Mishaps at Grandma’s House

Whether it’s day care or just spending the day, grandmas like to have the littles over.  There is excitement in the air when the littles are on their way.   Anything can happen and it usually does.

It’s GRANDMA’S house which means it’s been a few years since there have been littles small enough to not only see the outlets that are near the floor but stick things in them.  The chemicals have now made it back to their original spot under the kitchen sink.  The gate that used to block the stairs is now being used to grown vines in the back garden.   Don’t even get me started on the random vitamins and medications laying around.  It’s a miracle our grandchildren survive their stay at our house.  But they do.

Yet things happen.  Nothing too serious, so far.  But sometimes … well things happen.

One summer, we sent two of our children on an airplane, alone, at ages 6 and 8 to visit their grandparents. One ended up with stitches from a playground incident and the other with major scrapping all over his little face from attempting to ride a bike much too big.  Still, there was no doubt they had a fantastic time with their grandparents and still talk about it to this day.

Grandparents like to have fun and we forget that those littles need to be watched.  Every. Single.  Second.  They are sneaky little things that can disappear from your sight in an instant.

It’s because we get distracted. We’re not used to being on child alert.  It’s been a while.  We’ve had a taste of freedom. We can now watch an ENTIRE show uninterrupted.  We get to use the bathroom without a single knock on the door or someone wanting in.  We can eat pudding, in the living room, and leave the container right there.  RIGHT THERE on the coffee table and it will still be there next week and NO ONE CARES!

So when they come, we have to flash back to parenting mode and try to remember how we once managed to keep our littles safe (which we did – just fine, by the way).  It gets tricky.  Mostly because we just want to play with them.  But the distractions …

This summer the littles were over.  There were 5 grown up adults in the house and two littles – a walker and a crawler.  The adults were visiting and chatting as adults do.  It’s grandma’s house so no one is in charge – except grandma.  Grandpa is definitely not in charge.  The parents are at their parents house so they’re not in charge.  The uncles are oblivious to being in charge of anything. Grandma is at work.  Do you see the problem??

As I drive up our street in a rush to get home to see the littles, I notice a little little coming from the side of our neighbors house.  Alone.  Happy as can be.  He’s TWO. Did I mention he’s next door in the neighbor’s side yard?   I slam on the brakes in the middle of the street and jump out of the car and run to the little.  What the?!?  Why?!? How?!?  Then I see them all running.  Those five grown up adults.  Mom is crying.  Dad is angry at the uncles.  Grandpa is blaming the mishap on everyone but himself.  Everyone’s upset … except the little.  He’s happy.  He’s free.

Grandma just scoops him up, straps him in the car seat and takes him for an extra long drive home.  It’s all good.  No harm, no foul, no stitches!  IMG_8724

Mishaps happen at grandmas house.  They happen a lot. Here’s proof from our Go Grandmas followers:

Sherry K., Canada:  A “sleeping” toddler, pajamas, hair, carpet, wall covered head to toe in Vicks Vaporub from his Mom’s suitcase…

Jane G., Canada:  Our little ended in emerge with a small toy up is nose and a second time in his ear. Then he took two stool softeners. The health nurse by phone described exactly how messy it was going to get at 2am. She was spot on!! Still can’t figure out how he got the cap off!!

Allison A., CA: The ‘sleeping’ ones are the dangerous ones. We put our grand baby down for a nap in our little office… a little too close to the table where Gma carelessly left markers… well she reached them and created her own art!

See … the medications.  I talked about this!

Cindy A.,: Got a call from our daycare one day, she put our toddler and another child down for a nap. She thought they were sleeping. She went to check on them and our child was completely painted with a new bottle of lotion. Those two were never again placed in the same space for naps and received extra supervision at all times as they were just trouble together.

Now that Cindy brought it up, sometimes moms get caught in mishaps too. Well … they probably get caught in mishaps a lot but they don’t seem to get the same publicity as when grandma gets caught.

For instance, I do recall one little painting his baby brother with an entire tube of diaper rash cream while their mom was in the shower.

And this happened:

I think the difference is that when (innocent) mishaps happen on grandmas watch, we stop, take pictures, and laugh.  We’ve got time for that.  It’s not a big deal.  We think it’s adorable when they cover themselves in marker or paint their little brother.   It’s stressful for moms because it’s just one more mess to clean up, in their already hectic and exhausting day.

