When my daughter was a baby, I don't believe I ever thought about for one moment what it would be like to take care of a child again, after her. I don't think I thought for one moment about a grand child. I don't think I thought for one moment if I would remember things I did as a mother and how that might affect taking care of a grandchild later. Not for one moment. Not one thought. I'm sure I was concentrating on the moment I was in, the child I was taking care of, and how taking care of her was just, well, mostly instinct. I mean because who really gets lessons in parenting? Who really takes a class on "how to be a parent"? Who has time? We just do it. We get pregnant, we give birth, we parent…the end. Some of us do it better than others. Some of us don't do it well at all. Some of us eventually have proof by how our children turned out that we either did a pretty good job, or a crumby one. Looking at my child, somebody did something right. God blessed me with a fabulous child. And I'm absolutely sure He had a ton to do with that!
So here I am, however, some 26 years post baby of my own, getting an opportunity to care for my 8 month old grandchild…for three days no less. No for a few hours, not overnight, but for almost three full days…by myself! Wow, they (the parents, my daughter and ) must really trust me, they must believe I did a pretty good job (on her); they must believe I am worthy of taking care of their most precious gift from God. Wow, what an honor. They know I have only cared for him by myself for about 24 hours…I did ok then, nothing bad happened. They know I have not parented or cared for a child for that length of time in over 26 years. They know me. They honored me. They gave me a few instructions, handed him over to me, and drove away in a car, and headed off to New Orleans for their anniversary. Wow, cool!
And you know what? We did OK, my baby grandson and I. He was actually fabulous (which also tells me what great parents my kids are). He and I just hung out for three days. We didn't get to stroll too much because it was just entirely too hot and humid. We both love to stroll. I love to walk and he loves to ride. He just watches and sits quietly for as long as I'll go. We've walked 4 miles in one day before…we like it. This time, we didn't get to leave until after 8 or 8:30 and after 45 minutes or so the sun was up and the humidity was high. We enjoyed it while we could. But before we strolled he ate. Can I just tell you, that boy has not met a food stranger. He loves to eat. He loves everything my daughter has put in front of him. He puts everything in his mouth. Everything is a possible food opportunity! He even put a baby chicken in his mouth at his Easter photo session! But you gotta be fast. You gotta get that spoon up to his mouth in record time. He swallows and immediately wants the spoon again. If you don't get it there fast enough, he'll holler out "Hey lady…where's the food!" Watching him eat is a sight to see!
And we played on the floor. Who knew I could stay on the floor so long. Stackable toys, musical toys, chewable toys, he likes them all. And the belly crawl, he's got that down to a science. He can move across a room in record time. He can grab the dogs food in record time. He inspects the floor with every move so you better have any little do dads, dog food bits, fuzz, etc up off the floor because when he finds it….food possibility! In his mouth it goes. No telling truthfully what that boy has ingested so far. He can pick up the tiniest thing with his two fingers. He gives it a good once over then in his mouth it goes. You gotta be quick to get it before it goes in his mouth. When he ever gets up on his knees, he's gonna be double trouble. He doesn't stay put much. If you leave the area he follows. He hollers then he follows. I think he was saying "hey lady…where are you going…here I come"!
The boy also loves to swing. Also a bit hard to do in such hot weather…but we managed to do it anyway. Once the sun moved off the porch, we were swinging. He loves that too. When I finally figured out how to move the little tray out of the way to get him in, it proved to be much easier getting him in and out. He never was ready to quit, I just thought it got too hot.
Talk about jabber. That boy is a talker. No idea what he is telling me but it is a story worth telling. He is very very verbal whether it is to tell you he is hungry, tell you to get the food in faster, tell you he is tired, or just tell you a story…he is a talker. Jabbers like a bird…a big bird. Yack, yack, yack…baa baa baa…daa daa daa. If you can make that out…let me know.
Bath time needs to pretty much be in and out at this point. No messing around in there. Just "get 'er done"…and on with bedtime. He napped and went to be like a trooper. He gave a little cry out, a little shout out for just a few minutes each time I put him down, but it was minimal. He just went right to sleep. Praise God!
One of the coolest things was when mom and dad called on Tango and he could see them via video on my iPhone. He absolutely knew them. He hollered and reached out for the phone. He wanted to see them in person. He got a little upset but ultimately was ok with that. They of course were happy to see that he was doing fine, still healthy and living life. Tango is a good thing!
Overall we, me and my baby grandson, had a fabulous time. I think he eventually knew that I was the one caring for him. I don't believe he really recognized me or knew who I was (his grandmother Annie) or anything like that. But I do believe he knew that I was the one temporarily in charge and that I was going to be sure he had everything he needed. He knew that I was going to take care of him. He just had a good feeling about that.
So next time they ask me to keep him I'll be a little more reassured that I can do a good job. Even though he'll be doing more things, like crawling on his knees or even walking, I'll know I can care for him no matter what. I guess caring for children is a little like riding a bike…you just don't forget how to do it.