When the baby comes to visit! 3



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A year ago I was blessed with a tiny new granddaughter. What a precious little bundle. It had been 11 years since my last and then I was in my early 50s with a lot more energy than I have now. I have minded her for short periods in her own home which is set up for children of course. I have had short skirmishes with her visiting me for an hour or so, and so I quickly identified what I needed to do to make it work efficiently. I live in a little granny flat attached to the back of a house that could be described as 21st century gothic. I call it quaint and eclectic. You might remember my blog about It being reminiscent of Fawlty Towers.

However, inside it is artistically arranged to reflect my quirky and unique style so the place is (some would say cluttered) with books, more books and bits and pieces that I have collected over the years and have arranged to make Vogue interiors type tableaus in my small but open plan place. It looks lovely when it is all in order and works well for me. But it presents a few challenges when the baby comes to visit.

Now I am semi retired due to burnout in my old job, I have gossamer dreams of writing and painting and gardening and walking by the sea. The reality is, I do those things but I also want to spend more time with my family. So after a few visits from the dear little Cherri, I realised that an action plan was needed and so made a list of essentials. A portacot, a high chair and a tub of suitable toys. After assembling these items, I set up my place for a visit from the little one. Mum and dad were going out for a whole morning without any children, the older ones were off on playdates and sleepovers, so I thought I’d offer my services as there is another new baby coming in July.

The first challenge arose when setting up the portacot, borrowed from a dear friend who has already given me detailed instructions on the erection and then disassembly of this torturous structure. I got the poor women out of bed to set it up, as neither my son in law, my daughter or myself could work it out. I even made a video and posted it on YouTube for other bewildered nannas.

Little Cherri arrived and Mum and Dad went off to enjoy breakfast and some time to themselves. We had lots of cuddles and then I cleared the lowest shelves of breakables and put them in a clothes basket up high and offered the bub some toys. She was thrilled with this new selection purchased by her mum at a garage sale for me to have on hand for baby visits. However, the seduction of these shiny primary coloured plastic articles with American accents in tinny voices soon paled, when she crawled off to the fridge and in one sweeping motion effectively removed the photos and magnets there. I rescued them, and then she found the cat biscuits. She seemed to quite enjoy them which is funny because the cat refuses to eat them. I removed her from the cat dish and put her in the high chair to eat some healthy organic snacks from home, but while I was not looking, she stood up in it and thankfully was rescued in time by sweaty grandma before the yogurt went flying. Time for a sleep I thought so popped her in the now assemble portacot and thought I’d have a cup of tea to calm my nerves. After a bit of wailing she went to sleep when I played baby Brahms on YouTube (I love YouTube) and I enjoyed my cuppa and dozed to baby Brahms.

After sleep time I negotiated the nappy changes and sat on the floor to play with her. She is not walking yet, but has a very speedy crawling technique which propels her forward at great speed. She enjoyed poking her fingers in the electric sockets and pulling books off shelves she can reach. I decided to hang out some washing and soon realised that this is difficult to do with one arm, as I needed to hold onto her to stop her crawling off into the mud. Hmm. Then a walk in the pusher, a highly technical innovative invention that costs a fortune and requires a university degree to assemble and then secure the child into the highly advanced seat belt. After a bit of puffing and sweating and reading the instructions, I managed it and pushed her off for a walk, just as it started to rain. By this time, I was tired and starting to flag. We gave up on the walk and went back inside where I managed to release her from the pusher and she proceeded to kindly rearrange a cupboard which needed sorting out. She seemed to enjoy the dry sushi seaweed and I’m sure it will create an interesting nappy tomorrow. I was starting to look at the clock by then and counting down the minutes till Mum and Dad arrived home.

We enjoyed some more cuddles and playtime, as my knees creaked from being on the floor and my back ached from my attempts to assemble both the portacot and the pram. But then, joy joy, I hear a car arrive and rescue comes. Mum and dad have returned and baby Cherri is happy to see them. I give her a big cuddle goodbye because I really do love her.

I returned the knick knacks to their correct places, put the photos back on the fridge, vacuumed up the crumbs and put the coffee table back in place. Phew. I had a bit of a lie down on the couch before attempting to partly deconstruct the portacot which in spite of looking at the video, I could not get to flatten – so in a frustrated rage I dragged the sucker out of the house and onto the veranda to get it out of the way. All day it mocked me, looking like a maimed pterodactyl in its death throes. I decided I could decorate it with pot plants if I couldn’t get it back in its bag. My dear friend patiently turned up to give me lessons again, but I was so tired and my back hurt that I did’t really understand or take it in, so I live in fear of never understanding this essential piece of information. It took me the rest of the day to rest in order to get over having the baby come to visit. I’m going to have a nanna nap and listen to baby Brahms!

Tell us, what is it like when your grandchildren visit?

Karen Jones

Born in New Zealand, Karen now happily lives in the mid-north coast of New South Wales. She retired early due to ill health and now focuses on her love of walking, writing, reading and spending time with her grandchildren. With a degree in writing, Karen became a blogger and book reviewer for Starts at 60, which has enabled her passions to become enjoyable pastimes. Her recipe for bliss is a well made flat white, a friendly cat and a sea view.

  1. Reminiscent of my attempts at a Portacot. Ended up getting a cot identical to one at grand child’s off Trade Me. Bargain basement and with a new mattress we are ready to go! Joy oh Joy but of course the downside is it takes up valuable space. However it’s a great repository for clothes etc ; sort of like an extra wardrobe so there are some pluses!

  2. I did laugh when I read this – this was me last weekend to a tee!! What is with those portacots??? Why are they so temperamental… I’m sure they are made to erect/collapse after your back is broken and we’ve run out of curses. Don’t get me started on baby car seat belts – lucky we adore our grandies.

  3. Gotta follow this woman.
    Repeated belly laughs.
    So realistic.
    She nails it every time.
    Utterly delightful.

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