Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Time Changes Everything

I, recently was talking to my trainer at the gym, who was telling me about a friend of hers that is expecting twins.  Now that wouldn't be that big of deal, I guess, when you consider people are popping out 4 and 5 kids at a time these days.  What  makes this sort of unusual this is a single mom that is 56 years old.  She has a teenager still living at home from her previous marriage. It turns out that while,  she was married, her and her husband had invitro fertilization and there were some eggs left that she didn't want to go to waste.  Which leads me to the part where she is having twins at 56 years old. (Just a thought here...if you are post menopausal and your uterus is crying out to you to have another baby...tell it to shut the hell up.)

I know several women that have had children in their mid to late 50's but what I have noticed is that they parent differently than they did with the children that they had earlier in life.  They parent like grandparents parent. 

 I suppose, if you are among my younger readers and/or have not had the opportunity to be a grandparent, I might have confused you.  Grandparents parent with the premise of keeping little ones happy and entertained.....heavy on the happy.   We don't parent with the fear of spoiling the child.  We don't care about that as much as keeping little people safe and happy.  We want to be the "fun" grandparents.

So today my thoughts today are on how age impacts the way people parent.

Thought Number One:  Parenting-Lite

I have talked to a number of older siblings who have told me, "Mom would of never let me get by with the things she lets  [little bro or sis] get by with."    In one instance, I was talking to a guy that has a brother that is 23 years younger than he is.  He, in fact, has his own 2 kids and says his parents treat his younger sibling very much the same as they treat his children...their grandchildren.

Weeelllll...this has led to me thinking about my own differences as to how I parented the first time around versus how I parent my grandkids.    The obvious differences hasn't escaped me.  Maybe more so lately has my grandsons have been spending a little extra time at grandma's house lately and I recognize that I don't hold my ground quite as well as I used to.  Nope...very slippery slopes these days.

In the long term, I do want to be part of the team that helps these little people to grow up strong and healthy in both body and spirit...but in the short term, I want them to have a really fun childhood. Plus we have the added component of trying to reinforce the rules that their parents have "suggested" that they/we follow. Is it possible to do both: Please, the parents and please the kids?

Dare I say, that the odds of pleasing everyone is remote.  First of all your/mine grown children probably are still simmering over the injustices they feel were inflicted on them as children.  Now they see how you/I have become all soft and malleable at the hands of their kids. (I am sure this is the case in much older siblings as well.)

One of the many examples of this is:  Way back when...I was in my early twenties with my own two little ones, I was probably pretty quick to kiss away any boo-boos or ouchies.  A boo-boo could of been anything I deemed not requiring stitches. While, clearly, I never told my kids to "suck it up" or "walk it off", it might of been implied.  This morning while getting my youngest grandson ready for school he noticed a little dot of a mark on his hip. Smaller than a mosquito bite but a little bump like maybe  a runt of a mosquito bit him.  Out comes the Neosporin.  I can't even imagine the shame and humiliation that would go with having an actual injury on my watch.

Then we get to the basic principles that come with trying to adhere to they "way" they do things.
My daughter and her family eat very healthy. They boys get lots of fruits and veggies and very little sugar.  I am totally in agreement...in theory.  I eat healthy and don't eat sugar either but in my quest to be an awesome grandparent, something has to give. Just today, one of my grandsons told me he liked eating at my house because there is desserts during the meal.  (He was referring to the happy face on the pancake that was in part chocolate chips for the mouth.)

Yes, there is a law that Grandmas bake cookies. 

Yes, that would be cookies baking.  The anticipation is high.  (OH, and just for you mother hens out there judging me...my oven doesn't get hot on the exterior so he is perfectly safe...new technology is an awesome thing.)

Speaking of technology...in lieu of hours in front of the TV...

Interesting program

Changing the channel

Seems to be that appliances work for the kid so who am I to deny him some fun.

Icemakers could be considered educational.

OK...so I don't JUST park my kiddos in front of appliances.  I also teach them things.

Batman clothing is always appropriate

Gambling is both fun and rewarding
Choose your tattoos wisely

Dancing in the street is ALWAYS good.
Cleanliness is next to godliness

Hide and seek is a game of skill

Thought Number Two:  Don't Ask Permission, Ask For Forgiveness

OK...so I might not be getting the prize for being the best grandparent in the world but I surely do  love the role.

