Diary of A Modern Gran | Granny Is Grounded

Istockphoto © Illustration of woman chasing pram Illustration: Istockphoto

I’ve been thrown into the deep end after my wonderful break at the My Weekly Readers’ weekend in Wales.

Poor little Rose still isn’t well after the virus which swept through the family when we were away. (Regular readers might recall how I fretted about leaving them.)

Everyone else is better, thank goodness. But Rose is running a slight temperature. Not high enough to worry about – I hope. But the super-complicated thermometer, which is almost as challenging as the television remote controls, has turned yellow which apparently means she can’t go to nursery.

I have to admit that my heart sinks when my daughter gives me this news. Usually, Rose is at nursery during my granny days so all I have to do is look after her little brother and then collect his sister in the afternoon and amuse/feed/bathe her until 6.30pm when my “children” come home.

Don’t get me wrong. I love every precious minute with my beautiful granddaughter. But it’s hard managing with two little ones under four – especially when they both run off in different directions. You have to have eyes in the back of your head. In fact, I honestly don’t know how I managed with three of my own.

I have to say that Rose seems perfectly well to me when I arrive at 7.15am to start my granny day. However nowadays nurseries and schools are extremely strict about not taking children if they’ve been poorly.

My mind goes back to a time when my grandchildren’s mummy was the star of the school nativity play. My youngest son was sick the night before but seemed all right in the morning. So I took a chance and sent him to school. (A different one from his sister’s.)

In those days, mobiles weren’t so common. When my daughter came off stage, I was handed a note by one of the teachers. My son’s teacher had been trying to contact me because he was poorly. I drove over – we lived in deep countryside then and everything took ages to get to – only to be greeted by the sight of my son sitting on the receptionist’s lap. “I told them how I threw up in the night,” he said accusingly.

Oh dear. Bottom of the class for me! So today I am determined to give little Rose every bit of my attention on her sick day at home even though she is bouncing around.

It’s time to break the rules!

It’s a challenge! George is hungry and needs breakfast but Rose wants to play games on the sitting room floor and refuses to join us in the kitchen. How am I going to please both of them?

The only answer is to break the rules. I drag George’s highchair into the sitting room and put newspaper on the carpet around his highchair in case he spills his cereal. Rose, who has already had breakfast, decides she’d like a second helping. Yet she still won’t go into the kitchen so I break another rule and let her eat on the sofa.

But now we have to find something to fill the whole day! It’s a Wednesday which usually means I take little George to playgroup. I love it! I’ve got lots of granny friends there and the helpers, many of whom are great grannies, have become good friends.

“I’m really going to miss playgroup this morning,” I text my husband.

“Why don’t you go on your own and I’ll look after the children,” he texts back jokingly. I’m almost tempted. Our cosy church playgroup is as important to grandparents as it is to mums and babies

Instead, the three of us go into town to buy their mummy’s birthday present. I can’t believe that my little girl is going to be 33 next week. It really doesn’t seem long ago since she was born (two weeks late on the dot of midday), My reminiscences are interrupted by the agonising ache in my arms from pushing the double buggy up the hill, along the seafront and then into the high street. This thing is a monster! I usually have a single buggy for George but now we can hardly get through the door of a shop. How do all these young mums manage?

We’ve still got eight more hours to go so we drop in on my husband and the dog.  However he’s just washed the kitchen floor and I’m worried the children might slip on the hard tiles. Maybe we should head for the park instead. But on the way, Rose bursts into tears. “Want to stay at your house,” she sobs.

Nothing I can do will calm her – not even a chocolate button which I find at the bottom of the changing bag. Another rule broken! So we return to our place where she instantly perks up and rearranges my china mug collection. CRASH! Never mind. I didn’t really like that one very much…

George feeds his lunch to the dog from the highchair which we keep in our kitchen and then demands to get out.  “Come back!” I call, racing after him. (Our house is quite old and won’t take conventional stair gates.) It’s definitely time to go back to their place.

Oh, no, I’ve lost the key…

But when we get there, I realise – oh no – that I’ve lost my daughter’s front door keys. What am I going to do! Maybe I left them in our house. So we dashed back. No. I retrace my steps round the shops. Still nothing.

Then I suddenly remember! I’d put them in the bag of presents which I’d bought my daughter and left in our hall to wrap.

Normally I’m really careful at putting keys in the right place. But clearly not this time.

“It’s because you’re stressed, looking after two,” says my husband kindly.

He’s probably right but it makes me feel so inadequate. One of my granny friends has five little ones to look after during the week. (She even has a spreadsheet with all their different activities listed.)

Still, the good news is that Rose’s temperature is normal now. “I want to go to nursery,” she clamours. Meanwhile, George is trying to escape through the back door via the cat flap.

I tried to distract them both by baking cupcakes and making cards from a kit which we were given during the My Weekly Magazine.

I’m not a great cook and nor am I very good at crafts but the results are surprisingly good, if I say so myself! When the parents come back, everyone is happy.

“I knew you’d be fine,” says my daughter, giving me a reassuring hug.

I think of all the rules I’ve broken today (like breakfast on the sofa) as well as our mishaps (lost keys) and decide to say nothing.

Sometimes, it’s best if grannies just stay mum…

Pic of Jane Corry and her latest book cover

Don’t miss an exclusive serial, The Grans’ Club, written by Jane Corry for My Weekly. All instalments are available now.

Read Jane’s other Gran’s columns here.

Allison Hay

I joined the "My Weekly" team thirteen years ago and, more recently, "The People's Friend". I love the variety of topics we cover both online and in the magazines. I manage the digital content for the brands, sharing features and information on the website, social media and in our digital newsletters.