"Nobody can do for a child what a Grandparent can do. Grandparents sort f sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children.." - Author Unknown
"The best babysitter, of course, is your child's Grandparents. You feel completely comfortable entrusting your children to them for long periods; which is why many Grandparents move to Florida." - Dave Barry
"No, Nana's okay Sweetie. I'm just resting my eyes." - Grandma Bean
Some random musings after spending four days with two little girl Grand-Beans:
Every life has a rhythm. One of the joys of my life is that I know and understand the rhythms of my little Grand-Beans. I love that I know how they move through their lives, how they take up their space, what they need to hear and how to comfort them when they are sad. What a privilege that is. Just as Daddies do not "babysit" their own children, I do not believe Grand-parents babysit either. Grand-parenting to me is a verb. It is an action. I had a loving, involved Grandmother, my children had a loving, involved Grandmother and I will make sure my Grandchildren have a loving, involved Grandmother. Having said that, here is a recent conversation between me and my Babiest Bean.
Colbie: (Sitting in DQ eating an ice cream cone) "You know Nana, when I was a little girl, I justwanted my mommy mommy mommy. But now, I'm really starting to like you." (I'm pretty much liking you too, Baby Girl!)
Here in a nutshell is the difference between me as a Mom and me as a Nana...
Bean: Why do I have to __________? (Fill in the Blank)
Me as Nana: Explain, Explain, Explain.....Explain again. Re-explain.
Bean: Why do I have to ___________?
Me as Mom: Shut up, because I said so.
The hardest part of caring for two little girls was all the schlepping around that has to be done. Pick up, drop off here, pick up there and drop someone else off somewhere else. Pick them all up and on to the next activity. Remember to pack dance stuff, drumsticks, songbooks. When will we eat, and oh yes, by the way, who has time to cook what we eat? My friend said it reminded her of an old math problem. If Cailin goes by car to drum lessons from point A at 40 mp and Colbie goes by train to Kinderjazz from point B at 45 mph, how many minutes does it take for Nana to crash and burn?
Grandpa's can help too but before you get too excited about their involvement here are two exchanges demonstrating in a nutshell, the difference between Grandpa's and Nana's.
Nana: Okay, we have to pick up Child A and drop her off at dance. Then go back and pick up Child B and drop her off at dance. Then leave Child B in the company of Child A and go pick up Child C. Then come back and pick up A and B, then drop C off at home, then get dinner and get Child A ready for tutoring.
Grandpa: Um, wait what?
Nana: (Collapsing on couch after schlepping the children to and from all their activities, making chocolate chip pancakes for dinner, cleaning up and getting them ready for bed.) BOY am I TIRED!
Grandpa: (Coming in from golf course and grabbing a beer.) BOY am I TIRED!
Anyway, here is a wee list I made up of things to make for a successful extended playdate with the Grand Beans:
Shop for food and stock up on things that the children will actually eat. As much as you believe that children should eat what's put in front of them, when you are in charge of keeping them alive for 4 days, now is not the time to stand on principal or make a point. So if all they will eat is chicken nuggets, Nana's famous hot buns, fries, chocolate chip pancakes and celery with peanut butter, then that's what you give them.
Two words: Dollar Stores. Make use of them often. A trip to the Dollar Store counts as an activity all unto itself.
Make sure your own house is in order. It may seem counter-productive to clean before they come over, but you will be glad you did. Make sure your laundry is caught up, the fridge is stocked and you will feel better if you can actually remember the last time your bathroom was cleaned.
You might want to bone up on your Barbie conversations. You will have to play Barbie's 3,477 times over the time you are together. If the only thing you can think of for Barbie to say is "Lets go shopping Mommy," that's not going to work in my circles. Have a Rolodex filled with Barbie-speak, like, "Mommy, Lets go see the Matisse exhibition at the Art Gallery in New York," and "Mommy, I'm thinking about dumping Ken." Also, practice putting those !%%@#! little shoes on those tiny little feet.
Work out, strength train, Hydrate hydrate hydrate. Ride a bike to Whistler while listening to the theme from Rocky. Twice. Run a marathon. Whatever it takes. You will need to be in the best shape of your life.