NOTE: And to my daughter and son-in-law.  I realize that even when I tell the boys that some  things are best to keep as a  secret,  they run to you and spill their guts.  We need to be working on what the word SECRET means.

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Debra She Who Seeks said...

Well, you know the old saying -- "if Mom says no, ask Grandma."

Wendy said...

Smiling all the way through this one. My youngest is 14 yr younger than the eldest, who always says he was the guinea pig. Whereupon the others chime in they were too! Sigh. But, I must admit, my youngest had it the easiest because I understood by then, this too shall pass, nothing to fret about. I let my mother grandmother her way, and that meant Froot Loops and coffee (with lots of milk ) for breakfast I knew all about it, but that was fine. Thankfully, my lads have THAT grandma example , and they are so fond of her, that gosh, I could do just about, and I do emphasize that just, anything. We grandparents are more attentive because we usually have the time, and we want to pay attention to them. Thanks to my mom's attentiveness, one son got his feet corrected. Parenting is nothing like grand parenting- mostly all the fun without all the distractions. Have I mentioned I loved being a mom with my young lads? I did. I'd love to have lots of grandchildren to have that fun without the distractions. My Favourite picture- the boy in the leaves- I wanna come and play too!

Chickens Consigliere said...

Ohhhh boy, I have a Meme I am going to send you that I think you will like. I've never thought of the age component of aging and I probably should have considering my oldest is 27 and the youngest is 7 and I now have a grand daughter. I guess, if I had to sum it up, I would say I've learned how fast time flies by so I spend a lot more time playing with my youngest than I did with the older kids. I also have more disposable income so I spoil him more. As far as grand parenting goes, I think the biggest difference is that I didn't just assume there would be unconditional love the way I did with my kids. I thought more about the part I hope to play in her life and imagined the relationship I wanted to have with her. It's sort of given me a path that I didn't have with the kids. I was flying by the seat of my pants with them, particularly the oldest two. Your grandsons are really cute. They look happy:-)

Nicky said...

My parents owned a restaurant for over 40 years. When I was a kid, my brothers and I were under strict rule whenever we ate there. We were to sit quietly. We were not to run around. We were not to disturb the patrons. Under NO circumstances was there to be any horsing around.

My kids? My mom made them paper airplanes from the placemats on the table and encouraged them to send them flying across the restaurant to her.

I accept it as appropriate revenge for everything I did as a child. :-)

By the way, for what it's worth, I don't think any of the things you're doing with your g-boys is wrong.

Pickleope said...

How do you AVOID spoiling grandkids? Of course you feel the deep urge to bake cookies. Who wouldn't? It's like putting you in a room with a giant red button and nothing else, and telling you not to push it then leaving you alone for hours.
Also, you have so many awesome appliances that I might sit and stare at them for hours, not being able to tell where those end and the arcade begins (I assume it's in your basement).

Jo-Anne said...

I do not know why people want to have children in their 50's, but so get what you mean about parenting like a grandparent since I am a grandparent and I usually think it is not my job to be the big meanie, that is the job of the parent.

Luvbeingagrampa said...

LOVE the post and LOVE the pictures. Make me miss my "G" boys even more. And of course their parents and their grandma. Soon, as far as having more children at 56, yeah, weil, maybe not so much. But more "G"s ....SURE!!!!!

oldereyes said...

Absolutely love hearing about ... and seeing ... your grandkids. My daughter and her family aren't very careful about what the and the kids eat, so for the most part they eat better at our house. I think as grandparents, we know that every little thing doesn't matter as much as we thought it did when we were parents. We've seen some of our best ideas work out badly and some of our kids worst ideas work out OK. And at least speaking for me, I realize I didn't have as much control on how things turn out as I thought I did.


Cheryl P. said...

True, the answer is likely to be "yes" unless mommy is standing in ear shot.

Cheryl P. said...

This older mom is just getting so common. I can think of at least a dozen that I know very well.

Cheryl P. said...

I love how you call it like you feel it. That would be my reaction as well. If I had a kid at 56, I would be hauling my little one to preschool now, instead of putzing around deciding what to do with my time.

