Tuesday, September 21, 2010

So I'm A Full Time, Once Or Twice A Week Babysitter

So I'm a grandparent now.

(And no, not a recent one, so congratulations are not in order.)

I'm just in the beginning of the grandparenthood stage with just one grandchild so far. But I've got to tell you I'm enjoying it far more than I thought was possible. This little life form is now 20 months old and I can't imagine life without her being around.

This kid is perfect, I shit you not. Oh my son and daughter-in-law may not quite go that far and will tell me that she can be fussy, mad, hates naps, etc.... but I have yet to witness any of this. Seriously. And as someone who's around her quite a bit I should. It's not that I don't believe them, after all I have two kids myself, and they weren't perfect. Pretty easy to raise over all, but not perfect.

Both my son and daughter-in-law work full time and have had a lot of trouble finding dependable and affordable daycare. So I stepped up to the plate and volunteered to watch her on my days off, which amounts to about 6 days a month where it works out that I'm off when they're working.

Below is a list of of activities we do that will display the awesomeness of this child during the 9-10 hours she's in my care:

1) I usually have to feed her two meals a day when I'm watching her. While the parents bemoan the fact that she won't always eat well for them I can honestly say this is a non-issue for me. She eats everything I throw in front of her. So what if there's always ice cream involved. Naturally the parents haven't been let in on this little secret. (And no, before any righteous parent decides this is terrible, not just ice cream, we do the healthy type of food, but this kid knows Gramps, or as she calls me, "Pa Pa", is gonna give her ice cream if she eats well.)

2) We play, and play, then play some more. And the best part? She's brought out my inner child. (And we make a huge mess, and it's great. After all, this babysitting gig occurs at their place, not mine. There's no clean up or picking up involved for me.)

3) And naps? Not a problem. This kid naps for an average of 2 hours for me. Every. Single. Time. At first this made me nervous, just based on what the parents told me with their troubles in this area. I'd check the crib every 10 minutes to make sure this kid was breathing and alive when she was napping for me. (After all, it wouldn't look very good on the babysitting resume if the kid died while napping in my care.)

4) This kid knows how I feel about poopy diapers. I can tell her she should wait for mommy or daddy to get home before doing this. And for some reason it works with far more success than I dreamed possible. Hell, I've even initiated the potty training sequence with some degree of success. But in listening to the parents my "some" degree is better than their efforts so far. (I actually think this irritates the daughter-in-law though. Not the "some" degree of success part. She just doesn't think potty training should have been started yet. But hey, I think that if a kid can come up to you, point at their diaper, and say they've peed, or pooped, it's time to potty train.

5) She listens to me and there's few bad behavior episodes. (Almost didn't list this one because I think it's normal for a kid to behave better for almost anyone else than a parent.)

I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture, and you're either bored enough already, or extremely jealous of the mad skills I possess as a babysitter. My point is she's an awesome addition in my life.


Jan said...

Grandparenthood is probably the nicest thing that has happened to me since mama-hood. Only it's better. Your words have nailed it -- my sentiments exactly!!

Just Plain Tired said...

Jan -- Thanks! And thanks for dropping by.

darev2005 said...

I'm glad you are getting to see the good side of kid-hood. I have a few fond memories of being around the little ones. It was mostly the big ones that were the most trouble. I'm just glad I'm done with it now. Sorry. Sore subject.

Just Plain Tired said...

darev2005 -- Bummer on it being a sore subject for you. I guess I'm lucky with how the kids/grandkid thing has been working out.

Sparkling Red said...

Better watch out - the parents are bound to find out about the ice cream tactic sooner or later. Little Miss will eventually blow your cover by demanding ice cream "like grandpa gives me". Don't you think?

Just Plain Tired said...

Sparkling Red -- I'm sure it'll come out eventually. ;)

Charlene said...

I think we get the point! SMILE

Kassie said...

Can you come babysit for me?? :)You can give my son as much ice cream as you want.

Just Plain Tired said...

Charlene -- Yeah, I played the proud grandparent card here with little to no subtlety here. ;)

Kassie -- lol As adorable as your boy looks, and probably is, there are just too many time constraints involved for that to be possible. But feel free to use the ice cream trick yourself. :)

ChiTown Girl said...

This post made me smile the whole time I was reading. Kudos to you, Grandpa!

I bought my dad a T-shirt years ago that says something like, "If I had known grandkids would be so much fun, I would have had them first!"

I've also seen something like, "Grandkids are the reason humans don't eat their young."

I LOVE that you take care of your granddaughter. Those days you get to spend together is time you will both cherish.

Just Plain Tired said...

ChiTown Girl -- Those are very apt sayings on those t-shirts. ;) This kid is a blast to be around.

Mustang Sally said...

On the whole, I've found that rewarding good behavior (ice cream for eating well) generally gets better results than punishing bad behavior (not that it's not sometimes necessary).

Great to hear you're having such a good time with your grandchild. I think part of the reason grandparenting is so much more fun than parenting is that our priorities change with age, and we're more aware of just how quickly they grow up. Glad you're having fun

Scarlet Ily said...

You sound like the ideal grandpa and your granddaughter sounds perfect. I believe you have the magic baby touch. Please tell me your secret; I may need it many, many, MANY years from now. :)

bbubblyb said...

Thanks for the comment on my blog. Wish my kids had a grandpa like you. I enjoyed reading your story about your grand daughter *smile*.

Just Plain Tired said...

Mustang Sally -- Along with priorities changing I think as we get older we're a little more laid back as well, showing more patience and stuff.

Scarlet -- If I knew the secret I'd definitely share it. I'm pretty clueless actually. :)

bbubblyb -- Thanks for the compliment. I don't think I'm all that in the grandparenting dept. though. And thanks for dropping in.

Anita said...

My kids are 14, 12, and 10. Not so long ago, they were toddlers. As I was reading, I was taken back to those days and all the challenges for me that you are breezing through with your granddaughter. :)

I'm aleady 52 (had kids late), but still counting on having grandkids and enjoying them.

I was not bored at all.

Just Plain Tired said...

Anita -- I think it's only fair that grandparents get to breeze through challenges with the little ones myself. ;)

Thanks for popping in, and not being bored!

Life 101 said...

Hey JPT,
I retired in March after 33 years in the corporate world.
My wife and I spend every Tuesday and Thursday babysitting for my great nephew who lives next door.
I was hesitant at first because we committed to do this for about six more months while our niece (a single mom) completes her college work.
The child is such a joy. He is two years old, smart, inquisitive, and loves working around the garden and barn.
He is learning things he would never learn in a daycare.
We learned about chipmonks, hickory nuts, and dirt dauber nests today.
Every day's a school day.
Enjoyed your post.

Just Plain Tired said...

Life 101 -- Now that's awesome, and glad you enjoyed the post.

Jessica B said...

You sound like a great Grandpa -- you son and daughter and law are lucky to have you! Bet they (and your granddaughter)wish there were more days in the month you could spend together.
Sweet post. :)

Just Plain Tired said...

Jessica B -- We have other days/time together. This post was just based on the babysitting time together.

Alicia said...

The bribing with ice cream works! My husband uses it on me when we have chores to do and I'd rather be sitting. Your granddaughter's future husband thanks you for training her with ice cream.

Just Plain Tired said...

Alicia -- Thanks for confirmation. ;)

Mrs Midnite said...

Grandparents are meant to spoil children, its their job. I find my friends demon child is pretty good when I look after him, I guess the novelty helps. And telling him my dog gets up set if he crys seemed to help.