by Peggy Kumke

Grandparents play a unique role when their grandchildren are in their care. I enjoy all the time their parents allow me to have with them. The most wonderful blessings of being the grandparent is to be able to give the grandchildren back to their parents whenever you want to. It makes no difference how much we spoil them; the parents have to raise them, not us!

I often get grounded from having my grandchildren for long periods of time. Why? I’m only giving back to my grandchildren what their parents gave to me – and enjoying it, too!

It’s Our Job!
We can give them a sugar high or let them stay up from a nap or feed them what they choose and even send them home with felt pens, clay, noisy toys, or bubble gum. WHY! We are GRANDPARENTS! It is our job! I do get myself into situations with my grandchildren that differs from what the parents would do, but the children start it and I just can’t help joining in and having fun.

It is a different kind of fun than most grandparents have, but I don’t mind being different. I do things with my grandchildren that their parents don’t. It is my job! It does cause me to get grounded from the grandchildren, but not too long. We are back into action within a few weeks! I do put more effort into my role as a grandparent than most because I WANT TO GIVE BACK TO MY GRANDCHILDREN WHAT THEIR PARENTS GAVE TO ME!

Austin Teaches Food Throwing/Spitting
One time I took my grandson, Austin, to lunch and we had been sitting there eating for maybe five minutes when all of a sudden Austin threw some food at me. My first reaction was to throw some back, so I did. It lets him know how it feels.

Before I knew it we had food flying in the air and through our straws. Austin taught me how to spit food from the straws so I can’t be blamed for that. The last time we were at lunch I did teach him how to blow coke from the straw, but not food. He learned that on his own.

Austin and I are going to look for another place to eat lunch. It is not like this has been our first time being banned from a restaurant or fast food place! We are used to it! Besides, we enjoy finding new places. It never gets old. I have tried to explain to managers that Austin starts it, but I just get stared at with a look that is plain odd.

Haley Teaches Hiding in Clothing Store
Another time I took my granddaughter, Haley, shopping at a clothing store. I like to show her a fun time. Once again, things just happened! I took her to go get some clothes and while I was looking, she went hiding in the clothes. Seemed innocent to me. It turned into the game of hide-and-seek.

Everyone knows the game, but now parents want to choose when the child plays it and where. I believe in letting them make their own choices. It gives them self-esteem. Anyway, Haley was in the clothes hiding, so I got down on my knees and crawled under the clothes and came up behind her and tagged her. She screamed with laughter and ran to hide again. I crawled further and found myself by a dress that was not hanging on the rack, it actually had feet under it.

I looked up to find the manager staring down at me. I explained I was playing with my granddaughter, but she asked us to leave anyhow. I understand this was not the first time we caused a commotion, and had I been aware we were knocking clothes down from the racks, I would have stopped playing hide-and-seek. Do you know that Haley and I have been to three clothing stores and not one manager gave me the impression that they believed me when I told them Haley started it?

Toy Shopping With Robert
I like going to the toy store with my grandson, Robert. Our favorite place to go is where the big balls are – where you can sit on them and bounce. We were very careful as to not let the manager know because we knew what he would say.

As we bounce up and down the aisle laughing as quietly as we could I noticed that items from the shelves were falling down. Robert and I knew we had not touched anything because we were busy bouncing on the balls. We did hit the sides of the shelves once in awhile, but I don’t think we caused the items to fall off the shelves.

So since it was not us we kept on bouncing. It was so exciting. We did not care if people were watching; they just didn’t know how to have fun. Then we heard a voice on the loud speaker asking for the parents of the children that are bouncing on the balls to please come to the main desk. There must have been others doing what we were, but there was only two bouncing balls that were blown up and we never passed another person on balls. I figured it was time to wander away to somewhere else just in case it was us they were looking for.

We went to look at the bubble stuff. That is another story in itself. We were never asked to leave in this store. Maybe it is because we have never been caught in action. Anyway, we love this toy store so we keep coming back for more fun.

Well, now you know why I get grounded from my grandchildren. I never plan my situations! They just happen naturally! I believe this new way of raising children has character to it. Allow children to express themselves, make their own choices and expand their creativity.

I am only following the rules of the 90’s.

I want to give back to my grandchildren what their parents gave to me! I must say after my time with the children I am ready to experience the blessings of handing them over to their loving parents.

I AM giving back to my grandchildren what their parents had given to to me!