Monday, October 18, 2010

Grandma at Four Months

By Evelyn David

She's rolling over now. She burst into tears the first time – shocked at the turn of events that had her on her back reaching for a stuffed animal, and all of a sudden, she was on her belly facing the wrong way and no stuffie in sight. Plus, how to get back to where she started?

But now, Riley, age four months, is rolling like the proverbial river.

And I'm growing more confident as Grandma. From the first second I knew my daughter-in-law was pregnant, I was in love with this little baby. But when Riley was born, I'd forgotten how tiny, fragile, even scary these little people can be. Despite raising four children of my own, I found myself worried that I couldn't meet her needs. A set of baby tears was enough to prompt me to shed a few myself.

But then came the smiles – and wow, I'm willing to do cartwheels to get a grin from this little one.

So here's how I knew I had passed the Grandma test.

I was to babysit for one hour starting at 7 pm. As an experienced parent, I know that is nobody's finest hour. Riley normally goes to bed at 8 pm, so she would be getting tired in any case, but her Mom told me upon arrival that the baby hadn't slept a wink the entire day. I believe the correct response is: OY!

Now the rule of the house is that the television is off when Riley is in the room. She's absolutely mesmerized by the colors of the huge TV hanging on the wall in the family room. I respect that. Heck I limited TV viewing when raising my own kids.

But as the hour progressed, Ms. Riley began to fret. I walked, swayed, sang – you get the drift. Nothing, and I mean nothing, would comfort her for more than 15 seconds. I changed her diaper; then offered her a bottle of breastmilk, which she promptly spit out, clearly the wrong vintage, or at least the wrong nipple. She refused all pacifiers. And of course, most of all, she refused the one thing that would have helped – she wouldn't so much as close her eyes lest she actually fall asleep.

And then I whispered what I'm pretty sure my mother and mother-in-law both did when watching my kids (including Riley's daddy). I said, "Riley, this is Grandma talking. How would you like to watch "Wheel of Fortune?"

I clicked on the TV and silence descended. She sat transfixed in my arms.

I had hoped to turn it off before her mother returned, but alas I was busted.

The little one gave a huge smile when her Momma reached for her. Upstairs, a brief nursing session, and Ms. Riley was asleep for the night.

Personally, I think Riley was relieved that the contestant figured out the final puzzle. I'm pretty sure that she had. It said:


Please share your favorite Grandma stories (whether as a grandparent or grandchild).

Grandma Marian, the Northern half of Evelyn David

I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries -- short stories available for Kindle and Nook
Murder Off the Books
Murder Takes the Cake
Murder Drops the Ball -- Spring 2011


  1. I never recall having a grandma since I was abandoned at birth but being a grandma myself I think it is fun to hold your grandchild and read books to them. I try to do what I would had enjoyed if I had been lucky to have a grandma. Cookies, cuddling all relate in my mind to a grandma. susan L.

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  3. Thanks Susan L. I'm looking forward to baking with Riley and definitely to reading to her.

    Enjoy your grandkids!

    From a newbie Grandma :-)

  4. Best Grandma moment that leaps to mind - I had just returned from a disaster assigment with the Red Cross and hadn't seen my five year old grandson in three weeks. I surprised him by showing up at his pre-school. He saw me and came running; I dropped to my knees and he ran into my arms. We stayed like that for what seemed like forever, rocking back and forth, while he told me, "I missed you, Nana. I missed you. I really missed you."

    Now I can remain standing and he has to bend over slightly to hug me, but I'm going to remember that moment forever.

  5. When I first read the title my thought was how unlikely someone could be a grandma at 4 months. Then it dawned on me what you meant as I read on.

    I've been a grandma and great-grandma many times over and have had lots of wonderful grandma moments. I do think the one that tops them all was when I was a birth coach for my middle daughter when she gave birth to her first. What an awesome experience. When I gave birth to my 5 children, I never had time to watch. It is almost miraculous to see a baby being born. Melissa is now a mother herself of three, but I can remember the moment when she made her appearance into the world and how excited I was to be a part of her birth.


  6. Well, from the other end of the spectrum is my memory of spending the night at grandmas. I'm sure it was so my poor parents could have an evening to themselves, but I always thought it was a great treat for me. Grandma would give me a bath with fancy soap that came in square cubes, melted into the water, and smelled of roses or gardenias. Then I would be tucked into a pre-historic snuggie of my grandmother's devising and I would watch Jeopardy or Murder She Wrote with Grandpa while Grandma puttered at her projects. To this day I can't smell gardenias without thinking of her.

  7. Linda -- what a wonderful memory. I can envision the scene and when I do, I smile.

    Marilyn -- what a wonderful blessing to have been the birth coach for your daughter.

    Bethany -- What wonderful memories you have of your grandparents. It's amazing how certain scents can evoke memories and transport us back in time.

    Thanks everyone for sharing.


  8. I have no grandma stories, but I remember when I flew down to visit my 4-year old niece and that little girl came running down the aisle because she had to get to me first and give me a hug. That was so precious to me.

  9. Dru - how wonderful! Those kinds of hugs are the Best!!

  10. Marian, you are a wonderful grandma, and Riley is so lucky to have you (as lucky as you are to have her!)! I love watching my mom with her grandkids (my niece and nephew). She just glows.

  11. Thanks Susan. I'm having a wonderful time with Ms. Riley -- she is a blessing. She came for a visit this afternoon and rolled over -- showing off her new skills! We all cheered as loud as if she had just hit a grand slam homerun...sorry for the baseball metaphor, but tonight is another playoff game!