The best baby-sitters

Even toddlers seem more adept at computers than some   of the Baby Boomers.  April 2015

Even toddlers seem more adept at computers than some of the Baby Boomers. April 2015

“The best baby-sitters, of course, are the baby’s grandparents. You feel completely comfortable entrusting your baby to them for long periods, which is why most grandparents flee to Florida.”Dave Barry

OK, you can blame this post on Jeff.  I preempted the post I had originally scheduled for this date, because Jeff told me that I was creating too many posts about flowers.  “Hmmm,” I thought, “What on earth could be more interesting than flowers?”  The answer, not surprisingly, was “Grady!”  Now, of course I realize that Grady is way more interesting to me than to anyone who is likely to read this, but that’s just one of the perks of being the blogger, hee-hee.

As regards Dave Barry’s quote above: the first part is true.  The second is certainly not ALWAYS true, since I would never flee to Florida to escape our grandson.  In fact, it would more likely work the other way if we didn’t already live so far from them.  But I take every opportunity I can to go see them, and it just so happens that I have some recent photos of a night I actually was able to babysit for Grady for just a couple of hours.

The time flew by!  In fact, by the time I was able to pry Grady away from my new touch screen computer, which he promptly figured out how to work about as well as I know how to work it after having had it since Christmas, we barely had any time left for the usual grandparent-grandchild activities such as reading books, singing songs and trashing the house.

Grady strikes a favorite playtime pose.

Grady strikes a favorite playtime pose.

But we did manage to squeeze in some time for one of Grady’s new favorite activities, blocks. As you can see in this video clip,  Grady is not only attentive to the instructions I gave him (NOT!), but also finds novel ways to improve on my ideas.  I got even with him though, since he obviously thought I was setting up a Skype session with PaPa there at the end, when really I was just filming his cute little face for posterity.

At nearly 21 months old, Grady already is adept at convincing me to disregard his bedtime. We were totally busted when Mom and Dad came home at 9:30 (bedtime was 9) and found us still reading bedtime stories.  Fortunately, the best people for whom to baby-sit are your own children.  They tend to be quite patient with a little rule-bending as long as everyone stays safe and happy, and they get a break from the stress that inevitably comes with even the most loving relationships.  They generally appreciate having a little time away from the baby, too.


  1. Good morning, Julia! Thank you – that was so sweet!
    So far, my three kids don’t even have a baby-in-the-planning, but with families so scattered across the country these days, maybe I can just enjoy some of the local kiddos for now. I volunteer at an Interfaith Hospitality Network home for several families, and I have the perspective now to laugh about things that exasperate some of the young, stressed-out moms.

    • Thanks, Susan! Isn’t it nice how older generations are a sort of built-in buffer zone for exhausted parents? I know these parents are SO grateful for your help!

  2. Ann

    What a beautiful child💗💗

    • Aw, thank you Ann! ❤ Of course I agree!

  3. Julia, having followed “Baby Grady” for a long time, I was so surprised by his big boy (toddler) look. Those eyes! He is really at a fun age, easy to be adoring of him! Something tells me you’ll always run TO him, never away. Your family, every one of them, is very special. Love to all, Sheila

    • Thanks Sheila! I had intended to make a WAY, WAY overdue update to Grady’s page (as well as adding a 2015 page for photos and videos) but as always, my good intentions were way beyond my execution. However, I did post the video of Grady with the Christmas cookies you sent; it’s the newest video at the top of the 2014 videos page. I know I sent it to you earlier, but wanted to let you know it’s online now. I think it’s hilarious how Grady gets totally ticked off at his father for his trying to hand the cookie to Grady rather than let him take it himself. He is as strong-willed as his father was. Being a grandparent is the sweetest and funniest revenge. 😀

      • Sheila

        Oh, yes! I must go back and enjoy that again. 😘 She

        • I never get tired of watching it! 😀

  4. What fun! So proud you got some Grady time. He is precious.

    • Thank you Janice! Jeff and I hope to have a bit of time with Grady this afternoon. I think Grady is way better medicine for Jeff than anything the doctors can come up with.

  5. Cherie

    Oh Julia, thank you so much for letting us enjoy Grady too. He is such a sweetie! I could just squeeze him up! You just go right on being the special grandma you are. I know your son and daughter in law appreciate it. What a beautiful set of blue eyes. I love you for sharing. Cherie

    • Thank you Cherie! I always want to squeeze Grady too, but he has other ideas. He is fairly tolerant of a limited bit of MeMe’s cheek-kissing, but he wants to be up and around, getting into everything, so the only cuddly time I get from him is at bedtime story-reading. But it’s great fun to watch him explore so I’m not complaining. Thanks for sharing the fun with us! 🙂

  6. kjyaccino

    It put a big smile on my face to watch this video of your adorable Grady!!

