Or in my case, Papa Dale’s and Momma Deb’s house. We tried “Nana Deb” but too many people already call me “Momma Deb” that it just seemed natural to keep it going.
In the last 3 years, we have been blessed with 3 adorable grandsons. Len, age three, is our honorary grandson, a feisty little red head, with a developing temperament to match. Leo who will be two in October, is a spit ball of energy and is fascinated with how everything works. Rus, who will be 8 months at the end of the month, always has such a serious look on his face and then when he sees you, this huge smile comes across his face that makes your heart just melt. Oh, and did I mention, he’s crawling?
Needless to say, when they come over, even just for family dinners, or when I get to “keep” them over night, I need to make sure I am providing a safe environment for them. I am not as young as I once was, nor do I have as much energy as I did when my kids were young, and it had been 25 years since I had “little” kiddos around.
Here are 9 tips to having a safe and enjoyable visit:
- Close doors to any/all rooms that you don’t want them in. I forgot how fast they can move, even when they are crawling, but when they are walking, oh boy I am still amazed how they can be in the kitchen standing by me one minute and “gone” the next. I will admit, I have even “lost” them on occasion, they are just scary quiet, stealth, fast and just enough ahead of me that I don’t see them . (Which they think is hysterical!)We also have a set of stairs that we make sure the baby gate is closed. While you are closing doors, also make sure that you have keys to those doors. Len recently was over and I was getting ready to give him a bath. I left the bathroom “for just a moment” ( I know shame on me!)to get something, and when I came back he had closed the door, and yes you guessed it LOCKED the door. After a brief moment of sheer panic and thinking that his mother would never let me keep him again I tried the sensible thing. Hey Len, can you unlock and open the door? And to my amazement he did!
- Pony Tail door closers. Yes, you read correctly, I take pony tail holders and wrap them around the handles of the lower kitchen cupboards to keep the babies out. They aren’t yet big enough to figure out that they can remove them, but they have fun pulling them open a bit and then closing them. I just leave them on the knobs after they leave. Now I know, it may not quiet be a fashion statement, but for now, it makes it really easy to “button up” the kitchen when they show up.
- Create at least one kid friendly drawer and cupboard. Kids like to explore, clang pot lids, put stuff inside plastic containers. It really entertains my crew for hours and I can be in the kitchen cooking and keep an eye on them. Do be careful, it does make for obstacle course for the adults.
- Kid safe dishes. My grandbabies love to snack on cheerios, chex, goldfish, and mini nilla wafers. I washed and saved some of the plastic baby food containers. They make great snack containers. They are lightweight and easy for little hands to hold. They also are great for storing all sorts of items from craft materials to dried herbs from the garden.
- The baby needs drawer. I have a drawer in my kitchen that has what every baby “might” need. Like liquid allergy medicine, fever reliever, extra pacifiers, teethers, teething medicine and colic medicine. And of course, sippy cups. I used to rely on their mother’s packing these things in their diaper bag, but the one time they didn’t pack it, we out at 11 pm looking for teething cream and baby fever reliever. I also have a couple of the babies bottles too.
- Night lights: The babies spend the night, but sometimes they wake up crying and I need to be able to “see them” without turning a big light on. I also think babies sleep better with a little light in their room. Where Leo sleeps, I have a sentsy warmer plugged in that gives off just the right amount of light. This past week when Leo and Rus were over we moved Rus up from the bassinet to a pack n play. (the last time when they were over I laid him down for a nap and when I checked on him through the baby monitor I could see he had a hold of the edge of the bassinet and was trying to pull himself up! YIKES! No more bassinet for him!) We have a “safe” room (remember we live in OK) that is across the hall from Leo’s room. Its small, but big enough for the pack n play and very dark. As I was getting ready to put him to bed, I thought what am I going to use for a night light? As I opened the drawer where I keep the baby monitor, I saw some of the battery-operated tea lights I had used at Christmas. They worked perfect. I had to use 2 because it is REALLY dark in there and they are not super bright. But they did the job!
- Pack n Play: After our last child was born, I saved her baby bed in the attic for years, with the thought of using it for Grandkids. When we moved 3 years ago, I donated it. Seriously, why did I clutter my attic with it? After Len was born I thought, well I need something for him to sleep in. A pack n play seemed like the obvious choice. I knew it wouldn’t be used a ton, so I looked for a used one. I bought it off Facebook Marketplace. I didn’t pay much for it, and it is in perfect condition. Even came with a changing table. Now that Rus is too big for the bassinet, (which a friend gave to us when Leo was a baby, which I didn’t think I would use much, but it was very so handy for babies) I thought “Oh Man, I’m going to have to buy another pack n play!) BUT my neighbor next door has a one year old, and he wasn’t using it, so she is letting me borrow it. Perfect!
- Baby Monitor: When Len was just a baby, his mom Shay would bring over the second monitor and the base to his baby monitor. He would sleep in the guest bedroom and I could see him, without having to go in his room. When Leo came along, his folks had been given one of the old-fashioned monitors where you could hear them but not see them. Which, works, but if it was “quiet” I couldn’t tell if they he was asleep or awake. So, in anticipation of Rus’s arrival, and knowing I was keeping Leo for a few days after his arrival, I bought me an early Christmas Present. A baby monitor with Dual monitors. I bought a v-tech dual monitor.
- Baby basket: Just like the dryer seems to eat one sock, my house seems to hide the burp rag, or the bib. Or their feet are cold and needs socks, or the jammies they came with gets dirty. So, I have a basket (you could have a drawer, or a shelf) of extra burp rags, bibs, socks, clean onesies and the invariable outfit that didn’t go back home with them. I also keep a stash of the current diaper size(s), A&D ointment and wipes.
With these easy steps/items in place, I can enjoy the time I have with the grandbabies. After all they say “grandbabies who see their grandparents often are smarter better kids”. Well, that’s my story and I’m stick’n to it.