Well, we made it. And I think we made it well. The first term and a half of granny day care is done. But I’ve not yet dusted.
It should of course be grandparent day care because Mr T shares the duties 75% of the time but the other day I turned my back and found this:
Looking after these boys is very different from having my own kids. Two boys for a start and the older wholly rambunctious. I had a gentle sociable little girl and an equally gentle imaginative boy 18 months later. She wanted to meet as many people as possible and play with their baby equipment, and he lived in his head and played long complicated conflict games with toys strewn across his floor.
William mostly wants to get things out and talk about them. And have me play with them. So we end up doing this.
Every good dinosaur deserves a bonnet. We play much the same games every week and, whereas I went out all the time with my own kids- I realise now for my own mental health and well being- we stay in a lot. Here in deepest Kent there’s no pavement so prams are hard to handle and, truth be told unless the parents leave the equipment ready for me, I find the technology very tricky. So much equipment with many clips, handles and moving parts. So many safety features and so many choices: a perfect metaphor for child rearing in the 21st century. I find it easier to stay home.
We lay Lydia in a pram body unrestrained in the back of our Ford Escort. No one batted an eyelid. It was an old battered Silver Cross pram, but it did both of them and on occasion they travelled and slept in it together. Shocking!
But then my parents’ generation put their babies out in all weathers in a pram at the bottom of the garden, and if they cried, it was good for their lungs.
Previous to that they were wrapped in brown paper if they were chesty and slept in drawers,so far as I can make out. I am not making a judgement on it: we do the best we can with what we have at the time and frankly it was a time of fewer choices and that for me is a relief. (This is a woman who once did all her Christmas food shopping at the local co op. ) I would be paralysed by all the advice and choices available today.
We brought our kids up in a pretty strict Christian home. We prayed and worshipped with them regularly. They were part of a close and supportive wider church family. There’s plenty I’d do differently with what I know now. I’d try not to smack them. The thought of smacking my grandchildren is abhorrent. I’d also lighten up a bit. Lydia once asked me outright, “Is Father Christmas real?” And in the spirit of Christian honesty I told her the truth. I should have been like my hairdresser Mel who is a woman of some wisdom. Her six year old asked her the same question adding the tooth fairy in for good measure. Mel looked her daughter in the eye and and replied slowly and deliberately, “I could tell you, but then all the magic would disappear.”
I’m keeping that one up my sleeve for these two who make me smile and laugh out loud every time I see them.