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Grandparenting

don't panic

(32 Posts)
Blessmissdunstable Tue 30-Apr-19 12:26:34

Helphelphelp - agreed back in February to babysit 3 and 1 year old granddaughters from Friday to Sunday while Son and DIL attend a distant wedding. The playdate weekend is coming up fast. It now occurs to me - not a moment too soon, you might think - that I haven't looked after a 1 year old on my own since 1988, and that I never did get on all that well with under 5's. These children don't really know me. I rarely see them. This is a disaster. What was I thinking. Why on earth did I agree. Heart rate rising. Too late to cancel. Apart from taking deep breaths, what do I do now?

Feelingmyage55 Tue 30-Apr-19 12:37:06

Keep calm and carry on - seriously get the parents to make lists, - timetable of routine, usual food prepared in usual way, likes and dislikes, favourite books, toys, music. Arrive the night before if possible and shadow the normal routine. Clothes laid out, bath time instructions and usual soap. Words for the toilet. Check how to put the pushchair up and down and the brake. Ask if someone well known to the children ie nursery friend and parent can come round and walk to the park together. Lots of fresh air if possible and tire them out. Is the garden safe, also the staircase. Otherwise, enjoy the cuddles, getting to know them better and treat yourself in the evenings. This could be the beginning of a lovely, deeper relationship. They trust you, take it as a compliment. I am sure you will rise to the occasion. Let us know how it goes.

Blessmissdunstable Tue 30-Apr-19 12:42:58

Ohgodthepushchair - !

Those are excellent points and encouraging thoughts, thank you so much smile

janeainsworth Tue 30-Apr-19 12:52:40

Do the children live a long way from
Dunstable?
Can you go and see them before the big weekend so they get to know you a bit?
I agree with Feelingmyage about getting written instructions from the parents.
Try to dissuade the parents from FaceTiming the children.
When we have looked after DGCs for a few days it’s the one thing that upsets them!!
You’ll be fine I’m sure. Feel flattered that the parents trust you to look after the DGCs.
Don’t forget to grow that extra pair of eyes in the back of your head before you gogrin

Sara65 Tue 30-Apr-19 12:53:31

I definitely second getting someone to show you how to put the pushchair up and down! They’re a nightmare these days!

tanith Tue 30-Apr-19 13:42:05

Don’t forget to get formula do’s and dont’s if the baby is still bottle fed.

grannyqueenie Tue 30-Apr-19 14:01:20

Definitely ask for pushchair advice, and get them to write it down, if you're in a flap you'll not remember what they said! I’m the granny who in desperation had to accost a young mum in the street, she gave me the heads up on the magic button on the buggy - the one that stopped the whole thing folding itself up as I walked along. Thankfully gd was too young to “tell on” me. Good luck!

grannyqueenie Tue 30-Apr-19 14:04:11

ps you agreed because you’re kind and do remember how much a break away from small children means to beleaguered young parents!

Cherrytree59 Tue 30-Apr-19 14:04:47

Are you looking after them in their own home
Blessmissdunstable ?

Channel your inner Nanny Mcphee or Mary Poppins.

Can you get some age appropriate toys and books from the charity shop to hide in your bag, even wrap in paper.

When you need a distraction take out one of the toys and books.

The 1 year old will love the wrapping paper.

Bubbles are loved by most children.

Ask parents to write out rules and timings emergency numbers etc.

If weather nice then play in the garden getting 3yr old to run and jump.
Good for tiring them out.
Bath time could be fun with some coloured bubble bath from tesco etc (check with parents first).

Avoid sweets and chocolate biscuits as this will cause sugar rush!

Dont worry about mess as long as the children ok it does not matter.

The parents will be just as anxious and I'm sure will keep in touch.
Let us know how you get on.

