Small Talk


June 30th, 2010

I think it's a generational thing, that men who are now my dad's age, didn't get too involved in child-rearing the first time around. My dad worked, and my mom stayed home to watch me. A lot of my friends had the same experience.

The other day, I called my parents to come over to watch Olivia so I - feeling burnt out and tired - could go to dinner with Claus. Just needed some adult time, and a change of scenery.

My dad answered the phone. "Mom's sleeping. She's really tired. She fell asleep at 5:45," he said.

I told him that's OK, don't wake her, I'd stay home, no big deal. Trying to be helpful, he said, "Do you want me to do it?"

"Oh, would you do that?" I asked my dad. He visits us only as he pleases, which is fine. The family culture that we've long ago established is that my parents hew to very traditional roles.

Mom nurtures. Dad does what he wants to do. He will assist babysitting, but he never solos.

"Well, how hard can it be? Isn't she going to be sleeping?" he asked.

It was 7 p.m. Olivia goes to sleep at 7:30 p.m. "I could put her down at 7:15. That way you only have to be with her for 15 minutes," I said.


"Oh. I better wake Mom," he decided.

I think it's funny that my dad didn't want to be with Olivia alone for even 15 minutes. He was probably fearing the worst, since he has never done this alone before. They get on very well, though. Olivia really likes him.

I am acquainted with a group of male retirees at the Y. I ran the story by them and asked if it's a guy thing.

I got a story back from Ron, who told me what happened when he babysit his grandchild. "The kid took a huge dump, and after I changed the diaper, I couldn't find a new one. So I wrapped my golf towel around him and duct taped it into place," he shared.

Yes, I think it's a guy thing.


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10 Responses to “Grandpa”

  1. Seawalker:

    Diane, leave it to a guy to adapt, improvise, and overcome. Ron has my vote for man-of-the-year!

  2. Sam Urai:

    I agree Seawalker, mom would have driven to the store to buy one and leave the poor baby naked.

  3. Susan:

    That's hilarious Diane! I think 15 minutes is hardly anything, but I guess if your dad isn't used to it, it could seem daunting. I love the story about the golf towel, lol!

  4. Ken Conklin:

    When I was a teenage boy in grades 10-12, the neighbors across the street sometimes used me as a babysitter for their 2 boys and one girl whose ages were approximately 9,7,5. Good deal for me -- one dollar per hour, nice TV, snacks, and soda pop. I knew how to phone 911, and they put the phone number where they could be reached on the wall next to the phone (no cell phones yet, just a rotary dial on the wall). But I really would not have known what to do if one of the kids had a serious problem or the furnace caught on fire or sparks started coming out of the TV. Luckily nothing bad ever happened, and I got fat and rich from the gig. Could have had my girlfriend come over and spend a few hours with me in a nice house (woo-woo!); except I was a geek and didn't have a girlfriend (just like now!). Di, you're lucky the grandfolks are willing and able. Don't trust a teenager to do that job.

  5. snow:

    lol... that story from ron is classic! like your dad, my dad didn't interact with us too much during our childhood. my mom was a SAHM so i remember her taking me to the park and playing baseball and kickball with me (so i wouldn't look like a wuss in school! lol.) and lots of other things. though, my dad was busy working but did certain things like comb my long hair (my mom had no patience for that - she's just as soon cut it off!) and help me with my homework! 😉 but, once the grandkids came along, my dad was right there. i suppose it helped that he was retired and home to spend time with them. he was always the one putting them to sleep, as my mom didn't like to handle the really little ones and he had "the touch" (fussy kid? give 'em to grandpa!). it was nice to see that other side that i didn't always get to see as a child.

  6. Ynaku:

    I babysat my niece and nephew when I was about 13. Yep changed diapers and all.

    Now that I'm a Papa, my Grand-daughter loves to come over. Been caring for her since she was an infant. I worked a 4/10 work schedule and Fridays was my day to watch her. I looked forward to that day. Now she goes to Day Care and start pre-school in August. Man I'll miss my Fridays with her.

  7. Ynaku:

    I had to chuckle about what Ron did to improvise. Back in 1984 when Mauna Loa was erupting, my wife and I jumped into the car with our infant daughter and drove to Volcano to see the Lavaflow. In our rush, we forgot the diaper bag. No Pampers 😯 😯 What to do? We did have a cloth diaper but no pins. Now what? I know, I have black electrical tape in the glove box. Did the McGyver thing and all dry. Baby happy.

    Yes, men learn to improvise. No sense panic.

  8. M:

    Hello Diane,

    Changing diapers, giving baths or feeding wouldn't be a problem for me. I have baby sat before alone and raise my two kids alone most of the times.

  9. RedZone:

    When i was 11 I was the designated babysitter for my family. Not just my immediate family. My parents, aunts and uncles would go out and leave all the kids in my charge. Some how we all survived.

  10. chicorex:

    Wow !! Another use for duct tape.

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