Monday, September 11, 2017

What I Learned from 9 Days with Baby M

Oh yes. This grandma was schooled. I had time to prepare- nearly 2 months. I thought I was ready. It wasn't like I wasn't familiar with Baby M and her schedule since I've been her daily care provider for the first 12 months of her sweet life. But I soon discovered it really is vastly different when her parents pick her up at the end of the day vs her staying with me overnight. I also discovered how old a toddler can make you feel. But we made it through and we did have such a fun time together!

I've got a few tips to make extended visits with a grand-toddler go smoothly-

1. Make sure you have some help. 9 days with Baby M gave me an ever so slight look into the life of a single parent. How? I was the lone stranger when it came to my 9 days with the sweetest granddaughter on the planet. The help I was assured of never happened. I know part of my exhaustion was due to my age but I also know that this sweet girl has exhausted even her parents so... I thought about single parents and how they add to being the sole caretaker of their kiddos a full-time job, some of them with 2 or 3 jobs. HOW DO THEY DO IT? Their resolve must be off the charts. When do they eat? When do they sleep? When do they just sit down for a minute? Are single parents the ones who coined the phrase, "I'll sleep when I'm dead"? Now, NashvilleDaughter and DrummerBoy did come in over the Labor Day weekend and she was a tremendous help. The other two aunties? Well, one has a newborn and the other one caught a case of strep throat from her first-grade students. The one other adult who pledged to help simply didn't. If you have a significant other of any sort who lends a hand, is there for support and encouragement, go hug them right now and tell them how much you appreciate them.

2.  Maybe don't volunteer for the task while you are caring for an aging parent in your home. Or maybe do. As it turned out, having Baby M around for 9 days showed Mother she is even stronger and coming along even better than we all thought including her! She even got to the point of being able to bend down and pick up toys while I was putting Baby M down for naps and the night. She had no idea she could do it but just decided to try. Who knew?! The physical therapist was blown away and immediately upped Mother's exercises. Mother did meet her 8-week goals in 4 weeks so I guess we should have guessed she could do more but you want to be careful not to overdo. One day she showered, folded her clothes, did her exercises, and picked up toys and her oxygen level never went below 94. And the laughing at and sheer delight we took in watching Baby M made the days so sweet even though we were tired. 

3.  Know that whatever her parents tell you about her nighttime schedule will not be the same while she's at your house. That's just the way it is with grand-loves so delight in your time
instead of being concerned about schedules. Grandma's house is for fun, not schedules.

4.  Go ahead and give them that popsicle if you want to. Seriously, it's not like they get treats like that all the time but when they're at Grandma's house well, that's part of being there! BTW, Baby M LOVED the popsicle. Also BTW, the other grandma came by and brought donuts one day. Oh yes, we did!

5.  Speaking of the other grandma, if you live close enough open your door to her. Baby M loves it when both grandmas dote on her at the same time.
My girl with her girl. 
6.  Do not even attempt to have an agenda while she's at your house. I knew this would be ridiculous so all projects were gladly put aside. When they're this young, you just can't do it unless you have the super power of extra energy and don't need sleep at all. Besides, what's more important than spending time with your granddaughter? Not one single thing. 

7.  Other than picking up the toys and washing dishes, just leave the house until she goes back home. The chores will be there, but she's only this young once. Spend the time enjoying your time with her.

8.  Go outside. Even if it's just the backyard, go. Kids love the outdoors so hanging out in the yard, going for walks, to the park, the beach, even the grocery store will be fun for them. It's also a wonderful perk that you get to show them off. Don't even try it, you know you do it too!

9.  Social media, blogging and the like...Ok, at first I thought people can get over it I'm not doing any of that while Baby M is here. But then she did so many cute and funny things and she's such a great kid that I did take the time to brag. I mean, I'd hate for everyone to miss out on so much cuteness. Again, don't even try to deny it. I know Y'all do it too.

10. Expect to be tired. I'm not a fan of expectations but it's ok to expect to be tired because that's the one thing you won't be able to avoid. Plus, if you expect it you will be aware you need to make the best use of your time when the little one is sleeping. You won't be at your best if you don't get some rest.

