The great thing about being a grandparent is you can hand off your grandchild when things get dicey.
Say, when a diaper is plumb full, or they announce loudly that they have to “go potty.” When they're like our little critters, visiting the bathroom is an Excellent Adventure, especially at some restaurant or store or grimy gas station.
“Here you go Mom,” you tell the child's parent. “I think there's some deferred maintenance that needs to be addressed. I'm going to get a cup of coffee.”
The exception to the swell Hand Grandkids Off to Their Parents Rule is when Granny and Gramps are called upon to take care of the little ones while their mom attends a high school reunion, and their dad is in a golf tournament. That was us last week, and we did our duty for four whole, regulation, entire, complete, 24-hour days. They ran us from pillar to post.
Go Granny. Go Gramps.
When I was the grandchild, back in the early Pleistocene Era, my grandfather got off easy. When we went to visit them in Indiana, he would take me across the street to a gas station, and I would pick a Green River lime soda from the vending machine.
(In the next block was a butcher shop with sawdust on the floor, and platters of fresh brains, tripe and other stuff I wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole, much less eat. It put me off my feed.)
After treating me to a Green River, we would go back to the apartment above the dry cleaning shop my grandfather owned, and my little Czech immigrant grandmother would be making doughnuts. The last step was to put them in a bag with powdered sugar, and shake them up. The taste was a little bit of heaven.
So anyway, when you're taking care of young granddaughters for four whole days, you've got to plan some events to eat up time. We burned most of a morning making Hershey's Kiss peanut butter cookies, with Gramps measuring out the ingredients, and the girls dumping them into the mixing bowl.
I had to get kind of grumpy about them keeping their little hands away from the mixer. Then their job was unwrapping three dozen chocolate kisses to go on the cookies. We had some shrinkage in the process, with about a dozen kisses consumed before the cookies came out of the oven.
If you ever find yourself taking care of two granddaughters for four whole days, and you've already spent a morning baking cookies, my advice is to have Granny take them shopping, or to playgrounds in town. (I'd have taken them – honest - but their car seats wouldn't fit in my pickup.)
One time we took them to the Botanic Gardens, and they loved that, too.
Then we called in the uncles to eat up more time, and the girls had a screaming good time roughhousing with them. Nothing like an uncle to provide some real excitement.
(My uncle Bob would ask me how old I was. If I said five, he'd say, “When I was your age, I was six.” And then he'd ask if I knew any bad words. Nothing like an uncle.)
Before we were called upon to take care of our granddaughters for (have I mentioned?) four whole days (and nights), we would have said kids shouldn't be spending time every day watching cartoons on television or staring into an iPad. But I'll have to admit that the girls got their share of screen time during their visit, which gave Granny and Gramps time to regroup, catch our breath, and plan strategy.
In our defense, they also spent time riding bikes on our driveway, throwing tumbleweeds at each other out in the prairie, shooting grains of wheat at each other with their thumbs and index fingers, and hanging all over our black Lab Mitch (who has the patience of Job).
All in all, we did fine for (did I mention?) four whole days and nights. And there were no injuries.
We can't wait for their next visit.
(Well, come to think of it, I guess we can handle the wait.)