Nepo Babies: Advantage or Disadvantage?

nepo babies

Have you heard of nepo babies? That’s the current label given to children of famous parents, coined from the word nepotism. Career success, or lack thereof, should have more to do with work ethic and attitude, not whether or not you got a leg up from your famous parents’ name and/or connections.

Whether their parents’ status has any effect on the success of those currently labeled as nepo babies is up for debate. After all, there are two sides to every story. Or should be.

Advantages

The advantages for nepo babies are obvious. Famous last names are magnets in the entertainment, sporting, modeling business, and even politics. A name like Kardashian, Hadid, or Gretsky will at least get you in the door, if not straight to the top of the audition or tryout list.

For example, here in Canada, someone believed they could become Prime Minister, not because they had the qualifications or experience to do so, but because they are the son of a previous leader. The worst (scary) part is that voters were attracted to and blinded by the name too!

Are There any Disadvantages?

I bet it’s not easy being the offspring of famous parents. One only has to look at the media attention swarming around celebrities. That works both ways of course. Sometimes it would have ego-stroking, and fun advantages but it could also be incredibly annoying. I’m sure Prince Harry would agree.

Imagine that you are not interested in or possess no aptitude for whatever it is your famous parent achieved in their career. Would you be coerced or expected to give it a try anyway? Growing up in the lap of luxury, would you learn how to appreciate the luxuries or would you grow to expect them? Either possibility and potentially both could lead to a stressful, mental-health-altering childhood.

Do we Expect More of Nepo Babies?

I think we do. For example, would the biological kids of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie be anything but gorgeous? Although that’s more of a genetic example than what the term nepo babies was really created for, I know you know what I mean.

Teacher AKA Grandma, that’s me!

teacher

With Covid restrictions and precautions gripping our world for several months now, with no end in sight, online learning or e-school has become popular. It was a tough call, but my son and his partner (both essential service providers) decided to keep their eldest child home from school to reduce her (and the rest of our bubble’s) chances of contacting the dreaded virus.

Me a Teacher?

In high school, (waaaaay back when) one of my career goals was to be a teacher. That goal was stymied by lack of money in the family to support a university education. As I was fifth of sixth children applying for government assistance, the pickings were slim. I worked several jobs each summer and through the school years to scrape barely enough money together to attend college. Community college and medical laboratory technology was my reality.

That might explain why this always-wanted-to-be-a-teacher Grandma is embracing my new role as online supervisor to my seven year old granddaughter on the days her mom works or has an appointment. The teacher is online with the kids too, so I am just backup in case assistance or guidance is required, close enough for me.

Offline Lessons

In addition to the online learning I am helping my granddaughter with, I am creating lessons of my own to teach her during her breaks from the online stuff. Fun (to me) things like botany, geography and piano. She has shown an interest in my gardening business, so for her recent birthday, I gifted her with a mini greenhouse kit and some tulip bulbs.

The greenhouse kit came with all necessary components as well as instructions on how to grow plants from seeds. The seeds however were not included, so we collected some from my gardens…

When the seeds were all planted and peat pots were labelled, we decided to keep the greenhouse on top of our fridge as warmth and distance from little brothers is recommended for the success of this lesson.

Seeds planted and labelled

Much to my delight, she has also shown an interest in learning how to play the piano. My eldest son (not her father) attended piano lessons at Music For Young Children years ago when he was just a toddler. I was the adult attending with him, so learned basic piano too. Fast forward almost thirty years to where I am sharing what I learned with all of my grandchildren, but as the oldest this particular granddaughter is able to grasp the concepts and has already mastered Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. Music is indeed the universal language!

Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Learning

Back to e-school and the online lessons we are both learning. I must admit I am impressed with the online program (OCDSB) my granddaughter has access to. Her teachers are cheerful and as organized as they can be, considering they are teaching six and seven year olds. At the beginning we encountered a few issues, like login failures, link errors and inability to get our French accents to work. That’s where my learning came in; having never used a Chromebook, I was not familiar with the language options on it. I may be an old dog, but I can learn new tricks.

Three weeks in things are going much smoother, in fact more and more children are joining the classes every day as the number of Covid cases continues to rise. Of course there are disadvantages to online learning, the main one being lack of physical contact with their friends. Although during the breaks they can be amusingly chatty, some kids more than others.

The main advantage is the computer familiarity for the kids. They have learned to log in, navigate between tabs, create their own favourites list, copy and paste links, alter the size of fonts, as well as the keyboard layout and the function of different keys, etc.

Their “jamboards” are cool, an interactive screen created by Google, where they can play around with ideas, much like a white board in a meeting, except it’s online.

They do get breaks often so their eyes and brains don’t get too fatigued, including 5 minute dancing sessions. A favourite dance tune is The Gummy Bear Song, although I bet their teacher is sorry she introduced them to that one…

The Gummy Bear Song

Next Lessons

Tulips will be next for my offline lessons, planted outside with banana peels to deter the squirrels from digging up the bulbs. We have both been saving banana peels in our freezer in anticipation of planting. I usually wait until just before the ground freezes to plant to reduce the temptation for the squirrels. As my dad used to say “squirrels have to eat too”, just not my bulbs!

I also want to teach my granddaughter basic geography with the help of an atlas and a large wall map my son used to be fascinated with, if I can find it. We used to have a globe around here, but think it is long gone. This idea came to me yesterday when she thought Florida was in Canada.

Any other ideas for offline, supplemental learning would be greatly appreciated!

Irrigation Systems: Should you Install one?

Like anything else, there are pros and cons to installing irrigation systems in yards.  The biggest advantage is quite obvious.  Your garden and/or lawns are automatically watered on a regular schedule that you select.   The largest disadvantage is the cost involved to install such a system. Of course, the cost will depend on the size of the yard to be irrigated.

This summer the pros appear to outweigh the cons.  If your lawn is as burnt as mine is you will know just what I mean.

irrigation systems

I have come across many irrigation systems in the gardens (and yards) I look after. Some have sprinkler heads, others have a copper piping drip system, others have a combination of both.  Which is better?  That depends on what you want to keep hydrated and how much you want to spend.  The experts contracted to install irrigation systems will advise you better than I can.

Soaker Hoses Create Inexpensive Irrigation Systems

Soaker hoses are simply hoses with tiny holes in them. Like regular hoses, you can connect many to fit the area you wish to irrigate. Wind the hoses throughout your garden in a snake-like fashion and hook the end up to your tap. When you turn the tap on, the water seeps out of the holes in the hoses onto your soil.

These soaker hoses are a great way to ensure the moisture gets to the soil and roots of the plants instead of being wasted on the foliage where it might evaporate before benefiting the roots. It is especially beneficial if you turn the taps on in the early morning before the heat of the day evaporates the water from the hoses faster than it can water your plants.

It is also much easier to manipulate soaker hoses (rather than pipes of an expensive system) to fit around plantings that need more water and avoid those that are more drought tolerant.

I have such a soaker system in my back gardens to keep them looking good, but my front lawn has to rely on rainfall which we have none of for weeks.

All I can say is that I can certainly tell the lawns and gardens that do have the luxury of irrigation systems of some sort.