The lady I was talking about that is having twins, also has a 13 year old. The added fact she is going to be a single mom would have me diving over a cliff, if I were her.

Cheryl P. said...

The little guy does seem to be interested in all things mechanical....although I think the fascination for the oven had more to do with the cookies.

Grandparenting vs parenting can be two different things but I think part of it depends on how "hands on" you are with the kids. My grandma was still having babies when I was born so I have an aunt one day older than me and an uncle one year older than me. When my brother and I were at her house, I couldn't tell any difference between how she dealt with her kids vs. her grandkids. She was just another parent.

With my grandkids, they definitely know I am grandma but they consider my house another one of their houses. They have a bedroom here and recognize their stuff as THEIRS.

That is funny about your little grandaughter telling you it would be your secret. Little ones just don't understand being discreet yet. I find little kids hilarious.

Cheryl P. said...

Compared to the 20+ year apart siblings that a few of my friends have, 14 years doesn't seem like such a long span. However,.... My kids are 18 months apart so I can't imagine dealing with teens and toddlers at the same time. That would take some real "mothering" skills.

Funny that you would say your mom gave them Fruit Loops. I bought a box of FL a couple of days ago knowing that they would be staying with me this week. I don't give them coffee but in fairness that may be because I don't drink coffee.

For me the lines get a bit blurred between parenting and grandparenting. I lived with my grandparents, so I recognize when my grandkids are here that my job is to help parent...but clearly parenting-lite. They certainly can get by with more but I still would call them out on misbehaving. I love the phrase "it takes a village to raise a child." I don't know about having the whole village involved but I think all the extended family will help form the person that these little people will ultimately become.

I remember some of your posts where you talked about your mom's grandparenting style. Everyone should be so lucky as to have a grandmother like her.

Cheryl P. said...

I can't even imagine having a grownup child and a little one simultaneously.
My good friend that has a 9 year old and a 30 something year old, seems very youthful. She said the little one has kept her young. She has two grandchildren as well. What I have noticed in her, is her calmness this time around. When our kids were little together 30 years ago, she was like a hawk, keeping tabs on things. This time around, I hear a lot more "boys will be boys." This is usually after someone is crying but not quite clear what happened.

I totally agree with your comments about actually giving thought to the role you want to play in the life of a grandchild. With children you know you will be there day in and day out. With grandchildren there is an element of choosing how much time you will spend and what your role will be in their lives. My husband and I moved to Kansas City because I didn't want the "occasional" visits. I wanted to be part of their lives. I realize that a lot of people don't have this option to be close at hand, so that isn't being said in a judgmental way. Of course, there are also, the other grandparents that move to Maui because that is what they need/want but it still is a choice.

Don't most young parents fly by the seat of their pants. Hopefully it wasn't just the two of us.

Thanks..I think they are cute too and yes, they tend to be happy children. ...most of time...until they aren't. hahaha

Cheryl P. said...

That story about your mom is hilarious. Funny how times have changed from "kids are meant to be seen, not heard." I was strict with my own kids as well. I could take them anywhere and they would sit quietly. As a grandparent, I seemingly lose all control. Maybe I should be making more paper airplanes.

What is great about my situation is that I have a daughter and son-in-law that are great parents to their children and great children to their parents as well. Everything goes pretty smooth around here most of the time.

Cheryl P. said...

True...so very true. How would a person not want to spoil them? Very funny analogy. Of course, in my case, if I was put into a room with a red button, I would be conflicted over whether to push or not push.

So you have a thing for appliances too? Perhaps, my little grandson is part pickleope. Do pickleope's have a genetic propensity for appliance obsession?

No, the arcade pic was at Chuck E. Cheese, which is a whole other reason, I would never be considered a perfect grandparent. Lousy pizza but fun games. Plus you can pump in a hundred bucks worth of tokens into their machines, get enough tickets to trade in for a 6 inch plastic dinosaur.

That picture was pretty funny. When our little g-boy put in his first token he hit the jackpot. He got a 500 tickets. They just kept coming and coming.

Cheryl P. said...

Your perspective would be interesting though. You have your grandkids a lot of the time. Do you find you have to act more like a parent because in some ways you co-parent? I try not to be overly stern with my grandkids but because they are around here quite a bit, I also, have to have set rules...such as using manners and behaving nicely.

