Tuesday, June 7, 2011

When Baby Boomers Become Grandparents

This past weekend I took my 2 1/2-year old son, the Juban Princeling, down to Miami to visit his grandparents. It's a win-win-win situation for everyone: my parents get to spend time with their one and only grandchild, my son gets quality time with two people who never put him in time-out and think his whining is adorable, and I get two built-in babysitters for four days. It's actually win-win-win-WIN, if you also count my husband, who got to stay home and hire hookers and drink absinthe without having to keep track of a baby monitor.

The Baby Boomer generation has certainly put its own spin on this whole "grandparenting" business. They are, remember, former hippies. Free love, flower power, Jim Morrison, Woodstock, bell bottoms, long hair, freaking out squares, and whatever else the dirty, unwashed types used to do, has spilled over into their golden years.

My mom, circa 1969.
(Kidding. My parents did not actually
attend Woodstock. At least, not that they
remember.) (Photo from xtimeline.com)

One night at the dinner table I had the following actual conversation with my son:

Juban Princeling: Where's Grandpa?
Me: I don't know.
The Truth: Getting high in the backyard.

Actual quotes from my dad:
--"Shopping for clothes for the Princeling gives your mother orgasms."
--(Upon seeing my son riding his tricycle backwards) "Look! You're doing reverse cowgirl!"

Now, I'm not a prude, but I'm pretty sure the sexual revolution was not intended to compare a toddler on his trike to one of Cosmo's sex tips. I know, I know, I'm such a Puritan.

While we were down there my dad became obsessed with a movie he'd seen about 100 years ago that's not available on DVD, or even VHS. Thanks to the magic of Google (and because I am Generation X, not Generation "How Do I Send An Email?") I found a copy for him online and we ordered it, but a)I'm pretty sure it's a bootleg of something someone recorded off cable TV; b)I'm also pretty sure the site we ordered it from is only quasi-legal at best. I've instructed my mother to keep an eye on the credit card they used in case of any suspicious activity in the next few weeks. But man, won't my face be red when that DVD arrives in mint condition and the credit card goes untouched!

(And it's not like I'm a squeaky clean mom, either. Some day when the Princeling is, no doubt, in therapy, I imagine several items from his childhood will come up, such as songs involving the lyrics, "If your girl steps to me I'm smackin' a ho," played at his second birthday party, and all his earliest memories taking place at a wine shop.)

But, the important thing is that everyone had a good time. The Princeling only got one time-out the entire time we were there, during which I had to forcibly restrain my father from rescuing him and calling Child Services on me, because when your life's motto is "Grass and Ass," you tend to come from the same school of discipline as Ned Flanders' parents.

My mom took the Princeling to his favorite place on the planet, the Gold Coast Railroad Museum, where every week they have Fun With Food Fridays, in which the kids get to make ice cream, then eat it, then ride in a real train caboose. My son the train-lover hits a special level of nirvana whenever his grandmother takes him to FWFF at the Gold Coast, and honestly, I don't know why it isn't outrageously crowded whenever they go.

The Princeling and his grandpa at the Gold Coast
Railroad Museum in April.
(The Princeling's steam train t-shirt courtesy of Shirts That Go.)

My parents have so much fun with their grandson that they make no pretense about him being the sole reason they ask us to come down there so often. He's only 2 1/2 and they've already begun estimating when he'll be old enough to fly down without me or my husband. If they were a corporation, the internal memo would go something like this:

"How can we maximize our Princeling time, while minimizing our Daughter time?"

But, I guess that's how it goes with children and their grandparents. The Princeling had so much fun at their house that he did his excited little happy dance for nearly the entire four days straight. He probably even did it in his sleep. And really, isn't that how it should be?

"I'm an airplane!" Classic grandfather-grandchild moment.

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