    • Thanks Kathy! It makes me smile too, but of course I’m biased.

  7. Jack

    I’ve got four kids, all of them extremely close to their grandparents because they babysat and then babysat some more. Both of the grandfathers have passed on, but the grandmas still hold special places in all of their hearts. As my mom hits 82, the babysitting shoe is on the other foot, my two oldest routinely take her on errands, teach her (and then teach again) how to do things on the iPhone, Mac, balance her checkbook. Not a whiff of a complaint have I heard. What a blessing to have them as involved as they have always been.

    • Jack, what a wonderful example of the way the love that we send out comes back to us! I think it’s fabulous that your children are mindful of how much we owe to those who were there for us when we were young. I hope all young people will be as grateful and present. Thanks for sharing this sweet story with us.

  8. Oh Julia, what a fun post! I’m in love with that sweet little boy. Great video. What a toddler, eh? It was nice for me to hear your voice again, and to see the two of you spending time together. “Trashing the house…” LOL. You are a riot. xox

    Dear Jeff: I love flowers, but I have to admit that a post about Grady is outstanding too.

    • Thank you, Alys. We just had another fun (if brief) visit with him. I’ve been going to see my parents more frequently lately, so that gives me a bit more Grady time too, since they live less than an hour’s drive from each other. I appreciate your talent for sharing joy!!

      • I’m so glad you can double up the visits on your trip, Julia. That’s awesome.


        • Yes, there really are silver linings to the clouds. When Grady was born and Jeff was diagnosed, Drew decided to take an extra year to get his dissertation done. I’m so happy he was able to do that, because it meant they are staying in Atlanta. Now I’m praying for them to find job(s) there or somewhere else close enough for us to see Grady now and then.

          • Ahhh. That is indeed a silver lining. I hope your dream of them living close by becomes a reality. It will be good for you and for Grady to have you play a regular part in his life.

            • Alys, I had a very sweet moment when I said goodbye to Grady on Friday…I said “I’ll miss you!” and he said he wanted to go with me. ❤ 🙂 Good thing he's too big to smuggle onto the plane or I might have grabbed him out of his carseat there at the drop-off lane at the airport, and made a run for it. Drew told me later that, almost as soon as he got away from the airport, Grady started asking "where MeMe go?" Thanks for understanding about this lovely ray of sunshine in our lives.

      • How wonderful that they live so close together. I’m glad you’re getting in lots of visits.

        • Thanks Alys, that was the first reason I learned to be happy about having to move back (I was so upset at having to leave NorCal). I was able to visit my parents more in the first couple of years we lived here, than I had the past two decades combined. I guess there are drawbacks combined with blessings in almost every part of life.

          • It’s so true. The media, including TV, social networking, magazines and the like, seem to promote some silly ideal of happiness. I’ve learned that life is more about finding contentment. There are highs and lows and lots of in between states. I’ve always loved the concept of “Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.” I’m not *there* but I strive for that every day.

            • Alys, I’m not there either, but I’m close than I once was! For me, it started with becoming aware of all the messages I take in daily, and being choosy about who I let into my brain. Some days I do better than others, but generally I think I’m headed in the right direction.

              • Good for you! We have more control than we realize once we tune it. Becoming aware is half the battle. xox

                • It really is. But have you noticed…sometimes the second half of the battle is the toughest!!! 🙂

  9. Julia,
    From the vantage point of one who is not, you have an envious station in life, that many who also are often take for grated; Grandparent.

    • Alan, thanks for that reminder. I feel sorry for myself sometimes so it’s always good to keep in mind that the blessings may differ from person to person, but they are always there. Jeff and I have so enjoyed having Grady in our lives!

  10. Carolyn

    Grady is a sweetie, thanks for sharing. I sure do enjoy when mine come for a visit. This month our oldest granddaughter ,Nicole, will graduate from high school and next month our oldest grandson, Liam, will graduate from high school. They were such sweet babies, 18 now. Jeff was right, you needed to show us Grady. One of my hernia repairs didn’t hold so today doctor said I need it repaired again. I told him that if it didn’t have to be done right now, I needed to wait until all graduations are over. We are going to Jennifer’s in June , so when we get back the date will get set. I can’t believe this is happening again. What’s next!!!!! Happy Mother’s Day, Julia. Hugs and love to all.

    • OH NO Carolyn, I am so sorry to hear about your need for more surgery! I know how frustrated Jeff would get with such things. Sometimes it must feel that there is no end to it. I will hope this one gets the job done. It’s hard to believe your grandchildren are now grand-adults! I can remember when you wrote to tell us of Liam’s birth. Happy Mother’s Day to you too! Love you.

