I’m an actively participating Grandma, taking care of a 4 and 3 year old three days a week. We have a routine. I know them so well that I can anticipate when the 3 year old is tired, when the 4 year old is hungry. I know what they like to eat and what they won’t touch and I rest when they watch Paw Patrol.
But, this week, I headed to the home of my two older grandchildren who are 7 and 5. They moved to a new home during the pandemic so I haven’t traveled to them very often. Now, though, I am fully vaccinated and so are their parents. Plus, it’s their 10 year wedding anniversary and they really want a vacation!
So, this is the first of, maybe, a few blogs where I chronicle my week of Grandma In Charge
The parents left before sunrise, headed to the airport for a much deserved vacation. Grandma (that’s me) is in charge of their two kids for the next 10 days. I was given a folder of important information: hospitals, urgent care, neighbor’s phone numbers, addresses to the kids schools, and the really important places – Target and Red Robin! Then there was a page of all the things that were to occur along with when and where I needed to be to make sure it all happened.
I woke up at 5:30. The folder had erupted with more post-it notes on the top; several more things that had been forgotten. I was a little anxious before but now I woke up thinking “Can I do this?” I’d taken care of them before but this time…well they are older and this is now a new city, a new house, new everything!
I headed downstairs, unearthed my coffee pot, filters, and ground beans. No matter what I would have coffee!
The five year old was downstairs at 6:00, looking around a little sad to see just me but then there came that smile! “Grandma, can I do my IPAD now?”
Well, so that was easy!
The seven year old joined her around 6:30. He just simply headed to his sister with his own IPAD. But then…
“Grandma, I’m hungry!”
“What do you want?”
You know even I can open a packet of instant oatmeal and have it ready in 1.5 microwave minutes. But then he said,
“It’s too hot!”
Well no kidding! “It will cool”.
“But we put an ice cube in it and swish it around.”
Well, that’s a novel idea. So I followed his direction. One ice cube coming up. But then, he thought that one wasn’t enough and he said that he usually had two packets of oatmeal not just one. So off I went for a couple more ice cubes and another packet of delicious ready in no time breakfast in a bowl. I put both together in one bowl, added more ice cubes to cool it off quickly and then went to refill my coffee cup.
It’s nearly time to test my second challenge; getting them dressed and out the door in 15 minutes.
“Are you done with your oatmeal?”
“It’s too wet!”
“Well, it’s time to get your sister to school.”
“But my oatmeal is too wet!”
It was too late to fix that so I handed him a cheese stick and said,
“Here, eat this, then go brush your teeth.”
On to the third challenge: Get the 5 year old to school. So, manned with my sheets of paper with addresses and my phone, we headed to the door.
“Got your face mask? Got your sunscreen on? Seat belts fastened?” We were ready to fire up the engine. GPS, take me to our first stop of the day. Anybody nervous? The kids didn’t give my shaking hands one second worth of notice. They trusted me! That was all I needed. Let’s do this!
It used to be that you could drive up to a school, walk to the door, and be buzzed in. Now, someone meets us outside, takes our temperature, then opens the door. “You can take her to her classroom but do not go inside.” Okay. Got it.
This was the 5 year olds graduation day from preschool so her brother and I were in charge of helping her celebrate her big day. So, GPS, take us home. We have a banner to make and balloons to blow up. By 10:00 the Congratulations Banner was complete, we located some tape and we headed back to decorate a Parking Stall. The ceremony would take place outside.
I saw some cars come with balloon bouquets and bubble machines. We were going to have to blow up a lot of balloons!
After a very quick, six child pomp and circumstance and ceremony (because of the heat), I had taken pictures of the graduate; alone, with her friends, her teacher, her brother, and me. We delivered her back to her classroom with congratulations, hugs and kisses and then returned to the car.
GPS, take us to brother’s school. He was hoping to make it back in time for morning recess. We made it in time for lunch. Protocol at his school involved scanning a barcode onto my phone, putting in his ID number, answering four Covid questions and being ready to show the “Approved” checkmark on my phone so he could proceed through the door but… not until someone took our temperatures again. Then he was escorted from there. Sorry Grandma, you can’t come in.
It’s Not Noon Yet!
And because I was so overwhelmed with how well I had navigated all of this first morning’s itinerary, I thought I’d wonder around the parking lot looking for the car. Now what kind of car does my daughter have? Where did I park it?
It wasn’t even noon yet on my first day of Grandma in Charge.