microwave steam steriliser, you might have trouble in your seventies and eighties.

Being a hands-on granny demands a degree of physical fitness, too, that may be beyond those who have health problems.

On the plus side, for the young granny this physical effort can make a welcome alternative to the punishing regimes non-grannies still endure (who needs Bikram yoga or Pilates when you can have a hilarious “babyweight” workout dancing Edie round the room to the tune of Pharrell Williams singing Happy?)
On the downside, of course, we young grandmothers do still have to cope with the prejudices of the rest of society: those who will call you “Granny” in a way that is beyond patronising and seem to think that your only possible interests in life are baking, knitting, gardening and Saga holidays.

But if the rest of the world might think you are past it, your darling little grandchild has no conception of age. Indeed, he or she offers you the kind of adoration (and endless cuddles) that more than makes up for the ageism of grown-ups – and, what’s more, gives you the strength to blow raspberries back at them.

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当时要是听到这位43岁的演员只热衷于让时光倒流,我也许会扬起眉毛、眉头深锁。
我过去常想什么样的女人会真的担心衰老呢?霍尔顿就是个例子,媒体几天前拍到她身穿白色热裤,蹬着6英寸的细高跟鞋外出吃晚餐。

我一直认为“年轻的祖母”是个最自相矛盾的说法了。

12个半月前,我的孙女伊迪(Edie)的降世,我才意识到自己真是大错特错。阿曼达担心自己80岁才能当上祖母完全是有道理的。现在,我离满头白发、一口假牙和穿成人纸尿裤的岁数还有好长一段时间。作为一个祖母,我仍然神采焕发,这让我庆幸自己在20多岁就生了小孩,而不像阿曼达和越来越多的女性那样推迟生育(阿曼达34岁生第一个女儿,41岁生第二个女儿)。

的确“伊迪效应”(Eddie Effect)(这点我真得感谢我的女儿和女婿)让我体验了他人无法想象的逆生长经历,尤其当我和孙女一块在房子四周爬来爬去大声欢笑时,我甚至觉得自己回到了婴儿时期。

与刚当上母亲那会相比,我现在更加无拘无束,也没什么压力。我可以活在当下,花上几个小时和伊迪一起坐在花园里找“小鸟儿”(这是伊迪现在最喜欢的东西),看动画片《花园宝宝》(In the Night Garden on CBeebies)时跟着“花园宝宝”一起唱歌。

遗憾的是,由于越来越多女性推迟生育年龄(现在每周出生的婴儿中平均有三个是60岁年龄段女性所生),她们无法享受年轻祖母的快乐和好处了。

所以看得出来,我的同龄人(60多岁的女性)明显在羡慕那些当祖母的人。

我只有和那些同样当了祖母的朋友在一起时才能真正放心畅谈我漂亮聪明的孙女。

和母爱一样,祖母对孙辈的感情也同样强烈。当然了,也许也有竞争的因素作祟,所以有时候,当我无意间听到那些不断提及的溢美之词时,例如“哦,她太聪明了”、“真可爱!”、“太有趣了”或“真漂亮”,有时我总是会忍不住沾沾自喜。

不过就阿曼达•霍尔顿想早点当上祖母这件事来说,也有实际和严肃的考虑。现在人们的经济压力很大,父母不得不忙于工作而无法照料孩子,祖母(和祖父)能提供重要帮助。
英国980万的“祖父母军团”每周平均照料祖孙8.2个小时(每年能为子女省下1659至2437英镑。)

五六十岁的时候,你还能有很好的精神状态来拆分或组装婴儿车、操纵婴儿监控器或使用微波蒸汽消毒机,但到了七八十岁的时候,干这些事可能就没这么轻松了。

当一个亲力亲为的祖母意味着要有个好身体,而有健康问题的人可能就没办法胜任了。
当年轻祖母的一个好处是,你可以把带孩子当成一种锻炼,不用像那些没当上祖母的同龄人那样费力地运动。(和伊迪这样一个孙女一起随着美国歌手法瑞尔•威廉姆斯(Pharrell Williams)的歌《快乐》(Happy)在房子四周跑跑跳跳,谁还需要练热瑜伽呢?)

当然,这也有坏处。我们这些年轻的祖母还是不得不面对社会上的一些偏见:那些屈尊俯就地叫你一声“奶奶”的人似乎认为我们的生活乐趣只不过是烘焙、织毛衣、照料花园和随团旅行。

但就算整个世界都认为你老得不中用了,你可爱的孙子或孙女可没有年龄的概念。他们对你的那种尊敬(和数不尽的拥抱)很好地弥补了成年人对你的年龄歧视,还让你信心满满地予以还击。



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