So now that I’ve been a grandparent for a little while, there are a few things that I’ve learned and a lot more things that I need to learn.
First of all, I still think the most important thing that I can do as a grandparent is to just BE THERE. I want my kids, when they are parents, to know that I’m always going to be here to support them, in whatever capacity they need. I will babysit, I will provide words of advice (when asked for it and once in a while when I’m not asked), and I will provide a sympathetic ear. However, I will also develop my own relationship with my grandbaby outside of that he has with his parents, family, friends, etc.
As a baby, there’s not too much that you can do other than hold and cuddle him, make sure that he’s safe, and love him. I figured that’s easy enough; I can do that. As the days (and nights) have gone by, I have been forced to realize just how much older I am than I was since I last had a baby. Things have changed and there are things that I need to brush up on. I mean, I knew things would be different, of course, but didn’t realize quite how much things have changed. I asked about the big things, but figured I could certainly get by without too much new information. I actually found myself being as nervous watching my grandson initially as I was as a mother and wished I had brushed up a little earlier just to be more comfortable.
On the issue of safety we, as grandparents, need to know how many things have changed, some significantly, since we were parents ourselves. It’s up to us to make sure that we are aware of all the current safety standards and recommendations when it comes to our grandchildren. That means that I have to read, take a class, and/or ask questions to ensure my grandson’s safety. Do we know the right way to perform CPR now? Do we know the correct practice of feeding/sleeping nowadays? It’s up to us to make sure we do. Of course the parents, themselves, should provide us with the information that is critical, but they also assume we know this stuff and I’m sure they don’t always feel comfortable telling us what to do. The point is that it’s our own responsibility to make sure we’re keeping our grandchildren safe. I bought a book on children’s development and look forward monthly to the growth that I can expect to see as well as issues that may come up. I recently came across a website devoted to children’s issues hosted by the American Academy of Pediatrics (www.healthychildren.org) and am using this as a resource as well. Not only is there a lot of information presented on children’s growth, safety, and family issues, but it also includes helpful apps, newsletters, symptom checker, and e-magazines. You can check on your grandchild’s growth or address any concerns that you may have from newborn all the way through to them becoming a young adult. I’m looking forward to using this resource and others to stay up-to-date on what to expect and to get news on anything that changes.
The being there and loving part of having a grandchild is the easiest part of all! The best thing in the world is when my grandson’s face lights up when he sees me! My heart just melts and everything else in the world just fades away. When I sing to him and he stares into my eyes with a look of wonder on his face, all the worries in the world couldn’t pull my attention away. I like to feel like we already have our very own special bond and I’m so excited about the upcoming years when we can hang out together and do our own thing. I will, because it’s my thing, bake cookies with him and let him sit on the counter and make a mess. We will go out in the yard and find bugs and learn to be kind to them. I will read him stories and give him ice cream. We will have our own special relationship, one that is separate from anything else and I just couldn’t be happier!