Last week I was chatting to a friend at the school about grandparents. She told me a story about how, when her Dad and Step Mum were looking after her kids, they cooked sausages for dinner. She has three girls and when all the sausages had been shared out evenly, there was one left. Instead of eating the extra sausage themselves (my go to option) they decided to play a game of “musical pass the sausage”. They put on some music then the kids passed the sausage around on a fork and whoever was holding it when the music stopped got to take a bite. You can imagine my friend’s face when she came home and the kids told her they’d been playing pass the sausage.
This got me thinking about grandparents. My kids love theirs and frankly in the early days of parenting, I couldn’t have coped without them. In fact, the whole UK economy is pretty reliant on them. They do however have some habits I’m not so keen on. Here is my list of 5 things that only grandparents do (and I kind of wish they wouldn’t).
They buy all the stuff
My in-laws never arrive empty handed. They always have something to give the kids. Sometimes it’s something from Chris’s childhood. Sometimes it’s a toy a friend gave them because they thought our kids would like it. Sometimes it’s a random item they picked up at a car boot sale. It’s always yet another item I have to find space for.
My mum takes a slightly different approach. She never sends them back empty handed. A trip to Granny’s (which happens at least once a week) means a trip to the shop. This might be the corner shop which means, sweets, magazines or small, quickly lost, collectible items. It might be a trip to the charity shop, which for Girl Child means yet another soft toy she will insist has to go in her bed.
They feed them all the time
All of the grandparents in our family are guilty of this. None of us really give our kids squash but it’s allowed at Nanny and Grandads as that’s a treat day. The trouble is, it’s never just one glass, they drink pints of the stuff. Great fun if you’re potty training, not to mention the sugar high.
My mum thinks I starve my children. And by her standards, I do. The trouble is, her standard food allocation is enough to feed a sumo wrestler. I have informed her that the next time a child is sick after a visit to her house, I will be calling her in the middle of the night to come and clean it up.
They give the kids unrealistic expectations
I don’t understand how, but my father in law has more energy than me, my husband and my brother and sister in law put together. Despite being in his late seventies, he rolls around on the floor, gives the kids piggy backs and bounces on the trampoline. From the moment he arrives to the moment he leaves, he hardly stops. It’s lovely to watch. It makes the kids very happy. It also makes me look bad. Three minutes on the trampoline and I’m done, my back isn’t up to carrying them and I hate being on the hard floor. I really can’t compete.
They wait on them hand and foot
When they walk into my mum’s house, it’s like they’ve arrived at a five star hotel just for kids. She takes their coats and bags, fetches them a drink and a snack. She turns the tv on and, in the case of Girl Child, fetches her a blanket to snuggle under.
They can be sitting right next to the tissue box and will still ask her to pass them one despite the fact that means she has to get up and they wouldn’t have to. They even make her accompany them to the toilet so they don’t get lonely.
They say yes to everything
I’m actually glad about this one in a way as it lets me off the hook for doing some things. If they want to do something a bit out there, they know asking granny is a better bet than asking me. Boy Child’s favourite game is setting fires in her garden and then putting them out with the hose. I think it’s healthy for kids to experiment with fire to understand the dangers but I’d much rather they ruined someone else’s lawn.
The other thing they regularly do at Granny’s house is cook. They cook at home too but at home we follow a recipe. We make a recognised dish. Boy Child does not like recipes. He thinks he’s the next Heston Blumenthal (minus the casual sexism) and she lets him create his “experimental” (inedible) dishes to his heart’s content.
Having said all of that, I love both my parents and my in laws. They are the best grandparents I could ask for for my children and would put up with all of this and more to see the joy on my children’s faces when they arrive.
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Cate Quinn says
Just come across your post, it was a wonderful reminder of the lovely granny I had until she passed when I was 26. My children never got to meet my parents, as my dad died when I was 6 and mum when I was 15, so my wee granny was everything to me. She never got to meet my children, but they know all the lovely stories of Granny Livvy as she was known, her baking was the best. Only 2 of my 4 kids knew my husband’s dad, he worshiped the ground they walked on and every Friday he take the boys a walk to the local shops where they usually came back with another plastic sword or football. My mother in law was with them until my youngest was almost 13. She looked after them from they were babies. I just hope my granddaughter holds us in the same affection as we hold her, she means the world to us and we don’t mind showing it.
Kirsty Hall says
My kids grandparents are just the same. My parents always let them stay up too late at their house and then I get to deal with the aftermath, but just like you I wouldn’t change it one bit. My kids are lucky to have their grandparents and indeed one great grandmother with them. Loved this post! #DreamTeam
Kate Holmes says
You brought back so many poignant memories of what wonderful grandparents my late parents were and I see their legacy living on in my 3 amazing teenagers now who are interested, interesting and full of kind hearts and strong moral values. Mum and Dad gave them so much materially and in terms of laughs, story-telling and wise counsel. I guess I need to be as good when I become a Grandma a long way off methinks but looking forward to it. Popping over via Parent Blogs
Oh I do love your blogs. This was brilliant and had me chuckling as it resonated so much 🤗
Marta - Imperfect Life Balance says
Grandparents are the best! And what always makes me laugh is that the ‘rules’ (or lack thereof) are totally different for grandkids as they were for their own kids 🙂
Kim Carberry says
Yes to all of this!!
I say no to buying my two something and within a week they have it thanks to their grandad. My dad is a swine for giving my two fizzy pop. I rarely let them have it and they go to his just for a sugar fix. lol
Super Busy Mum says
Having grandparents is such a precious thing and moments to be treasured, without a doubt!
This is so true – you could be describing my parents! 😂 my son loves my mum and dad, they look after him 2 days a week whilst I’m at work and they are amazing.
Anne Murphy says
I wish my children still had their grandparents. Well, only 1, my ex’s father is still alive. Sadly they never knew my father and my mother passed away when they were 8 and 6. They do still have memories of them plus my ex’s mother who passed away the year before my mother did. It’s sad to have lost them when they were so young. Both of my grandmothers lived well into their 90s so I had many years enjoying their company. They did spoil us to a certain extent but not as much as some do now. There wasn’t that much to buy for us when I was a kid!
Michele Morin says
I love my grands!
We do all the fun things, and it’s all about building memories and supporting their parents.
Precious previous time it is! With grandparents.. Our job to discipline kids and theirs to pamper them maybe;)
Rowena corderoy says
Great post! My boys have some precious moments with their grandparents.
Karen, the next best thing to mummy says
This has made me feel a little sad, as my grandchildren live hundreds of miles away meaning that I don’t get to see them very much, they are coming to visit in the spring though #dreamteam@_karendennis
Great Post, it sounds like they have a lovely relationship with all grandparents which is so important