Flashback: The Grandma version

Right now I am hiding in my kitchen, while two people are supposed to be laying down quietly in the living room. (They aren’t) The odds are quite strong, that one or both will fall asleep 58 seconds before the third person who’s been conked out for a good hour will wake up, ruining my own chances of a nap.

That’s right,I am babysitting. Let me tell you it has been awhile, since my own children were this young, that I have been in charge of three people who can’t pour their own milk. As my youngest is now married, owns her own house and can manage to pour milk effortlessly, it is a surety that I am woefully out of practice.

This little flashback to my own stint as a mother of small people who were always in need of a snack, a change or a nap, usually at the same time, is because working parents sometimes need an alternative to the usual babysitter. This is one of those times. The Mommy in this case is my older daughter. She started a new job a day before the baby’s six month appointment to her pediatrician. As the usual sitter also had a time conflict, I agreed to fill in. Besides, I’ve raised kids successfully to adulthood, surely it can’t be as hard as I seem to remember.

I got up this morning and made a huge batch of my famous homemade waffles. The children arrived soon after. Ashley, the mother, grabbed a waffle, a cup of coffee and was soon out the door on her way to work. I made sure the older two had something to eat then began the process of loading them into their min-van as my little Mazda 6 can’t accommodate three car seats.

Mini-vans are rather nice modes of transportation for families these days, and have had some nice advances in technology, including sliding doors on both sides for ease of entrance. This one had the doors that you either pulled the handle and it slid open for you, or the remote button option. It should work perfectly, but not for me. The one door got stuck half-way open, and when I used to remote to unstick it, it closed that door, and opened the other one. When I clicked again, it closed the one it had just opened, and ignored the one I was standing in front of. Once I solved the mystery of the sliding van door, I got three kids into three car seats and then off to the pediatrician we went.

Now getting three small kids, one of which is in a bucket car seat, a diaper bag, and my purse out of the car, across a parking lot, and into the second floor of a building, with one of the walking members being dubious about all things elevator, needs to qualify as a full body work-out. If not then doing it all in reverse, getting everyone back home needs to equal to an hour of Zumba.

The doctor’s visit was a huge success. The baby got her check-up. She got to be naked and celebrated that event by peeing all over the table. The other two also had to go the bathroom, ten minutes apart. I am certain that the three year old just wanted to pee because big sister did. I had to pass off the baby to any nurse so I could find to get that little guy up onto the toilet for his three drops of success (ah the newly potty trained) The kids also successfully climbed upon a table, took the rolling doctor’s stool for a spin, and whined about being hungry.

When we got home, I fixed the older two a snack of chopped up veggies and juice, and a bottle for the baby. I took the baby into my office as it had the only chair that rocked. Plus I could check Facebook while the baby ate. Helene, the oldest wanted to cut paper. She’s a budding artist and has made little piles of confetti before. I told her to do it on the kitchen table. I should have been more specific. A few minutes later she came walking by safety scissors and paper in hand, making a confetti trail.

The rest of the morning consisted of pulling up little boy pants, post potty time, making snacks, getting drinks, trying to do laundry and throwing something into the crock pot for supper. The toy box empty , the living room floor full, fingerprints on every glass surface, my trio of glass votive holders each containing a matchbox car, little bits of paper all through the house,  my t-shirt sporting a milk stain right over my left boob, a growing pile of dishes and both the washer and dryer are full….why does this feel so damned familiar?

I just to joke and call myself “National Geographic Woman”. I could carry a toddler in each arm, and still write a legible check at the grocery check-out. I often not only took my three kids on all sorts of excursions, it wasn’t all that unusual to have a spare child, usually a friend of my son tagging along as well. I could do laundry, help with homework and cook dinner, while quelling spats between siblings. That was a few presidents and a lot of well hidden gray hairs ago. Right now I feel like “Local Geriatric Crone”. I have a few hours to go before Mommy comes to pick up my beautiful grandchildren. For some odd reason, I keep getting this fantastic image from the film Kindergarten Cop. The scene is the day after Arnold Schwarzenegger finishes his first day teaching a kindergarten class and he does the slow fall into face planting onto his bed. That image could easily be me.

Obviously I am badly out of practice on all things child care. I admit my weakness and bow in respect to my daughter and to all those mommies and daddies everywhere who get their sleep deprived selves out of bed and do this every single day. The same respect goes to the grandparents who transitioned right from raising their own kids to helping care for their grandchildren. Its a tough job. The pay may not seem much, messy houses, sticky surfaces, delightful giggles and slobbery kisses. That is my pay for the day. I consider it a bargain, well worth the Aleve I am sure I’ll be taking tonight.

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