Good luckshamrock

crazyH Tue 30-Apr-19 14:12:56

The dreaded pushchair😫😫- I put him in ok, took him for a walk, and on return, could not unbuckle him . My fingers are neither strong nor nimble enough. After struggling for some time, with a screaming baby wanting to get out, I approached a neighbour, who btw never had children or grandchildren and she succeeded. Can you believe?
So, my advice us to get some practice with the pushchair, besides all the other tips given by other Nans/ grandma - good luck- you should be proud that they trust you.

Farmor15 Tue 30-Apr-19 14:19:35

Do you know any teenage girls or a friend you could bring with you to help? Another pair of eyes is a huge help and some younger people seem to be able to relate better to small children than us oldies. When babysitting 1 and 2 year old grandchildren last year, in our own house, I asked a friend to come as I knew minding 2 would be hard.

Other suggestions above are all excellent.

Blessmissdunstable Tue 30-Apr-19 14:43:25

I was thinking of channelling my inner Cruella de Vil, actually - better rethink that one, then!

Sara65 Tue 30-Apr-19 14:45:49

I’ve been there grannyqueenie! Had to ask a young dad how to put the car seat in the car!

Blessmissdunstable Tue 30-Apr-19 14:51:30

Thank you all so much for cheering me up! - my first time here and it is lovely to know I'm not the only one who isn't confident this is going to be like riding a bike.

SIL's brother is slated to visit (but unfortunately has two small boys so I'm not sure how much that will help); Daughter 1 has been making noises about checking in, too; and Daughter 2 sent a text this morning to "confirm" that I'd be there this weekend (no, not unless I've got the date wrong).

I don't know if GD2 is still in nappies. hmm

Oh boy. Will remind myself "nothing is ever as bad as you think it's going to be."

janeainsworth Tue 30-Apr-19 17:33:36

Don’t forget to get formula do’s and dont’s if the baby is still bottle fed
Absolutely, Tanith.
My mum once looked after DD2, aged 6 months, fortunately only for a morning.
When I got back, she complained that the feeding bottle ‘wasn’t working’ confused
On examination it transpired she had tried to make up the formula using Farex instead of SMA 🙄grin

silverlining48 Tue 30-Apr-19 17:52:13

Maybe they have a friend nearby to call on if you have a question or major problem ( eg the pushchair!) .
Good luck this could be the start of a closer relationship with the gc.

phoenix Tue 30-Apr-19 17:57:47

Good question Cherrytree, with regard to if it's their home or that of the OP, could make a big difference!

Witzend Tue 30-Apr-19 18:13:37

Yes, pushchairs and #%#%#% car seats are a nightmare nowadays!
I actually bought a relatively simple McLaren pushchair for Gdd, since I couldn't handle the monstrosity dd had got 2nd hand from somewhere at a fraction of the ludicrous price. And eventually she ditched the monstrosity and used mine.

May I suggest making playdough for the 3 year old? My Gdd (only just 4) has always loved 'making' anything, and playdough is v simple - my recipe is just tbsps of flour, oil, water and salt, with food colouring added - and she'd play with it for ages afterwards. Some plastic biscuit cutters are good. She liked making 'cakes' with it - I would give her some little paper cake cases to put them in.

We have often made fairy cakes too - using an all-together mix method with soft Stork or butter and a bit of baking powder.
Maybe something to do while the younger is having a nap?

Some new bath toys might be good - the bath is a good way of tiring them out a bit before bed!

Good luck - it will be tiring I'm sure (she said with feeling - ours are only 15 months apart and we've done a lot of childcare) but you will manage.
We're having ours for 3 nights in July! - younger will be nearly 3. Also for a wedding abroad, a very welcome break plus lovely lie ins for dd and SiL.

Oh, and don't forget good old CBeebies! Don't mind admitting it was a lifesaver now and then.

Newmom101 Tue 30-Apr-19 18:31:00

I don't know if GD2 is still in nappies

Most likely for a 1 year old, most people don't start toilet training until after 2 now. At least you won't have to worry about any accidents if you go out.

With a three year old they're likely to have a 'buggy board' on the pushchair that she can stand on when out walking. Maybe ask in advance because if not then it may be worth investing in one so you don't have to push the pushchair and worry about a toddler running off if you go out.

