Sometimes it takes a village (or at least ALL the grandparents) to raise a child. Last month, Gene and I went to Minnesota to care for our two grandchildren while our third grandchild was born. Ori, who is 2.5 years old, believed for a long time that we lived in the cell phone, and he liked it that way. Covid and a house in Texas prevented us from visiting him often. So he was a bit slow to warm to our in-person presence – as in he wouldn’t allow us to hold him. As time for the new baby approached, we all started to get a little worried as to how our babysitting would work out.
On a “pre-baby” visit, Ori seemed to warm to Gene, though still not letting Gene pick him up. He would, sometimes, allow Gene to change his diaper, but I always got a big “NO” if I tried. Don’t get me wrong. There are some benefits to not being allowed to change a diaper. I didn’t push that one too hard. Gene probably read 30 books a day to Ori, sitting in the designated (by Ori) chair, while Ori sat in a chair next to him. I grabbed a photo of Gene sitting on an ottoman with Ori at his back one day. This was progress.
So as the due date arrived, Grandma Ann graciously offered to come help us watch the two kids. Our thinking was that if we outnumbered them (the kids), we might have a chance. Gene read, and read, and read some more, keeping Ori entertained. Ori kept saying, “Mama and Papa at the hospital helping the baby.” The kids were dressed by noon. That’s a win in itself. We survived lunch (if you want details, check my earlier post about the rocket pockets). Grandma Ann distracted one grandchild while we distracted the other. Grandpa cooked dinner (drive-thru). Grandpa and Grandma Ann changed diapers. This team effort thing was working out. Baby was delivered safely. Mom and baby were great. We thought we had it in the bag.
And then it was bedtime. Grandpa got Ori in PJs. We’re not sure if they were really PJs, but they fit and he was covered. And then it was time for stories and tucking in. Gene asked Ori who he wanted to do bedtime. Ori immediately said, “Grandma.” I stand up with a big surprised smile on my face and he yells, “Noooooo. Not that Grandma. I want THAT Grandma (pointing at Grandma Ann).” We all laughed. So I have a new title, Not That Grandma.
By the time Mama, Papa, and Oona came home a couple of days later, Ori was happy to have us stay and play, and of course read stories. All the grandmas played nice and didn’t shove or elbow their way into holding the baby first. (We showed great restraint!) Both Tavi and Ori were fascinated by baby Oona.
Once it became clear to Ori that we were not kidnappers and that our stay was temporary, he started saying, “You go home?” To which we replied “yes”. Then he would follow up with, “You come back?” To which we of course enthusiastically replied “yes, definitely!” And when the two weeks wound down and we packed our bags to go . . . . Ori kept saying he would miss us SOOOOO much.
I may have been in need of some positive reinforcement, because on our last day, after teaching Tavi how to make cucumber salad, I asked her, “Am I the best Grandma ever?” She immediately replied, “No, Grandma Mona is because she has the word “Great” in her name!” Don’t ask a five year old a question if you don’t want the answer. You are welcome Great Grandma Mona! For now, there is Great Grandma Mona, Grandma Ann, and Not that Grandma.