Friday, April 13, 2012

Adventures in Nana-land

So far, I've survived eight days of full-time babysitting.  My stamina seems to be improving and my level of anxiety seems to be lessening as I become more accustomed to the children and their schedules.  Life is devolving into a pleasant routine: in my experience, children, like puppies, do best when their days have a flexible predictability based around their general energetic needs.

I have noticed, for example, that Grace needs to sleep every three or four hours.  Given that her favorite activity is walking on her wobbly little legs, I can see how she gets so tired out.  Jake, on the other hand, is a bundle of energy in the morning, with a fairly predictable dip in the mid-afternoon that I can usually coax into coinciding quite nicely with one of Grace's naps.  By four, however, Jake is ready for another burst of play - just when the little girl next door is finished with her homework, leaving me free to fold laundry and Grace to toddle around the family room at will, or climb on my lap for a cuddle.  

Jake and I have butted heads occasionally, but he is such a reasonable little boy, he can be mostly reasoned with.  The second day I was there, for example, he came home from preschool and announced that he wasn't going to eat the hamburgers his mother had told me to make for lunch.  It wasn't what he wanted.

"Oh, Jake," I said, getting down on his level.  "We can have what you want today for lunch tomorrow if you like.  However, Nana is not a restaurant and Nana has already cooked the food your mommy told me to cook.  How old are you, Jake?"

This took him completely aback.  "I'm four," he said with an expression that told me he thought I knew that.

"Then here's the deal," I said, "You eat four bites of everything on your plate and you don't have to eat any more."

"Really?" he said.

"Yes," I said.  "Four bites... I'll help you count.  After that, you can stop eating anything you don't like.  How does that sound?"

"Okay," said Jake.  He ended up eating half his burger and all of his rice and quinoa, and all of his strawberries.  Grace,on the other hand, ate everything on her plate, cramming the food into her mouth with both hands as fast as she could shovel it in.  And all the time she watched Jake with an expression that seemed to me to say, "I don't know why you don't like this stuff."

1 comment:

Patrice said...

You are the best grandma!

I can imagine, like any job, that it would get a little easier over time. My parents once took care of my daughters, ages 3 and 6, for ten days, and they were exhausted. And there were two of them! (Of course, Mom did the lion's share.)

Glad the grandbabies are getting this time with you.