Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Can I Spend the Night?

By Christina VanGinkel

My two-year-old grandson spent the night with us on Friday. When his parents came by on Saturday to pick him up, they stayed for a while visiting, and when it was time to go, he asked if he could stay with Nana and Papa again. My daughter and her husband saw no reason why he could not, so he again spent Saturday night with us. On Sunday, they arrived early, and my daughter and I went out to do some Christmas shopping, while my grandson and son-in-law went out themselves, getting some quality dad and son time together. By Sunday evening, we all met back at my house, where, you guessed it, he again spent the night. For those of you who do not read my tidbits about being a grandmother to this adorable child, you need to know that my daughter and her family travel for work and they have only recently arrived back home from several weeks down south doing cable restoration in some of the hardest hit areas from this summer's hurricanes. We, my husband, I, and our thirteen year old, gladly take every minute of time with him that we can, and we all share equally in spending time with him.

Somewhere in the midst of our extended weekend with him, I talked on the phone with a friend, who sounded surprised that we would keep him more than a single night, except if it was pre-planned, and she was even more surprised that his parents would allow him to stay. She said that her own son was a bit older, about three or four, when he asked to stay a second night with her parents and she did not let him, as he belonged at home. I did not even have a reply for her, as I do appreciate the fact that my grandson's parents are so willing to share this bundle of love, and I felt sorry for her that she could not see the wisdom in letting her son spend that extra night with his grandparents.

Well, by Monday, he was ready to go home, and while I would keep him forever, my old grandmotherly body was ready for some sleep. Chasing after a two year old is tiring work, even when the two year old is as well behaved and sweet as my grandson is. When my head hit the pillow last night, I was reminded of the time before my own first child was born, and someone telling me that my nights of uninterrupted sleep were about to end for at least the next twenty years or so. If I had been wise enough to listen to them, I would have grabbed every minute of sleep I could, before I jumped on the whirlwind so many of us call parenting. I would have also told the person that their estimate of twenty years was too low. I am on number twenty-three and I see no signs of it letting up with a thirteen year old in the house, who has just stepped into that other milestone we refer to as the teenage years.

If you are a new parent, or are about to become one, take a bit of advice from someone who is partly through the 'parenting' years. Take a nap whenever you can, take advantage of grandparents who offer to keep the babies and toddlers, because before you know it, those babies and toddlers will be school age, even teens, and you will be glad even more so for all the help you can get.

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