One of the best things about being a grandparent is getting to relive some of the best parts of your own parenting experience — swinging, climbing, swimming — without having to deal with the not-so-fun parts, like discipline.
However, even though as a grandparent you are entitled to spoil your grandkids — I’m pretty sure that’s in the U.S. Constitution — that doesn’t mean you don’t occasionally have to set (and enforce) some limits.
I was reminded of that during a recent visit with my daughter and her family, where I had the opportunity to re-learn a vital parenting lesson.
We were sitting in the den reading books one morning when my two-year-old granddaughter decided to dive off the couch onto her head, something she does frequently. She’s a tough little thing (having an older brother will do that) and absolutely irrepressible, so she usually just pops up, laughing.
The night before, however, she had gotten a pretty good bump, so I grabbed her as she was attempting to execute her forward tuck with a half-twist (degree of difficulty: 2.5) and told her no diving off the couch. She objected, vociferously, but the more she squealed and squirmed, the tighter I held on.
She quickly became hysterical, but I just continued to hold her tightly on my lap, whispering in her ear that I loved her and didn’t want to see her get hurt. Eventually, she calmed down.
I was afraid she would hold this episode against me. She’d been a little standoffish up to that point, anyway, taking to Nanna (my lovely wife, Bonnie) much quicker than to Papa. (Then again, who doesn’t?)
But then a strange thing happened. After the hysteria passed, she settled in on my lap and stayed there for a while. At one point, she hopped down (on her feet, this time) and went off to play — but she returned in a few minutes, climbed up beside me, and…