Friday, October 24, 2014

Full-Time Grandma

I have to confess, this having DS1 and his family move in with us has been harder than I thought it would be.  Not in a terrible way; that's not it at all.  Just that things I thought would be natural aren't necessarily so (parental instincts and style on the part of the middle generation in this house, mostly), and, of course, the whole Grandma 24/7 thing has kind of thrown me for a loop.

Honestly, I didn't expect to be a full-time grandparent.  By which I mean that I expected DS1 and K2 to parent their children the vast majority of the time, including keeping them out from underfoot (and quelling tantrums) during the times when DH and I needed or wanted to be about our daily business.

Instead, there seems to be a lot (so far) of letting K3 do whatever until DH or I object, and then taking her forcibly away from the scene because, of course, she would rather be shadowing Grandma or Grandpa than being bored by (or ignored by) Mommy and Daddy.  It has gotten a little better than it was three weeks ago, but still not to the point we (DH and I) would prefer.

But then again, how can I complain about my little blonde sweetheart wanting my company every waking minute (and resisting naps because they take up minutes that would otherwise be waking) when there are so many grandparents who never get to see their grandchildren at all?

DH and I have had few conversations about this, and we've decided that rather than bluntly tell DS1 and K2 "Keep her out from under our feet; we've got work to do!" we shall adapt, when possible, to let her assist us.  Because, after all, that is what we really want her parents to do: let her assist them rather than just tell her "no" to this and "no" to that when all she truly wants is their attention and to help with the things they are doing.  When you get right down to it, toddlers just want to emulate the grown-ups they love.

So, when DH went out to stack a bunch of wood he had split, and K3 wanted to help, he let her.

picking up little pieces

helping Grandpa stack firewood

And when it's my night to wash dishes, if K3 wants to wash too, I do the glassware and breakables, and leave the plastics for her.

washing dishes like Grandma

When I'm cutting fabric for a quilting project, I let K3 have the scrap pieces that are too small or the wrong shape for me to use.  Then she sits and arranges them like I do with the pieces I kept for my quilt blocks.

arranging fabric pieces 

 Then, there are times when a Grandma's just gotta say "it's not the end of the world if she temporarily makes a mess."  Like when her baby brother is sleeping and we just mostly need her to be quietly occupied.

playing quietly while little brother Toad takes a nap

We all still have some adjusting to do; we're not done yet.  Being a full-time Grandma is something I will have to grow into, and while I'm doing that, I have to keep in mind that her mommy and daddy are taking notes from my behavior.  I'm not just being an example for K3, I'm also being an example for DS1 and K2.

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