The Benefit of Hindsight

25 Mar

I dropped my parents off at the airport last night. Hugs and “see you soon’s” were exchanged but ‘soon’ is a relative concept these days. Max has woken up each and every morning and ran into their bedroom, announcing his arrival by jumping on and snuggling up. This morning he ran in with anticipation and excitement etched across his face only to find my lazy arse sprawled across the bed. The only clue they were here is a pair of my Dad’s boxer shorts that I found at the bottom of our bed which I am thinking of turning into a comfort blanket for Max. “Nanny? Nandad?” Ouch…..parenting can hurt at times.

They have delighted in getting acquainted with their only grandchild witnessing the bits you don’t get from Skype; how smooth his skin feels, his habit of summarising his day from the comfort of his cot, the way his tongue curls at the edges when he is concentrating, his rapidly escalating vocabulary and so on. Max has had two new play mates who have turned up from nowhere and loved him like Mummy and Daddy. For the past 3 weeks I’ve barely had a look in, I’ve felt unusually redundant sitting back with pride as my parents get a ‘turn’ on Max.

To Max’s great delight my Dad, or “Pappy Baa Baa” as he has been cruelly dubbed by Max in reference to his sheep like bouffant, has spent the entire three weeks talking, gesticulating and generally taking on the persona of Thomas and his steamy friends, he does a particularly good Fat Controller. As endearing as this may sound, to be in the company of a 60 something walking talking Thomas for three weeks has been testing and required a colossal display of self control to stop myself from derailing his engine. “Come on Thomas follow me through the tunnel it’s time our engine had a good wash at the station” and such like.
My Mum has turned back the clock and rediscovered her inner-mumsy. Nappies have been dealt with with the care and attention usually reserved for a nervous butler charged with changing the Queen’s undies, “this wasn’t in the job description Ma’am”. Meals have been meticulously prepped like she is Head Chef at the latest hippest 3 hat restaurant. Books have been brought to life in a fashion that would make JK Rowling feel a little inadequate. Presents have been extravagantly lavished at Max’s feet making Santa look like a miserly old git.

In short they’ve done what Grandparents are supposed to do and spoilt Max rotten. Is it me or do Grandparents know something that parents don’t? The benefit of hindsight seems to have served as a reminder that little people are hard to beat (and I’m not talking about physically attacking elusive dwarves). I often get caught up in the perceived stresses of the daily routine and watching Nanny and Pappy Baa Baa was another reminder to make the most of Max and enjoy every moment for what it is.

If there are any Grandparents in the Bayside area of Melbourne that would like a weekend grandchild please do get in touch with references, crime checks and explain in less than 30 words what makes you Grand.


25 Responses to “The Benefit of Hindsight”

  1. Karen Reid March 26, 2013 at 12:08 am #

    Grandparents know that they can do these things & handle tantrums with ease because they know they can give them back to mum & dad.

    • daddownunder March 26, 2013 at 12:12 am #

      Thats so cynical Karen : ) Yes okay that probably does help too

  2. coloursofsunset March 26, 2013 at 12:26 am #

    how heart breaking for him to look for them and they’re not there 😦 must be SO hard to have them so far away. my mum picks my son up from school one day a week, during which time he is always spoiled with chocolate milk, tim tams, all the stuff we’d NEVER have been allowed after school! I think spoiling the grandkids is a right of passage for doing all the right things by your own kids! or maybe it’s delayed regret at not living for the moment (and the chocolate) with your own? sounds like a wonderful visit.

    • daddownunder March 26, 2013 at 12:58 am #

      One of the two : ) it is hard, I feel proud that its me and Anna that have created this amazing happy little boy but it was heart breaking to see how much he enjoyed having them around and that it may be another two years before they see each other again. Thanks for commenting

  3. Yvette @ Little Bento Blog March 26, 2013 at 3:40 am #

    oh bless his little cotton socks!!! I know its hard for them to understand.. we had a mate stay with us for 6 months (visiting from the UK) every day my kids would play and laugh and eat with Sam.. like he was their best friend! Then he left.. we took them to the airport, explained that Sam was now on a big airplane back to London where the big red bus is and we will see him on skype! And we do, skype most weekends.. they love Sam.. and its hard to tell them you won’t see them again tomorrow.

    • daddownunder March 26, 2013 at 4:22 am #

      I was braced for this morning Yvette and it was every bit as hard as I expected. I explained the aeroplane thing and the skype thing and the worst thing was i think he understood. This is the worst thing about an otherwise wonderful life downunder. Thanks for commenting Yvette

  4. rhian @melbs March 26, 2013 at 8:06 am #

    I know exactly what you mean, Nanny and Grandad left our house last week and left us with a very confused child and a big gaping hole. I agree it is heartbreaking watching their confusion as they rush round the house trying to find them and trying to explain where they have gone is horrible. X

    • daddownunder March 27, 2013 at 8:30 am #

      Is this home for the long run now Rhian? It’s so hard to weigh up the pros and cons of giving your child what you consider to be a better quality of life against depriving them of their extended family. Thanks as always for commenting

  5. Karen March 26, 2013 at 9:33 am #

    It is so sad that they don’t quite understand yet why they leave and don’t visit as often! They just are those people in the computer. My in-laws visited last year and I didn’t have any parenting duties at all for a month, it was amazing! Karen

    • daddownunder March 27, 2013 at 9:23 am #

      First day back on the job today without the help of my two assistants, I forgot how full on it is! Thanks Karen

