I Can Handle That!

fireflies, grandparentingWe’d be happy to watch the kids for an hour tomorrow night,” I said to my son.

As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I wanted to jump after them like fireflies in a dark sky, placing them in a glass jar with the lid shut tight.

Instead, the offer to babysit flew away from me and into my son’s grateful hand.

“Thanks, Mom. We’ll drop them off at 6. We won’t be more than an hour. 7:30 okay?”

7:30? What happened to an easy hour with three little boys: 1½, 3, and 4½? Just enough time to give them a cookie, read them a book, and offer a bottle and a sippy cup before their mom and dad retrieved them.

“Oh no!” I said loudly on his way out the door.

My son stopped, his happy expression changing like a cloud crossing the bright sun.

A bright son who didn’t ask me, “Oh no, what?” but instead stated, “Gotta go” and raced away.

But my guy heard me from the kitchen, where I think he was secretly hiding, hoping I’d not say yes to us watching the cute, crazy, untamed little grandbabies.

“Oh no, what?” he asked.

“I forgot I’m teaching from 5-6:30. You’ll have the kids to yourself for a half an hour before I get home.”

My guy shrugged. “I can handle that.”I Can Handle That, grandparenting

I’d like to stitch that comment onto a piece of linen, frame it, and hang it on our kitchen wall.

Because when I arrived home from my class the next night, Mr. “I Can Handle” was screaming “Help!” from the bathroom, while our dog stood by the front door, his legs practically crossed in a need to go outside and pee.

A dozen picture books lay like rocks over a running river in the living room, interspersed with toy trucks, trains, and automobiles.

Over the sound of bath water running in the tub, I yelled “I’m taking the dog out.” I could barely hear his reply over the too-high volume on the TV cartoon station. The 4½ -year-old sat inches away from the screen with mouth open and a spilled milk cup nearby.

We had vowed upon the birth of our first grandchild that we’d never use TV as a babysitter.

The 3-year-old raced toy cars atop the antique wood table, sippy cup nearby.

“They didn’t leave diapers!” my man yelled over the youngest toddler’s laughs and splashing sounds. “This little squirt had a dirty one, so the tub’s the only safe place to keep him.”

I wanted to ask so many questions, but instead ran outside with the dog and the 3-year-old for a doggie bathroom break.

grandparenting, babysittingAnd I wondered where I could buy an embroidery kit suitable for framing.

94 thoughts on “I Can Handle That!

  1. I so relate to this! I have four grandkids aged 1, 5, 7 & 10, all precious, all have their moments, I go solo now an then but draw the line at two at a time! Wonderful writing Pam, yours look so innocent in the photo…phone just rang, guess what I’ve just been asked!

  2. Oh dear. We were fortunate as our grandchildren were spaced far enough apart that we usually only watched them one at a time. We still had a few mishaps, like when I decided to have a relaxing bath after a very busy day. My hubby figured he could handle our 4-year-old grandson o his own. When I came out he was sitting on the couch crying, with a pool of bloodied tissues surrounding him (the grandson not hubby). He had run into the coffee table and pushed his tooth up into his gum. Yikes. Just can’t leave them alone for a few minutes!! The dent is still in the table!

  3. How I remember, but grandkids grow up even faster than kids. Now we’ve mostly graduated from babysitting to dog sitting when they go away, and watching the teenagers play basketball, soccer, and lacrosse.

    • Of course, this is my fear. In my mind, my own kids are still 10 and 12. But instead, my little grandbabies are fast becoming boys and girls who talk, walk, and think waaaay too fast. 🙂

  4. Sometimes, it seems like even when you don’t necessarily “handle” things in the best way possible, having the right attitude about it makes all the difference in the world. Kudos to your man for looking at the glass (er, maybe the tub) as half full instead of half empty 😉 What do they say? Life is 10% about what happens and 90% about how you “handle” it 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Pamela, and have a wonderful weekend!

    • I love YOUR attitude, Dave. But you’re so right. My guy’s attitude and quick ‘bathtub’ thinking saved us that night, and the little kids thought it all in fun. Here’s to us handling ‘life’ with a ‘can do’ attitude. 🙂

  5. Being a guy, to placate H and instill a greater sense of competence in my ability to “handle it,” I often preface J’s statement with a “TRUST ME.” Then, when faced with a complete meltdown, I give our 4-year-old granddaughter my cell phone, the 6-year-old one the iPad, and the last one the remote. Works every time!
    Ed

  6. Famous last words! LOL! My neighbors have 2 grandsons who are little hoodlums! They are cute kids and have been raised right, but they are BUSY!! OMG! They never stop! We live in a cul de sac and they ride their little bike/trikes down here. Cute as a bug…the 4 year old knocked on our door one day and asked my husband if he could play! LOL!! He told the little guy he couldn’t right now, but maybe later… ha ha ha! My neighbors are in their 70s!!!! 😀

    • God bless your neighbors – 70 and watching young grandsons? That’s almost abuse (for the grandparents, of course, not the grandkids). Your husband sounds like a wise man. 🙂

      • They are great grandparents but after they have been for a visit, I think it takes them a couple of days to recover! LOL! They had the boys for almost 2 weeks the last time because mom (their daughter) had a major surgery. So many people do not have that special relationship where they can give the kids to the grandparents for that long. I commend them all the time! 😀

    • The antique table now looks even MORE antique, thanks to cars, trucks, and automobiles. Ha. But I say, scratches and scars on tables AND people ‘add character,’ right?

