Grand-parenting 101 in 2021

I’ve written about both of my grandmothers in this blog, Mamaw and Orphans, and today I’d like to write about my experience being a grandmother as well as giving some advice to new grandparents.

First of all, I can’t work any of the baby gear. I can’t get the car seat out of the car, I can’t open up the stroller, I can’t open the safety bar to the stroller and every time my daughter mentions turning on the “hatch”, I have a deer in the headlights look trying to remember what the “hatch” is.

Basically, the baby, is still the same as always. Eats, cries, pees, poops, poops, poops, poops. The diapers are grandparent friendly, with the back clearly labeled “back”, assuming you are changing the diaper with your glasses on, which I recommend. I also recommend not skipping the quality control step of the diaper operation in which you check that the elastic around those cute chubby thighs is not folded under itself leaving an escape route for the many different varieties of poop consistency or lack of.

There is an app for everything parenting(expect for diaper changing, that remains the same). There is an app that tells you how long your baby slept and that there is movement detected in their bed as well as the temperature and humidity of the room. There is an app for the bassinet that manages the rocking intensity and womb mimicking noises. There is an app showing you how to cut up food for each baby age. There is an app to control the “hatch”, a white noice and night light machine, that travels with the baby like a diaper bag. Also………. I broke the Bumbo and I forget to put on the sleep sack at bed time.

“Where’s the sleep sack?”

Having heard “sleestak” (from Land of the Lost); I put my arms out straight perpendicular to my body and start making sleestak noises; SHEEEESH SHEEEESE……..whereby my husband, shakes his head having not grown up watching Land of the Lost and constantly asking if I make this stuff up and there is a pandemonium of generational confusion. This is to be expected and I recommend laughter as a general next step to the confusion.

New grandparents, if you are like me and have a serious streak of not getting sick; you can kiss that shit goodbye. My granddaughter is a crawling petri dish. She brings things home from daycare and distributes them around like a Scott’s weed and feed spreader. From stomach flu to colds to hand foot and mouth; we’ve had it all. That kid has copious amounts of mucus that never stops. I’m surprised we haven’t wiped her nose clean off her face.

Olive and I are famous for doing our dueling impression of Animal from the Muppets. We bobble our head back and forth and go AHHHHH, with our mouths wide open. One day, as I was holding her, I started the AHHH assuming she would follow suit, but instead, she decided to do our other favorite mimic game and did a raspberry, spitting into my AHHHH mouth with millions of specks of baby spittle landing in my vulnerable mucus membrane. I was doomed and ended up visiting the Walk in Clinic for my “weird rash”.

And, holy cow can this kid eat. She went straight from breast milk to pancakes, avocados, bananas, lentils, sweet potatoes, ravioli, and peanut butter yogurt. Like her mother and her mother’s mother (me) she never misses a meal. As her mother says, “second breakfast is the meal before first lunch”. My granddaughter also feeds herself. Food is everywhere and some of it ends up in her mouth. Some of it ends up in the trough in her bib and lots of it ends up on the floor where there are two dogs willing to endure an occasional wack on the head from a heavy duty plastic flying drink bottle in order to have first dibs on all the food ending up on the floor. Solid food has also led to the diaper pail moving from next to the changing table to the back porch.

But here’s the secret…..even with all the sickness, mess, diapers, random fevers and car full of baby supplies that I can’t seem to work, this is one of the very, very best times of my life. I love this baby so much. I’m so lucky that she lives only 70 miles away. I can easily go see her for the day or the weekend. And she comes to visit me just as much. We stack blocks, play with the busy zoo, read books, wrestle the octopus, walk laps around the kitchen table, hacky sack, watch Waffles and Mochi, and even hiked to remote Hawaiian beaches. When I catch her eye in a group of people, she grins this shit eating grin and starts to bobble her head back and forth and I bobble my head back and forth and we both know that this is a special connection we will have for a long, long time.

Olive and I would like to recommend two books. Our very favorite is “The Wonky Donkey” by Craig Smith a really fun book for both the reader and the listener (I also recommend the song) and “B is for Bicycle” by Scott and Jannine Fitzgerald; an alphabet book in which B is for Bicycle, Q is for Quick-release and V is for Valve (presta and schrader).

And I would like to recommend a book that is on my shelf waiting to be read. “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell you She’s Sorry” by Fredrik Backman. If you haven’t read Fredrik Backman, I also recommend “Anxious People” and “Brit Marie Was Here”.

More great book recommendations and adventures can be found at Wild About Books.

4 thoughts on “Grand-parenting 101 in 2021

  1. I am also a new gramma and was able to relate to much of what you had to say, Lisa. Working all the baby gear is a challenge but having the connection to our granddaughters is such an exceptional privilege. The light and white noise machine do seem to be an essential these days and I had no idea that they were called “hatch”. I’ll plan to find the books you recommended. Also, want to mention how impressed I am that your back allows you to carry Olive in her baby pack. That’s great. It was fun to read about your experiences and connections with Olive and compare them to mine with our little one, Ryah. Being a gramma is wonderful part of our lives. I often call her our “bright spot” in our often troubled world. Thank Heaven for little girls.

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