11. Expect the unexpected. No kidding. And then, go with the flow. For example, I had no idea Baby M would be cutting molars while she was here which would result in some major discomfort for her in several ways. I also did not know that Tucker would have diarrhea all over the small rug in Mother's room on that same day. Seriously, you just have to laugh. 

Mostly, just have fun with your little visitor. It's a great time and it's over in a flash. Especially when the parents cut their trip short because of a hurricane coming your way. Then not coming your way, Then giving you tropical storm force winds and tons of rain. All of which is better than a cat 4 or 5 hurricane. I hope that everyone in the direct path got out and found safe shelter. 

What can we add to the list, Y'all? 

Please visit my Etsy shop, CoasterDoodles
and feel free to FAVORITE the shop
or buy something! 😁💓


  1. Hi Pam. I just had to come over and read this, to see how you got on! Hey, you survived! Well done you. I didn't realise that your mum lived with you - or is that just a temporary thing? Oh, and I know just what you mean about any help from the significant other!! I found I got much more tired that when my first grandchild came around. I looked after her from 7 months old until she started play school. But I was only 60 then! I take the little ones out for the day, and they're now 9 and 7, and I'm pretty tired by the time they go to bed, when they sleep over, because you're taking them to places which require a lot of walking and play!! But, like you, I'm so happy to have been involved with all these early years. Time passes in a flash. Remember when I said to you, look out for when Marcy stops having a nap during the day?! But, hey, we're the lucky ones, aren't we??

    1. Mother has been here for a hundred years...wait, more like 2 months. LOL She had a brief hospital stay where the hospital did everything wrong so she's with me until she finishes physical therapy which is going quite well. She met her 8 week goal in only 4 weeks so she's coming right along. Guess when this happened? The day Maggie moved out. So, no empty nest. Again. Hopefully, Mother will be back home before too much longer. She values her independence and I value my privacy/alone time. Not having help made Marcy's stay more exhausting but we still had a good time. It really did Mother good to have her here every day. You're right, though we are the lucky ones!

  2. I loved this post! And yes even in the middle of fun and cuteness I find myself thinking of when they go home. And as soon as that happens I'm thinking of what we can do and how soon will it be they will
    Come again! The thing around here is I swear the jungle drums go off as soon as I've had one set of grands...the other parents start calling to line up their kidlets visits.
    I was booked for a weekend in September so far back I had to call the parents to jog my memory how long and where they were goi g. This will be a major test as I haven't done two overnights since the back surgery. 😮 I am lucky in a significant other who helps. But that's subject to interpretation. However he's very invested in my not needing more surgery so he does help more than pre surgery!
    I love having them over and I'm so thrilled for you. The everyday bond is something special!

    1. Awww, thank you Sush! Gosh, with 10 grands I can only imagine how that happens! You truly are blessed in the significant other department. I'm sure he helps more than mine even considers helping. He walked in one evening and there were tissues all over the floor along with toys, dishes in the sink and my holding Baby M while trying to get her dinner together. He says, "Well, someone's been having fun." And then walked right back out. Lawd. I'm excited you'll get to have some of those lovely grands over! Can't wait to see the pictures! xoxo

  3. Oh yeah toddlers are exhausting and we often forget how exhausting they are day in and day out, the house never stays clean when they are around

  4. I think you did a nice list. I don't do anything but be with them when I have them. I think being with them is way important than anything I do when I am here alone anyway.
    Very nice. You do get very tired don't you?

    1. Thank you! There's really no sense in even trying to do anything with them around. You'll miss your time with them and they get into everything. LOL I just spent my time enjoying Baby M and yes, you really do get very tired. But when it's over, we can rest. :)

  5. I look forward to times like these with my grandson one day. Such wonderful memories your making and bonds you are forming.

    1. You will have a ball! It's so much fun even though it's exhausting.

  6. Numbers 7, 8, 10 and 11 especially!! You are a fantastic Grandma!!

    1. Thank you, Terri! So glad Y'all stayed safe in the storm!

  7. I love this list, and I couldn't agree more, especially about not doing other chores or having expectations while the grandchild is staying. Just enjoy the moment! They grow up so fast.


    1. Thank you so much! My granddaddy always said the housework could wait because they're only babies once and for such a short time. :)


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