By Vina Leekha
Babysitting can get a little scary, you know. It’s the responsibility that scares me, at least. I have raised my children to the best of my ability. So why the stress now? Because I was confident, cock-sure almost when I looked after them. But now…
Maybe my kids won’t agree with some of my decisions with their children. What was true for them need not be true for their children. Maybe they would like a certain pattern to be followed in looking after their children which is the diametric opposite of the one you believed in following. Now what?
Here comes the disheartening part of grand-parenting. It could be that despite your best efforts, they come back tired, after a day at work, and snap at you about something they feel you haven’t done right. Maybe the baby somehow managed to hurt himself while in your care. Such times can be heartbreaking, even humiliating. To be told off by one’s own children, after having spent your entire day taking loving care of the little one…what can one say?
I have always believed that there is a reason women, after a certain age, are not able to have children. Nature knows that they are physically and emotionally incapable of providing the high intensity care needed for a little child. So why expect from them what even nature doesn’t? Dilemma.
The ‘grand’ bit about grand-parenting is the doting bit. The spoiling rotten bit, the cuddling bit, the hugging-kissing bit. That’s the bit I LOVE. The younger the baby, the better – he can’t protest!
Kiss him a million times, he gurgles happily! Feed him all his favourites and you’re his favourite. Stretch his play-time, bed-time, and he’s yours! Buy him his favourite toys, books, I-thises and thats and boy, you are one great fun Grandma!
I have the additional advantage of being an untiring spinner of yarns. I love telling them stories, and they love hearing them. I had fretted that as they crossed 7 or 8 years, they would cease to be interested in these tales, but I am lucky! Touch wood, I am still capable of holding their interest at 10 and 11! All I need to do is update the subjects. These days, we are trying out adventures and science fiction (…which I know sweet-all about, which makes my stories all the more bizarre and fascinating).
And of course, as they say… the reason why grandparents and grandchildren get along so famously is that they both have a common enemy – The baby’s parents! Like when we go visiting, within hours of our arrival, the kids will sneak up to me and whisper, ‘Nani as in Grandma, please ask Mama to cancel our music lesson today!’ or ‘Nani, please ask Mama to let us watch extra TV today.’ Needless to say, Grandma obliges, being rewarded with frowns from the mothers and heartfelt hugs and kisses from the kids!
Being a grandma has been the happiest experience of my life, touch wood, and I often recall that great quote, “If I had known grandchildren would be such fun, I would have had them first!”