This summer I kept five of my grandchildren for a few weeks. They ranged in age from 14.75 down to 2. Four girls and one very outnumbered boy. (Even our dogs are girls). My sweetheart made sure that he was working those two weeks far, far away in Louisiana.
I armed myself with pool passes and coupons for CiCi’s pizza. My pantry was stocked with popcorn, peanut butter, and juice boxes. I even bumped up my membership in my raw milk dairy that I buy from so that I would get the bulk purchase deal. (I think I now own stock in a cow)
Yet in all my preparation, there were some major mishaps in planning and execution. I decided that if I shared them, perhaps another unsuspecting grandparent would be forewarned. Or at least get such a laugh out of it they would always remember that at least their lives were no where near as chaotic as mine.
First and foremost…..never mistake a pullup for a swimming diaper. THEY ARE NOT THE SAME. Pullups have this incredible gel in them that swells to roughly the size of a basketball causing the three year old and the two year old to look like they have grown immense behinds. And when you try to take off this mutant gel filled booty cover it will explode all over the poolside concrete where you will be the object of much scrutiny by the teenage baywatch wannabe’s who are sure you have just poured some sort of toxic substance on their pristine pool deck. You will have to then change your daily pool attending habit to one of the other pool’s where you will hope that they haven’t passed around a picture of you that proclaims “do not allow this psycho toxin bearing grandma to come to your pool”.
Teenage girls use toothpaste and toilet paper in quantities that defy the imagination. I don’t know if they mix the two together and use them as some sort of creative body mask or if they just like to see how many tubes of toothpaste they can get me to buy without my head exploding. I swear that we bought a semi truck load of toilet paper and toothpaste during those two weeks. And speaking of toilet paper…there must be some sort of mind numbing event that occurs when they pull the last square of paper off the roll that causes an immediate cessation of brain usage. Does your brain do a complete intelligence flush when you press that little handle on the back of the toilet that says “no need to tell anyone that I used the last of the toilet paper. They will figure it out soon enough”?
The Lego Movie was funny. The first time. The other 3459 times it will make your ears bleed every time the song Everything Is Awesome comes on. That song will make you have nightmares. No really. It can only be compared to Let It Go on the scale of most annoying songs ever. It should be banned. Worldwide. Although it is funny when your three year old granddaughter stands on the kitchen table in her princess dress singing Let It Toast….holding a piece of toast in each hand. I almost pee’d my pants during that performance.
Riding in the car with teenage girls is truly a punishment that should be used at Guantanamo Bay for terrorists. The speed at which they change music genre’s will make your brain hurt. I swear we listened to every sad country song ever written along with every sappy boy band song. I now hate the Disney Channel with the same passion that I reserve for anchovies and the above mentioned Lego Movie song. Who knew that you could figure out a way to play the same songs over and over and OVER again in the same hour? I don’t know what those DJ’s are paid on XM Radio but they can have our entire years paycheck if they will go on strike. Please. For the love of all things bright and beautiful. Go back to real Disney music. Not that horrid screeching that is called music these days. Where do they find these artists? My cat sings better.
And lastly…..give up. You can’t win in the health food battle. By the end of the visit I had totally reverted to my childhood. Hot dogs in every variation (beanie weenies, corn dogs, chili dogs) were served daily along with tater tots and pork/beans. No wonder my mother bought so many of those little cans of Campbell’s Pork and Beans. What a miracle food for under a buck!!!! My smoothie breakfast, juicing lunch, organic vegetable and fruit diet was in shambles at the end of the first week. I just wanted them to eat. Cereal for breakfast (how many gallons of milk does it take for 5 children? More than I ever imagined), peanut butter and jelly for lunch with a banana (the only fruit I could get them to eat) and the previously mentioned hot dogs for dinner or chicken nuggets if I was feeling adventurous. Let me say there is nothing more satisfying than hearing a table full of kids ask why their homemade chicken nuggets don’t taste like the ones at mickey D’s. (insert sarcasm) Remedy? Ketchup and ranch dressing. By the 50 gallon drum. Enough said.
All in all it was a wild four weeks. I am exhausted. But what a ride! We laughed, we cried, we painted our toenails (not the grandson), we sang, we ate lots of homemade ice cream (yes with chocolate syrup and sprinkles and bananas so that I could say they had fruit), we watched lots of cartoons, and we prayed. The last made every moment worthwhile. I have my quiet house back and very soon I will find all those dishes that were hidden by the very children paid to put them away. It must be some kind of teenage scavenger hunt they created for me. Who puts the measuring cups with the pots and pans anyway??????
blessings to all and lots of laughter,
©2014MichelleWelch, team member of Breath Of Life Women’s Ministries
photography by Michelle Welch, all rights reserved