I am about one month away from my grandmother midterm test, and I don’t mind telling you I am a little nervous. In January I had to study harder than an insurance adjuster before a personality test to pass the entrance exam. Back then I prepared to keep my two-month-old granddaughter by myself for a few days by poring over operating manuals until I was bleary-eyed, trying to master all the high-tech baby gizmos that have become de rigueur these days. From video monitoring systems more sophisticated than NASA’s to car seats-cum-strollers, equipped with enough levers to control the output of the Hoover Dam, it was all pretty intimidating for this low-tech grandma.
Good grief, back in the dark ages of the early 1980s, I had a wind-up swing, a bath sponge and an umbrella stroller for my infant daughter and thought myself well outfitted. Not so nowadays. Of course, nowadays, gender reveal parties, extravagant PBV’s (Pre-Birth Vacations), and push presents are also the over-the-top norm. The closest I got to a push present in 1982 was the wad of tissues a nurse handed me when I thought I might lose control of my bowels during labor. But, you know, at least I’m not bitter.
Before my daughter left the baby with me in January, she put me through my paces, and, good student that I am, I passed with flying colors. I juggled Boppies and binkies, buckled and unbuckled safety harnesses and seat belts, and converted the car seat into a stroller and back into a car seat again. I even debated the benefits of the Baby K’tan versus the Baby Bjorn. All without missing a beat.
And, not to brag, but after a mere seventeen straight hours of research on the internet, I picked out and purchased–without my daughter’s supervision–not only a Pack ’n’ Play with Reversible Napper and Changer Bassinet, but also a Papasan Cradle Swing with floating butterfly mobile, light show, and soothing music. Yeah, drop the mic, baby. The Fisher-Price mic, that is.
But now I’m nervous that such pride goeth before a fall as the grandmother midterm loometh on the horizon. Of course, I am tickled baby-girl pink to be keeping my granddaughter for two weeks in July, but everything I learned in January is useless because all that infant equipment is pretty much obsolete for her at eight months. Now it’s all about Bumbo seats, ExerSaucers and GoPods. And, of course, the car seat has completely different settings now. Oh, dear, can an old dog like me learn even more new tricks?
I have a stack of owner’s manuals, complete with schematics, color illustrations, and customer reviews, piled high on my bedside table. I keep telling myself I can do this, I must do this, it’s for the baby. But, to be perfectly honest, I’m exhausted just thinking about it. If I could find an adult-sized Rock ‘n’ Play somewhere, I’d curl up in its extra-deep and cozy seat right now and let its hands-free, soothing rocking motion and twelve calming melodies lull me into heavenly, high-tech slumber. Zzzzzzz.