Grandparent books. The disconnect between parental and grandparental expectations, or perhaps to frame it better expectations on themselves, is very clear when you start browsing grandparent books.
Why would I start browsing grandparent books? Possibly because my parents, always falling over themselves to improve their relationship with us and Beloved in particular, sent us a book about hyper-parenting.
Because it was my father who sent it, and he, although making stuff-all effort most of the time (he hasn't seen his grandson yet), does not have a history of criticising Beloved, Beloved took this ok. She's actually attempting to read it.
But you can only make 1 of 2 things out of such a gift: they think generally parenting has gone hyper and want to get us thinking about it, or they think we specifically are a risk for this. If it's the latter it's just the latest in a long line of cases of my father not listening, not knowing who I am and making assumptions that are rather displaced from reality.
Kind of like where being isolated and depressed at boarding school translates into 'having lots of fun and partying'.
We have no 'hyper' plans for the kids- even our favourite, number 1 preferred activity for them (music) is entirely optional in our minds and plans. We aren't planning to:
- send them to boarding school (over my dead body would I perpetrate such misery on my own children);
- judge their aptitude for creative pursuits based on whether they tough it out with strict lessons and practice;
- keep them from watching any TV whatsoever;
- get them maths tutoring the moment they start getting marks slightly less than A+;
- tell them they are a failure if they don't pass year 12;
- get them all excited about going on a student exchange then tell them they can only go if they are accepted in a program to go to Japan, because people work hard there and that'll sort you out;
- push them to 'do useful things' like cadets, learning to fly gliders, duke of ed, anything whatsoever except play with friends, because that's a 'waste of time';
- et. cetera.
Who would that be? Not the very same father who just sent the book about hyper-parenting?
Anyways, so in the spirit of humour I went looking for a suitable guidebook on grandparenting to send back. Something like the Idiot's Guide to Grandparenting, for example. And what do you know? The Idiot's Guide has all but flopped, no copies in Australia. And only about 3 books with any sense of 'instructional' about them. And about 6,000* indulging grandparental wants, from how to infect grandkids with your religious beliefs to why this really is your rightful time to have fun and take no responsibility.
At least IT SEEMED THAT WAY TO ME!
How about a new grandparenting book with the following chapters:
OMG you aren't the parents anymore
OMG means Oh My God and 1000 other things you may have missed in the past 2 decades
Like the shift from formula back to breastfeeding
Was your son riding a bike and speaking French at the age of 3 or is it your memory?
Why DID that umpteenth insult fcuk up your relationship with your daughter in law?
Planes- why it's just as easy for 2 middle aged people to fly as a family of 4
Tits on a bull- rethinking useful and useless input
I'm onto something here. No grandparents would buy it, of course.
Anyway, I decided not to send anything back, partly to give him the benefit of the doubt and partly because I can spend the money more fruitfully on a large bag of Haigh's chocolates. Happy wife equates to more immediate and tangible rewards.
File under ng ng ng ng...
*possible exaggeration due to annoyance here.
14 hours ago