A person is never too old to learn and, sometimes, the ones teaching you are very, very young.
I learned some things recently as my husband and I watched our two young granddaughters for three nights. One of the biggest lessons I learned was that I have gotten relatively lazy and set in my ways as I have aged.
I found out that taking care of young children requires a lot of organization. Time management is essential as you measure out the day balancing work, travel, meals, household chores and play time. It is hard to get everything in during a child's waking hours so bedtime and nap time are crucial times to catch-up even though you just feel like sitting and doing nothing.
I also learned that even though we are grandparents, the word no does exist in our vocabulary. After the first few hours of entertaining the girls they started to spread their wings and try to get away with a few things. The first time I said 'no' to my ten-month-old granddaughter, she looked at me with such sad eyes, I almost gave in. However, the TV remote just wasn't part of grandpa and grandma's toy box.
There is a lot less sleep and more sleeplessness with young children. My husband and I took turns letting our three-year-old granddaughter sleep with us. She was so excited which resulted in a lot of chatter and wiggling and of course, even in sleep, arms and legs always had to be touching or flailing. With the monitor recording the occasional noises from the baby, there was not much sleep going on at night.
I can attest that hospital waiting rooms and doctor's offices are still not fun with a sick child. The youngest granddaughter developed a fever and, as a nervous grandmother, I took her in to get checked out. She was fine, but I learned that convincing a young child to wait patiently while being poked and prodded is not easy.
When our days of watching the girls were done, I also learned how quiet a home can be. It felt pretty lonely when they were gone and even though I could now relax in my recliner and watch something other than cartoons, the house seemed empty. The busyness was over and the quiet set in.
As my aching muscles start to heal and all the toys and games are put back in place, I learned that every minute of every day spent with grandkids is wonderful and essential. The added benefits are all the hugs, kisses, and funny questions. We can each learn a lot from the tiniest of teachers.