Babysitting the Grandchildren

We probably don't babysit the grandchildren as much as we should.  Rachel only lives around the corner so we see them quite regularly and I never really expected to be a grandparent quite so soon.  In a very selfish way I wanted some time to myself where I didn't have to change shitty nappies and get up at 5.30am because there was an unpaid demand for it.  However, I also didn't want to be the type of grandparent that never babysits and last week it seemed that Rachel was at her wit's end with some personal worries and just the general stresses of being a parent to two toddlers.  I've been there, I know how it feels.  So, after a prompt from Kev we offered to have them both overnight last night.


18.25 Rachel comes round with the grandchildren for our marathon 16-hour babysitting session. I am assured that they will be asleep for twelve of those.  Amie is convinced she's not staying over, Megan - usually so laid back she's almost horizontal - is hyped up.

18.38 We go to the park for twenty minutes some fresh air and to run off some energy (them, not me - I need my reserves), calling at the shop for bread and milk.  Nana hears a little voice say "Amie's lollies" and notices a big lick mark on one of them.  Nana pays for the lolly as well.

18.41 The park gates are bolted. "Closed for repairs" the sign screams at me. I lift Amie over the fence, climb over myself, reach over and unstrap Megan from the pushchair.  We have broken in... along with about 8 other children and their respective parents.

18.42 Amie has a hissy fit because Megan has been put into the red swing which is apparently "her" swing.  I swap Megan into the blue swing and Amie is happy again.  Megan is transfixed by the floor as she swings.

18.46 Amie climbs out of the swing and goes on the slide, the roundabout, the climbing frame and the seesaw.  Megan is transfixed by the floor as she swings.

18.54 There is an altercation by the seesaw.  I take Megan out of the swing, sort out "turns" on the seesaw and supervise climbing steps over at the slide.

19.02 I wonder how I'm going to round up two children and break out of the park.  It is Mission Impossible and I may need a helicopter and winch.  I run out of arms at one point but I just about manage to do what we did at 6.41 but in reverse

19.04  We cross the road to go home. Amie has a tantrum because I make her decide between holding onto my hand or the pram.  I bribe her with presents and tell her that Grandad has them at our house.

19.05  We make it home in record time.

19.06  Presents are dispatched:  A colouring book, princess glitter crayons and a Peppa Pig sticker book for Amie, wooden building blocks for Megan.

19.08 Grandad is made to sit at the kitchen table and learn all the characters from Peppa Pig.

19.09  Grandad moans that he is missing Emmerdale

19.10  Megan and myself tip the whole toybox onto the lounge floor.

19.11 Megan ignores the pile of toys and wanders around the kitchen opening cupboards and drawers, finally settling on rearranging the magnets on the freezer door.  I follow Megan everywhere she goes.

19.18  I start making toast for supper and Kev asks what time bedtime is.  I tell him it is normally 7pm.  We discuss the virtues of a late bedtime.

19.23  Toast is distributed, sucked at, ignored, ground into the carpet, left for the dog to tidy up later.

19.25  We remember to that we haven't erected the travel cot.  They children are staying in my study our spare room.  Kev hides upstairs, trying to work out how to get the travel cot to fit in the room alongside the bed and the desk and still  be able to walk in and out of the room.  We swap places upstairs/downstairs and I turn the cot sideways.  It fits... just.

19.28  Kev calls upstairs and reminds me to move the remaining items off my desk.  I fill an old washing basket full of all my bits and pieces and hide it in our bedroom.   We swap places again and Kev goes for a quick shower.

19.43  I dress Megan in her pajamas, get her some milk and take her up to bed, hanging around for a few minutes to make sure she is OK.  I come back downstairs to see that Kev has turned the TV over from Britain's Got Talent to Eastenders.  I protest half-heartedly so Kev moves into the other lounge to watch Eastenders on the other TV.

20.04  I return upstairs to remove the forgotten items off my desk and to check that Megan is asleep.  Amie "sits quietly" with Kev to let Megan settle down.  This involves saying the word "Grandad" about 18 times and giving a "jumping" display.

20.26  Megan is asleep.

20.27  Amie is sorted out and taken to bed.

20.31 Kev and myself run round tidying up, professing that it never used to be this much hard work.  It is also the hottest day & evening of the year so far.

20.47  Kev goes upstairs to check his emails.  I go for a sit down.

20.56  Kev uses the phone intercom to say he can hear Megan crying.  I race upstairs to find Amie stood on Megan's head IN THE COT sharing out ornaments (my keepsakes: mum presents & snow globes) from the window ledge.  Megan wants juice.  Amie has a dirty nappy.  The ornaments are removed from the room, the dirty nappy is changed, bottles are topped up with milk, threats of "no crayons and stickers tomorrow" are made.  I notice that during Cot-gate at 7.25 one of us has wiped half of my To Do list off my whiteboard.  That means it's been done, right?

21.51 Both of the children are asleep

22.22 I crack and have a glass of wine.  I have a natter to people on Twitter and the next two hours just flies by.

12.40  I go to bed and the children are still sleeping like the proverbial.

1.17  Amie wakes up, slightly confused as to where she is so I go in and comfort her.  The house is stuffy warm and we have a few windows open.  The street noise wafts in and isn't really soothing.

1.45  Amie still isn't asleep properly so I camp out on the end of her bed (BIG mistake), she keeps checking I am still there, occasionally nattering to me and waking up Megan in the process.

2.45  They are both still awake.  Kev is awake.  I am awake.  Two people in the equation aren't too happy about this.  Two people are.

3.21  I bring the children downstairs, turn the TV on and we watch Gorillas In The Mist, in the dark, snuggled up on the settee with blankets.

3.28  Kev comes down to sit with us for moral support.  We watch more of the "Daddy Monkeys", Amie is quite good and lies under her blanket.  Megan gets more and more excited and throws herself off the settee at one point.  I strap her in the pushchair and rock her for a while to try and settle her down.

4.48  Megan is showing signs of tiring, Amie has nodded off in the last few minutes on the settee.  I send Kev back to bed and decide not to move the girls so scootch up at the end of the settee with a cushion.

7.00 (on the dot) Megan wakes up, I wash her down, dress her and notice that Amie has woken up.  I do the same with her.  We have breakfast, clean teeth, turn CBeebies on (hello Rastamouse, nice to make your acquaintance) and get all the toys out.  Again!

7.20  Amie remembers that I have promised her she can feed the goldfish.  A handful of food is thrown into goldfish bowl and I muse that I'll probably not have to feed them again for a week.

7.40  The girls are full of the joys of Spring.  I am not.

9.20  I ring Rachel and tell her I'm packing everything up and bringing the children back.

10.00 I get home.  I am too tired to sleep.

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