The grand gestures of grandparents

“The one piece of advice I’ll give you is this: don’t have him in your bed,” Nanna Ros said to me, in the days after Master Seven was born.
Now, two things: first, she gave me tons more advice after that; and second, she STILL sleeps in the same bed as Master Seven when he stays over, all these years later.
It surprised even her.
But all it took was a teary little toddler scared to sleep by himself to change her stance.
And, although she insists grandparents can do things differently, she’s pledged to quit sleeping in bed with her grandson every birthday since he turned three.
Eventually she gave up, obviously now waiting for the night Master Teenager takes one look at her Vaseline-smeared face, hot pack under one arm, Chihuahua under the other, and says in a slightly deeper voice: “Don’t even think about it Nanna.”
This isn’t the only thing I notice grandparents do differently.
They indulge their grandchildren with more chocolate in a day than they allowed their kids in a month.
They let them sit on the couch, tomato sauce-smothered food on lap, watching cartoons until bedtime (which can be anytime between 8 and 11pm).
They let them be boss.
For example:
Master Seven – “Poppy I was sitting there.”
Poppy Pete – “Oh dear, sorry mate.”
Cue 62-year-old man moving to let seven-year-old sit in comfy chair.
And that’s just my parents.
From Master Seven’s paternal grandparents, it’s regular packages from Melbourne jam-packed with edible, wearable or audible goodies.
A visit from or to them usually means several pairs of new shoes – and a guaranteed trip to Maccas.
Learner Nan and Pop are just as adept at spoiling.
They let Master Seven cover his ice-cream in so much chocolate you can’t even tell there’s ice-cream in there.
They tell us their brand new couch is ‘kid-friendly’ and therefore perfectly fine to jump around on.
And yes, when Master Seven goes to stay, Poppy Cos is forced into the guest room.
But grandparents really do spoil us as parents too.
They look after our kids without inflicting guilt or fees.
They buy their socks, undies and pyjamas well before we realise they even need them.
Welcome or not, they always have wise chunks of advice on raising children.
And it’s not uncommon to see a couple of grandmothers fighting over who cleans a pooey bum, while you sit back and file your nails.
They’re a back-up set of readymade parents… they just do things on a slightly grander scale.

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