You Don’t Think I Can Take Care of a Baby? A Grandpa’s Musings…

Guy E. Sederski
Washington County Child Protection Citizen Review Panel

Yes, they wanted ME to help take care of the baby. Wow! Now I can show them what I know. After all, I have been a Dad a long time and I have done all the baby stuff.

Oh, you want to know who or what this is about. Well, Grandpa is part of a team of people helping to provide day care to this new bundle of tiny face, hands, feet and hair (doesn’t she just look like her mother when she was born?). Now on to the wisdom I can bring.

First day after several days of preparation: a list (I don’t do lists). Oh, no! This list makes Santa Claus’ list look like a Post-It note memo. What is it, 16 to 20 lines of instructions? If all fails, do I hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete? NO blanket … what? All babies need to be swaddled! After all, isn’t that what a papoose was for? And my ancestors used them well. Next, if you move to another room, bring a diaper bag, four different lotions and, of course, wipes. Oh yes…the diaper. (Where do you put the pins?)

Make sure when I change said new child (that is making my reading skills improve daily) on the changing table. Use the strait jacket and four harnesses. If you need to travel, call the nearest packing place, use bubble wrap, put bumpers on car, and do not travel more than 14 miles per hour.

Okay! So a lot of tongue-in-cheek! Oh no, that was item 16. If tongue is in cheek, call ER, three doctors, an on-call nurse and the paramedics.

Things have changed: Yes for safe sleeping, no blankets and no crib protectors, many new and great ideas brought on by years of studying by experts.

We didn’t have a car when I was growing up, and now you need a baby car seat that has several straps that come without instructions, and how do I get them in or out? True, when I tried to get a seat out, it took me15 minutes to find the correct way. Oh, the new parents were successful in five seconds. Once again, the safety seat has many needed changes, like sitting positions, head cradled properly, and belts at correct position for child. These may be all strange to me, but seems to work.

As they grow (and they go outside to play) find SPF 200 sunscreen, smear entire bottle on child, wait 10 minutes and reapply–you may have missed a spot.

Yes, once again, they have learned that perhaps my wrinkles could have been avoided had I not spent every waking hour I could outside without protection.

To all my fellow caregivers: Yes, I get the idea of what you are doing with those kids. Well, folks, times have changed, and the way to do things have changed.

My wisdom got thrown out the window. Now I must read a doctorate on how to take care of a child for eight hours and do it their way.

As a person on the Washington County Child Protection Citizen Review Panel this past year, our panel has put out many different articles on child safety from sleeping, to what to wear, to personal experiences. Our hope is that you read them, whether by chance, or when you awake from the nap you needed after reading the instructions for the day, for making sure they come home to a safe, happy child.

I have been fortunate to be a part of this, and, yes, I have learned (sometimes more than I cared to) when I got stuck in the room during the “lactation talk.” Wish I had known some of these things when I was raising children. And, oh, I have never thrown a baby into the air and caught them, since now I am aware that can cause brain damage. Hmmm, perhaps that’s my problem now.

Seriously, my desire is that you seek out all you can to help your grandchild, parents, or any person that will make any child safer. By the way, I now have a second child in the same family and the list isn’t so long anymore. If you may be wondering, the first one has made it past her third birthday. We must have learned something.

Guy E. Sederski is a grandpa and member of the Washington County Child Protection Citizen Review Panel.

If you are interested in learning more about the work of the Washington County Child Protection Citizen Review Panel, see the Washington County website at www.co.washington.mn.us/childprotectioncrp.
 

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