Kathleen Norton

First Grandparent Boot Camp, then Toddler Town

Posted on: February 8, 2011

They all look so innocent

Let me apologize ahead of time.

This column could end quite suddenly because complete and total exhaustion is taking over my body.

Running a marathon or climbing a mountain did not cause this. Those things are a snap compared to the real cause of my fatigue: A visit with a human phenomenon that packs more energy into her body than a nuclear reactor.

In others words, a toddler.

They are deceivingly adorable little people who babble excitedly and blow kisses even from far away thanks to the wonders of Skype.

But “Skyping’’ does not hurt your lower back. Reality does. And we have a heating pad on its last legs to prove it.

Our path to pain began with good intentions.

“Hi Grandma!’’ and “Hi Papa!’’ our 2-year-old granddaughter exclaimed to us not long ago from the computer screen.

Her cuteness factor was off the charts and before we knew it, the car was packed and we were off to collect some real kisses instead of settling for virtual ones.

Me: “I can’t wait to hug her!”

Him: “Me first!”

Me: “She loves me best!”

Him: “We’ll see about that!”

With all our gushing, we forgot the most important thing – a stint at Grandparent Boot Camp where the motto is, “The Few. The Proud. The Upright.”

At Grandparent Boot Camp, you do squat thrusts from dawn until dusk.

“You wimps think THIS is hard! Wait ‘til you’re squished in some kiddy chair for a tea party!’’ a drill sergeant screams.

At Grandparent Boot Camp, you are familiarized with the operation of a car seat fit for an astronaut.

“Wrong, you idiot!’’ the drill sergeant screams as you fumble with buckles. “Fifty more squats for you!’’

At Grandparent Boot Camp, you take a crash course in complex toys like Potty Time Elmo, whose miniature potty makes realistic sound effects.

At Grandparent Boot Camp, you are immersed in rescue and retrieval so you are ready when a toddler sprints away from you at the mall and does a long jump over another stroller.

“Run you wimps! Run!’’ the drill sergeant screams as you stumble and fall.

Unfortunately, we experienced this very mall escape scenario and it goes without saying that we were not prepared.

“Get her!’’ I yelled at my husband.

“I can’t keep up!’’ he huffed. “Besides, she loves you best, remember?’’

We caught her in the Disney store and then we had to load a cranky, nap-free toddler into a car seat and fill the trunk with a stroller, diaper bag, giant Dora doll, crates of snacks, the stuffed animals of the week, a Minnie Mouse purchased at the mall, plus everything else needed for a 30-minute outing with a 2-year-old.

All without benefit of Grandparent Boot Camp.

Our conversation on the way home was quite different than on the way there.

Him: We’re too tired to drive.

Me: I’ll press the pedal. You steer.

Him: How did we survive our own kids?

Me: We were 25.

Him: Ahh, 25. I miss 25.

Me: This is crazy but when can we go back?

Him: After traction.

Me: And Grandparent Boot Camp?

Him: Definitely  Grandparent Boot Camp.

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7 Responses to "First Grandparent Boot Camp, then Toddler Town"

That’s how I feel as a 43-year-old mom to a 2-year-old! Oh my aching back!

Oh so true…..but guarantee you’ll be back for more!

Why haven’t I been informed about Grandparent Boot Camp?!! I just kept my four-year-old and two-year-old for the week. Sent them home Sunday, and am recuperating, slowly, for the rest of the month.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

We took our weekend and gave you a rest! Now we’re recuperating! (and making plans for next time!)

Grandparents forget the daily ins and outs of chasing a toddler around. They offer to babysit while me and Hubby go to a movie – in a theater, not in our living room – and we get the call half way through a great blockbuster… and leave the movie to go rescue the Grandparents.

Great post, and don’t worry – they grow out of toddlerhood quickly!

I enjoyed that!! It reminded me of my grandparents and why they used to bribe us BIG time by taking us for a drink at the Montgomery Wards cafeteria. It was a break for them! Funny stuff.

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