Nana Learns a Lesson From Mighty Mite

I’ve only been here a week and I can already tell you that I’ve got a lot to learn when it comes to entertaining little munchkins.  Mika is my only grandchild so it’s not like I’ve had a lot of experience.  Oh, sure…I was a mother before I was a “Nana” and my own two children surely should count for something when it comes to taking care of wee ones.  However, my mothering skills were always slightly bohemian, to say the least, and sometimes slightly north of “dismal”, to be charitable.

When diapers were REALLY bad, I’d start gagging and my hubby would have to take over.  If one or the other was on a vomiting spree, it was the same thing.  My gag reflex would go into overdrive and I’d beat a hasty retreat as soon as my saint of a hubby took over.  In fact, it wasn’t until my daughter was college age that I managed to stay up all night with her, rubbing her back as she prayed to the porcelain god, handing her wet washcloths and offering words of encouragement.  I felt pretty darn proud of myself.

If one of my little ones got injured, I could pull it together and take care of business but I was useless in other settings like when my son got his wisdom teeth removed and the nurses had to send me to the nearest bathroom where they had me put my head between my legs to avoid passing out and THAT was just a reaction to them giving me the “after-surgery” care instructions.  My son ended up having to pack his own gum sockets with gauze because I was so darn squeamish that he got tired of waiting for me to pull the old gauze squares out and put the new ones in.  When the same child accidentally put his hand through a glass storm door, I ended up on the floor beside the gurney with my head on the mattress beside him while the doctors sewed him up.  It’s become a standing joke in our family….”Don’t count on Mom if there’s blood involved.”

I was pretty creative when it came to playtime with the children but sometimes I’d get them so wound up that it would take an hour or more for my husband to get them calmed down.   I could blow into a room of toddlers like a one-woman 3-ring circus and blow out a half hour later, leaving them in a state of chaos.  Hey, I was a trained performer.  If they wanted a mop-up crew, they could hire Mary Poppins.

Patience has never been my strong suit.  When my children would get on my last nerve, I’d lock myself in my bedroom for a “time-out.”  It was a novel approach but it worked.  The fighting or whining would quickly stop when they’d realize that Mom had disappeared.  Soon I’d hear their little voices outside my door saying “Mommy, are you in there.”   I’d yell out, “Mommy’s having quiet time.  Just stay put and she’ll be out soon.”

When our daughter was a very young tike, she would NOT stay asleep.  She’d cry for hours at a stretch and nothing we could do would console her.  The only thing that ended up working was putting her in a stroller, tying a rope to the back of the stroller and then sitting on the sofa, kicking the stroller out to the end of the rope and then using the rope to reel it back in.  The constant “out and in” motion would eventually lull her to sleep and kept us somewhat sane in those days.

So you see, I’m not exactly coming into this grandparenting thing with a lot of confidence.  On the plus side, my kids survived and don’t seem to hate me and do seem pretty well-adjusted.  On the negative side, I find myself rather mystified by what to do with a little one these days.  My little granddaughter has been keeping me definitely challenged as I try to give her mom a break by entertaining little Mika.  She’s a tough audience.  Mika is at that age where she isn’t going to sit engrossed in something for an hour at a time.  I’m becoming intimately familiar with most of her toys because we go through a lot of them in the course of our playtimes together. 

She knows what she likes and she knows what she doesn’t like.  The kid has a pitching arm that could put some of the minor league players to shame and if she is done with a toy, duck!  On the other hand, she is a great little mimic and I’m having a lot of fun watching her learn new words and actions almost daily.
She does NOT like to go to sleep.  I think she just doesn’t want to miss any of the things that we grownups are doing.  However, that ends up making her very tired and cranky by the end of the day.  Her parents have the patience of saints because they aren’t getting much sleep either with their little one waking up so much during the night.

I remember her father used to hate going to bed when he was a toddler.  It got so bad that I’d put him down at night and then go up to my sewing room to work on something and soon I’d feel little eyes on me.  Sure enough, there he’d be in the doorway giving me a charming grin.

“Whatcha doing, Mommy?” he’d ask.

I knew It was useless to put him back in his crib because he’d be out of it and down the hallway before I ever made it to the other end of the house.  Instead I’d just keep working away and talk to him as I worked.  His daddy was on a ship at sea so I always figured that my little boy was afraid that if he let me out of his sight, I might disappear too.  Inevitably, I’d end up getting so tired that I’d finally decide to call it a night and I’d turn to him and say, “Jason, Mommy is going to bed.  Just turn out the lights when you go to bed, ok?”

That usually did the trick.  He’d see me heading off down the hall and when he realized that I wasn’t going to be up and talking to him anymore, he’d run down the hall on his pudgy little legs and crawl back into bed.  I’d turn off the lights and head to bed myself.  

I don’t suppose that approach will work with little Mika right now.  She’s still a tad too young, for one.  Maybe they should try the recommendation my Uncle Cliff gave me with our first baby –  “Drink a few beers and then nurse the kid.”   Hmmm, then again, it never did much to put our Laura to sleep but it sure helped me sleep like a baby, well, when my Baptist conscience would let me.

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Hot Flashed Funk

  • Very interesting post, Dee.

    Being Gramma is so much different than being mommy, isn’t it? Mostly because it is not you who has to stay up all night. 🙂


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