The last of my grandchildren is now walking. At least I hope it is the last, I don’t think Honey and I can afford birthday presents for more. He took his first steps a few weeks ago and with that, keeping an eye on him just got tougher.
Kids grow up crazy fast. As a parent you don’t see it, because you are waste deep in it too. Parents are new to all of it. They went from horny to lifetime responsibility, in the blink of an eye. Being responsible for another little human is unfamiliar terrain for these people! I know… I was one!!!
With every newly learned skill by the child, the parent is also adding a skill. The child learns to crap (came out doing that); parent learns how to make a diaper more secure. The child learns to walk; the parents learn how to walk bent over. The child learns to climb; parent learns to catch. The child learns… you get the point. Each skill has a counter-skill that must be mastered at the same rate, and it is all happening so crazy fast!
I see IT Genie frequently early in the day, as our jobs cross regularly. He is constantly regaling me with the feats of my grandchildren the day before, “Parker wandered…, Reid got a hold of…” The anecdotes always end with, “and I had to…” or “Company had to…” It is no different with Bull!! “Sebastian grabbed… Elyza decided she would…” “And I had to…” or “Tattoo had to…” I’m never sure if I’m having a conversation about my grandchildren or my children! I know it may show a slightly maleficent side of my nature, but the parents make me laugh to myself more then the antics of the kids.
Was I this frazzled too??? Did I describe every small detail of my life with toddlers, as if it was an edge-of-the-cliff moment??!! I’m sure I probably did but damn… a kid climbing a single stair and not knowing whether to go up or down is not a monumental event!! It doesn’t require a parent to intervene for safety sakes? It was one stair!!! Did I really need to be told this??? Let him get up two or three steps then move in close for the catch! Encourage him to the top and recognize this accomplishment with him… leave me out of it!! I don’t need a blow by blow!!!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for my children and my grandchildren and the new skills they have learned. Skills that I too had to perfect. I just don’t need to hear about every single one, do I? Is that some kind of pre-requisite of grandparenting? Grandparents must be told every little thing that grandchild does and then be told how parent dealt with it. Is this the deal? Because I really didn’t need to be told that my grandson took such a big crap in his pants, that it exploded the restraints on the diaper and made its way down the leg into the feet of his ‘sleeper’… and when he walked you could hear a squishing noise! I didn’t need to know this!! Or what it took to clean him up!!!
I realize that parenting is an ever-evolving thing. The way I was raised, is not the way I raised my children and subsequently, my children are raising my grandchildren differently. It makes sense to me and I think it is the way it has always been. Certain things do remain constant through time though, from one generation to another. The sense of over-whelming responsibility to another human being, and the sense of pride in the accomplishments of a child. These feelings were the same for me, as they are for my sons. So, when they share far beyond what I need to know, I give them what they need to hear. “He did that?? That’s great!!” followed by “You did that? That was good thinking!!” Because no matter how old you get, you never stop being a parent.
I know I didn’t know it then, but as a grandparent I realize it now, kids grow crazy fast. From week to week they change when they are a young age, and the parents must also change with them. Every new skill requires the proper counter-skill be learned. To these parents it can seem so over-whelming but they will survive, most of us do and one day they will be me.
I’m not saying it’s easier being a grandparent, in fact, the bent-over walking thing was a whole less painful when I was twenty-five, but it is simpler. I have already learned the skill of ‘head on a swivel’ and ‘distraction is easier than saying “no, don’t touch”’. I am not anywhere near ‘edge-of-the-cliff’ when I am with my grandchildren. If they fall, I pick them up. If they cry, I give them a hug. If they smile, I smile with them. If they laugh, I laugh with them, if they cheer for what they have done, I cheer with them and if they make a squishing noise when they walk, I hand them to their parents.
I did say grand-parenting was simpler.