Here is how I introduce myself when performing for little ones:
"My name is Grandma Paula.
I once was a little girl.
(My name is Grandma Paula.
I once was a little girl.)
My hair was brown and fuzzy,
in ringlets and in curls,
And when I sucked my thumb too much,
My teeth looked like a squirrel's!
When I got some braces.
My teeth were pretty pearls.
That's how Grandma Paula
came from a little girl.
My name is Grandma Paula. I once was a little girl.
(My name is Grandma Paula. I once was a little girl.)
Then, I had a daughter. (She was a little girl - of course.)
And I had grand-daughters - A matching set of girls!
I began to sing to them and they began to twirl.
That's how Grandma Paula came from a little girl!"
(c) 2013 Paula C Snyder aka Grandma Paula
The song lyrics above are the very short explanation of how my alter-ego, Grandma Paula, came to be. The real story (without telling my entire life story), started when I had twin grand-daughters. When the girls were turning three, I wrote songs for them based on their interests, and recorded them on CD as a keepsake. They included such subjects as:
- "Grandma's Earrings" written to represent their interest in poking at my dangling earrings, pulling them off (I wear clips - not pierced), trying the earrings on themselves and clipping them back on my ears. It was fascinating for them to see what earrings I would come up with when we got together. As they got older, they selected earrings I should wear for the day.
- "Doing the Belly Bump" - Not about pregnancy! The girls must have been watching some big guys do this on a sports field... They walked up to each other and bounced their bellies together, giggling hysterically.
- "Dreams to Keep" - Bedtime was avoidance of settling down. I focused on their various requests for telling and singing stories at bedtime, (and how it eventually helped the children go to sleep).
- "My Jewels, My Gems" - From my standpoint, the children were more precious than jewels and gems you could mine, fashion, or wear. This was definitely a love song for the girls.
They also were exposed to "Cookie (the Dog)", a song I wrote while entertaining my niece (probably before their parents met). Cookie became an illustrated song/storybook with CD in 2014.
I was performing regularly as my "soulfully nostalgic" self - Paula C Snyder. During some events at Loco Lu's (a local coffeeshop - now closed), I tested my upbringing and creative ideas on some young children who were present. Lou, the owner, said, "You ought to entertain kids!". I thought about extending myself beyond my immediate family and decided to give it a try. I created some gaudy guitar pick earrings (Grandma's Earrings) to wear with my hand-made smock (pictured above). I decided against masks, wild makeup, or unusual costuming because young children are often fearful of costumed characters. I became an approachable, loveable, silly and playful Grandma to a wider audience at birthdays, events, and pre-schools. I "hung the shingle out" to represent my brand (GrandmaPaula.com), and started collecting offers. I still spend much of my time entertaining as Paula C Snyder, and don't market Grandma Paula heavily, but people find me. I have since written other fun kid-friendly songs, like "Where's the Cat?", "Once a Little Butterfly", and "Bluejay in my Mailbox". I perform them, but I have not recorded them yet!
Last year I took part in a teacher's training program provided by Music Together (out of Princeton NJ). I decided not to pursue teaching in this setting, but felt it would help me become a more focused child's entertainer. (Even so, as I customize programs for various events and schools, my children's preschool programs do have components of teaching and engagement which (hopefully) leaves a good impression on those young minds!) I was pleased with the Music Together program and the appeal that encouraged families with kids of all ages to connect in the activity of singing together, whether at home or in community settings. It made a whole lot of sense to me because I grew up with a family that engaged in singing together for fun activity at home, after family dinners, and on long drives. It became part of my soul, and I took it further to find performance venues as an adult. Later, the nostalgic feelings about that time in my life reminded me of what it meant to my childhood. I wanted to share that feeling with others, especially children who did not start out with that exposure.
"My name is Grandma Paula. I once was a little girl."
Simple. True. Just the beginning!
You can find more information about Grandma Paula, inquire about performances, and find some music drafts on my official website: GrandmaPaula.com
Grandma's Earrings - the earrings fashioned for Grandma Paula's persona - were the beginnings of a fashion line of earrings made of guitar picks. I make them myself! See some of the designs at PickPretties.com.
Meet Cookie (the dog) illustrated song/book has a dedicated page on the site. Consider picking up a copy for your favorite Grandparent, Grandchild, or whimsical family dog-lover. National Grandparent's Day is Sunday, September 13, 2015.