"A Grandmother is a babysitter who watches the kids instead of the television." is the adage I chose today. Everyone who has taken care of grandkids can identify with this one. Grandmas (and Grandpas) are usually extremely vigilant when it comes to caring for grandkids. It is such a joy that you do not want to do anything else but WATCH them…they are endlessly fascinating and you actually feel like you are getting a second chance with your own children. When you were raising your own, you had so many things you had to do just to keep on top of daily things, you often missed some of the wonderful things your kids said or did—or you were too young to appreciate it all. But grandkids……..when you realize the great gift of a second chance to do it all again, nothing goes by you this time. It becomes an endless delight to play games like "Hi-Ho, Cherrio" or other equally un-challenging ones. You let the kids win at the simple little card games. I remember our highly- competitive Great Grandma Anna chiding my mother in law for "letting the kids win" but Anna was a cut-throat gramma when it came to playing games. She WANTED to win them all. I have played the memory game, "Husker Du", many times but the kids always win and I do not even "let" them. I simply cannot remember where I saw those little pictures on the game board, so the kids are delighted to win all the time. Grandparents actually sit down and watch "Little Bear" videos with their small grandkids. Seeing the delight of the kids is more important than watching a simple little kid-vid. Reading aloud to the kids is another pleasurable baby-sitting delight. They remember the books they like best and I still get requests from my half grown granddaughters to read "What! Said Granny: A Bedtime Story" The twelve year olds love the zany picture- story about an extremely funny looking Granny and her grandson who spends his first overnight at Granny’s house. They like the drama I employ when shouting "WHAT?" from the increasingly frustrated Granny who cannot get her boy to go to bed.
Going outside and playing hide and seek becomes a thrilling experience, especially for the kids when Gramma pretends she cannot find them, even when their little butts are sticking out from behind a tree trunk. Hiding plastic eggs and making up clues so they can figure out where they are is such fun! My grandkids are old enough that they love reading the clues and trying to figure them out…we did this in February inside the house! The two grandkids who were staying with us for a week said it was the most fun they had at the farm! It is so easy to make great memories and you can do it without even leaving the house.
Cooking with a grandchild can be an adventure in major housecleaning. When two granddaughters were baking in my kitchen, I was the "Cinderella" who cleaned up the spilled raw eggs and the powdered sugar that ended up on the floor, after they had hastily attempted to clean up the sugar with a wet paper towel. They "frosted" the floor with their clean-up, so I got the wash-bucket and finished the job. It is good excercise to get down on your knees and do a bit of floor washing, is my way of thinking. Buffaloguy remarks about my patience with the grandkids, something he says I had less of with our boys. I shame-facedly admit that it is true…I am far more patient with the grandkids, (fewer hormones now!) realizing that impatience did not good at all in "those days". I have apologized to my sons in the process, for times when I was too impatient…like the time they broke open a gooey ball point pen on the new carpeting just after our home was built and moved into. That was a major eruption, one I now regret. They forgave me ,cheerfully, as grown ups.
Watching grandkids now is sharing conversations with half-grown young men and women. This is another wonderful stage of being a grandparent; their senses of humor, their knowledge, their growing conversational skills make them the best of companions, and I continue to be so grateful that I am a Gramma and can spend time with 8 of the best kids in the whole world!!