The Dueling Wisdoms of Great-Grandma and the Preschooler

Great-Grandma, born in Italy in 1928, grew up running helter-skelter in the streets near Naples so World War II bombs wouldn’t fall on her head. She had a lifelong hearing impairment, a thick Italian accent, and opinions that exploded from her mouth. Great Grandma, my mother, loved to talk, and talk, and talk! After her 86th birthday in January 2014, I uncorked and recorded her thoughts about life because, according to Job 12:12, with old age comes wisdom and understanding.

Her great-granddaughter, my granddaughter, entered the world in 2018 in West Virginia. She has an impressive vocabulary with the consonant-mangling accent of a four-year-old. And, just like her great-grandma, she loves to talk! Coming out of her terrible twos, she fought her own apocalypse as a threenager until a formidable fournado took over and gave her opinions on everything.

In the paragraphs below insightful comments are made by Great-grandma, who passed away at age 92 in 2020, followed by the fledgling wisdom of her preschool-age great-granddaughter. The topics are the same or similar.

Great-Grandma: “Old people know sooner or later they have to die. You no know when you die. You go out and you no know if you come back. There are crazy people out there.”

Preschooler: “When you die, you come back in three days like Jesus. I know I’m coming back because I have a good memory.”

Great-grandma: “If you think your problem(s) are worse than another person(s), that is no so. You no know that. Lots of people suffer in different way(s).”

Preschooler: “Yes, (I have a problem) when I have a bellyache. I get out of my problem by coloring a picture. (My brother) has a problem when he can’t watch Baby Bum.

Great-grandma: “It’s okay for a virgin to get a big wedding. But if the boy and the girl already live together, they can go to city hall and get a paper.”

Preschooler: “My adults (parents) didn’t get married in a church. They got married in Arizona. I’ll get married to not my brother-to somebody else because you don’t (marry) your sibling.”

Great-grandma: “If I see something I need, I buy. If I no need, I no buy. I never owe a penny to anybody. That way I always have money to buy what I need.”

Preschooler: “I say please if I want something. Say please! The adult will give it to me if I say please. You say no thank you if you don’t need it (or) you give it away to someone.”

Great-grandma: “Young people, they no watch what they put in their mouth-all kinda drugs, fried food. Their brain getta crazy. Their ass getta fat.”

Preschooler: “If you don’t eat healthy food, then you don’t grow. You just stay a child forever. For now, I’m gonna eat pancakes every day for breakfast and dinner ’cause Mommy made a ton of pancakes.”

These are pumpkin paleo pancakes loaded with flaxseed, chia seeds, and hemp seeds, They’re great for hungry grandchildren.

Great-Grandma: “I finally eat all my cans of food that expired two years ago. I eat one and no getta sick. So I eat another and another until I finish all ten. I’m old. If I die, I die. I won’t waste it.”

Preschooler: “It’s not nice to waste food. That is a bad guy thing. Sometimes I don’t eat my whole breakfast. I’m still good because Mommy and Daddy never call me bad. They just call that a bad thing.”

Great-grandma: “I lend money to my family if they ask. If they no give-uh me back-okay, I gonna lose it to my family. They can have it. But if you lose it to a friend-goodbye friend.”

Preschooler: “No, (I don’t lend money) because I’m a kid. I have money. I have five bucks and I have some more money that is six bucks. Once you use money, it’s gone. It goes in the bank. How do you get it out?”

Great grandma: “Sometime(s) old people say nasty things to me just to argue. You know, call me a son-of-a baitch {sic}. I agree with them and walk off. Then I win and they lose.”

Preschooler: “If someone is mean to me, I tell them to say sorry. Oh, and I show them how to do a cartwheel.”

Great-grandma: “Tattoo-I no like. They cost too much money to put on and take off if it getta ugly. But if I would getta tattoo, it would be my mother(‘s) name, Elisa.”

Preschooler: “I would like a tattoo when I’m a mommy. I want a pumpkin. I want a pumpkin and a cat-a purple cat. I want it on this (upper right) arm. I also want a tattoo on this (upper left) leg-a toilet!”

Great-grandma: “Human beings can be worse than the evil beast the tiger. They kill people-sometime(s) a lot of people.”

Preschooler: “They (bad people) make bad choices like injure people. I think Jesus will make the bad guys good. I do whatever God tells me to.”

Great-grandma: “Old people buy too much pain killer(s) for their ache(s) and pain(s). They get immune to pain killer(s) and ruin their health. They need to move their body to stop pain.”

