We’re at my parents’ house, along with my brother and his family, for a short vacation before Lee goes on a week trip out of town next week. The children are so excited to be spending time with their cousins and grandparents, but there are several challenges they face while here.
The first is eating. For David, the excitement is great enough that he literally will not eat for a day after he gets here. I’ve learned not to worry when he leaves food on a plate. I know he’ll eat when he’s hungry. When we visit the Brock cousins, I’m not surprised if they leave a plate full of food to go play (I’ve learned to put a lot less on the plate, anticipating a decreased appetite). The consequences of not eating aren’t that big of a deal.
To some degree part of the problem (though I’ve determined not all) is the availability of snacks here. Grandma likes to have foods the grandchildren like when they come visit. That means sugar cereal, soda and cookies, and several candy jars filled to the brim. Normally, we keep sugar in the house to a minimum, and we’ve found that they adjust just fine to our low-sugar habits when we return home. So most of the time, I let Grandma feed them whatever she wants (although I have successfully petitioned to limit juice to breakfast and fruit for dessert).
The second adjustment is sleep. Besides the sheer excitement of being in a new place with cousins, the sleep habits of my brother’s family are different than ours. Their kids go to bed and get up later than ours. It’s quite difficult to get our children sleeping when the cousins are awake. Our kids normally do pretty well with sleep habits, but this situation is a challenge. We do make some adjustments, including much later bedtimes. I got David water last night after he was in bed, and neither Lee nor I fussed when Bethel kept herself awake for an hour. Tom’s kids don’t take naps (except the baby), so naptime isn’t fun. This afternoon, Lee lay down with the two (weepy) children until they fell asleep. If our children don’t sleep (particularly Bethel), they make themselves miserable as well as those around them, so we do make them take naps, even though they don’t “feel” tired. The consequences are too great to do otherwise.
There’s one more challenge when we go to Grandma’s House. I’ll talk about that tomorrow.