After a whirlwind week of Westcountry antics, we are home. There was no way we were missing our paid day in nursery (or my day of freedom) so the plan was always to be back by Thursday night. However, Daddy Unyoung managed to put his back out, meaning he missed his three days of golf indulgence and we returned Wednesday.
It required twelve hours of driving in total but in the three days, we managed to squeeze in seeing both Grandmas, Grampy, my sister and hubby’s brother too. I marvel at the relationship between my little man and our parents, particularly the mothers. It must be quite wondrous, having been through the rollercoaster of birthing and bringing up your child to watch them on the same adventure; knowing that your genes are part of the make-up this little developing being.
Is it the genetic hand-me-down that explains the complete adoration? Is it the visual throw-back to when we were small that makes them so obsessed with their offspring’s offspring? Is it the ability to give them back that means they can spoil them thoroughly without fear of consequence?
It’s wonderful to see the impact grandchildren have. They breathe life and joy into a home. Where age and often loss can weigh heavy, the energy and vitality of a toddler is like a red-bull and tequila for the septuagenarian grandparent. It perks them up, has them crawling around the floor and playing ‘whizz the train’ with not a grumble about arthritic joints. Well, less grumbles.
I still look back with such fondness to the days spent with my Nan. My favourite place was curled up on her lap, sucking my thumb and stroking her papery-soft skin. Her home was a veritable treasure trove to us. We’d arrive and like a plague of locust, my sister and I would look through the shelves, through pots and drawers, examining the trinkets and junk that to us was pure gold. Keys, photos, keepsakes, nothing was sacred in our explorations.
She would take us down the garden where we’d sample strawberries and marvel at the marrows she’d grown. The wheelbarrow was our mode of transport, where races up and down the path were just part of the whole Nan experience. They were carefree days that were filled with love, sugar puffs for breakfast and the freedom to be wild.
But back to the present and let’s be frank here. There’s one major winner in the Granny relationship. As the only maternal grandson he is ‘The Golden Child!’ He can do no wrong. With both grandmas, he is untouchable. Therefore this week’s top three are: Three Things That Are Great About Grandparents.
One – Menu
Grandmas will never darken your plate with vegetables. We are talking strictly the good stuff here. Sausages and beans. Fishfingers and chips. Yes, peas as decoration but with no expectation to consume. Grandmas will constantly offer your child all the treats. “Is he allowed a little bit of cake?” “Can he have some chocolate?” “Will he eat a pot of jelly?” As they don’t uphold the behaviour boundaries in the same way as yourself, you can bet your bottom dollar your little one will be racing around on a sugar high only comparable to a product tester in a Mexican drug cartel.
Two – Presents
You try to buy toys that don’t flash; that don’t wake the dead with sirens and beeps. Emphasis on the you don’t. Grannies have the right to buy the noisiest, most plastic, most flashy, whirry, battery operated machines of pure parental hell. Any hope you had for getting home without two tonnes of Thomas that require meticulous piecing together and the mind of a MENSA member to operate are out the window. Grannies buy toys that bring joy – not environmental or mental health. And I’ve never seen little man so happy as he was when opening the ‘Thomas Track Master Cave Collapse’. Those boulders really can do some damage when they catch you in the eye!
That one can stay at a Grannies house till the next visit!
Three – Me Time
From the second we step over the threshold till the moment we leave, Granny wants all the attention. All the hugs, all the chats, all the child. Well, perhaps until nappy changes are demanded and then they are handed back over at speed. To be fair, they’ve done their hard yards with your expulsions over the years so fair dues.
This monopolising of time means the opportunity for you to have a cup of tea in peace. The chance to scroll social media for a few seconds without being dragged to play. Sadly for us, the grandparents are a minimum of three hours away so it’s not the chance to nip out and do a food shop or get the cleaning done. But it is a chance to be the casual observer of your child in action. A chance to sit back, relax and see his interactions. I have to say, as I see little man with my mum, making her laugh and smile with his innocent ways, there’s a little pool of pride that wells up. It’s like when you brought home some piece of art from little school. “I did that mum! He’s my best work!”
Do you have grandparents nearby? How do they help you? What’s the relationship like between your little people and the senior crew? Do you have a great memory of what your grandparents let you get away with or something your parents do with your children? I’d love to hear it! Have a fantastic weekend!