On Being a Granny-Nanny

Did I really forget what life was like when my children were infants? I can’t be that old! Sure, infant and child care is like riding a bike; you never completely forget the skill. But, when left with my six-week-old granddaughter last June, at the start of my granny-nanny career, I suddenly felt lost and intimidated by the responsibility. What do I do? What did I do ‘way back in the late ’70s, when my children were born? I swore I would never forget any stage of my children’s lives, yet the small stuff eluded me. How would I know when she’s hungry, or bored? What can I do to properly stimulate her young mind and body?  Am I worrying too much? These questions, and more, followed me around like a relentless whisper in my ear.

We were all set to re-assemble our children’s crib for our grandchildren’s use, until we learned that today that crib is considered one great big safety violation. Likewise their old wooden highchair. Little fingers could get pinched by the metal tray runner! How did our kids survive to adulthood, we wondered? We’re navigating the intricacies of 21st Century parenting right alongside our children and their spouses.

The basics remain the basics, however, regardless of the century. Babies need love, attention, good medical care, a clean diaper and proper nutrition. Your baby will know if these necessities are provided with the best of intentions and the biggest of hearts. That hasn’t changed. Still, I needed a few days to regain my sea legs before that “overwhelmed and intimidated” feeling disappeared.

Grandparenting has evolved along with every other aspect of our culture. We baby boomer G-Ma’s and G-Pa’s no longer spend our days sitting in rockers or puttering around with model trains. We’re more likely to spend our free time kayaking or winery-hopping, maybe taking the grandkids along with us. So much has changed! The lifestyle of a freelance writer allows me the opportunity to watch and get to know my younger granddaughter while her parents spend their weekdays working to make enough money to live a decent life in today’s economy.  She’s such a delight as she learns to interact with her world. There’s a side benefit, too: the increased stamina and thinner waistline that I’m realizing from climbing the stairs more often than I’m accustomed to!

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