Sunday, November 18, 2012

One Baby Boomer’s Guide to Today’s Kids

A week with the grandchildren is an exhausting feat for a sixty-something. It is a lot of fun, but I can totally understand why God in his wisdom ensured young women give birth while older women cannot (until recently, but we are not going there…)

As more of the children of my generation, the baby boomers, marry and start families, it is our pleasure and one of life’s greatest gifts to spend time with the grandkids. It is also a great joy and delight to hand them over to their parents and quickly exit, fading away (temporarily) as we return to our quiet home and slower pace of life.

Here are a few things I learned during recent occasions with the little darlings, and a few tips I picked up along the way.

Kids say the darndest things (remember the old Art Linkletter show? Well, he was right).
A short clip with Art Linkletter, Bill Cosby, and kids.

Kids rule. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

Kids can often sleep anywhere, anytime, take a short nap, wake up and be ready to go full speed ahead. Grandparents, on the other hand, rarely catch a nap and, as the day wears on, slow down.

For those with grandkids in diapers, do not forget a stocked diaper bag whenever leaving the house. When the diaper bag is left home, it will be needed. When the bag is taken and not replenished before leaving, the much-needed diaper and/or wipes will be missing.

Kids want to eat whatever is NOT in the house.

Kids will eat a favorite food until you prepare it or order it at a restaurant. Then it becomes yucky.

Kids will be starved until you prepare a meal or order food in a restaurant. Suddenly they are no longer hungry.

Woe to the grandparent not prepared with snacks when in the car, on a walk, at the playground, or anyplace else.
Ice cream is one of the major food groups - according to kids.

Dessert is essential and an important food group. Favorite foods in this category include Mom’s chocolate chip cookies and ice cream. The two other major food groups are bread and peanut butter. (Forget about government guidelines.) The minor food groups are: M&Ms, dipping sauces (ketchup, ranch dressing, maple syrup, etc.) and drinks (milk, water, apple juice, hot chocolate). Occasionally the kids feast on the minor food group called adult real food, such as chicken, cheese, lettuce, fruit, and veggies. 

The kids are well educated in the various uses of your iPhone or smartphone and can teach you how to take pictures, view the pictures, download songs and games, play the songs and games, change settings, etc. Be sure, however, they download only free stuff!

The kids will go to great lengths to tell you about their interests and activities, some of which you will have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. Try to look intelligent and occasionally nod your head in agreement.

The kids can teach you how to use the various remote control devices in their homes. There will be at least two needed to watch TV or movies.

Before visiting it might be a good idea to become familiar with the characters on today’s TV shows. Ask Mom and Dad what the kids watch, and view YouTube videos. There is the usual Sesame Street gang, Dora and Diego the explorers, Caillou, Blues Clues, the Disney gang, and the action-packed stuff older kids watch…the list goes on and on. Personally I do not like the action-packed stuff the eight-year-old watches, but I am just an old fuddy-duddy grandma.

Kids learn very quickly they can watch whatever they want, whenever they want (or whenever Mom and Dad allows), thanks to recording devices and On Demand. When they visit, if you do not have the capability, good luck trying to explain to your toddler grandkids why they cannot watch a particular show whenever they want.

If it rains kids will not want to wear their raincoats and boots. If it is hot they will want to wear winter boots. If it snows they will insist on wearing crocs without socks, or sneakers. In any weather they will want to go outside barefoot. They will insist on wearing the jacket, sweater or coat that cannot be found.

Whining is an acceptable communications tool.

Crying is also a suitable communications method of obtaining what one wants.

Stamping of feet is another method used to garner attention.

Grandparents – if they have the stamina - can ignore the whining, crying, and stamping of feet until Mom and Dad appear on the scene, unless of course it is the grandparents whining, crying and stamping feet.

Whatever clothes Grandma or Grandpa choose, the kids will not want to wear that particular outfit that day. Tell them Mom chose the clothes and you might get them to put them on.
Having a pet, such as a dog around, provides added noise and general chaos to the mix.
But Charlie, although old, is so cute and lovable!
If they need a bath they will not want one. If you are tired and want them in bed, they will insist on a bath.

Forget about getting anything done once the kids are in bed. You will be too exhausted.

Go to bed early so you can wake at the crack of dawn. No alarms needed. The kids will make sure you are up and ready for another fun-filled, busy day. Forget about enjoying a leisurely cup of coffee, reading the paper, catching up on your email, or enjoying a long, hot shower. At least until the kids are once again in the full-time care of their younger, vibrant, energetic parents.
Keep the kids busy...or else.


  1. I hear you!

    Why do we subject ourselves to this?

  2. You are 100% correct in your description. It is exhausting, but fun. And that going home part!

  3. Are our grandchildren related?? Oh, fun but exhausting. You have the memories to sustain you for a while. But like childbirth, you forget and go back again for some more 'fun'!!!

  4. Best Grandma Ever! They already are asking when you're coming back...