  7. I was chuckling away until I realized why I was laughing. It’s because it wasn’t ME having to deal with the kids. Yes, frame that comment. Might be easier to just do a computer print out of it though.

  8. Oh, you had me cracking up throughout this. Good for granddad for giving it a go – nothing like a 1/2 hour with 3 grandkids to make someone feel like moving into an old-person’s home. My husband knows better than to take that task on by himself and we only have one grandkid (nicknamed The Overlord). Well, it’s great to laugh about it. The kids probably had the best time ever and their parents probably needed the break 😀

  9. I love when my man says I can handle that. I have come to scenarios that look and feel just like yours. But nonetheless, he handled it enough for you to teach your class. And that is amazing!

  10. I’m not a grandparent yet, but i sure got a good giggle out of this 😉 I think we quickly forget how frantic it is with little ones when our kids grow up. They are absolutely gorgeous, Pam xxx

    • So true, Dianne. I keep saying, ‘my kids were never this active,’ but then I notice that all my friends are exhausted when they watch their grandkids too. Ugh. I’m afraid MY energy just isn’t the same as it was 30 years ago…

  11. This is too funny I just love it . What a smart man using the bath tub, I would’ve used a towel or something like it . Have a great Memorial Day
    weekend .

  12. I could handle having a grandchild or three. (So she says now. Start embroidering that pillow, OK?) grin. Cutest little squirts and story!

  13. Omg! As a mom of three grown sons, I am sitting her laughing my head off. You have described similar scenes that occurred when I left Hub to watch the guys. Never left him with the first one. When I left him with the middle son, I’d come home to a dirty diaper on the back of the toilet (no, he didn’t empty it) and a baby with a clean diaper covering a not so clean bottom. When the third one came along, he would have the middle son change the baby (at six years, he was very good with baby care, including pinning the diaper without sticking the baby). I obviously didn’t leave them in his care often.

    • I’m smiling widely, thinking of you laughing with pleasure at my “I can handle that” post. You, most definitely, have ‘been there, done that’ ! I wonder if that once-six-year-old son is now changing diapers of his own kids, instead of his brothers. :-0

  14. Oh my, you guys certainly had your hands full! The little ones are so busy – just keeping up with one is sometimes more than I can handle. Your grandsons are an adorable little gang!

  15. I can related. I remember watching my little guy when Ellen was tutoring. It was at the very moment that he decided to projectile vomit on me four times. I was, I admit, a bit flummoxed as to my next move.

  16. Brilliant Pam, you make awkward situations sound so hilarious and I’m guessing that’s a wise strategy, ‘cos if ‘ya didn’t laugh… That photo is a brilliant way to finish the post, because they do look like butter wouldn’t melt. Bless the poor dog…I loved the image you conjured of him with his legs crossed! How’s the embroidery going my friend? Blessings, Harula xxx

    • I’m too busy chasing the little munchkins to even think about putting stitch to linen. Besides – the idea of me actually SEWING? I don’t think I can handle that. 🙂

  17. With three grandkids of my own living six blocks away, and one long-distance one on the way, I can certainly relate. My two younger ones are easy, but the older GD is bouncing off the walls and demands my undivided attention. (Just like her mother.)

  18. Oh they are so adorable looking! I loved your description of the chaos you returned home to. Big laugh to the we weren’t going to use TV as a babysitter. Desperate times call for desperate measures! How did we possibly ever manage our own little ones? 🙂

  19. Can’t believe he thought he could handle it. Bet the kids never dreamed you wouldn’t have stacks of diapers. Did you put a pillowcase on him? I’ve done that.

  20. I don’t think I could handle even one now! We only had one grandchild so that was easy. With these three so close together I can see where babysitting would be a problem. Funny story!

  21. What a great post which stirred so many memories!
    When my brother and I were kids, my father never changed a nappy but that all changed when our kids arrived on the scene. I was hospitalised for 7 weeks when my kids were 3 and 18 months. My parents had the kids while my husband kept working through and did a circuit every night visiting me, the kids and going home to feed our puppy, who chewed through all the IT cabling and only stopped when he reached an electrical cable and must’ve felt a slight zap. At the start, my Dad was full of encouragement and telling me not to worry. After a month, he was frantic and asking how long it was going to be. I can’t blame him either. The kids were very unsettled.
    On another occasion, I remember my son getting into my Mum’s lipstick and covering nhis hands with it and leaving two pink lipstick handprints on the white carpet right at the front door. Dad was at golf and I still remember the stress of looking up Google trying to find out how to clean it up before he arrived home.
    My mum’s cousin has 6 grandchildfren under 5 so I think she’s in for some interesting times ahead…
    Thanks for the raucous trip down memory lane!
    xx Rowena

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