Posted by: Patti Dickinson | 04/19/2017

Rusty and out of practice: Have we lost our touch?

32563496I thought my parenting experience times eight would see me through any grandkid eventuality down the road. Heck, I raised 2/3 of a dozen kids and I managed to keep all of them alive through their eighteenth birthday. So my husband and I were “booked” for a Saturday night. Two kids. One six-week old grandson, Nathan, and my daughter’s college friend’s daughter, eight-month old Nina.

Wood and I arrive at my daughter’s house at 5:30. Their plan is to go to dinner — a quick two, two and a half hour outing.

Out the door they go. Left behind —- Nathan, fresh off the breast. Full tank. Nina. Just finished some baby food concoction, topped off with a good-sized bottle. Two clean diaper-shod bottoms.

Two minutes into this gig and we manage to have two babies crying. Not-stopping-anytime-soon crying. We do what comes back to us — bounce, pat, croon, sway, rearrange the blanket, burp, walk, pace, over-the-shoulder, on-the-knee, in the swing, on my hip, in the bouncer, on the couch, the pacifier, a different pacifier, plastic, primary-colored keys jangling. Then we exchange babies. And repeat. Exchange. Trade. The grandparenting version of Hot Potato.

Stereophonic wailing. I look at my watch. We are 13 minutes into this. If traffic is good and they make all the stoplights on the way back, we have an hour and 47 minutes to go, at the minimum. 2 hours and 17 minutes on the outside.

Ahhh. I remember those days. Those days when there was just no pleasing whichever little human was having a meltdown. And how hard it is to bring into focus the wide shot. That this is fleeting. That these days melt into weeks, months, years. Each successive year jam-packed with kid-experience.

But this evening taught us that there is no handbook for parenting/grandparenting. We had to find what worked eight different times over, as parents. Just when that smug feeling took over, another kid made their appearance and banished that smugness right out of us. There is no one right answer. No if…..then, that works every time.

But I love this grandparent gig anyway. Wailing and all.

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