Your Kid With You Vs. Your Kid With Their Grandparents
Grandparents have it pretty damn good. They get to be the heroes, because they're constantly spoiling your kids with snacks, sweets, gifts, late bedtimes, and basically all the things you use in order to instill some discipline. Your kids hardly ever complain about them, because all they do is say "yes" and, well, kids dig that. Your kid with you vs with their grandparents is like the equivalent of giving you the choice between your workout buddy and/or personal trainer, and the friend who brings you that extra cupcake (in the flavor you wanted) at the office.
Sometimes, when I stop and think about it, I can't wait to be a grandparent. My parents get to experience the "best" of my kids, without having to deal with any of the tantrums (or other unpleasantries). I'm pretty sure my mom has only changed one diaper in the five and a half years that I've had two children. In fact, leading up to their arrival on the days when my parents come over, my kids ask me every five minutes,"When are Mimi and Pops gonna be here?" Then, when they arrive, it's like freaking Paw Patrol characters have shown up on our doorstep. Ugh.
When I come home at the end of the day, occasionally my kid will look up from his iPad while eating dinner and give me a, "Hey, mom." It's just different with grandparents, I guess (and a little unfair if you ask me and considering all the things we parents do for our children on a freakin' daily basis, but whatever).
Goodbye Scheduled Naps, Hello "They Didn't Seem Tired So I Didn't Give Them A Nap"
Your kid has been up since the break of dawn and you've told your parents that it is of utmost importance that they nap, otherwise a meltdown is inevitable. You come home, and your kid is running around the house like they've freebased a bowl of sugar (which is not so unlikely, knowing your mom). "The little munchkin just didn't seem tired!" your parents say with a shrug as they put on their jackets to leave you with what you know is going to be quite an eventful rest of the evening.
When my kids were still at the age where a nap was a do-or-die situation, and I asked my parents to make sure that they got a nap in, I honestly don't know why I even bothered. I knew it was a request that was falling on deaf ears. I believe there may have been a halfhearted attempt at putting my child in his room, but it almost always was done without any thought. Ugh.
Goodbye Dinner, Hello Bag Of Chips
You specifically asked your parents to give your child the balanced meal that you all but prepared before their visit (or that you brought to their house for the sleepover) to guarantee your child would have a real dinner. Somehow, however, your kid ended up having for dinner was three bowls of some salt-covered chip. Why?
"He was hungry earlier, so I gave him a snack." Not cool, Grandma. Not cool.
Goodbye Portions, Hello Two Helpings Of Dessert
Grandparents are notorious for doling out heaping amounts of candy and dessert to their grandchildren. It is something at which they excel. Your kids know that. with you, they are lucky if they get a handful of chocolate chips after dinner or one cookie. But with Grandma? Whoo boy. Get ready for a tour of Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory courtesy of all the crap she's brought along in her purse (not to mention the cupcakes she's brought from home).
Goodbye Bedtime, Hello "They'll Fall Asleep When They're Tired"
You might have worked really hard to establish this thing called a "bedtime routine" with your kid. In fact, just one deviation from the routine can set the whole thing out of whack resulting in questions like, "But last night you let me watch a The Backyardigans before bed, so why can't I do it tonight?"
So, when Grandma and Grandpa babysit for a night you beg them to please, please do bedtime at the usual time and do the usual bedtime things. You say this knowing that (of course) they're going to go a little rogue and probably throw in some fun stuff, like a pre-bedtime dance party and, yeah, probably some TV. Keeping up the bedtime routine when grandparents are present is an exercise in futility, I'm afraid.
Goodbye Adorable Outfit, Hello Outdated '90s Attire
With you, you always make sure your kid looks well, pretty cute – that is, until he's smeared Nutella all over his deliberately washed-out looking rocker shirt and skinny jeans. However, when his grandparents have the opportunity to dress him, they somehow find the one horrible outfit that makes your kid look like one of the mean preppy kids from Saved By The Bell that you've shoved toward the back of the drawer because you felt too guilty to give it away.
When my mom gives my kids a bath, she always brushes their hair into this awful comb-back thing. It brings back memories of my younger brother from those awkward sibling glamour shots we did in the '90s, that he can't resist posting of the two of us on Facebook once a year on National Sibling Day.
Goodbye Normal Day, Hello "Today Is Clearly My Birthday Because Look At All The Presents"
Grandparents seem to think that it is their God-given right to spoil their grandchildren with gifts at every visit, and sometimes in between visits. You may have had lengthy conversations with your child about how gifts are for special occasions, like birthdays and holidays, and sometimes very good behavior. Then "The Grandparents" come to visit, bearing gifts for absolutely no reason other than the occasion of showing up at your door.
My mom loves bringing presents for my children at every visit. The problem? She visits us almost every week. So my whole spiel to them about how "presents are only for holidays and birthdays" became kind of a joke. It got to the point that my children started to expect that anyone who entered our threshold would come bearing gifts. Even to the guy delivering our dinner, my son would ask, "Hey, did you bring me a present?" Ugh.
Goodbye Rational Thought, Hello "Your Child Is Clearly Too Hot, Too Cold, And/Or Sick"
You might live with this little person every hour of every day, but you probably haven't learned to notice the signs of his physical distress yet. Never fear! Grandma can spot the early signs of frostbite from like a mile away – and she's somehow also an expert at detecting the particular strain that comes from being cold indoors.
Same goes for when your kid is thirsty, or cold, or tired, or hungry, or about to suffer heatstroke (which kids are prone to suffer around grandparents when you've forgotten to put a wide-brimmed hat on them, or aren't following them around the park with a large parasol).
Goodbye Healthy Sense Of Self, Hello "Your Kid Is A Genius"
You might see your kid singing the ABC's on the potty as nothing more than a developmentally average toddler doing his thing. Sure, it's cute, and you might snap a pic to show your husband later. But Grandpa? yeah, Grandpa's got the whole thing on video and is about to post it on "The Facebook" before you grab the phone out of his hands and tell him that you're not down with everyone in the world seeing your naked child on the potty, thanks.
Grandpa means well, and you appreciate how in love he is with your child and the fact that your parents think that every move your child makes is the stuff of genius. You just like, don't think Facebook needs to know about it. And also, no one else really cares (except maybe their grandparent friends, but they probably just want to talk about their own genius grandkids anyway).