When my daughter told me she was expecting a baby I was a little, uh, surprised. Okay, I’m going to be honest: I am still raising children and I cringed at the idea of being a grandmother.
Me? A grandmother? Nope. My first task as grandmother was to call myself Gigi. The baby’s paternal grandmother had the same idea so she’s called Mimi. A lot has happened since deciding what I want to be called and I’ve suddenly been thrown into a more realistic role of grandmother besides my cute, little name. At this writing I was contemplating the upcoming weekend when I watch my sweet granddaughter, Autumn, all weekend by.my.self.
Can you hear my knees knocking?
I’ve reminded myself of a few things I’ve learned over the past 15 months and now I’m going to share them with you. Here are four tips on how to learn to care for your first grandchild.
It’s been a little more than six years since I had my last child, but even in that small bit of time a lot has changed. Read a magazine, parenting site or blog, or grab a book to catch up. You’ll be surprised to learn about the changes – from bottle choices to pacifiers and even sippy cups that require a degree in engineering. The first time I tried to give Autumn her cup I couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t getting anything from it. Imagine my chagrin when I finally discovered there was an imperceptible, attached, flip top over the spout. And don’t forget to research and choose the best montessori school as it will be the first step of your grand child into the outside world.
Watch, wait, mimic, repeat.
While Amber cares for Autumn I pay attention to almost everything. Why? So I can do it “right.” Remember, mom and baby have a special bond and rhythm, grasp a piece of that rhythm and it’s easy to dance with them. What will happen is instead of doing something like you would have done; you’ll do what your adult child does. Different parents, different babies, different times.
Offer, don’t force.
This is a follow up to tip 2. Be careful when you want to relay what you think is a better way to handle something. I have taught myself to pause before speaking to make sure I don’t sound condescending or judgmental.
I have no desire to be the primary parent to anymore children, but I’m excited to be the one who facilitates giggling, conversing, playing, kissing games and spoiling. One of the best things is sitting in one spot while I call my daughter, “Oh Amber get her” as I point to something else Autumn has gotten into.
Since your grandbaby is well cared for and safe then you have permission to relax. If you follow these simple steps your child will have no reservations about leaving their child in your care. They will see that you respect them and their parenting solutions.
This is the ultimate in being able to balance parenting an adult with being a grandparent.
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