Tea for Two
A mummy in my coffee group told me a story the other day. Her little boy, who was not even one at the time, kept pointing at her cup of tea like he wanted some. She thought ‘well, I don’t think tea is the best thing for babies, but maybe he can have a couple of the drops in the bottom of the cup’. She was then telling this tale a bit shame-faced to her mother-in-law.
Her mother-in-law promptly told her that of course the baby really likes drinking tea as she gives him a small bottle of luke-warm tea on the days that she looks after him. Coffee group mum had thought she had made it very clear that the baby was to only drink milk or water, and was a wee bit shocked that her baby was being given a caffeinated beverage a few times a week!
This story, and many others like it, got me to thinking – why do grandparents do these things? They probably know that the parents of their grandchildren are not going to be impressed. They know that there are rules in place at home and they are deliberately deviating from them. So why do they do it?
And then I worked it out – it is because they can. Grandparents can do whatever the heck they like. That is what is so awesome about being a grandparent.
The Borg Rule
So what are we mere parents supposed to do about this?
Firstly, to quote from Star Trek: “Resistance is Futile”. Don’t think that you can stop your parents or in-laws letting your kids stay up late watching a movie. Don’t worry that your children had unrestricted access to the chock-full lolly jar. If the grandparents have brought them back from a day at the beach, two hours late, extremely tired and dirty, just relax. They will be clean and in bed before you know it.
If you are lucky enough to have your parents around then UTILISE them. Get them to come over and play with your child while you relax (or clean the house). Send your kids to them for a night or a weekend. Don’t ever feel guilty or think that you owe them something. You don’t. They love every second they spend with their darling grandchildren.
The New Rule
What we parents forget sometimes is that it is actually because grandparents will do whatever that heck they like that your children will ADORE them.
I remember visits with my grandparents as very simple but happy times. My sisters and I ran around outside, picking fresh beans out of the garden or washing our toys in a bucket of water and getting soaked. If it was rainy and we were trapped in the house, we built huts out of blankets and cushions in the lounge and helped Grandma with baking treats. This was always followed by a huge bubble bath in the evenings.
So just stop for a minute and think of the kind of memories and traditions that are being made for your child with their grandparents. Just this week, I called my in-laws from work to see how Dylan was getting on. That day he picked strawberries from their garden. He had also watered the plants and himself in the process. And he was just about to get into his giant bubble bath.
Before you know it, in what will seem like a blink of an eye, you too may be lucky enough to call yourself Grandma, Nana, Granny, Baba or Nonna (or the male equivalent). And you too will spoil your grandchildren rotten. Just wait your turn and you too will be able to unleash to power of being a grandparent and do whatever the heck you like.