HomeLifeWhy grandpa skipped up the hall

Why grandpa skipped up the hall

Steve Perkin has been a grandparent for nearly four years and has learnt a lot in that time. He presents the good and the not-so-good aspects of the role. He hopes his – sometimes tongue-in-cheek – observations might help you.

They go home.
The level of enjoyment you get waving the grandkids goodbye is directly linked to how long they stayed. If it was only an hour or two, you may not even need to head straight to the liquor cabinet. If it was all day or, god forbid, overnight, you will close the door on them and somehow find the energy to do cartwheels up the hallway.

Those moments when they turn to you for support.
It’s very warming when they come and take your hand because something has scared or upset them. The reality is, however, that they’re only doing this because there’s nobody else around that they know. Advice? Convince yourself that they love you.

They keep you young.
People say this because the alternative is death by exhaustion. Advice? A puppy will keep you young and you can legally tie them up.

They have afternoon naps.
They sleep, you recharge. When they grow out of this stage, it’s the worst day of your life. Advice? Don’t put their cot anywhere near the front door because, as sure as eggs, somebody will ring the doorbell the minute they nod off.

Rediscovering your neighbourhood.
A walk in the pram is a lot easier than getting down on the floor and playing with a train set. And you get exercise. Advice? Don’t walk near a playground because that introduces a whole new set of challenges.

Changing a dirty nappy.
You might think this should have been listed under ‘The Bad’ but, if you’re a male, you can make this work to your advantage. You will earn respect, and maybe even some sympathy, from your wife, while the kid’s parents will brag to the other set of grandparents about your bravery. Advice? If you change a pooey nappy, make sure you tell the world. Don’t keep it to yourself.

Reading to them.
This is good because you know where they are. It can be bad, however, if they keep coming to you with the same book, time and time again. Advice? Op shops sell books for a couple of dollars, so stock up.

Investing in a trampoline is smart. The modern ones have side walls, so the kid can’t fall on the ground. Advice? Blindfold them when you put them in. Then they won’t know how to get out.

Living life below your knees.

Having grandkids around means bending down to pick them up, bending down to pick up after them, bending down to find their toys, bending down because you’ve bent down so many times you can’t straighten up. Advice? Enroll in yoga classes.

Giving them something they’re not allowed to have.
Don’t feed them sugar if their mother has a ban on sugar. The kid goes loopy and Mum, when she finds out, goes off her head. Advice? Get a list of no-nos before the kid sets foot in the door.

Baby-proof your home.
Good luck with this one. If there’s a step, they’ll fall down it. If there’s a button, they’ll push it. If there’s a remote control, they’ll lose it. If there’s a cupboard, they’ll get in it. If there’s a dog biscuit lying around, they’ll eat it. If your glasses are reachable, they’ll break them. If a door can be opened, they’ll go through it. If there’s a doggy door, they’ll get stuck in it. Advice? Playpens are good because they limit their mobility to a few square feet.

Saying: “No, I don’t want them.”
The more you make yourself available to sit, the more you’ll get asked, but saying you don’t want them makes you look like the grandparent from hell. Advice? Lie. Find some reason to make yourself unavailable. Golf’s a good one because it takes so long. 

Modern prams require university degrees to erect and dismantle. The more costly the pram, the more time you’re going to spend trying to work it out. Advice? Get the parents to take a video of how the pram is put together, because the alternative is to carry the kid and you don’t want that. Store this video with the one showing you how to put up and dismantle the portable cot.

The money you waste on toys.
Every grandparent does it. In every grandparent’s house you’ll find the useless dolls’ house, the unridden bike, the unloved doll, the football jumper they won’t wear, the footy they won’t kick, the plastic golf club they swung once. Advice? Buy some cardboard boxes. Kids love them.

Do you relate to Steve’s observations? Do you have some of your own?

Related articles:
Grandparents feeling the pressure
Support for grandparents
Grandparents’ funnies

YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices Writershttp://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/
YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.
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