Every time my parents look after a kid of mine I ask if my child behaved themselves my Mum says, “They were perfect.”
Perfect? My kids?
Sometimes, when I’m down on my hands and knees trying to work dried peach out of the carpet, I wonder where I’m going wrong.
Even though I claim my brother and sister and I were so much better behaved than my own kids, this isn’t the case. I know because I was there. I was the kid who took off the petrol cap on the mower and shoved the hose in. I was the kid who gave a whole leg of ham to the dog. I was the kid who found a hammer and chipped the edges off the brickwork as my parents moved the furniture into their new home.
So why do my kids, who are, if I’m honest, right little shits, behave when they’re at their grandparent’s house but not when they’re in their own?
I’ve concluded that in my case it’s not my parenting so much as my parents’ grandparenting which is the difference – they’re just better at it because they’ve had more experience.
Or so I thought.
Earlier this week I arrived to pick up Miss3 after she’d stayed with my parents so I could go to the physio when I was greeted with an odd sight. When I turned into their street I was shocked to find Grandma carrying Miss3 up the middle of the road.
I confess, I laughed. A lot. I even pulled the car over quickly and jumped out to take a photo.
Then I realized that the were both covered in chocolate.
“I don’t know where she found it,” said Grandma. “But I was dressed to go out to the shops so I better go get changed again.”
Running away. Making a mess with food. Wrecking shit. This was all looking very familiar.
Which was immensely pleasing.
Naturally, I did the right thing and shouldered the blame for my child.
“I’m so sorry about your clothes, Mum,” I said – like apart from dropping her here a couple of hours ago I had anything to do with it. Then I frowned at my youngest daughter in my best ‘displeased daddy’ manner. “And her unacceptable behavior.”
Which was when my mother said something which, I think, solves the mystery of why I think my kids behave better at their grandparents’ than at their own home.
“What are you talking about?” Grandma said, giving Miss3 a kiss and a big hug. “She was perfect!”
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“Raising a family on little more than laughs”