Redefining “grandparenting”

This morning, Chris’s parents arrived bright and early to see us after 2.5 years, and to finally meet Kaia Pookie. I always imagined this meet and greet to be a little funny. I imagined Chris’s mom being super excited but not being quite sure what to say other than repeatedly saying, “hello, baby girl! Hello!” over and over (accurate). I imagined her wanting to hold her and take endless photos of her. I imagined Chris’s dad picking Kaia up to hold her briefly, then handing her to someone else so that he could do something on his phone or computer, or both. I envisioned lots of posed photos of the two of them with the baby. I didn’t envision much actual childcare, and well, I knew for a fact his dad would never so much as wipe her face since he never did that with his own sons. Some people are surprised by their parents; in this case, I highly doubted a diaper change or feed would happen.

I think I was about 95% accurate in how I imagined things would be. They’re obviously very happy to be reunited with us and to finally meet their grandchild, but the excitement of meeting the baby tends to wane after a bit, and they get a little bored at times and would rather be on their mobile devices, computers, and sending endless photos of themselves with the baby to relatives for a stream of reactions. There were multiple points of the day when literally every adult was in the room on their mobile phone for prolonged periods of time, and the baby is lying on her belly or back on the mat with no one with her. It was pretty comical to observe. It actually looked a little funny at one point when Chris’s mom was sitting at the table while we were all having drinks outdoors, going through endless photos of the baby on Chris’s phone… while the baby was sitting right in front of her. I thought the whole point of coming was to actually see and spend time with the baby in person?

My friend, who has her mom taking care of her baby two days a week, said that in previous generations, grandparents wanted to be very hands on with their grandchildren in raising and spending time with them. In the current generation of grandparents as she says, grandparents seem more interested in having grandparent bragging rights and using their grandchildren as an accessory in photos. Grandparenting is more of a “hobby.” That may be the case, but no grandparent of our parents’ generation is ever going to admit that to anyone.

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