It takes a Village, a very knackered Village

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Have you seen those articles declaring that grandmothers who babysit their grandchildren live longer? I think it is a con job by some writer with a young family trying to get her mother to take her children.

I spend a couple of days each week with my grandchildren. One, I granny-nanny two days a week for my daughter and son in law, who both work full-time. The other two grandchildren I spend time with when my son in law is away on business, as my daughter has a small baby and a five year and bedtime can be an issue. So, don’t get me wrong, I love to spend time with my grandchildren.

I am just not sure it is adding years to my life.

Sitting on the floor can be accomplished, if it involves a pillow and a reclining attitude. Rising from the floor is another thing. It takes more time. Hours even. Lifting the baby above my head can result in days of agony and even physiotherapy. By day four I can no longer keep the pace up. Often, I can’t even string a coherent sentence together due to the physical effort of keeping up and my lack of nana naps. I daydream about having my five o’clock drink at a quarter past twelve.

The 2-year-old is an only child for the moment, so when she naps I can have a few minutes of rest, but then I look about the room and see all the toys. Then, I remember the laundry that needs to be hung out. My daughter does not expect me to do any chores, but I know she works long hours and as we never stop being a mother, I empty my tea cup and catch up a few household tasks and make dinner preparations. Too soon the toddler awakens, and it is Go Granny Go! until her parents arrive. They do take over from there and Granny is handed her glass of white, so I know they appreciate my efforts and are grateful, but Granny is knackered.

How is it helping me live longer if I hurt from head to toe and drink heavily to self-medicate my guilt from not being the perfect grndmother?

So, my reflections are that building relationships with grandchildren is priceless, but the physiotherapy and alcohol bills are emptying the retirement savings! If I do live longer I wont be able to afford to live!

I think we Grannies and Grandpas need to hit back at these “do this and live longer’ articles and ask for empirical evidence, a wine subsidy – and the address of the author.

The Granny and the farty raspberries


Two days a week I am Granny Nanny for my two year older granddaughter. She is quite happily enjoying the terrible twos at the moment. A very bright, verbal child, she can argue her point quite well, but it always comes back to the throwing on the ground and  quite definite strings of NO! to any request to get dressed, put on your shoes, clean teeth, eat anything at all. 

I know why we have children when we are young – we have neither the energy, nor, dare I say, the patience to parent children in our mature years. Of course, when we were young parents it was still permissible to smack. Not saying that it was right, as viewed with 21st century values, but it did happen and it was accepted. Now it cannot be contemplated, and I in no way disagree with that. But dear, they can be exasperating!

More often than not, I find myself trying to explain to her that if she would just get dressed, put on your shoes, clean teeth, eat anything at all, there and then, she could resume whatever game, or activity she was pursuing in faster time than it takes to throw herself down on the floor, or cross her arms and jut her chin out at me in defiance.

“Look, we have a job to do here, neither of us wants to do it, but let’s just get it over with and continue with the rest of our lives.”

The foot gets stamped to emphasis her point, just in case I missed the fact that she had no intention of getting dressed, putting on her shoes, clean teeth, or eat anything at all, this side of her twenty-first birthday.

I tell her to use her words to talk to Grandma, instead of squeals and yells. I bribe that she can play on Grandma’s iPad if she will just get dressed, put on your shoes, clean teeth, eat anything at all. Sometimes that wins some break in her defenses. However, this week I struck Granny Gold.

I found that all I have to do is to pucker up, and make the fartiest raspberries that a Granny ever produced in the history of desperate Grannies. The louder and ruder the sound production; the louder the giggles, belly laughs and gales of laughter in return. She is putty, of should I say, playdough, in my hands.

I am just dreading the day that I have to resort to my bag of farty raspberries in public though. I know the day will come, all too soon, but what is a Granny to do if you want them to get dressed, put on your shoes, clean teeth, eat anything at all? 

I am up to it though. A Granny has to do, what a Granny has to do. And just think of the memories I will leave her!