By Rose Padrick
Whether you’re Grammy, Poppi, Nana, Gigi, or just plain grandmama, chances are you love taking care of your grandkids—sans all those silly parental rules. When a friend’s son married a lady with toddlers, she asked me (of all people) for baby sitting tips. Boy, was I ready:
- Arrive early, toting a bag full of nutritious snacks and storybooks.
- Smile and nod while Mom and Dad drone on about bedtimes, not waking the baby, and which TV shows are forbidden.
- Lock the door and watch to be sure Mom and Dad actually make it out of the driveway.
- Have one of the older grandkids retrieve the bag of REAL goodies from its hiding place in your car.
- Wake the baby, savoring the moment he opens those beautiful green eyes, recognizes you, and his whole face smiles at you.
- Crank up the radio so everyone can dance in the kitchen while you microwave S’mores.
- While the S’mores cool, everyone bunny-hops into the back yard and howls at the moon.
- Wolf down the treats (with milk of course) and then enjoy a game of hide and seek in the (almost) dark.
- Change the baby’s pajamas—and try to rinse all the chocolate out before hiding them in the washer.
- Pop a video in, to quiet the sugar and energy laden grandkids before Mom and Dad come home.
- Make a quick exit, hastily explaining that the baby just woke up when you went to check on him, and you’re sure he’ll go right back down.
- Deny everything! Especially when Dad calls the next day wondering how the baby managed to change his own PJs and why his neighbor reported hearing strange noises coming from somewhere in the vicinity of his back yard.
- Don’t sweat the repercussions, the parents will eventually forget you didn’t follow their silly rules, but hopefully the grandkids never will.
I live by the adage that parents make the rules and regulations and grandparents bend the rules, and together they’ll raise grandkids that grow into fine adults—who had the best Grammy in the world.
“A longer version of this story was first published in 2009 in The Art of Grandparenting and reprinted courtesy of Nightingale Press.”
Rose Padrick’s “Open Letter to New Grandparents” was first published in The Art of Grandparenting, by Nightingale Press in 2009. This is an excerpt.