I’ll start by saying that I think my daughter and son-in-law are exceptional parents and they have blessed me with two wonderful grand-kids even though I don’t feel old enough to be a Nanni. Well that is until I’ve minded the two said grand-kids over a period of a day and night, then I do start feeling like a Nanni who’s been wrung out to dry. Not because they’re naughty, on the contrary they are very good, but when one has reached an age when one doesn’t have children around then one becomes rather selfish, and I do enjoy being selfish. I think I’ve deserved the right to be selfish just like my daughter and son-in-law will deserve the same right one day.
Although minding the grand-kids take its toll, I’m not too old to remember how I raised my kids: how I fed them, how I got them to sleep and how I entertained them. However, I think these points have certainly been forgotten by my daughter. And I’ll tell you why…
The first time I minded my granddaughter Matilda was when she was around 12 months, she wasn’t too long off the breast but had adjusted nicely to her drinking cup. Which reminds me, what happened to the good old bottle? They seem to be out of vogue these days – go figure. Anyway, my daughter arrived at my place with all but the kitchen sink – I must add here that I had a fully equipped baby’s room setup at my home. Along with all but the kitchen sink was a two page list of things I must do, complete with the time of day to do them.
The handover took approximately 1 hour because it seems that my daughter has also forgotten that I’m capable of reading, so she proceeded to go over each item on the list. There were approximately 20 items on the ‘to do’ list. Needless to say my eyes glazed over at about point 9 where I drifted off to a faraway place where one’s mind wonders when someone is reading a long list of ‘to dos’. I must say at this point, she’d forgotten to include Matilda in the handover, because she had other ideas.
Long story short, the first night went very well. We all survived. However, I’m sure my daughter secretly wished it didn’t go so well because she felt, as all new mothers do, that she has an insight into raring babies that has clearly been missed by me and all the parents that have preceded me. All I can say is – see I can do it!
By the way, I followed the list up until point 9 for obvious reasons.
My latest adventure in what I like to refer to as ‘Nanni day care’ went down last weekend, only it didn’t stop at one day. It consisted of a trip to Lithgow and an overnight stay with my two Aunts, one whom was turning 80. This was the real test – two babies, Matilda now 3, and my grandson Charlie who is 15 months.
Needless to say Charlie was the fly in the ointment of making this weekend a relaxing time. He’s a typical boy, he won’t sit and read, or play, or do needlepoint, but would rather see how many times his head can hit the corner of the kitchen table, or whether he has mastered the art of pulling a tablecloth out from under all the tableware, and on one occasion, a nice hot pot of tea, without making a mess.
Funnily enough Charlie didn’t succeed with the tablecloth trick but his head found the edge of the table on numerous occasions and he also found many things to touch that we didn’t quite agree on. But having said that, all is forgiven when he looks at me and smiles and then say’s ‘Nan Nan’. I can’t resist that, even when I’m about to collapse in a screaming heap and feel like I can’t possible get up again to rescue him from certain injury.
Of course this weekend started with a list of ‘to dos’ from my daughter. Thankfully she doesn’t bother writing a list anymore, she realizes now that it’ll be misplaced, not intentionally mind you. But I seem to recall a list of demands as follows:
- Give Charlie an early lunch then leave for Lithgow at around 11.30am. This will be the time he will be due for his nap. (BTW she packed a little packed lunch of sultanas, yogurt, ham and cheese).
- Dinner around 5pm, followed by a bath for both kids.
- Give them both a cup of milk before bed (approx 5.45pm)
- Charlie is to go to bed at 6pm sharp.
- Matilda can stay up until around 7pm.
- Charlie will wake up around 5am. Offer him some milk then put him back into the cot and walk out. Don’t turn the light on. Let him cry, he’ll go back to sleep.
- Charlie will wake up around 7.30am. Matilda around the same time.
This is where the list ended because my daughter and son-in-law would be arriving around 10.30am. So I guess she figured I would play it by ear between 7.30am and 10.30am.
No worries love!
We left for Lithgow around 10.30am. Charlie and Matilda ate lunch in the car after Charlie woke up at around 12pm – I hate stopping on the side of the road but thanks for the lunch box, next time pack a bit more food as it didn’t go all around. We ate dinner around 5.30pm followed by a bath and a weak attempt to get Charlie to drink his milk; after all he got his dairy intake from the ice-cream. Charlie went down to sleep at 6.30pm – first attempt. Charlie finally got to sleep around 7pm – nice work Uppy (aka Poppy) and Nanni. Matilda went down to sleep after 3 stories, a snack of biscuits and milk and threats of throwing her dummies in the bin – which would make it around 8.30pm.
Charlie woke up at 5am, or so I thought, not one clock in the house showed the same time. I attempted to give him some milk but he wasn’t interested. This was done with the light on because Charlie’s ear and mouth looked very similar in the dark. We then snuggled down together until he finally went to sleep. This may have taken 5 minutes or 2 hours, I have no idea as it was dark. Sometime later Matilda woke us both up. Charlie, Matilda, Uppy and I had breakfast after which we whittled the time away until my daughter and son-in-law arrived.
Now I did say at the beginning of this story that I haven’t forgotten how to raise children, and I haven’t. After all, my daughter is very much like me and her child raising techniques reflect mine to some degree. But as my parents did before me, we Grandparents have a big responsibility and that is to let the grand-kids do what they want as long we get peace and quiet in the meantime.