The Ultimate Rules for Grandma Success
Becoming a grandmother is not one of life's free choices. You can pick your pet, your alma mater, and your spouse, but when and where you become a grandma is entirely up to your kids. You don't expect it, and you don't quite know how to respond.
Being a grandma, though, is as close as you may ever get to perfection. So learn the rules and secure your spot as one of the most important parts of your grandchildren's lives.
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About the Author
Bryna Nelson Paston is an overjoyed grandmother of six, age ten to seventeen, whom she calls "the music of my universe." Formerly an editor of the Jewish Times (Philadelphia), she has written for numerous national magazines and newspapers. She lives in Fort Washington, PA.
Read an Excerpt
When our first grandchild was about to enter our world, my son Michael called and told us they were off to the hospital and we should "stand by." I don't do "stand by" very well so I jumped in my car and zoomed to the hospital (just a tad over the speed limit) and began searching for the father- and mother-to-be. Michael came out of the delivery room to announce that Rachel was forty-five minutes old and beautiful. I hugged him like never before and suddenly, in my mind, he was just born forty-five minutes ago; then he was a toddler, a first grader, a senior in high school, a college grad, and a man.
A funny thing happened to my first-born son when he had his first (and only) daughter. Michael became the self-appointed father of the year. He knew everything there was to know about fathering. As for me, the instant grandma, I knew nothing. Never mind that I raised him. I no longer knew anything about raising anybody, and he declared me braindead. Michael was in charge of Rachel. He had rules for taking care of her. And all of them applied to me. Therefore, I started taking notes. Along the way I added my friends' stories about grandparenting. Their first-time grandma stories were as funny as mine. Thankfully, I learned I wasn't the only grandma declared brain-dead by my kid. There were a lot of us running around creating chaos. It was an epidemic of know-nothing grandmas who needed to learn a whole lot about taking care of babies. It tickled my fancy and my funny bone. There was only one way to get even. I took pen to paper-or, as in this new millennium, fingertips to keyboard-and I wrote this book. Luckily, my son Michael has a sense of humor.
The "rules and regulations" slowly disappeared when Michael's son Jake was born, and by the time their third child, Matt, was here, they were such laid-back parents, they would give me the kids on a moment's notice. As they pulled out of the driveway after dropping my grandkids off one afternoon, they yelled, "Have fun, don't bring them back until next week, and do anything you want." Meanwhile, our daughter Dina married and produced three daughters bing, bang, boom. Kelsey and Amanda are eighteen months apart and Alexis is two years younger. I think she trusted me more with her kids than Michael did with his. But still, I gathered more and more stories to be told. I have a wonderful time as a grandmother. By the grace of God, our grandkids live close by and I never stop thinking how lucky I am to have them. I have been a spectator at most of their games and shows, and I have been a participant in so much more, which you will learn as you read my book. I have watched them grow into fascinating teenagers, each with his or her distinct personality. I will tell you this much-they can laugh at themselves as much as at each other-and they certainly can laugh with me. I am not as involved in their lives as I used to be, and a part of me wishes we could go back. But life just happens and they grow up as you grow old.
I try to stay connected any which way I can, and it's hard sometimes. I know they still love me, but their lives have taken on a force of nature that doesn't include Grandma. We'll be closer again, I'm sure of it. Basically, I am standing by.
