I’ve done it. I’ve survived another full day with the grandchildren.
I’ll be picking Play-Doh off the carpet and glitter out of my hair for a week, but I think they went home happy and I’ve got two weeks to recover until it’s babysitting day again.
I am a frazzled wreck.
But don’t mention it. Really, it’s fine. I loved it—every minute.
Okay, not every minute. But most of it.
Except for the tantrums. And the incident with the vacuum cleaner and the Lego. And having an audience every time I sat on the toilet.
But mostly, I loved it.
There are just a couple of things I want you to know—a few points that might make it easier for us to understand each other and get along while sharing this new experience with your children.
1. When I went to play at my grandma’s house (when everything was in black and white), I was happy to play with a cardboard box and a teddy for four hours. This doesn’t seem the case with your little ones who are always on the hunt for a “device”: smartphone or tablet. The only tablets in our house are small and white and they’re locked in the medicine cabinet so a cardboard box will have to do.
2. Yes, it’s all organic and homemade with child number one, but trust me, by child two and three it will be French fries, fish sticks and beans. And they’ll be fine.
3. I need at least a week to recover when the grandchildren come to visit for a day. If I seem reluctant to babysit it’s not because I’m selfish or don’t want to see them. I’m just older than I used to be and am now easily exhausted by small people.
4. Of course, I’ll read your lengthy list of dos and don’ts when I babysit, but I’ll probably ignore them and do what I always do. Sorry. You probably won’t even notice.
5. When your darling children turn into stroppy teenagers, don’t be surprised if you don’t see us for three years.
6. My approach to grandparenting is treat them like the family dog: take them out for a long run once a day, reward good behavior with a tasty little treat, and let them up on the sofa for a cuddle every once in a while.
7. It may come as a surprise, but I don’t sit about all day gagging to babysit. I’m busier now than when I had a job, with clubs, hobbies and lunch dates filling my day. I hardly see your dad because of our packed social lives, so if I hesitate when you ask me to babysit, it’s not because I don’t want to. I’ll just have to check my diary.
8. You don’t have to tell me not to feed them chocolate chip cookies and marshmallows followed by jelly beans, donuts and ice cream as a main meal. I brought up three children and know only too well the implications of sugar overload.
I’m not a fool and have no desire to arm your children with too much sugar-fueled energy—particularly when they’re with me for the whole day.
9. I don’t know what LOL means, so don’t use it in sentences, or emails, or texts. FWIW, you may as well be speaking a foreign language, so please spell words in full and use correct punctuation. THX.
10. I will spoil my grandchildren. It’s grandma job, and I like to think I’m a natural. It’s scientifically impossible to spoil a child with love, so I will shower them with cuddles, kisses and love at every opportunity. If the occasional toy or chocolate bar sneaks in, who am I to fight it?
11. I’m better than their other grandma. Fact.
I constantly have fantastic advice to share with you, but I don’t because I don’t want to be that know-it-all grandma. Just know you are a brilliant mom. Listen to your instincts, love them, and maybe leave the Play-Doh and glitter at home next time you come over.