I’m not new to the grandma rodeo. My oldest grandson is five now. We have spent many hours together playing with action figures, hiding from his parents (who were not actually seeking us), and giggling our way through Cartoon Network marathons. I started keeping him overnight, as needed, when he was a few months old. When he was born, the most intimidating part of dusting off the old maternal instinct was trying to figure out how to make his multi-function stroller open and not collapse when I put him in it. So along comes baby brother a year and a half ago. I figured, “I’ve got this grandma thing down. I’m a veteran now.”
Due to health and scheduling issues, I did not have an opportunity to babysit grandson #2 for more than a couple of hours until recently. While visiting my son and daughter-in-law in Arlington, I offered to keep #2 all day one Friday. “He doesn’t need to go to daycare,” I said. “He can hang out with me today. It will be fun.” His parents looked at me skeptically. “Are you sure?” they asked. “He’s a handful.” I waved them off. “Of course I’m sure. I did manage to raise two sons without any harm coming their way.” My son seemed to have a flashback and an expression of skepticism darkened his face. Luckily his wife didn’t see it.
The next morning, I wake up with #2 around 7am and get him dressed. We agreed that going to the Waffle House would be so much better than me cooking. He’s not a big talker yet, but he understood the word “pancakes.” I remembered everything: diaper bag, favorite toy, Goldfish snacks for later, and the Disney show tunes CD for the car. I promised myself he would be well fed, wearing clean clothes, and happy when his parents came home from work.
I planted him two inches from me as I wrangled with his car seat. Before I could snap the seat belt, I heard a wail of dismay and turned around just in time to see him fall flat onto his face. I tried to grab him but I was too slow. He didn’t even extend his hands to lessen the impact. Apparently, that is a learned behavior. I have never seen a sober person fall on their face and it was terrifying. I screamed louder than him!
I scooped him up and ran in the house as a drop of blood trickled from his lower lip. A ripe red scrape tattooed the center of his face from the forehead, down the nose, to the chin. I cleaned him up and stopped the bleeding but he looked like he had been hit by a door. I checked him all over and it seemed the scrapes were the full extent of his injury. He jumped to the floor and started chasing the dog while I pondered my next step. Do I call his parents and alarm them, stay home all day so no one can see what happened, or just keep calm and carry on? New grandma would have rushed to the nearest urgent care. Veteran grandma noted there was no loss of consciousness, no swelling other than his lip, and he was as alert and rambunctious as usual. So we got into the car and went on with our plans. There was only one problem.
I usually send his parents pictures of our adventures throughout the day. If they saw his face, I’d be in trouble. So I sent them pictures, even a video–all taken from grandson’s best side! See attached. And yes, I did warn his parents. Around 5 pm, I sent them both a text that read, “A funny thing happened on the way to Waffle House this morning…but he’s fine now!”