It’s 4 pm, my husband and I have been out of town for a few days, and I just hung up the phone with my mom. Jojo has the two kids for us over the weekend, and she had called to give me the “daily debrief.” I am giggling about what she has just told me.
Along with an in-detail list of what each of them has eaten all day long, a play-by-play on how easy/long (or short/difficult) naps were, and of course whether or not they have pooped today, my mother also tells me about “Bad Kitty” – aka, Fifi (thanks, Nick Bruel….). My three-year-old daughter has been in character for the past 48 hours. Bad Kitty has been “walking” around the house on all fours, lapping milk out of a saucer (oh the generational indulgence), scratching her ears with her foot, licking her hand to clean her face, chasing after her Jojo’s ball of yarn, meowing (or hissing, depending on her mood and if she did actually poop and nap that day), and quite possibly attempting to cough up a hairball while hiding under the coffee table.
I roll my eyes and laugh at these antics. As a kid, I don’t really remember my mom putting up with such showmanship. But with her grandkids, almost anything goes. It’s hysterical and exhausting all at once. But that is what grandparents are for, to indulge the children and send them back to their poor exhausted parents (paybacks are H.E.double hockey sticks, ya know). To give my mom credit, she can get my kids to eat just about ANYTHING. She figured out how to get my son to try all sorts of vegetables by dipping them into yogurt. She has my girl hooked on homemade granola and oatmeal with nuts and blueberries. She is a master at redirection (being a high school teacher pays off) and can turn just about anything destined for the recycling bin into a toy.
As a kid, I didn’t have my grandparents nearby. We lived on opposite sides of the country. As a mother, I don’t really know how I would get by without my mom (and in addition, my husband’s family) around. Even when family starts to drive me bonkers (love you, mean it. No, really, I do!), I know that having them no more than 20 minutes away is pretty rare and also amazing.
What I want to know from all of you is, what is your favorite part about having family in town? If you don’t have family nearby, how have you found your support network, backup and *ahem* “pet” sitter?