Maybe get a couple of cheap little toys to keep them occupied (or to distract from a tantrum!). Just things like bubbles or balloons. The ceebeebies magazine may be good for the older GD, has lots of stickers and things to colour in which should keep her occupied for a while.

I'm sure you'll have a great time!

trisher Tue 30-Apr-19 19:35:11

Lots of good advice especially about pushchairs, they are b*** awful to handle. If you have any shoe boxes or cardboard boxes start filling them with things that might interest them. You can get cheap toys from charity shops but 3 year old will also appreciate ribbons, shiny paper scarves etc. Babies love wooden spoons plastic boxes, pan lids etc. if they get fractious produce a box and ask "What's in here?" If you have a couple of old handbags they will enjoy filling them with anything and 3 year old can be sent "shopping". Good luck, have fun! (And book yourself a spa treatment for Monday!!!!)

Deedaa Tue 30-Apr-19 21:24:35

Definitely get very detailed lists with time tables for everything! You don't have to stick to it all, it's just something to refer to in moments of stress. Honestly most of us think we've succeeded if we just manage to hand back two live children and the house is still standing grin

notanan2 Tue 30-Apr-19 22:49:03

Keep them fed, hydrated, toileted and safe. Stick to basics. Don't be over ambitous with outings, at that age they may run in opposite directions in open spaces and then you'll have to chose which one you love most to save (kidding - ish). So keep to enclosed spaces unless you have another pair of hands (and legs).

They eat more frequently than adults. They pee and pop more frequently than adults. So if you go out sit them uo for food first, then wees, then out with snacks and toilet stops. Keep it unambitous & short distances. The local shop or library or play park. Dont try to make it adventurous because the simplest of outings are adventures at that age.

Concentration activites (baking, crafts etc) will fail MISERABLY unless perfectly timed so once again: simple and not over ambitous is best.

notanan2 Tue 30-Apr-19 22:50:06

Speak to the parents about your worries. They will be worried too and it will reaasure them that you are not being blaze about it!

Starlady Thu 02-May-19 08:45:30

"I haven't looked after a 1 year old on my own since 1988."

It will come back to you. Of course, some things have changed due to new information, etc., so I agree with asking the parents for instructions.

Al the other advice is good, too, imo.

"I never did get on all that well with under 5's."

Not sure what that means. Perhaps you find them difficult to handle? A good idea might be to ask the parents what discipline techniques they use and copy those if you can since that's what the gc are used to. Also, I suggest keeping them as active as possible, so maybe they'll sleep better at night and go down more easily for naps, so you can get a rest, too. (3 yr old might just rest, of course, rather than nap.)

And hey, Friday to Sunday? It may seem like a lot now, but it will be over before you know it. You may even miss them. I hope you set aside time to pamper yourself after their parents come and get them or you go home (if you're staying at their place).

And yes, please let us know how it goes!

BradfordLass72 Thu 02-May-19 10:49:17

Don't forget you're older and wiser than you were in 1988 smile

Ask parents to bring along a favourite CD - singalong, soother etc. Plus any comforters, blankets/dummies, favourite toys and tell you about night-time rituals.

Assume that at some time one or both will cry - plan what to do when that happens. Bear in mind that if a child cries for long enough it usually goes to sleep !

Childproof the house - move anything you don't want grabbed, smashed, sat on, eaten or smeared with food.
Make sure your coffee/tea mug is well out of reach.

Have lots of 'allowable' foods ready. My son could be halted in mid yell if I held up a piece of banana or a toast finger grin

Have a supportive friend round to help and revive you when you drop from sheer exhaustion early on Saturday. smile

Try to avoid alcohol, grin even when they've gone to bed.
You can bet your life the moment you pour a glass of whatever, one or both will start screaming, falling out of bed, poohing all over the place, developing a rash etc.

Make sure Monday is totally clear so you can sleep and recover.

Good luck.