Baby Care

Can I babysit my grandchild? Ever? – Orange County Register

Yup. Frumpy Mom’s new grandchild is a boy. Here are three Frumpy generations. (Photo by Marla Jo Fisher/SCNG)

Some friends got together last week and gave me a “grandma shower.” This consisted of a party where people brought me presents that I can use when I babysit my new grandson at my house.

Now, I’ve never been married or given birth. Therefore, I’ve actually never been to a shower where I was the actual guest of honor. As many of you know, my kids were adopted and came preassembled, so we never had the traditional baby shower.

And now I’ve discovered that this was fun. When you’re older than dirt, nobody makes you play any dorky games like guessing how many diapers in the diaper tower, or making items of clothing out of baby wipes.

They just hand you a glass of wine and a present to open at the same time. This is good. This is very good. I like presents. I like them a lot.

Now, my beautiful daughter Curly Girl was there with her handsome husband, who spent most of his time toting around baby Floyd, who’s now four months old. He was the real celebrity since many of my friends hadn’t had a chance to meet him.

Curly Girl hoards him, and barely even lets the husband hold him, except for special occasions.

My daughter displayed a rather startling amount of enthusiasm for certain gifts I received, such as a high chair and a playpen.

There really isn’t anything you can do with these items other than use them for babies, so I felt reassured that there might be a day in the future when I might actually be allowed to babysit the kid.

So far, though, I mostly only get to look at him, which isn’t all bad, because he is very cute. I feel I can say this with authority and lack of prejudice because he doesn’t have any of my actual DNA inside of him.

I adopted Curly Girl when she was three, and her brother Cheetah Boy when he was five, so I never even had use for a playpen or a high chair, though I would have liked them sometimes to imprison my son, who couldn’t be contained at that age, even by duct tape and glue.

I never met a kid with more energy and, even today, all these years later, he still works full-time and manages to spend two hours a day body-building at the gym.

I’m delighted that he found a hobby that sucks up all that energy and is not destructive. (He does not use steroids.) Plus, people come up to him at the gym all the time to admire his excellent body sculpting, so it’s good for his self-esteem.

No one ever comes up to admire my body sculpting, I’m sad to say. Though occasionally they want to know where I got my extra-plus-size clothes.

I’ve created a drawer for baby Floyd in my bedroom, though to date it only has one little nightie and a few books of the type that you read to babies. My goal is that eventually it will be filled with all sorts of baby paraphernalia, much of which I’d never heard of back when I took care of kids.

For example, there’s a device you attach to the baby’s toes so you can be alerted if it stops breathing. I don’t think my daughter will ever need this, because she never puts him down.

I’m sure there are other strange and mystifying devices that everyone gets now for their infants. Maybe a baby levitator that will raise him up whenever you need to change him. That would make the Jetsons proud.

Maybe a tiny alarm that goes off whenever Nana does something wrong, like put the diaper on too loosely, will immediately summon the mother from wherever she dared to go on her own.

“I told you I couldn’t trust you,” I imagine she’d say to me when she got back as quickly as possible. “Look. He’s leaking.”

I happen to know that the mother-in-law has been allowed to babysit, unlike me. But hey, I’m not disappointed and bitter about this. Nope. Not at all.

I’m happy to wait until my daughter feels I’m responsible enough to take care of her child. Until then, I’ll just have to let the cat sleep in the playpen, go out to happy hour and sulk.

READER MEETUP: Hey! Want to meet me? Get your book signed or just say hi. Come to Lake Balboa, Anthony C. Beilenson Park, 6300 Balboa Blvd. Van Nuys from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 6, 2023. Look for me under a tree near the playground. See you there!

You can email me at [email protected]. I especially love it when you tell me what I did wrong or offer diet tips.

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