Boys One and Two are home from spending over a week at my parent’s house. They had fun. (So did we).

My husband and I stayed there for a few days, attending a family reunion and hanging out in my hometown. At the end of the week, we took off with their little brother, the minivan lighter without bikes, backpacks, and booster seats.

We totally couldn’t leave fast enough for Boy Two, who wondered why we hadn’t left after the first day.

The boys visited botanical gardens and splash parks, played up and down the sidewalks where I grew up, and went on adventures with their Mama and Papa.

They spent a day at a friend’s farm, where they drove tractors, fed cows, and then ate cow in the form of delicious hamburgers at the end of the day.

coffee house mom, rhonda franz, children at grandparents' house day at the farm

They watched Mama and Papa’s television (which has all kinds of channels ours doesn’t). They hung out in Mama’s garden, where Boy Two developed a special affinity for bird bath containers. They were well fed, well attended to, and generally quite loved on.

Coffee house mom, Rhonda Franz, children at Grandparents' house, birdbath

Very much like my own childhood, really. Except not.

My boys ate:

  • fried cheese
  • treats
  • more treats
  • special chocolates and nut delicacies

Back in the day, I ate:

  • no candy
  • vegetables
  • very little treats
  • no suckers until I was like, 8
  • fish (which I never liked, and they kept trying to feed me until I was a teenager)

The bedtime routine was in my childhood: bath, prayer/book reading/”We love you, Good night.”

How bedtime goes for my children at the grandparents’ house:

  • Bath
  • Some sort of elaborate bedtime spa routine, complete with blowout, combed hair, and body massage
  • Books/reading
  • More books/more reading
  • A serenade to sleep by my father, who has a beautiful tenor voice
  • Lots of checking on, blanket and pillow arranging, high concerns about the house temperature and whether the poor lads are comfortable.

Things I learned when talking to my parents/my boys on the phone  that week:

  • My mom, “Boy 2 doesn’t like black beans, you know. I’ll need to fix him something so he won’t be hungry.” (Insert bulleted list about how this wasn’t at all what happened when I wouldn’t eat my fish).
  • My dad, “The boys really like Tom and Jerry cartoons. They’ve been watching them over and over. They’ve never seen them!” How come they haven’t, Daughter? (Insert bulleted list about the TV restrictions in my childhood)

Coffee House Mom, rhonda franz, boys at grandparents' house

When my sons came back home, they were both an inch taller and a few pounds heavier. They also came back with a whole new shade of brotherly bonding.

Life has resumed to normal for them. Very little television, a short & sweet bedtime routine, and yes, black beans for supper.

My Advice for Handling the Grandparents

I was warned about this kind of behavior showing up in my parents when expecting my first child. I didn’t believe it. My advice: if you’re fortunate enough to have children and your parents, accept a little bit of spoiling. It’s worth it for free babysitting.

(Disclaimer: My boys are so very blessed to still have Mama and Papa, Grandma and Grandpa, and a relationship with all of them. They don’t call them “grand” for nothing).

How do you use the grandparents in your life?

image credit: stock.xchng photo of calves by jannbr. i bet they’re brothers, too.