Table of Contents
Standing By ix
Grandmothering Has its Perks xiii
Rule 1: There are rules. Follow them or go directly to Grandma jail 3
Rule 2: Make your move fast and decisively 5
Rule 3: Be calm. Pick your battles Trust me, you'll have plenty 9
Rule 4: Promise anything, but get the kid 11
Rule 5: Shut up and leave 12
Rule 6: Don't even answer the phone when you've got the baby. Let Grandpa talk to them They never mess with him 13
Rule 7: Never, ever, ever let anything bad happen to the kid on your watch But if it does, lie 14
Rule 8: Do whatever is necessary for the good of your grandchild 23
Rule 9: Listen politely to instructions, then do what you want Just like your kids did to you 25
Rule 10: Her mother is blood. His is company 26
Rule 11: Ignore the pacifier 29
Rule 12: They do not sterilize bottles or boil nipples anymore 30
Rule 13: Babies sleep propped on their sides or backs 30
Rule 14: Baby powder is passé 31
Rule 15: The playpen is out; the entire house is in 32
Rule 16: You are no longer the reigning monarch 33
Rule 17: MYOB 36
Rule 18: Grandma's house should always be stocked with the good stuff 37
Rule 19: You don't get a treat when your grandchild attempts a potty break You only get wet 40
Rule 20: Do not baby-sit unless you want to 43
Rule 21: Only let the child play with the cell phone 44
Rule 22: We all know that you are the better grandma, but try not to flaunt it when the competition is around 49
Rule 23: Guilt-trip your daughter into having kids if you have to 52
Rule 24: Always remember that you're in competition with the other grandmother 54
Rule 25: It doesn't matter what you do or where you live It only matters that your title is "grandma " 56
Rule 26: Be prepared to prove your good driving record 59
Rule 27: When a friend's daughter calls to ask for help, be very sure you really want to volunteer 62
Rule 28: If you own the offending crib, stroller, etc , be prepared never to use it for the baby Ever 66
Rule 29: Birthday parties for one- and two-year- olds are irrelevant 69
Rule 30: Don't be a dinosaur. Just be yourself 70
Rule 31: Don't make any deals you can't keep or your pocketbook can't handle 72
Rule 32: All our daughters and daughters-in-law are locked in a psychological tug-of-war. And it's all about you 74
Rule 33: The only people interested in hearing about your grandchildren are grandparents who want to tell you about theirs 76
Grandma Who? 79
About the Author 95
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A sure way never to see your grandchildren again, horrible advise.
I cannot believe someone green-lighted publishing this horrible piece of trash. Not worth the paper it's printed on, much less $9.99! I've never returned anything so fast in my life. I feel like I am owed an apology as well as a refund. Yes folks, it's THAT bad!
Any book that encourages lying about the care of a child is not funny at all. In fact, this book is a perfect example of how NOT to grandparent. Maybe it was written in a pathetic attempt at humor but it is not funny. Not at all.
I received this book when I was becoming a grandma for the first time from my Aunt who is a Catholic Elementary Principal. (I wanted to point this out do to the reviews that talk about lying.) This was the funniest book and some great advice. I do not believe the author intended for all the advice is to be taken literally as apposed to more of how you feel or would like to say/do. I highly recommend this book for new grandmas and well as returning ones. In fact I am reviewing this because I am one the website currently to purchase 2 books for 2 of my girlfriends who just found out they are becoming grandmas for the first time. Remember to be the grandma you were meant to be.
I have seen this book at my mother in law's house. It explains a lot. I'm pretty sure my mother in law read this book and followed the advise. Her son is heartbroken and can't even stand to talk to her. He screens her calls. The moment grandma decided that she was the most important person in our child's life, and that she could lie to us in order to obtain her own selfish goals, she committed relationship suicide with me. I was all for being her friend in the beginning, but she made sure to make me dislike her as much as my husband does. We were friends, until she followed the directions in this book step by step. I can't even look at her. Her grandchild knows that grandma is liar who will gladly allow her to remain injured, lie, and throw her under the bus as long as it gets grandma what she wants. Children are smart. My child figured out that grandma is a liar at the ripe old age of 4 and hasn't trusted her since. Thanks to this horrible book, and the fact that grandma was stupid enough to follow the advice in it. So, if you are really really selfish... if you don't actually love your children and grandchildren... if you don't care about what is in your grandchild's best interests... if you are all about getting what you want at the expense of people you claim to love... If you want to make sure to alienate your son or daughter, his or her spouse, and your grandchildren... so they never want to speak to you again; you should probably buy this book. It will help you achieve your goals post haste.
Waste of time!! This book Is horrible. I cant believe anyone follows this advice.
i loved this book. It's hysterical and irreverent. The author takes on her adult kids with anecdotes about their rules when they first had children. She offers advice, both serious and funny. Every grandma will enjoy this book - and so will grandpa! The author has a wonderful sense of humor. Hope she writes a sequel.
I got this book from my neighbor when I was going to be a grandma for the first time. After reading it, I said 'it is OK'...... But when I became a grandma.....my goodness...it the funniest, truthfull, the situations that the author was telling, it the truth....The difference with being a grandma of my son's kids or the grandma of my daughter's kids..... I now have 3 grandkids and the difference is amazing.......but I enyoy them all. the difference between being a grandma of my son's kids to the grandma of my daughter kids.... The quote that I loved the most is' 'Her mother is blood, his is company' I hope that this comment will reach the author, so that she can continue with follow up books......