Grandchildren, AKA “The Parent’s Revenge,” are one of life’s greatest gifts. There is nothing quite like seeing your own children become parents themselves. And of course, the love you feel for those little ones will be stronger than you could have ever imagined. And trust us when we tell you that the urge to give your first toddler-aged grandchild a drum kit will be very very real.
Before you get to that point, however, you have a couple of years of infant care ahead of you. It’s natural to be nervous about this, even if you know that, most of the time, your own kids will be there to help you out. Infant care has always been highly stressful but it can be especially difficult for brand new grandparents because nothing quite drives home how much things have changed in the world of child and infant care than having a new baby come for a visit.
Tip One: Stock Up
Babies need a lot of stuff. All the time. Everywhere they go. You probably still have flashbacks to going to the store and realizing that you forgot to pack something in your child’s diaper bag. Give your kids a hand by having some basic supplies on hand. Stock up on first aid supplies, diapers, bottle liners, etc. It’s also good to have some baby blankets and baby clothes on hand as well. If your grandchildren will be visiting often, having toys, books, play mats, baby-gates (when they start walking) and proper baby-proofing in place are also important.
Get certified in infant CPR or renew your certification. Familiarize yourself with contemporary diapers–both disposable and cloth. Learn how to tie a baby bjorn and how to use the new baby carriers. Figure out how to install the newer car seats in your vehicle and how to expand and collapse the stroller your grandkids will be using. The last thing you want is to have to make sense of an instruction graphic while your grandbaby is wailing in your arms.
Learn to Step Back
You are an experienced parent. Your fully grown child who is now a parent him or herself is living proof of that success and experience. It can be tempting to try to jump in and take over when your child is fumbling around as a new parent. It is important to know that these stumbles and fumbles (figuratively speaking of course) are an important part of the parenting process. Your kids need to go through them to figure out their parenting styles and philosophies. And you need to let them.
This does not, of course, mean that you shouldn’t intervene if your kids are messing up very badly. But learn the difference between small mistakes and big ones. Your daughter choosing snap-based onesies instead of velcro is not child endangerment. Let her figure out which works best for her and her baby on her own. If your daughter decides to skip a feeding because she doesn’t want her new baby to be fat; that warrants an intervention.
And, of course, as your kids get older, you’ll want to hold up whatever rules have been set down for your grandkids. And you will want to back up the philosophical ideas and behaviors that are being taught and expected from your grandkids. Telling your grandkids that their parents are wrong (unless they are extravagantly wrong) is a big no-no, expecially if you want to keep having access to your grandkids.
Sweet Sweet Revenge
It is natural to want to spoil your grandkids. In fact, spoiling the grandkids is a tradition you’ve likely been looking forward to enjoying since your own kids were very little. It can take some time to find the line between healthfully spoiling your grandkids and undermining your children’s parenting. There should be no doubt who is actually in charge of this new life and, while we understand that you love that new baby ferociously, you are not the rule-maker here.
That said, spoiling your grandchildren is a lot of fun. It is perfectly okay to get your grandkids hopped up on sugar right before their parents have to take them home and try to put them to bed. It’s totally okay to outfit them with a few noisy toys. Just be careful. If you go overboard, you can be sure that all of your revenge-based toys will wind up living at your house and those sugar-filled hyper monkey kids will be encouraged to beg you to let them sleep over.
Most of all, remember to have fun. Grandkids are an absolute joy!