Adventures in Babysitting

        While the parents were away…we two did play.

Published April 3, 2015 2:35 PM
3 min read








While the parents were away…we two did play.




By Robin Jovanovich

pw-bigWhile the parents were away…we two did play.

A few months back our younger son and his wife paid us the ultimate compliment by asking us if we’d watch their infant son  — now 1 and a giant — while they went to Miami for a long weekend. We immediately signed on the dotted line, promising to call if he sneezed or said a decipherable word.

Unfortunately, we didn’t realize our grandson was getting his booster shots a few days before our scheduled visit, which meant that my husband couldn’t join me on the adventure. While he missed out on the 5:30 wake-up call from the crib in the neighboring room and the long-after-bedtime antics, he also missed out on wrestling on the living room carpet, swim class at the Midtown Y, where I held my arms out to catch PW when he jumped off the side of the pool with glee, and watching as he tried to catch the floating bubbles as well as the basketball at Gymboree class.

In between there were long stretches of trying to read him “Corduroy,” one of his dad’s favorites, and trying to make the connection with the buttons on my sweater. The buttons lost. At the Whole Foods on 57th Street, we managed not to upend the berry display or break hundreds of the organic and ridiculously overpriced fruit drinks that called out to him.

Meanwhile, he gave his award-winning smile to every passerby, wherever we went, and we traveled far on foot and stroller wheel in dreary weather (wondering why we couldn’t go to Miami too!) because even in my dotage I remember the importance of the daily “constitutional” with my boys. You want to tire them out and forget about the state of the affairs you left behind in the apartment.

In the slow periods, we called PW’s grandfather and told him about our day. As my husband was about to hang up, because there are only so many times you can ask “How are you doing PW? Are you having fun with Grandma?” over a cellphone and get only gurgles back, I started talking about all the laundry and cabinet cleaning I’d been doing in between picking up books and toys that were thrown. (By the way, I’m not bragging when I say this kid has an arm.)

“That boy needs a job, exclaimed my husband!”

He was right. The next morning, as I picked PW up and brought him to the bed I was sleeping in, I explained that whatever Grandma does, that does not involve turning on the stove burners or the bathtub faucets, he can help me with. After breakfast, I unwrapped a new sponge and handed it to him. We cleaned and messed up the cabinet doors and did it all over again.

That afternoon, after our nap, rather than take him down to the laundry room in his stroller, I let him hold my hand and press the elevator button. I dragged the laundry bag, but he did try to help. It got a little complicated at that point, so I put him in a laundry basket. He loved it, especially when I pushed him across the room until the Super came in to see what the commotion was all about. We both behaved until he left. Then, I showed my grandson how one can throw the clothes into the washer and dryer.

If you teach a boy to think of laundry as a fun activity, he may actually grow up to be a husband who does the laundry. On my next visit, I’m going to focus on returning the “sports” equipment to its rightful spot.


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