Preschooler: “I just take elderberry and my vitamins. Drink lots of water! (And) if it’s not a bad boo-boo, I let it be. If it’s a really bad boo-boo, I put a band-aid on it.”

Great-grandma: “When I feel lonely, I walk. If I feel depressed, I walk. If I feel bored, I walk. When you walk, you snap out of it.”

Preschooler: “I go somewhere that has people around (if I’m lonely) and ask them to play with me. If they are not there, then I cry till they’re back. I would need a hug and a kiss. Tell them (sad people) to take a nap.”

Great-grandma: “When women put lots of makeup, they think they look cute. They look ugly like the clown. I never put nothing.”

Preschooler: “I want to do that-put on lots of makeup-because I like to dress up. I would look like a bat. My mommy doesn’t look like anything when she puts makeup on. She just smells delicious.”

Great-grandma: “Every morning I thanks [sic] God for another day. Then I read my Bible. I cannot wait to be in Paradise. I love everyone, but if they are evil and don’t learn God(‘s) way, they gonna suffer and die! Good!”

Preschooler: “Jesus likes everyone to love him. Bad guys don’t love him because bad guys are bad. I love Jesus because I’m good people.”

Great-grandma died before her great-granddaughter’s second birthday, so they didn’t get to know each other well. My mom agreed to hold her great-granddaughter once and admired her till she squirmed. Then she flipped her back into my arms as if she were a World War II hand grenade ready to detonate.

Although they were very different, they expressed similar opinions on healthy habits and generosity. More importantly, they shared a strong faith in God. In Mark 10:15 we’re forewarned that we won’t enter the kingdom of God if we don’t accept it like a child. Great-grandma showed her gratitude to God by accepting it just like her four-year-old granddaughter.

“Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold. [For Wisdom is better than corals, and no treasures can compare with her.]”

Proverbs 8: 10-11, NAB

“The stupid sow discord by their insolence, but wisdom is with those who take counsel.”

Proverbs 13:10, NAB

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it.”

James 1:5, NAB

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Published by Nancy Homlitas

I'm a grandmother, mother, and wife well-seasoned with decades of humdrum yuck smothered with pure joy. The narratives and photographs I plan to share are meant to brighten moods and spawn smiles. There's nothing more hilarious than a true experience, especially in hindsight! And there's nothing more uplifting than a pleasing picture, particularly if it enhances a story. As a feel good bonus, blog posts will have a relevant bible verse included.

18 thoughts on “The Dueling Wisdoms of Great-Grandma and the Preschooler

  1. Everyone has wisdom to offer, whether they’re 86 or 4. The four-year-old has quite a mind and vocabulary. I don’t think many kids her age know the word “sibling.”

    My wife is Italian, and I could almost hear my wife’s grandparents in your grandma’s quotes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, Peter, out of the mouths of babes are amazing observations about life. I debated on whether or not to use my granddaughter’s quote with the word “sibling” because it didn’t sound like a four-year old would say it. My daughter, her mother, told me that she simply repeats what she hears. As a retired educator, I’m sure you were impressed many times over by your young students!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You made the right choice to share her words, Nancy. Whenever I think of Kaden, a second-grade student I taught, I immediately think of a specific vocabulary word he used correctly. I described a story scene and checked with the class for their understanding. Kaden said, “Oh, you mean it was like a haberdashery.” My jaw dropped. How had he heard this word? What a sophisticated vocabulary word to acquire and use correctly at his age.

        Kids repeat words and phrases they’ve heard all the time, but it’s still no less impressive. That’s one of the reasons that verbal language in the home and reading are such enormous factors in a child’s development.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh, I totally agree with you, Pete. Children can learn the scientific names of dinosaurs just as easily as they can learn four-letter obscenities. So what are we modeling for the young and innocent?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great-Grandma: “I finally eat all my cans of food that expired two years ago. I eat one and no getta sick. So I eat another and another until I finish all ten. I’m old. If I die, I die. I won’t waste it.” LOL! What a great post, Nancy! Blessings!


    1. Thank you, Joshua. You’re right-we can learn so much from those who have been blessed with a lengthy lifespan. The longer you live, the more experience you get fixing mistakes, forgiving mistakes, and then forgetting mistakes! We also need to delight in hearing the innocent opinions of our youngest. They can be so enlightening!


  3. “Mommy and Daddy never call me bad. They just call that a bad thing.” So important. I raised mine that way, but she does not remember. She’s got plenty of self-confidence, though, so I guess it worked!

    Liked by 1 person

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