'Tis the season of love, lights, elves on shelves and visits with
that will inevitably result in a level of spoiling that will leave you
wondering if you should cart your kid off to boot camp for recalibration after.
may be one of the lucky ones who raise your kids with grandma and grandpa
nearby. You drop your little ones off if you
find yourself needing a drink with the girls, they're always available to help
with preschool pickups if you get behind at work, and because they're there and part of your day-to-day lives, they're mostly on board with your parenting philosophies and the rules by which you try to raise your children. Or
if they're not totally on board, they're at least willing to do their best to
abide by those rules when your kids are in their care.
those of us with parents living states away, the visits don't go quite the same
way. Grandma and grandpa are so excited to see the little loves of their lives,
and they know those visits are in the short term, so they kind of go all out.
spoiling has a way of turning your polite, well-behaved, independent children
into needy, demanding, bratty iterations.
You're being reminded at every turn: "That's what grandparents are for!"
recently had our annual two-week trip to visit the grandparents for
Thanksgiving, and I've already been bemoaning the recalibration my toddler is
going to need. On the short list of new habits she's going to need to be broken
After two weeks with grandma and
grandpa, my kiddo now thinks she is the deserving benefactor of 24/7 attention.
Meanwhile, I'm a single mom who has to do laundry, and who values
raising an independent child capable of entertaining herself. Don't get me
wrong, I absolutely spend loads of time playing with my girl—but I also
appreciate that before we visited the grandparents, I could count on her to play in her room
for up to an hour by herself whenever I needed to get other things done. Now?
I'll be lucky if I get five minutes alone for the next month.
My parents may just have broken my toddler.
I walked around the corner one day to find my
stepmom feeding my almost-3-year-old with a spoon and making choo-choo
noises—like one might do while feeding a baby. Ever since, my kiddo has
been asking for the "choo-choo!" at mealtimes. Look, I enjoy being able to eat with my daughter now, rather than
focusing on feeding her while stuffing my own face in the rare free moments I
might find. I do not want to have to go back to feeding her when she is
perfectly capable of feeding herself.
My girl and I have a pretty solid bedtime
routine that helps to mellow her out before lights out. But while visiting her
grandparents, just as I would get her mellowed—grandpa would engage her
in a tickle fest or start throwing her around over his head. And she would
laugh and laugh, loving every minute, and getting riled up to the point where she would then spend the next two hours coming out of her room every five minutes
looking for more. Yeah … getting back to a solid bedtime routine (one where she
doesn't think it's OK to keep seeking out playtime, long after lights out) is
going to be a bitch.
I am, admittedly, not the best cook in the
world. But I work hard to ensure my daughter is always getting a healthy,
well-rounded diet, without a lot of room for sweets or junk food. Before this
last visit, I had my kid convinced that frozen berries were the best dessert
ever. Now? She's been introduced to potato chips, cotton candy and more ice
cream and sweets than any little girl could ever possibly need. She
legitimately asks for candy every day. How am I supposed to get her back on
organic chicken and whole grain breads?
yeah … I'm considering boot camp now that we're home. Because my parents may
just have broken my toddler.
course, by the end of our trip, she was calling her grandmother her best
friend and clinging to her papa like he was the most amazing human being she
had ever met. And they were literally shedding tears as we walked away to find
our plane. Because damn if those old people don't love her.
what are you gonna do? Yeah, she got spoiled rotten for two straight weeks, and
yes, it is going to take a bit of work to get her back to "normal."