Retired and Ready for Grandchildren, Maybe
BY PAMELA HALSTEAD
I have a tee shirt that says, “Retired and Ready for Grandchildren – Not Another New Gadget that I’ll Never Understand.”
Turns out that grandchildren can be pretty complicated as well! They sleep on their backs now, not on their tummies as we were taught. They must be swaddled in order to sleep. This is like trying to wrap a big burrito with wriggling contents. They must never be given apple juice or hot dogs. These were our basic foods. We gave our children hot dogs as soon as they had two opposing teeth.
Babies come with their own technology; a monitor. This is a camera that shows what they are doing and a microphone so that you can hear them the minute they wake up. I can’t convince my children that we put children in another room to sleep for a reason. We don’t want to know that they are awake until they are seriously screaming. Running in at the first peep just trains them to wake up in the middle of the night until they are 25. Then they might be able to amuse themselves.
Food is so different. Everything is organic and super healthy. As noted above, babies no longer drink apple juice or eat hot dogs. After our babies stopped breast feeding, we just chopped up what we were eating and gave it to them. Now their meals are carefully planned with graduated foods for each age group and those little puffs that toddlers love to throw around.
I do appreciate the care that now goes into babyproofing. Now I can’t open any of the cupboards, get the toilet seat up or turn most of the doorknobs. I have to ask a kid to help me.
If you are watching your grandchildren it is important to keep them on the schedule that they are used to, as much as possible. When we took care of two of our grandchildren for a week, their schedule was posted on the fridge. We religiously followed their meal times, nap times, time to be outside and time to do crafts. But, as the week went on their bedtime got later and later and therefore, they got up later in the morning. After all, we had to consider our schedule too.
We took them food shopping and they picked pizza, hot dogs, spaghetti and meatballs and ice cream. On the day that the parents were due to return, I lifted up the schedule sheet on the fridge – to find the sheet detailing their meals and snacks. Oops! So that was the kale and soy that we had pushed to the back of the fridge along with the hummus and baby carrots.
We moved them to the front of the fridge, ate as much of them as we could, and moved our contraband to the back of the fridge. Their father would find it and enjoy eating it.
So, we were pretty presentable when their parents came home. They were rested from their naps and their clothes were filthy from playing outside. Their playroom was cleaned up and they had craft projects to show.
They never ratted us out about the food. Smart kids!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – PAMELA HALSTEAD
Pamela Halstead is a mother of 5, grandmother of 6