Grandmas welcome the mess because.  Except for that empty pudding cup on the coffee table, the house is too clean.  It’s too quiet.  Please come and make a mess, my littles.

What mishaps have happened on YOUR watch?

 

 

 

The Day Care Dilemma

I’ve seen this story going around about how “babysitting grandkids may help prevent Alzheimer’s”.   Well who doesn’t want to PREVENT ALZHEIMER’S??  Seriously.  Sign me up today because THIS:

You don’t have time to think about anything else,” said Mary. “It’s a wonderful exercise in love — it really is.”

I guess you would be preventing Alzheimer’s … in a way… because you can’t actually think about anything else except baby so …

This is the VERY LAST paragraph of the story:

The Australian study focuses on caring for grandchildren one day per week. Research showed grandparents that spend five days a week or more caring for little ones may have a higher risk of developing neurodegenerative disorders.

Sorry kids – but grandma’s only babysitting once per week!  We can’t risk developing neurodegenerative disorders – AKA Alzheimer’s!!

Anyhow, I do know plenty of grandmas that do provide day care for their littles – and so far so good for them – mentally!  However, it’s not without some consequences.

Andrea G., MN:  I have done daycare with my grandkids so a pro for me is the extra time I get to see them, the con is that while they are at my childcare they have to follow the schedule/rules. And my 4 yo grandson thinks my house is daycare, so that’s kind of a bummer. But I do have a strong bond with my grandkids, so that’s the trade-off.

Claudia J., MN: I physically couldn’t do day care for an extended period of time. A day, here or there. However, I’m so grateful to be able to give care when I can. It’s a special way to be able to bond with my grand blessings.

I wonder though, do grandparents sometimes feel obligated or guilted in to providing this often FREE service?  I mean childcare is really, really expensive.  To have your grandchildren go to a “cheap” day care or a day home that seems … well … sketchy – you just might feel like you should step in and offer your services.   After all, if you’re not working at least part-time, what else could you possibly have to do with all of that FREE time, right?

Here’s what Susan Adcox had to say at The Spruce:

… grandparents should carefully consider the impact that providing child care may have on their personal finances.  Extra expenses can mount up, and a child care commitment may keep grandparents from accepting other employment or from performing home and property maintenance, which they may end up paying for.

She makes some great points about the longterm effects on personal finances associated with quitting your job and providing FREE day care.

What about if you indeed do insist on payment:

Accepting Payment

Even if grandparents don’t have to quit a job, taking on regular child care responsibilities will require major changes in their lives. For that reason, some grandparents are willing to accept payment for child care. Usually, they charge their children less than other providers would charge. Some grandparents refuse any pay. It is vital to reach an agreement that is acceptable to all parties before accepting child care responsibilities. If you decide to accept payment, you need to consider your children’s financial habits. Do they pay their bills regularly and on time? Will they consider your bill for child care something they can skip if their budget becomes strained? A very important question is will you feel guilty taking payment from your children?

Some children who do not pay their parents for child care instead buy extra gifts for the grandparents or pay for occasional restaurant meals or even vacations for the whole family. Some grandparents who do accept payment put a portion of their earnings back for similar treats. In both of these cases, any extra treats or gifts must be considered as just that, gifts. Neither side is entitled to feel slighted if the gifts aren’t lavish enough or the outings don’t occur frequently enough. They should not enter into any type of financial accounting that takes place.

Here’s another great point from this article:

Working Overtime

Most child care facilities have definite hours and penalties for parents who don’t pick up children promptly. These should be spelled out between parents and grandparents as well. Although most grandparents won’t mind an occasional half hour of overtime, parents who constantly run late are abusing the grandparents’ good will. Also problematical is the parent who comes to pick up the kids, starts “visiting” and ends up staying for dinner. Some grandparents will welcome this extended day, and others will be fuming, inwardly at least.

Oh boy – I’ve heard this story on more than one occasion from a number of grandmas!  I’d definitely be fuming.   I really have a lot of opinions on this but I’m hesitant to share them because honestly, I’m not sure what I’d do if I was in the situation where my kids really needed the help.  So for now, only you can decide what’s best in your situation.  What do you think?  Have YOU provided child care for your littles?

By the way, we haven’t even talked about all the things that can go WRONG when grandma is in charge all day.  That I do know about!  That’s my next post!