First, buy batteries and lots of them. Half of your grandchild’s toys will require one or more. Look for sales and rebates from Duracell and Energizer. You can’t have too many 9-volt, AA, AAA, C-size and D-size batteries. Even if you stock up on these, you will occasionally have to buy one of those little round batteries that cost as much as $12 each, so budget accordingly. Do NOT take batteries out of smoke detectors to put them into toys. If the house burns, all of those batteries inside toys will be lost anyway.
Toughen up! Expect questions like: “Grandma, what is that hang-y down skin under your chin?” “Are those blue lines on your legs boo-boos?” “Your breath smells bad. Have you brushed your teeth?”
When you sit down on the floor to play with the grandkids, always sit with your back against a couch or a sturdy chair. You will need its support when it is time to stand up.
When you bend down to pick up a toy, take a look around and see what other toys, Cheerios, crayons or pieces of shredded cheese need to be picked up while you are down there. There’s no use bending down five times when you can pick up everything with one bend.
When you take the grandkids outside to play in the yard, anticipate absolutely everything you may need once you get out there and take it with you: insect repellant, sunglasses, jackets, sunscreen, Band-Aids, hand sanitizer, tissues, and a cup of water for everyone. You should need to round up the herd for a trip indoors only when one of them needs to visit the potty or have a diaper changed.
Expect constructive and all other kinds of criticism. It comes in various forms. “Grandma, you should have stopped at that yellow light because the light turned red before you got completely turned.” “Your house smells funny, Grandma, kind of like throw-up or maybe spinach.” “Grandma, my mom says you shouldn’t open Happy Meal Toys with your teeth.”
Admit to the grandkids right up front that you don’t know the answer to every question. “Why is this the road to your house, Grandma?” is one of them.
If you have more than one grandchild in the car at any given time, do not ask, “Where would you like to have lunch?”
Know that you will feel unspeakably sad when you notice that your grandchild has stopped using words like “pasghetti,” “amblience,” “hopsital,” and “poottaste.”
Expect to learn intimate details of your grandkids’ home lives. My granddaughter told me the other day, “My mommy and daddy kiss on the lips.”
Once a grandchild starts school, you will become incredibly stupid. You are likely to hear this: “My teacher says you are wrong, Grandma, when you say that 80% of my body heat escapes through my head if it isn’t covered up.”
Don’t be shocked at anything you hear or see during the potty-training process. If your grandchild waves, throws kisses and says “I love you” as the contents of the toilet are flushed away, know that this is normal.
Plan on living with smudges on your eyeglasses, spit-up on your sweater, and sore earlobes from having hoop earrings jerked off of you (usually during church).
Know that your carpet will have Play Doh embedded in its fibers, your car seats will have melted M & M’s on them, your kitchen cabinet will contain at any given time at least six different kinds of cereal boxes, and your heart will be so full of love that you cannot look at one of your little ones without wanting to cry.