How to Take Care of People Who Are 60 Years Younger Than You

Posted on September 26, 2011


Some of us might have noticed that the age span between us and our grandchildren is wider than between that of us and our children.  This is especially pronounced if we gave birth to our own children at the tender age of twenty-something, but, unlike us, our children felt the need to delay the production of offspring until they had accomplished certain minor things in life.  These might have included one or more of the following:

1. maturing
2. living like adults
3. making money
4. having a house
5. being responsible
6. washing their own socks
7. storing beer in the refrigerator instead of under the bed

The result is that our children become parents for the first time when they are in their mid-thirties (or older) and the arrival of our first grandchild thus coincides with the arrival of our first social security check.  Just when we are first cradling that precious small object that provides such infinite joy (the social security check, not the grandchild), we note that our children, who have suddenly and dramatically morphed into PARENTS, require the same morphing of us, without our having had the advantage of taking classes and/or medication to prepare us. 

Whether our children are around the corner or across the globe, there will be times we will be called upon to exercise our new skills as grandparents.  The following situations may seem dicey at first, but they each come with handy advice to make the task a bit easier:

1. diapering a newborn male-Put on a raincoat before attempting.  Clean floor or rug or ceiling after.
2. bathing a newborn-Fill a tub with warm, sudsy water, put in lots of toys, splash and laugh.  After you are finished, dry yourself off, and only then attempt to bathe the newborn or toddler.
3. extricating a toddler from under a chair/table/hostess station/taco making machine at a Mexican restaurant/fish tank at a Chinese restaurant-If a parent is in the vicinity (Make sure the parent is associated with the toddler in some way and not some random person eating dinner), rush off to the bathroom as you mumble “Prostrate” or “Aging bladder” or grab the check and rush off to the cashier to pay for dinner, leaving your child to deal with the situation.  Whatever the expense, it is worth it.
4. housing small beings while their parents flit off to Dubai or Florida or someplace else that you could never afford to go to and can’t place on a map-Make room in your kitchen for the coffee mug that will say “Grandmas rock!”
5. being required to respond to urgent verbalizations such as “Webbie ahpwane ma!” or “Dosh abu kidder neyney!”-Save your energy trying to figure it out.  Just give the toddler a cookie and tell him to go away.

For more tips on dealing with a newborn or a toddler, or for the best advice on adult bath toys, send a large check and an SASE.