Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Land of 1,000 Grandparents

Amidst the hubbub of the holidays, the grandparents descended.

Little Dude is the only grandchild of five grandparents - that makes for one loved little boy.  All of the grandparents are fascinated by him.

He is equally "into" this grandparents.  In fact, when the grandparents aren't around, Little Dude asks for them daily. We go from door to door, proving that they are not in fact waiting silently outside until someone finds them.

Luckily, the grandparents did eventually appear at the door, because in our infinite wisdom, we rented a house on the ocean with stairs.  My son is endlessly entertained by stairs. "Up!" "Down!" Did I mention the stairs were hardwood and steep? And that he still sleeps in footie pajamas that can cause a toddler (or, let's face it, a full grown human) to tumble down the stairs at any, panic-stricken moment?

Had it just been my husband and me, I think we would have gone batty trying to help our son expend all of his energy as he frolicked around the house giggling like a madman.

Instead, we had two very important people in the life of a frolicking toddler: two grandfathers.

My dad is Pappy. My husband's father is Grandpa. Together, they are known as Boppy.  Our son would look in between them, back and forth, "Boppy!" "mmmmBoppy!" He's far too young for Hanson, so I know the "mmmmm" was just his thinking noise.

The grandmas loved, cuddled, and read, but the grandpas...oh....they swung, chased, threw, tickled, then chased some more.  The manic giggles of a toddler filled the house. And he took three hour naps and slept all night. As Little Dude likes to say, "More!"

Little Dude would start things off by closing one of the doors, screaming, "Byeeeeee" as he did, then staring back at us through the glass, or continuing to yell until someone responded.  Apparently a "bye" must be returned. He opened and closed doors for minutes - anything that entertains him for more than 60 seconds is a winner.  Best of all, he was willing to spread the love and play with any of the six adults in the house.

In the land of 1,000 (okay, four) grandparents, the care for one jumping, skipping, door closing, stair climbing boy is not only possible but fun. My husband cooked. I took photos. We left our exhausted-from-all-of-the-playing, napping son in a house of four exhausted-from-all-the-playing, napping grandparents so we could hike together in the woods.  And when our son wanted only us, we weren't ravaged with exhaustion from having done of all of the chasing, swinging, throwing, and tickling, as well as all of the cooking, cleaning, laundry folding, and feeding the toddler for the last several hours.

Having the grandparents around to share some of the play time, made me feel like a better parent. When I was fresh and energetic, I could easily give Little Dude my full attention, without having to mentally shove away the list of all of the things to be done.  Being able to trust that the grandparents enjoyed the time they were spending with their grandson meant that I could be a better wife and focus on my husband when we had time together.

How do families do this alone? I have endless respect for single parents. I know I would not be the same mother if I my husband weren't here, by my side, being a father, and I also see so clearly now that having a solid unit of family around makes everyone happier.

Now that the grandparents are no longer around 24/7, our son melts down before bedtime and can only be comforted by looking at all of the pictures of his grandparents. I cannot magically make Boppy come out of the pictures, but oh, I wish I could.

I'm thinking of starting a family compound. Let's win the lottery, or write bestselling books, or just magically come into millions of dollars, then we can all live together in The Land of 1,000 Grandparents (we can throw in some aunts, uncles, and cousins, too). Who's with me? "Peese?"

For now, all I can do is count down the days until we travel across country to plop ourselves right down in The Land of 1,000 Grandparents, Two Aunts, Several Cousins, Friends That are Family...




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