Now that you have grandkids, what about being the grandparents?
Being Grandparents: Managing A Baby
I still remember the day I first heard the news of the arrival of my first grandchild. My daughter-in-law along with my son had gone to a clinic to get a medical confirmation of the pregnancy – and I was the first person they called from the clinic with the news that yes, indeed, a baby was on the way.
In our family we have had long discussions over what will happen once a child comes to the family.
Both my son and daughter-law have full time and very lucrative jobs and the stage at which their careers were, it would be foolish if any of them gave up their jobs to look after the baby.
“Ma, can you manage a baby?”
Before I could react to this important question from my son, my husband quipped: “Of course she can – she brought you and your brother up, so efficiently. Didn’t she?’
And, there it was – the matter settled and sealed.
Being Grandparents: Fears and nerves
The following nine months or so, went off like a breeze – with me trying desperately to remember how I changed the diapers, how I sterilized the milk bottles, how I pacified a colicky baby (my elder son had very bad bouts of colic pain at night), etc.
Then my fears traveled a bit further – I started to think how I would feed the child, how I would put him to sleep and more. In short, my mind was more fearful and apprehensive than happy and cheerful at the idea of grand-mothering a baby.
Being Grandparents: Love at first sight
Before I knew it, the day of my grandson’s birth has arrived.
When the nurse brought the baby out of the labor room for waiting relatives to have a first look (I remember there were hordes of cousins, aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces who had gathered at the nursing home) – she looked for the grandmother.
And when I stepped up, the nurse promptly handed me over what seemed like a tiny replica of my heartfelt love, all wrapped in pale blue towel.
As I looked at the baby boy (the blue wrap gave the gender away) tears of joy rolled down my eyes. For the first time perhaps – I felt true joy and love.
I don’t think I experienced this feeling even when I first saw my own children for the first time. This was, I realized later, love at first sight.
Being Grandparents: Revisiting parenting
The next few months saw me struggling with diapers, wash cloths, bibs, napkins, onesies, and booties; a plethora of baby care products including nappy-rash protectors, soaps, shampoos and powders.
Strangely, I managed it rather well. Several times, I had to learn the processes like feeding, burping, changing nappies, etc through a short trial-and-error method, but believe me – it can be simplified and made a lot easier, if you remain stress-free and calm.
Being Grandparents: Technology makes parenting far easier
The best part is that modern technology has made parenting far easier than what we went through 30 years ago.
The internet for instance, provides answers to almost any question a parent can have for managing a baby.
Automation of functions like sterilization, washing, bottle cleaning etc has surely lessened the workload of modern mothers and, of course, grandmothers.
Lessons I learnt
Through my experiences of being a first-time grandmother, I’ve learnt several important lessons that I wish to share with you:
The baby usually gives you enough notice when he is feeling uncomfortable in any way.
Always keep home remedies handy
For example, a gentle clockwise massage around the navel of the baby with gentle baby oil or making him sleep on this tummy can ease colic pain as it helps in release of any excess gas.
Plaster a small on your face!
Always show a happy face to the child. If you are happy, somehow the baby also remains happy.
Make sure the baby feels secure
To ensure deep restorative sleep, keep your hand or place a soft weightless pillow touching his body. This way, the baby never feels insecure.
This article is written by Indira Mukherjee