  11. raynard

    Julia, my 3 daughters in NJ, never mentioned to me about having kids( I think the oldest has 2 dogs). My wife’s grandkids are scattered in NC, and Georgia is it 13 now ? I guess and digress. Helping her take care of her aunt is like taking care of another child and then 2plus one other dog. Did you get the pictures of the cakes I sent before” I go back in the kitchen this weekend? putting the finishing touches on a updated ” Mother’s day letter tribute to my late mom. I would love for you to read it. SO you tell me the best way to send you a copy of it, maybe email? be blessed you and the family and have a great day..

    • Raynard, even without grandchildren it sounds as if you are keeping busy. Dogs are just the icing on the cake! Do send me the letter via email. My inbox is a disaster area but I did find the photos you sent, although I had to go digging for them since they got by me over a week ago. But even though the emails pile up before I get to them, I don’t ever do a “scorched earth” mass delete like Jeff is always telling me to do, so usually I can find anything that did get to me if I go hunting for it. I replied to your emails a minute ago. Believe it or not email is still the best way to reach me, I just need a bit of a reminder from time to time. Blessings to you and your family!

  12. Amy

    What a cutie Grady is. I love Dave Barry too. I hope we can make a trip to Atlanta together and you can use it as an excuse to visit Grady. Love you.

    • Amy, let’s plan to do that soon, before Grady is old enough to be totally embarrassed by me! Yesterday he was so cute…Drew had to take some yard waste down to the garden area at my parents’ home, and Grady could hear the goats who live next door bleating, but they were shut up in their shed and could not come out. He was crying to see them, “goats, goats” so pitifully, and Drew explained that we couldn’t see them because they were shut inside their house. He sniffled a bit and then said hopefully “Bunnies?” AAAWWWWW!

  13. What an adorable face on that beautiful boy. He would be great medicine indeed. I know a woman who survived 3 rounds of cancer to continue raising her great-grandchildren. I didn’t get grandchildren but manage to borrow a few. Story time was a hard one for me to end even with my own children. Did I tell you they are VORACIOUS adult readers? 🙂 Enjoy every moment. Color me green. 🙂

    • M, what a joy to have children who love reading. I love to hear cancer survivor stories and despite all the sorrows with years of less-than-optimal treatments available, it seems the happy endings are getting more and more frequent. Thanks for letting me know about another hopeful note! Grady is good medicine for Jeff AND for me, and we are very blessed to have even brief visits with him. Thanks for being here and sharing our joy!

  14. Sheila

    Julia, I hope you’ve had a wonderful day. I believe that I read you were able to spend time with your family in Atlanta during the week. 👏
    We’re drenched here in Garden City but braved the elements to do a brunch in Murrells Inlet with the family. “Hi” to Jeff and Matt! Love, Sheila

    • Happy Mother’s Day to you too, Sheila! A bit late. I’m sorry you had a rainy day for the brunch, but think of it as a warm-up for London, where rain comes frequently. It seems as if we’ve been in the rain at least half of the few days we’ve spent there, but it’s still wonderful. I thought of you during the brief time we spend in SC passing through to Atlanta last week. Not close enough to stop by, but at least in the same state!

  15. Yes! And I love Grady’s tripod stand – that was a favorite of my son, Wesley’s, growing up, too.
    And now yoga instructors are telling us that it’s good for us to be upside-down every day! Hmmm. Kids are so in tune with their bodies and their needs. As adults, we tend to let things like social norms dictate so many of our decisions.

    • Susan, he started doing that months ago. He’s very agile, as many babies are, and wants to be up and active all the time (I don’t get as much cuddle-on-the-lap time as I would like, but I’m thrilled that he is healthy and inquisitive). I really need to learn some yoga. My flexibility was really good when I was young, but alas! it’s fairly dismal now. Yet I keep reading that it’s key to aging without falls, pain and other difficulties. Maybe I can start by imitating Grady’s pose and letting gravity send more oxygen-rich blood to my brain!

      • Yes! You have to start somewhere. An easy “inversion” is to lie on your back with your legs and feet straight up the wall, as if you’re sitting on the wall with your back flat on the floor. Push your heels toward the ceiling, and aim for slightly Pigeon-toed with your leg alignment, rotating inward at the hips. Oh, and breathe. 🙂
        I loved the goats – bunnies story! How cute!

        • Susan, when I used to have problems with the veins in my legs, they would ache a lot at the end of the day and I would use the exact position you describe as a means of getting some relief. I don’t have that problem any more (I had a Venus closure procedure that was such a relief) but I think maybe I’ll try it again. I’m not very good about the deep-breathing stuff although I know it’s important. This evening I saw a bunny in my yard twice, and thought of little Grady – I wished he could have been here to see it!

  16. LB

    That Grady is such a cutie pie! love the pics and the video and so glad you are able to spend time with him!

    • Thank you LB! Grandmothers love to hear from people who share their good taste in toddlers.

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