What is a Whiplash Grandma and Five Top Tips On How To Give All Your Cluster Grandchildren Individual Attention

grandmaOur dear cousin is a whiplash grandma.  She laughed when I named her that.  She has had five grandchildren born in five years.  When her children clustered their babies close together, her head spun trying to be of assistance, as well as enjoy them.  Her grandchildren were born so close together that she has not had a chance to catch her breathe. Imagine how their parents feel!  To spend quality time with each one, she spends a good deal of her time with grandchildren.  They are so lucky to have her.

This Grandma had one instance of being a whiplash grandma, with two grandchildren born within one year.  The cousins are now as close as siblings, and that is wonderful.  They love being together, and that is wonderful too.  However, when I look back on when they were babies together, I have less memories of their babyhood as they were both babies needing care and supervision at the same time.  There are things I wish I had done when they were babies.

Here are some of the tips I have learned from experience:

Spend individual time with each baby.  We all want to do everything for the parents of our grandchildren and feel guilty when we cannot.  We cannot allow the parents of our baby grandchildren to give us the cluster babies always together.  Yes, we do want to encourage the babies’ closeness and the closeness of the parents of our grandchildren with free time for them as we watch the babies together, but we also want to encourage our closeness with each grandchild.

Develop an individual ritual with each cluster grandchild.  We all remember rituals and traditions from our childhood.  Each grandchild is different.   Depending on the temperament, interests, and food choices of each grandchild, develop a different soothing song, cookie or treat, rhyme, dance or play activity that is unique to each grandchild.  Find their favorite book and give them a copy where you write something in it especially for them.  Remind them that each is special for them and how they are special to you.

Do not compare the cluster babies.  It is easy and natural to see which sits first, stands first, speaks first, but resist the temptation to note these milestones by comparing the grandchildren’s progress with the parents of the grandchildren or the grandchildren when they are old enough to understand.  Remember this grandma’s mantra: they will all be toilet trained when they walk down the aisle.  They will all give up their sippy cup by the time they walk down the aisle.

Memorialize your time.  We grandmas are so busy doing.  We are the photographers.  We tend not to be in the pictures with the grandchildren as we are taking the pictures.  Remember to be in pictures with your cluster grandchildren, and not always with them together in the picture.

Slow down and enjoy.  When we are overwhelmed, we move faster and try to do too much.  Our grandchildren are not babies for long.  We need to take a deep breath and slow down, relax and enjoy our baby cluster grandchildren.

Now that this Grandma’s cluster grandchildren are older, they only want to do things together when they are together, and I have become much more of an observer, than when I could enjoy one grandchild at a time.  Now, I must pull them apart or wait until a parent takes one, to have quality time with one, not both.  I try to make sure to visit them at different times.  I have tried to keep up the tips I used when they were babies.  I know that it will be soon when they are gone.  Time just flies by and it is hard to believe they are near ten and eleven.

Yes, when we are whiplash grandmas, it is harder to remember the cluster babies when they were little, but it is a joy to watch them grow up together, cousins almost like siblings, except they do not fight!  Yes, this is an advantage of cousins in clusters, rather than sibling clusters, and when you really consider it, it is so good for them, we whiplash grandmas have to go with the flow and appreciate what we have.

Whiplash heals too with time.

 

Joy,

 

Mema

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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