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Posted on February 4, 2012 by Christine Crosby in 

Disciplining the Littlest

            The other day my 20 month-old grandson wagged his one and one-quarter inch pointer finger at me, in admonishment. I didn’t need to ask where he learned it—he got it from me.  My inner grandmother cringed. Since when had I become the disciplinarian in this scenario?

             If you find yourself helping to raise your toddler grandchildren, you’ll realize pretty soon that you don’t get to be the grandparent that lets them watch TV all day, gives them Cheetos for dinner, or buys them whatever they point to at a Toys R Us. You will be the one to tell them “stupid” is a bad word before they learn the real ones with four letters. “What are the magic words?” will be your mantra. Potty training successes are the highlights of your day.

           Embrace it—you’re a parent, again. And you thought you were tired the first time around! Now you’ve got a twenty-five year generational disadvantage and probably an extra twenty-five pounds.

             In a throwback to my Yuppie years I wondered: what book should I be reading?  Would the yellowing dog-eared tomes in my library still apply? I forgot what I was supposed to do with a toddler that won’t stay in his new bed. What was it that made my daughters sleep through the night? Since when do kids say NO to something that’s served on the plate in front of them and you offer them something else?  

             My husband and I hadn’t even had our morning coffee the other day when that same cherubic boy threw a full-body tantrum in the kitchen. We looked down at him sprawled on the wood floor, his mouth open in so wide a bawl that we could count all his teeth—if we had our reading glasses on. Then we glanced up at each other with sleep-rimmed eyes, without a clue in the world as to what we were supposed to do. Could Google give me the answers? Would Wikipedia have reliable sources? What if we called Siri?

               In 2012, shouldn’t there be an App for this?

Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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