When the Parentals Leave Grandma in Charge
By Norma Galambos
One of the reasons I retired from working full time was to spend more time with our grandchildren. When the only free time I had was just for a weekend visit, I usually spent it cooking and cleaning and then the kids were gone home and I felt like I hadn’t spent any quality time with them.
I recently did some grandparenting while my daughter and her husband were on vacation. The two youngest girls were three and a half and six months old. I was a little worried about how they would handle the separation, but they handled it like real little troopers. I am not going to lie, some of the house rules were broken. We stayed in our pajama’s way too long, ate too many treats, didn’t brush our hair or teeth as often as we should have and watched too many cartoons.
My husband came for part of the time and the grandparents on the other side of the family took half the shift. He claimed he could no longer change diapers or bath kids but eventually, I wore him down and he was in there like a dirty shirt. He enjoyed the bonding time. Our granddaughter schooled him on all the correct bath and hair products that a three-year-old apparently needs to use to maintain her youthful appearance.
This experience reminded me of a few things from my parenting days that I had long forgotten about:
- little children go to bed early, wake up in the middle of the night and get up very early – I on the other hand like to stay up late and do not enjoy getting up early. So, you can see where our sleep schedules didn’t really jibe.
- it is possible for a little human to be that happy at five in the morning.
- babies have a super sensory hearing – they can hear the moment your head hits the pillow.
- good night vision is necessary to enable you to be stealthy enough to change and feed a baby in the dark. I thought I was standing in front of the nursery door when I went for the night feeding and then realized I was standing at the top of the stairs.
- throwing sippy cups, face cloths and toys off the highchair tray onto the floor and then proudly looking down on their handy work still gives little people a great deal of satisfaction.
- you can watch too many cat videos.
- bath time is a laborious nightly ritual filled with many potential pitfalls.
- teething babies drool an amazing amount and will chew on anything that they can get their hands on.
- with children you need to be ready for a change of plans at any minute depending on the day – cut it up, don’t cut it up, cut the crust off, don’t cut the crust off, I will do it myself, no you do it…
- moms of young children rarely have time to eat an entire meal or take a shower.
- a toddler can’t eat their meal but can down a treat with lightning speed.
- a three-year-old has incredible skills to negotiate a later bath or bedtime, a different snack or more TV time.
- if you initiate any type of game you must be prepared for the inevitable “do it again” request over and over.
- babies come with way more technology then they used to: clocks, wipe warmers, bottle warmers, and sterilizers and sound machines.
“My three-year-old granddaughter said she was so tired one night because she had laughed too much playing with me.”
I felt like I was sleeping in a spaceship with all the visual, motion and sound monitors glaring at me. My daughter is incredibly organized and left a binder of detailed instructions and information. I had originally mocked her child instruction binder, but I must confess, it did come in handy.
My three-year-old granddaughter said she was so tired one night because she had laughed too much playing with me. That little comment made the day feel like a complete success.
There is nothing like holding a baby in your arms and rocking them to sleep while nuzzling their peach fuzz covered heads. Don’t even get me started about how good fresh bathed babies smell. The time when they are at that stage is so short, she is already sitting up, trying to crawl and wanting to stand. Time waits for no one.
I salute all moms, dads, grandparents, foster parents, aunts, uncles, stepparents, and step-grandparents who are raising children or providing support. You have one of the hardest, but most rewarding jobs around, you are creating a human being.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR –
Norma Galambos is a blogger, podcaster, freelance writer and entrepreneur. Her blog, Grandma G – My Journey Into Retirement features stories about growing up on the Canadian prairies, adult life, and retirement.