Recently, I’ve been ignoring the love of my life (HGTV) in order to devour The Honest Toddler: A Child’s Guide to Parenting. Between fits of giggles and poking my sleeping husband in the forehead to read him hilarious excerpts, I barely have time to put away the folded laundry that has been waiting patiently in baskets for the past twelve days.
Despite my affinity for The Honest Toddler, I have noticed a gaping discrepancy between her manual and reality:
The toddler believes the Grandparent, not cleanliness, is next to godliness.
Look, my kids love their grandparents just as much as the next little ankle-biter, and rightfully so. Their grandparents are good people; they spoil the kids, they support mine and my husband’s parenting decisions, and they’re always there when we need them. Does it get any better than that?!
Thing is, though, some grandparents…suck.
Wait! Don’t go!
Preschool drop-off, spring picnics, and countless birthday parties have thrown me in the ring with a plethora of parents this year, and I’ve heard some Grandparent horror stories that would elicit quite the “loud response” from The Honest Toddler’s red-drink-stained face.
Those of you who are all gasping, Stephanie! Have you no limits?! How dare you throw Grandparents under the bus?!, be about your business.
Those of you who are quietly nodding in agreement or who are resisting the urge to slow-clap, this is for you. It’s about to get interactive up in here.
Is there a Grandparent in your life who is less than grand? Does Grammy or Pappy need a reality-check? Are you a Grandparent yourself, presently preparing to leave a judgmental comment after this post? Excellent! Let’s take a quiz to see how bad you are failing!
1. It’s your grandchild’s first birthday, Grandma! You are:
a. on your previously scheduled cruise. What?! Tickets were non-refundable.
b. holding the birthday child on your lap, smiling for pictures as though you’re working the red carpet.
c. puffing out your chest like a proud rooster for having purchased the most expensive gift at the party.
2. Your grandson’s mother is disciplining him for trying to ride the dog (again). You:
a. hurry into the next room lest your assistance be requested.
b. get in between mother and child and feed the boy raspberries straight from the carton until he is placated.
c. buy the dog a saddle and your grandson a helmet. Problem solved.
3. You’ve taken your granddaughter to the park to find the sliding board bully is there. When the bully starts cutting in front of your precious girl, you:
a. the park?! You don’t do the park. You have been confused with some sucker of a grandparent.
b. run to the rescue, gingerly elbowing the bully as you pass, and go down the slide with your granddaughter on your lap 37 times.
c. rent out the park for your grandbaby. If the bully won’t share, neither will you.
4. It’s been a few weeks since you’ve last seen your grandchildren. You’re feeling:
a. rested. They’re cute but exhausting!
b. concerned and weepy. How are they functioning without you?!
c. just fine. This is why you bought iPads in bulk. Facetime, anyone?
5. The grandkids’ parents are at their wit’s end. They could really use a break. You:
a. pfffft. You survived; they will, too.
b. rush to their aid with a home-cooked meal, Prozac, and a free-for-a-year Netflix subscription.
c. hire a nanny to help.
If you answered…
Mostly A’s: You (or the grandparent in your life) are a Free Range Grandparent. Your motto is “I’ve raised my kids,” and you prefer not to rearrange your life for anyone thankyouverymuch. That doesn’t mean you don’t love your grandkids; it just means you love yourself more. You’re the distant cousin of the Kodak Grandparent who readily shows off photos of her grandchildren yet regularly forgets their names. You are the opposite of the Helicopter Grandparent, which has its perks because that means you’re not all up in the biz; however, it’s worth noting that some may perceive you as not giving a flying fart. Just trying to paint a complete picture for you.
Mostly B’s: The Resuscitation Grandparent, you believe you are a necessity for your grandchildren’s survival. While you are helpful, your motives are questionable: do you really want to nourish your grandkids or are you simply trying to one-up their mother’s cooking? Take a minute with that one.
Mostly C’s: Affectionately referred to as the Cash Cow, you have been known to “make it rain” at Chuck E. Cheese and your motto for gift-giving is “go big or go home.” The monetary assistance is certainly appreciated, although equally overbearing and insulting. The grandchildren prefer your love over your stuff. That said, nothing says L.O.V.E. like replacing a certain mother-of-your-grandchild’s iPhone that done busted when it was *splashed* with some water droplets. Apple is trying to rape me for a new one. EIGHT HUNDRED DOLLARS, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I’m sorry. That got away from me. The point? The Cash Cow Grandparent spends money instead of time.
WAIT! If you thought this was mostly funny and only mildly offensive...
Originally published in June of 2013