Grandma and Grandpa. Nana and Pop. Ya-Ya and Goo-Ga. Whatever you call them, grandparents can be a wonderful addition to your child’s life. I was lucky enough to have two sets of them when I was growing up. One grandmother taught me how to do my nails and sew. It’s not her fault neither skill quite caught on with me. One grandfather tried to teach me to sail and fish. Again, never really got the hang of either. Worms? Gross.
Even so, I think grandparents are great. But there’s no denying there can be, um, a slight communication gap between the generations sometimes.
Here are the top five lies grandparents tell and what they really mean:
1.What grandparents say: We’d love to come visit you and the baby.
What they mean: Who cares about YOU? When are we going to get our hands on that BABY already?!
2.What grandparents say: Is there anything you need?
What they mean: We want to bring the baby a present, but organic cotton burp cloths are so boring. We’d rather give you impractical clothing and frilly handmade dolls that are in no way safe or age-appropriate for an infant.
3.What grandparents say: Is there anything we can do to help?
What they mean: We’d be happy to bring over sandwiches or take the baby for a walk around the block. But diapers and laundry? You’re on your own.
4.What grandparents say: So you put her to sleep on her back with no blanket or anything?
What they mean: I’m trying to be supportive and non-critical when you tell me your pediatrician advises you to follow the ABC’s of infant sleep — Alone, on her Back, and in a Crib — but to me that poor baby looks cold and uncomfortable.
5.What grandparents say: We raised kids, too, you know.
What they mean: You’re not the first person in the world to have a baby, and you’re WAY over-complicating things if you ask us. Not that you would. What do WE know?
My advice for handling the generation gap is compassion on both sides. It’s not the grandparents’ fault that when their kids were small, highchairs didn’t have 5-point harnesses, toys didn’t speak Spanish and babies ate steak at a few months old. Be patient with them. As for you grandparents, we new parents aren’t trying to be critical of your child-raising skills. A lot has changed, and we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do everything right. We DO appreciate your time and interest in your grandchildren. After all, someone’s got to teach them how to sew and catch a fish.
Can you relate?