  6. kaela March 26, 2013 at 10:56 am #

    As an overseas grandparent I can well understand the wrench. I come home every winter for a few weeks and my girls literally let me take the children over. I am awfully lucky that they allow me total access….and yes, I realise that they also get a nice break….but it’s a privilege to be allowed to have that much of them. I know that not all grandparents get this.
    Those few weeks have to sustain us all over the coming year, and with help from my daughters, who keep me alive in their sons’ minds, it works. Skype doesnt work too well in China, but we try.
    That said, I have been hugely honoured to be allowed to take my oldest grandson with me the last two years. Here in China, he started school and is now half way through year one. He has thrived and is so incredibly interested in all that is different from home. ( I am a teacher at the same bilingual school he attends)
    This, of course, means that his mum, my very generous daughter, is the one who hangs out for little videos and Skype and phone calls. To have given him this gift (and me) was a huge sacrifice for her, but his mind has been opened and stretched and he speaks ‘not quite yet certain’ Chinese….but he enjoys trying.
    How many little boys get to live in China, walk the Great Wall, Christmas in London and ride on trains that go 350 kph. This gift from his mother is not one he (or I) will forget.
    While still the grandparent, I do spoil him more than I would have my own children, I dare say, but the same standards of behaviour are expected or treats just don’t happen.
    I think it may have something to do with the fact that the same constraints are not there financially and possibly, having raised our own children, we don’t sweat the small stuff in the same way.
    There is something magical about grandparents though…from both points of view. For me, it was totally overwhelming; I had not expected to love these little beings as fiercely as I do. For a child, well I don’t know what makes us (grandparents) special in their minds, but I am ever grateful for the fact that we are.
    Your blog, as always, brings with it smiles and warmth and is one of the very few that I read, every time. :o)

    • daddownunder March 27, 2013 at 9:28 am #

      Kaela you are not allowed to write comments that read better than the actual post! What an incredible story about your grandson, my nan was the most amazing woman and I would have jumped at the chance to spend more time in her company – I have a feeling your little grandson will look back very fondly on your adventure together. Thanks for your kind words Kaela

  7. Me March 26, 2013 at 11:28 am #

    It is so hard. We moved country when K was 6 years old. She had spent lots of time with her grandparents before we came here. All of a sudden there was no Gogo and Papa or Granny and Grandpa. My folks came to visit every year and 6 years after we moved here, they came over on a parent contributory visa at a cost of $65,000. They went to every school sport match, every concert, every single function – the all loved it so much !
    I hope that it isn’t too long before they see each other again !
    Have the best day !
    #IBOT visitor

    • daddownunder March 27, 2013 at 9:31 am #

      I think I would pay the $65k to bring them over, after some serious fundraising that is. I must have been so excited when she heard the news. Thank you Me, it’s good to have you and your “have the best day” back.

  8. EssentiallyJess March 26, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    My MIL once said she loves her grandkids more than her own kids (don’t tell Boatman!) I wonder if it’s because there is not the same sense of responsibility, and that you know you don’t have to do it full time?
    But having said that, anything that makes us stop and appreciate what we have is a good thing I think 🙂

    • daddownunder March 27, 2013 at 9:33 am #

      I think there’s definitely a bit of that Jess, but I also think as Kaela puts it above, they don’t sweat the small stuff having been there and done it

  9. Kimba Likes March 26, 2013 at 10:06 pm #

    So beautifully written that you made me cry! And Pappy Baa Baa? Oh, that is GOLD! x

    • daddownunder March 27, 2013 at 9:35 am #

      Thank you very much, not that I wanted to make you cry, I seem to have been doing a lot of that of late…….I will have to get back to making poo and wee gags ; ) he was less pleased with pappy baa baa

  10. Becci March 27, 2013 at 1:25 am #

    It’s so sad to say goodbye when they leave, however Skype is always so much better after they have spent some quality time with them. I’m putting my hand up for Aussie Grandparent applications too!

    • daddownunder March 27, 2013 at 9:36 am #

      Perhaps we could share adopted grandparents Becci, we will have them mon – thur and you can have them the rest? Thanks for always commenting

  11. Tania March 27, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    I know how you feel. I’m in New Zealand (we live in Perth) having just spent three weeks with my folks watching my usually shy 21 month old daughter get to know and feel comfortable with her grandparents. We’re leaving on Monday and I’m feeling sick in anticipation of how we’re all going to feel – me leaving my second home, my daughter being confused at not having her grandparents around, and my folks who’ve barely gotten to know their grandchild who they may not see again for a few years.

    • daddownunder March 27, 2013 at 11:58 am #

      It is really hard, one of those times when you need to put your responsible parent hat on and explain to them where nan and grandad have gone every time they ask, even though it hurts to do so. Good luck with it and thanks for sharing

  12. Lynda Clarke March 29, 2013 at 1:55 am #

    we could put up our hands – no sign of my son or daughter [30 + 28} getting going anytime soon.!we live in Bayside too!

    • daddownunder March 29, 2013 at 4:11 am #

      No criminal past I need to know about Lynda? You remind me of my parents, they wrote me off and the next thing they knew they were up to their elbows in nappies!

      • Lynda Clarke March 29, 2013 at 5:30 am #

        ooh ooh – I stole a jelly from co-op when I was 10 – my mum made me go back! Just shows lessons – I have never forgot that! have police check = son is Policeman [is that a reference!] we live inner bayside tho!

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