Tom and his wife recently hosted their daughter and her two children for a couple of weeks.
The older grandson is 3 years-old; the younger just a baby. The latter child did what infants do—cried, destroyed diapers, drooled and spit-up. The 3-year-old was a different story. Tom offers some recollections and advice to you granddads and granddads-to-be.
Where has all the patience gone?
First, it is ironic that dealing with a 3-year-old takes an incredible amount of patience, exactly at that time of life for gramps when the patience fuel gauge is close to empty. Gramps, you must shift into another gear, perhaps one that was not standard equipment when you were built.
You must find the inner strength to stop, take several deep breaths (be careful that you don't get too dizzy, fall over and break a hip) and accept the fact that you will have to adjust your speed to accommodate your 3-year-old. He or she will run, walk backwards, roll on the floor—all the while leaving picture frames and stand-up lamps where they weren't.
Watch your scratchin'
Your 3-year-old grandchild will imitate your worst habits and speech. Watch what you say in her presence and do not scratch inappropriately or even come close to picking your nose. Your sweet grandchild is a sponge, a mirror and a voice recorder. Your sins will be etched into the memory of your 3-year-old, and he will give you credit for every indiscretion of which he is accused.
You've been through this once. You're tired. You've paid your dues. Your stamina deteriorated as your trips to the bathroom increased.
Your 3-year-old grandson wants you to play with him before you get out of your pajamas. But he's not asking you to play one game. He's asking you to commit to a marathon of games that you were dumb enough to excavate from your trunk in the attic. Remember when you were close to throwing them out years ago? That was back when you were a younger man and had visions of being the eternal playmate for the next brood. Bad decision.
Let's get physical
Your 3-year-old grandson isn't just interested in beating you at Hungry Hippos and Perfection. He wants to use you for monkey bars and a swing. He wants to climb up on your lap then perform somersaults on your head. He's pumped and ready for action. You're busy guarding against a head butt to the nose.
She wants you to tell her another silly story. You have no more stories. You exhausted your supply when you were trying to divert his attention from rounds two, three, four and five of wrestlemania.
Gramps, you love your family like crazy and would do anything for them. However, you will have moments of weakness—of just plain being human—when you wish they would pack up and go home.
And then of course, you will feel guilty for feeling that way—at least until the bell rings for round six!