Five things I’ve learned as a first-time grandparent
BY HOWARD HARRISON
As a Baby Boomer, I’d just gotten over being a parent. My, how things have changed! Here are five things I’ve learned as a new grandparent.
1: Everything’s a Production
Our son couldn’t just tell us his significant other was pregnant. Instead they gave us a card. On the outside it read “This Card Has No Purpose.” On the inside was a photo of what looked to us like buttons on a radio. One of the buttons said “yes.” Apparently, this was a pregnancy test. While my wife and I were staring at this in confusion, the kids were laughing hysterically, every second of which our daughter recorded on her phone—and shared. We finally figured it out and, of course, got excited. But they still laugh at our reaction.
2 The “Reveal Party”
More and more parents choose to learn the sex of their baby before it is born. My wife and I had the option but didn’t want to know. Today, they have what they call “reveal parties.” The kids flew in from New York to Chicago for a gathering at a famous Chicago pizza establishment. We all had a New Year’s Eve “popper” – those little paper bottles with a string you pull to set off a mini-explosion of confetti. If the confetti was blue, the baby was a boy, and if it was pink, it was a girl. On your mark, get set, go! The pink confetti announced the coming of Baby Olive, who was born a few months later.
3 High Tech, Not High Touch
You need an engineering degree to figure out today’s car seats. When we were kids, most cars didn’t even have seat belts. And how about these baby monitors? They’re like miniature closed-circuit TVs. But I’m not totally anti-technology. FaceTime and Skype are wonderful technologies for grandparents. It’s the picture phone we all dreamed of in the 1960s come to life. To be able to see and interact with our granddaughter while living a thousand miles away is a godsend.
4 We Can’t Get Enough
Does anyone else think his grandchild is the cutest baby on Earth? If not, then maybe Olive really is as cute as I think she is. But I suspect this is not the case. When my kids were born, I thought they were the cutest babies on Earth. Now I feel the same way about Olive. Obviously I am biased. It must be built into the DNA of all parents, and certainly of all grandparents. We simply can’t get enough.
5 Babysitting an Infant Can Be Grueling!
Okay, maybe this isn’t something I just learned. But I’ve sure been reminded. How many of you grandparents out there have had this exchange on the eve of babysitting your infant grandchild for the first time?
The Kids: “Are you sure you’re going to be alright, Dad? She’s been teething and she hasn’t pooped in two days.”
Me: “She’ll be fine. Just go and have a good time.”
Do I really have to describe the next three hours?
I didn’t think so.
About the Author
Howard Harrison is an award-winning journalist with more than 35 years of experience writing for corporations and other organizations. He has been a speechwriter for Fortune 500 CEOs and ghostwritten books outside the corporate sector. NOW they make it legal: Reflections of an aging Boomer, now available at nowtheymakeitlegal.com and other online book retailers, is his first book bearing his name as author.