And 4 tips on how to make it a smooth visit
Everyone knows that grandparents shower their grandbabies in copious amounts of sweet love, especially when they’re the first grandchild of about 12 grandparents (roughly, I lost count). When Josephine and I visit my parents, which we do several times a year for days at a time, she gets spoiled. Rotten. The the core of her sugary sweet bones. I often overhear conversations between the now 18-month-old and my father go like this:
(Immediately after having 2 cups of milk)
Grandpa: No, your mom said you had enough.
Jo: Milk, please??
Grandpa: … Alright, stay right there.
And just like that, he crumbles like a freshly baked cookie into the palm of her tiny hand. It could be anything — cheese, pie, a glass of Chardonnay — whatever she asks my parents for, she gets. It’s easy for them to cave when they only see her a handful of times a year. I’ve learned to loosen up and let some things go, but there’s still a line I need to draw in order to transition back home when our visit is over. Here are 4 tips on how to retain some type of consistency in routine when visiting grandparents.
1. Stock up on snacks. I pick out snacks that Josephine loves and I approve of before we enter my parents’ home. This way, when Josephine asks anyone (like my father) for a “snack,” they have a pre-approved pile of food that actually has some sort of nutritional value, combating any unhealthy treats that grandparents might otherwise allow her to devour.
2. Keep a small pile of familiar toys at grandma and grandpas. Doing this makes the transition into stays at grandparents’ house seamless. What helps out tremendously is that I let Josephine facetime with my parents on the phone prior to visits, during which they show her a toy that she may recognize, like a big stuffed polar bear. When she returns to my parents’ home, they show her the big stuffed polar bear and she immediately warms up and begins to play. The toys make her feel at home as soon as we walk through their doors, plus I don’t have to lug them back and forth.
3. Bring a comfort object. Or as some like to call them, a “lovey.” Everyone who knows Josephine knows about the notorious blanket, a bundle of soft brown and white yarn that I used to sleep with. Sometime in her infancy she associated my blanket with my presence (probably the smell) and cozied up to it when I was away. Now, my former blanket and I have separate entities, and the blanket is simply her blanket which must remain visible and untouched by everyone, including me. Anecdote aside, this blanket is the key to keeping Josephine comfortable without having to bribe or distract her.
4. Let grandparents be grandparents. Hey, nobody likes a micromanager. I always have to remember to step away and let Josephine develop her own unique relationship with my parents, even if it means they give her a bite of ice cream once in a blue moon (at least I hope it’s not more often than that). Plus, it’s incredibly sweet and it tickles my heart when I see their interactions while blowing bubbles or sharing treats. At the end of the day, I get to steal moments for myself and relax knowing that Josephine is very well taken care of under my parents loving, albeit indulgent, roof.
Do you have any tips on visiting relatives with your little ones?