Cheryl P. said...

They miss you as well. Just think we could have a 4 or 5 year old by now if we would of had a baby at that woman's age. Did you have a wave of nausea just then?

Cheryl P. said...

That is one of the areas that I "give" on when they are at my house. Both families eat really healthy normally but if the boys are coming over for supper, they usually request something like "happy face" pancakes. I make pancakes and they get to decorate them. The rest of us will still have something like roasted chicken with broccoli but the kids will get their pancakes. Just yesterday, the older grandson said he liked getting dessert as a meal.

You are totally right about the ideas both good and bad as parents. Life would be easier with the advantage of foresight but we all did the best we knew. I am not complaining as things turned out pretty well but there are a number of things that I would do differently if I knew then, what I know now.

I am attaching one of last nights pancake faces. The turkey sausage link that used to be the mouth went MIA before I got the pic. BTW those are Scooby Doo graham crackers...not dog biscuits.

babs (beetle) said...

I don't have children so obviously I didn't have the luxury of grand children. I have noticed a difference in my family's children, with each generation, though.

Luvbeingagrampa said...

I love this, scooby doo eyebrows.....yummmmmmmmmmm

Luvbeingagrampa said...

I threw up a little in my mouth. By the way, I too am trying to eat healthy here in Germany. I bought 10 bags of candy and 5 bags of cookies at the grocery store after work....I plan to take them into the store for the team tomorrow. AND, I might add, I left the treats in the car and not in the motel. I said I was trying to eat healthy....but the temptation may have me sleep walking.

Cheryl P. said...

Originally, my thought was to incorporate how kids fit into families or groups in other ways but it got too confusing. My son claims his is going to be the "cool uncle" for these boys. Even without kids I am sure you have impacted some little one's lives. Probably more than a few with your puppets. ( I do have that right don't I that you used to do puppetry?)

Luvbeingagrampa said...

AND, we will take him to VEGAS BABY!!!!

Cheryl P. said...

Keep in mind...any pounds that go on...have to come off.

babs (beetle) said...

Yes, we did do puppets. I didn't realize what an influence I have been. My nephew has his own web design company and is a real high flyer. Apparently (he says) he was influenced by my art, when he was a kid and decided then that he wanted to 'follow in my footsteps'. Of course he far surpassed me, but it was nice to hear :) We never realize how we influence people, do we?
When I say, to Mo, that I will leave nothing behind, in the way of 'me', when I go, she always says I'll leave far more than I could ever guess, in all my nieces, nephews and friends that have come and gone throughout my life. I suppose she's right.

abeerfortheshower said...

I don't have children, but my parents are her age, and I couldn't imagine my mom having a baby. She's exhausted enough looking after my dogs for an afternoon. I think having to nurse a crying baby at 3 AM would be enough to make her drop dead on the spot.

Riot Kitty said...

What a couple of sweet little guys!!! I can't imagine kids at any age. The foster kiddo is already wearing me out, and he doesn't even live with me.

Jo-Anne said...

Yes I have discipline the grandkids at times and yeah I have often felt like mum as much as nan, in fact both Blain & Leo used to call me nannamum.

AletaObrien said...

My parents are big on the "ask forgiveness not permission" as grandparents… but this is their first grandchild and they never thought I would have children (neither did I)… so I can understand them spoiling my baby...and though I had mine late in life (age 43), it wasn't through IVF (though we considered it, but nixed the idea after the 30k cost and my issues with chronic high blood pressure).

I wonder if being a parent this late in life will affect how I will parent? I'm a first time mom so will this make it less of a "focus on the happiness"? Probably not. I want my son to have a happy childhood. It's what I had, fortunately! But I also had strict parents.. I grew up with old school values and I want my son to have this as well.

Ok, I have to admit, I think I'd stare at your appliances too - love them! :) Adorable pictures! Adorable boys and that last picture rocks!

Cheryl P. said...

From an adult's point of view it is disturbing to think about your mom having another kid. Still...a lot of 20 something year olds are getting new baby brothers and sisters.

