Once again, Super Grampa to rescue

When my last job ended, I told all my co-workers that my plans for the future basically involved babysitting my grandchildren. It would be great.

“How hard can it be?” I said. “All they do is sleep, eat and poop. And,” I added, “my husband can do it, how hard can it be?”

As some of my readers may know, in the distant past, I had my problems with the baby thing. I mean, their heads are floppy. If you don’t pick them up right, you might hurt them … which is bad. And they cry. And poop. Still, things had been looking up since my grandson developed adequate head control, and early on, I was confident.

“I think I’m catching on to this baby stuff,” I said triumphantly.

“Ummm….” my husband replied cautiously.

“My superpower is putting Max to sleep,” I declared.

It started one day when my daughter threw him into my lap, told me to rock him to sleep, and left to take a nap herself. It was a moment of truth. I held that crying baby, looked into his eyes, and told him that, frankly, unless he went to sleep immediately, I was going to hold him tight and give him a seminar on the Regulation C Federal Examination Procedures pertaining to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). I would discuss statistical confidence levels, the appropriate sample size for the number of lines on the Loan Application Registers, as well as what distinguished a key field as opposed to a non-key field, followed by a discussion of the Civil Money Penalties for non-compliance.

He snored. Ever since then, all I’ve needed to do is whisper “HMDA” and he’s out. I love having a secret threat.

“Wait a minute love…” my husband commented. “Babies sleep, eat and poop … putting them to sleep is only one-third of the job.”

“What!? I can change diapers. I’ve done it several times …”

“And eating?”

I didn’t want to talk about that. After all, it was easy when I was a mother. Pick up the baby, pick up my shirt, and its done. I may even have gloated once or twice to my husband. Those days, when it came to feeding the baby, I was the man.

But these days, its different, And, my grandson, Max, is not helping.

My daughter works three days a week and is hyper-organized. She dates everything. When she drops her son off, she also drops off a number of bottles, and gives us a print-out pertaining to feeding and sleeping. She repeats the written instructions verbally. We know when we should feed the baby, how long we can leave a bottle out, and exactly how to warm it.

The only thing her instructions don’t detail is how to get her son to take the bottle.

The books say that babies won’t ever starve. They suggest just waiting it out.

Right. Have they ever tried to give a bottle to a red-faced shrieking child? One whose head is flailing from side to side while his arms and legs pump furiously. A child that is clearly hating on you?

“He doesn’t want to eat … He doesn’t like me …” I sniffled.

Now, my daughter’s child has an angelic face, and is very social. He smiles like it’s his job. His head has that intoxicating baby smell.

But the minute I try to feed him he becomes the demon child.

When I was working, my husband was the main babysitter for my older grandson. But these days, he ‘lets’ me do some of it. Then he has the gall to go off and help a client or he goes off and does some work up at the church and I have the baby.

Fortunately, he’s never far from home whenever I text:

“Max won’t eat. HELP!”

Has anyone else noticed? Babies are very opinionated. They don’t pay taxes, they won’t mow the lawn, they don’t use the toilet, yet feel entitled to go on a hunger strike just because their meal doesn’t come in the proper packaging. To make everything more frustrating, Max is not consistent in his refusal. Sometimes, and for some people, he takes the bottle just fine.

Fortunately, it’s not just me that he hates.

My son and his wife are my daughter’s Monday babysitter (this is a complicated family arrangement), and last Monday, they called me.

“Max won’t eat. Help … maybe?” I could hear frantic crying in the background. “Your bottles are different than ours …” my son said hopefully. “Can we come over and see if they work?”

We weren’t optimistic. But, we switched bottles. My son tried to feed Max. Then his wife tried. Then I tried.

Demon child would look longingly at the bottle, then, when I put it in his mouth, he would desperately fling his head side to side, while kicking and flailing his arms. Whenever he could catch his breath, he cried piteously.

We walked around the house, and tried to pretend that everything was fine for my older grandson, who was, in fact, happily engaged in eating his current favorite food, toasted cheese sandwiches, and not really worried about Max at all.

My son and his wife hugged each other outside the house, came in and declared: “We should call Tracy at work.”

That is why I did something that I am sure that I will regret for a long, long time.

I texted my husband.

“Max won’t eat. HELP!”

I didn’t tell my son and his wife what I did.

Instead, I said innocently. “Oh, before you call Tracy, your father just called to say he was on his way home … maybe we should hold off a few minutes and see if he can get the baby to take the bottle …”

Within minutes of his arrival, baby Max was in a milk coma.

Perhaps Grampa has his own secret threats. My observation (shhh) is that his secret involved a rocking chair, swaddling and a lullaby. And maybe a bit of confidence.

None of us us had to make an emergency phone call to the mother at work, but … I was not happy.

“What have I done now?!” I cried to my son and his wife. “He is never going to let any of us live this down”

“Max,” I said sternly. “I sure hope you appreciate this.”

Max didn’t reply. He was asleep. A small trickle of milk dripped from a half smile.

Grampa had a smirk. Plus he had donned a cape, leggings and a red and blue shirt.

He walked around the house with his chest puffed up, chanting.

“When the baby cries, and he won’t eat, who ya gonna call? Call Grampa!!”

I think I might need to find an easier, and less humiliating, job.

2 comments to Once again, Super Grampa to rescue

  • Katie (Wilcox) Hall

    Oh CarolAnne…I am laughing SO hard! Great article ๐Ÿ™‚ I sent to my
    Mom and Karen (Chris’s mom) to make them smile/laugh too!!!

    Ps. Mom has a new email….AnnWilcox1953@yahoo.com
    Long long story but she is well ๐Ÿ™‚ in Denver now visiting her granddaughter
    Olivia :))

    Love to all!

  • It never fails! those kids just KNOW whose buttons they can tweak! Wonderful article, and thanks for sharing. Maybe I should paint a blue cape???

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