In four days, I only forgot to go potty once, wear my coat once, and fasten my seat belt twice. That’s a great record for this seventy-three year-old Grandma who, along with an older yet Grandpa, just completed our annual four-day babysitting stint with our youngest grandchildren, ages five and four.
But, because I could now really empathize with our daughter about how a mom can get absentminded with kids’ minutiae on her mind, I decided not to belabor what I forgot (no one got injured, so what’s the use), but instead to take pride in my accomplishments. So I made a list of crucial things that I remembered:
1. Tell the kids to go potty before every outing.
2. Tell the kids to put on their coats and hats before every outing.
3. Tell the kids to fasten their car seat belts.
I also remembered:
4. To take the right bag to every outing—the blue one for play time at the fitness center (holding a clean set clothes for each, plus disposable pull-ups no one uses anymore), the black and white one for going everywhere else (holding a clean set of clothes for each, plus pennies for a gizmo at the zoo and quarters for games at the pizza place), and a pink back pack for prekindergarten class.
5. How to fill and turn on two vaporizers every night. And turn off in the morning.
6. How to turn on (and off) two different complicated radios that play CDs to lull the little ones to sleep.
7. Katelyn and Kenzie and “blankie” have to go to bed with said children, meaning they have to be found long before the crucial hour when Grandma says, “Bedtime.”
8. Which one likes apple juice, which one likes milk, which one likes meat and cheese, and which one likes peanut butter and jelly.
9. How to work a washer and dryer that require a “press and hold 3 seconds” button for them to start (only after, of course, they didn’t start a few times).
10. To check the wall calendar each morning to see who gets to be “first” all day, the first to open the garage door, the door to the fitness center, the door to school, the door to church, the door to the bathroom, the door to a restaurant (both coming and leaving). And the first to get out the chips from the cupboard.
If I forgot the number 10, there’s no way I could fairly referee the squabble that would ensue if the “wrong” child got to a door first or the chips first.
One of the memories I took home: I was sitting on the upper deck of their home, watching the kids at the swing set on the far end of the back yard, when I heard our granddaughter, pumping herself high on the swing, start to sing away in a high sweet voice, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world…”
Yes, indeed. So do grandparents.