Having never actually been a parent (unless you count being Tinto The Terrier’s mother), when Axel’s daughter, son-in-law and three small children arrived for a visit last week I was a bit short on grandparent wisdom. A week in my role as GBA (Grandmother By Association) has taught me a few things, though:
That you figure out the quantity of food that three children will consume in gallons, not ounces. That there is a reason that parents buy everything in Humongo-Size at Costco.
That the dishwasher won’t know what hit it.
Ditto the washer and drier.
That the job of a two year old is to eat, drink and attempt to get to the potty. That sometimes that attempt may fall short, resulting in the need for extra filtering of the hot tub.
That one of three small children will have to go potty at any given moment. That if one goes into the bathroom, the others will follow, but will not necessarily do what adults would expect to do in a bathroom, thereby eliciting a continuous parade to the power room.
That once you’ve put three car seats and a twin stroller in a minivan, there’s not much room left over, but you can always squeeze two grandparents in.
That if three small children are strapped into their car seats in a minivan, ready to go to Legoland, zoo, beach, etc., having just eaten and pottied, one will then say they have to potty, will potty, or need more juice, milk, snacks, or all of the above.
That LegoLand will evoke great joy in two and four year olds, but not if they are tired.
That at the zoo, the animals that 2-4 year olds are most interested in are the stuffed ones in the gift shop.
That the beach is scary for the first few waves, but that it is amazing how fast giggling commences after that.
That beach sand clings to children for days.
That four year old girls scream at precisely the pitch that can shatter glass and nerves. That they scream for any reason, including joy, frustration or because they are about to jump into a pool.
That two year old boys can scream just as loudly and for more reasons, and when there are twins the scream can go on for longer.
That a grandparent’s announcement that there will be no screaming unless there is visible blood will be met with blank stares.
That Tinto loves children, even when they don’t have food or a ball in their hands.
That even if Tinto asks very nicely if he can have his own child to play with, my answer would be no.
That parenting is for the young and fit, and my hat is off to those who can do it. My hat is off and I raise a glass to those who can do it while remaining good-natured.
That for the first time since she died this spring, I really really wanted my grandmother’s advice this week.