I totally relate to the dogs tiring your mom out. I used to have a yellow Lab grand-dog that was still acted puppy-like at 10. Dogs want to go to the park, or throw the ball, or go for a walk. Exhausting. At least with kids they can go play by themselves or take a nap or something. Dixie, wouldn't of been content to watch cookies bake or the clothes tumbling, she would of been standing there with a ball in her mouth looking pitiful.

See...you would really be doing your mom a favor and make her life easier if you would just provide her with a little baby to hold and rock. Easy-peasy.

Cheryl P. said...

Thank you, RK.

I will say that kids could wear a person out but there is such joy in it. Yes, what you do sounds hard but thank god there are people like you that help shape lives. That has to be a very rewarding form of exhaustion.

Cheryl P. said...

I have been reading your blog long enough to realize there are some commonalities between our families in how we look at the world. Your mom and I would be good friends. Your little guy is such a blessing in your mom's life, how could she not want to immerse herself in all that fun.

By today's standards you aren't all that old of parent, though. Now that people aren't getting married until their mid-thirties a lot of women aren't starting their families until early 40's. I think the fact you got Gregory when you did is a blessing in many ways. The fact, you are settled in your life and secure allows you to have the luxury of devoting yourself to him.

I agree that it's wonderful to be in a position to "do" for children but the basic values have to be there as well. I think that is where a lot of people have lost their way...they confuse giving their kids things versus giving their kids a moral compass and value system.

It was a funny afternoon when we were baking the cookies, Because G-boy #2 was hanging around the kitchen waiting for them to be done, he took an interest in all the appliances. I got a few really funny pictures as he was exploring.

Cheryl P. said...

I am in total agreement with Mo on this one. I didn't grow up with a mom in my house and lived in a lot of places where women took time to help me learn about being a girl. The women that made the biggest impressions in my life weren't even related to me. One year I lived with a family that had 13 biological children but I learned more about being a mom from her than any other person I ever met.

You have probably profoundly touched lives that you aren't even aware of.

Cheryl P. said...

Maybe little B-man will start a new genre of art...pancake art.

Linda R. said...

Your grandparenting skills made me smile. You are a cool grandma. Not having kids and therefore not having grandkids, I can't say what I would or wouldn't do, but you seem to have it down pat. I do recall that as a kids, we had much more freedom and less pampering. We were allowed to run and fall down, to get up and run again. Not mollycoddled over every little scrape or scratch.

Jayne said...

I never wanted children, but I would have liked to have had grandchildren. All the perks without the pain. And yes, I realize how shallow that sounds. ;)

Cheryl P. said...

Thank you, Linda. I don't know if I am cool as much as I am so loving these guys that I wouldn't ever want to harm them. I think parenting overall, whether is as a parent or grandparent is a moment to moment process. No two days seem to be quite the same.
When I was raising my own kids there wasn't as much fear about stranger danger and such. Now I am fearful to not have the boys holding my hand when we are out. Of course, the older one is on the brink of not wanting to hold hands or be minded so closely. But you do make a valid point. There is a fine line between too over protective and/or being an alarmist and being too lax. Kids need to be taught a little street smarts and some ability to handle themselves. Kids should be able to pick themselves up when they fall.

Cheryl P. said...

I don't think that is shallow at all, just very honest. I always wanted babies....even as a little girl I wanted to grow up and be a mommy. I appreciate when women don't want children and I think everyone should follow their heart.

Agent 54 said...

I hope to meet my grand kids before they go off to college. I have to figure out how to make this blogging gig pay off.

Cheryl P. said...

Let's hope so...by the time they leave for college, grandkids have other things on their mind. Parents and grandparents, are their priority.

Let me know if you find a way to make blogging pay off. I would love to know how that would work.

meleahrebeccah said...

"she is having twins at 56 years old." THAT IS STONE COLD FUCK NUTS! Sorry man. But that is total insanity to me.

And also - your grandkids are ridiculously adorable!

Cheryl P. said...

I am with you on the 56 year old being out of her mind. I am just a few years younger than that and a day with little ones is exhausting. (if my daughter reads this comment...I mean "exhausting in the best possible way)....BUT it would kill me to have newborns all day every day. I mean that literally...kill me.

Thanks, Meleah, I, also think they are ridiculously adorable. They are pretty darn funny as well.

meleahrebeccah said...

It would kill me too ­ and I'm only 39.