“The secret of life is to skip having children and go directly to grandchildren,” a wise man once claimed. Even though this statement was probably said in jest, it hides behind it a huge, simple truth: There is nothing like grandchildren to bring color, joy and true happiness to our lives, and whoever is a full-time grandparent already knows this. Lately, I also enjoyed this happiness, when my first grandchild came into the world, and from that moment until today countless amusing insights on grandparents (for the first time and in general) flashed in my head, and I would be happy to share 11 of them with you. I am sure that anyone like me who has experienced this wonderful position will surely understand what I’m talking about. Feel free to share these insights with fellow grandparents and even with friends who are soon-to-be grandparents!
1. You simply can’t get over the shock that your little boy or girl has a child!
It’s quite natural for you to feel this way, but it’s still a strange feeling: you just can’t look at your son or daughter without seeing them as the cute little apple-cheeked babies that they were just a moment ago. So now they themselves are the parents of a red-cheeked, wide-eyed rugrat, and this little one also looks like the spitting image of your child? This is just madness at its best.
2. You are much more excited about the baby coming into the world than its parents
Perhaps you’ve already forgotten, but the experience of parenting one’s first child is often riddled with anxiety and emotional upheavals, accompanied by natural joy and happiness. On the other hand, being a first-time grandparent comes only with fun, and without the same worries that accompany the new parents. This means you get all the pleasure and excitement without having to get up to feed the baby in the middle of the night or change diapers. However, try not to celebrate too much, and of course, try to be empathic to the new parents, you were in the same place exactly when you brought them into the world.
3. You begin to call yourself “grandpa” and “grandma” even before your grandchild is born
As soon as you see the little dot on the ultrasound that’s destined to be your grandchild, you rush to proudly adopt the title “grandpa” and “grandma.” So what if the future baby doesn’t even know who you are yet? He/she is already close enough for you to call yourself that, and you’re already making every effort to make the first word out of their mouth “Grandpa/Grandma” (well, the third one at least, after “mommy” and “daddy”).
4. Babysitting time? You mean play time!
When your left to babysit your grandkids, this is a great opportunity for you to feed them healthy food and put them to bed as early as possible so you can help out even more and wash the dishes. Who are we kidding? This is the perfect time to spoil them with sweets, sing funny songs, dance around the house and completely miss bedtime because you just enjoy this time with them so much. Either way, the dishes will get washed, because you also remember how hard being a first-time parent is.
5. Your cheeks are already sore with smiles
There’s happiness, and there’s the happiness of a grandparent holding their first grandchild. You just can’t stop smiling, and you’re not even worried if it’ll give you under-eye wrinkles as these wrinkles would just be a testament to your happiness at the new bundle of joy in your life. In fact, there is a chance that you’ll start counting these wrinkles and naming them after each grandchild who arrives.
6. Installing cribs and car seats doesn’t become easier, even this second time around
Despite all the technological developments of recent years, which have made things easier and simpler, baby products are still, for the most part, ridiculously complicated and difficult to install. Do you remember how long it took you to figure out how to build your first child’s crib? So yes, this time, too, this exhausting chore is going to take you at least the whole day – lucky that now your child can, and even needs, to help you do it.
7. Yes – this is your grandchild that’s smiling at you for the first time
When you are a parent for the first time, each new milestone your child hits can sometimes be a frightening and worrisome experience. However, as a grandparent for the first time, you can suddenly appreciate any progress your grandchild makes, without worries or concerns, and enjoy the moment – because you know that this time is fleeting. If you are lucky enough to catch your grandchild’s first broad smile, it’s only because you already know exactly where to look.
8. You need a good rest just like your grandchild
You’ll always be the first to offer to take your grandchild home from any party or celebration to put them to bed, letting the parents have a good rest of the night out; But let’s face it – it’s not so much that you want your kids to enjoy their time out much like it’s a good excuse to go home and get some rest yourself. Don’t be embarrassed, everyone knows that a grandparent-baby nap is the best nap you could ask for.
9. Calming a baby down is like riding a bike, and you still got it
It took you several years to sharpen your parenting skills so that you would know the difference between a heartbreaking crying that means “I need a doctor now!” and “I’m just faking it so I can blame my sister” – but the years since have not dulled your parenting talent, and you still know exactly how to calm a child and how to put him/her to bed like a pro. However, not all instincts are as sharp as they used to be – and that’s why you might be sending your grandkids home with food stains on their onesies.
10. You love to be with them, but also love that you can give them back to their parents
Tickling, reading stories, rolling on the carpet and having fun? “You bring me, my grandchild – he needs his grandfather/grandmother!” Change a diaper, clean up spit-up, wipe a runny nose and deal with constant crying? No thanks, that’s why a child has its parents – “I think the baby wants you…”
11. Wait, how did life even look before we became grandparents?
The experience of having a first grandchild is life-changing, so much so that at some point you’ll begin to wonder and try to remember what you did before your grandchildren came into your life. While strange, this feeling can’t be denied, so don’t be surprised if after a few grandchildren you just forget what it’s like to live a life without them, and say to yourself with a smile and a big laugh: “We should have skipped the kids and gone straight to grandchildren.”