So, I’m a new grandmother. A beautiful child popped up several months ago although she’s actually been on the planet for a few years. Mysterious you say? Indeed! The discovery was slightly traumatic and a total surprise to the entire family but if you’ve been following this column, you know that our children can get up to some serious shenanigans. Our granddaughter is without doubt, the best trouble our eldest son has ever gotten himself into. Not only is she cute, funny and squishably loving, she’s also the perfect form of retaliation for the many years of toil and trouble placed upon us by our firstborn son. Oh what fun!
If you are anything like me, you have cursed your children with the wish that they should someday have children worse than they are. Well that wish has finally come true for us. Our beautiful granddaughter is her father in a skirt and we take advantage of it every chance we get.
We break the conformity of traditional parenting with that famous grandparent logic — we can always give her back. We run her ragged, get her filthy, stuff her full of high octane sugar and send her back to her father in hopes that she will drive him insane. She plays soccer with abandon and we encourage her to kick anything that rolls, crashes or shatters. We wise grandparents childproofed our home long ago, but her father’s house … not so much.
The great news is our once trouble magnet son has instantly morphed into the poster child for perfect parenting. He really is a great father, but somehow he’s developed the crazy notion that he knows more about parenting than his own parents. BAHH! He thinks our parenting style is old school and out dated. Well, on one perfect Saturday afternoon, I had the pleasure of seeing our son realize that Mama still knows best. It all started with the lunch incident.
After a day at my mom’s (Great Gammy’s) house tussling with the neighborhood kids our granddaughter came inside filthy, hot and hungry. Mom began prepping spaghetti and meatballs while I took in the kid’s appearance. She had sidewalk chalk on every bit of skin and the frontal landscape of her clothing. She must have dug a well in the yard somewhere as her jeans and sneakers were drenched and judging by her teeth and mouth she had probably been snacking on dirt. And her hair, let’s not even get into it. It’s a good thing toddlers are washable.
I did the standard grandparent three-point check. Check for blood, none. Check for breaks, none. Check for parasitic insects, all good. Although I gave her the all clear our son turned from tough, urban man into freaked out mother hen. How did she get so filthy after turning his back for less than three minutes, he asked. Silly question. He ranted that she had probably contracted trench mouth or the bubonic plague from the sinister grass of the fenced-in back yard. Then he had the nerve to accuse us of not watching her. Oh, we were watching, we were watching everything. Giggle, giggle.
We advised him to wash her hands and face so she could eat and then give her a bath when she was done. Do you think he listened? He marched her upstairs, guiding her by her muddy pigtails. After an eternity, they emerged from a steaming bathroom. Our granddaughter was squeaky clean. Hair done flawlessly, teeth brushed, new clothes perfectly placed. He’d washed, scrubbed and buffed her as if she were a brand-new mustang convertible. I guess he forgot about lunch! I arched an eyebrow at the women who’s advice I’d painfully learned to heed long ago. In a moment of pity for my clueless child, I was about to warn him when mom stomped painfully on my toe. “Let him learn,” she whispered in her Zen-like, monkish way. We watched silently as he delivered the granddaughters lunch plate piled high with spaghetti and meatballs. Uh oh! He kissed her and promised to return after putting her filthy clothes in the wash.
And 2.2 seconds later, he returned to find his daughter with spaghetti mashed in her hair, ears and a strand dangling from one nostril. Her shirt, arms and half the table had been decorated with a collection of spaghetti sauce Picasso renditions. He neglected to put her grape juice in a sippy cup so purple splashes covered her shorts and stained her skin from the waist down. Needless to say, mom and I laughed and glowed with feelings of retribution. Ah, payback is so sweet. We actually, for the briefest of moments, almost felt bad for him. Almost. Smarter than us, my eye!
Cheers to the grandparents out there who have had the opportunity to chuckle at the faux pas of your child rearing children. Feels good doesn’t it? For those struggling parents, literally dragging your teens up in hopes of somehow turning them into law-abiding, productive citizens; never give up. One day you too shall witness justice in the form of grandchildren. For you wonderfully dedicated, strong willed, young parents who have the notion that you somehow know more about raising kids than your elders, I sincerely advise you to keep it to yourselves. You see, karma remembers you and is watching, listening and waiting to rear up its ugly head and bite you in the tushy. Trust me, I know.
Do you have a wonderful story of parental retribution? If its family-friendly and mostly legal tell us about it so we can laugh with you!
Berkshire Family Focus
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