Last autumn I began caring for my baby granddaughter, Alivia, from Monday through Thursday, while her mother is at work; at the same time, my other son and his wife announced that they were pregnant, and Lucas was born in May of this year. Two incredible gifts from God in one year!! But, for a grandmother who is providing day care and also trying to keep a struggling business alive, this is a juggling act that is tiring, to say the least.
I have been blessed, though. Lucas's other grandmother, Sheryl, who is a retired teacher, stepped in with her help and love. Sheryl takes care of Lucas at her house on Thursdays & Fridays, and comes to my house on Wednesdays to help me with both babies. This is a tremendous blessing, because caring for babies who are ten months apart is not an easy task for an almost-60 year old woman.
Fortunately, Sheryl and I bonded almost immediately when my son and her daughter became a couple. We share similar values and family experiences, and enjoy being together, so this "co-care" is also pleasurable for us.
After this long introduction, I want to share the past week in our grandma care endeavor. Last weekend, Lucas was very fussy and didn't seem well -- Sheryl and I volunteered to take him to the doctor on Monday. His mother is a teacher, and cannot easily take time out of her day without prior planning, and his father has a similar situation in his job.
It would be difficult for me to take both babies to the doctor alone at this point, because Alivia has been walking for only a couple of months, so getting both babies into the car and into the doctor's office would be quite a challenge.
So, Sheryl came over Monday morning, and we proceeded to the doctor's office.
Sheryl and I both had three children, and handled them and our busy lives very efficiently when we were in our 20's and 30's. Monday was an "eye opener" for us both, though. I live 3 minutes from the doctor's office, so we allotted fifteen minutes to get them into the car and to to the doctor. We barely made it! Getting them both into the car with today's car seats took more time than we expected. Sheryl sat in the back seat with them, because both seats were side by side, and Alivia has a tendency to "touch" Lucas's eyes, so to be safe, Sheryl stood guard.
Just as we were ready to go, we realized I had to move Sheryl's car in order to back my car out -- then we spent a minute or two looking for Sheryl's keys, which I had in my hand --
We backed out of the driveway, and arrived in the doctor's parking lot -- which, of course, was full. Parking, and getting both babies out of the seats and into the office was time-consuming -- and we both reminded each other -- we used to do this with three children with NO PROBLEMS!!!
Once in the doctor's office, Sheryl took Lucas and I took Alivia -- Alivia clung to me, because she had memories of her recent visit when she received vaccinations and blood tests. Lucas was the best patient imaginable while they took his temperature and weighed him -- but, somehow between the scale and the examining table, he began screaming, and screaming and screaming. Nothing we could do would stop him. The doctor came in and checked his ears and throat and lungs, and the screaming continued.
Unfortunately, with our 60-year-old ears, Sheryl and I struggled to hear the doctor. I was on the other side of the room with Alivia, so I could hear more, but it was definitely not easy. Such a scream from one little baby boy.
Alas, everything was okay, and we were reassured. We dressed him, as the screams continued, and thanked the doctor. Then, we strapped them both back into their seats, with Sheryl once again guarding Lucas against Alivia's wandering fingers, and came back home. Out of the car, into the house, and a cup of tea later, we were settled in again, rocking the babies peacefully.
Somehow, as we age, we don't really see the physical and mental changes -- they are gradual, and our life situations change accordingly. Jumping back into child care, though, is an eye-opener. Sheryl and I have shared alot of laughs in the short time we have been doing this -- who would have thought that two intelligent, energetic mothers of three children would someday find sharing the care of two babies such a challenge!!