Posted by: chlost | June 27, 2010

Childhood exhaustion

We are in our 50’s.  Our granddaughters are ages 3 and 1.  They are staying with us for a few days. 

This morning, the little one woke up at 4:45 am.  That’s right-it is not a typo.

We are exhausted.

Let me make it clear.  My husband and I are the ones who are exhausted.  The granddaughters are doing quite well, thank you.

This is the first time that their parents have gone out-of-town and left the girls with us-or anyone.  Other than these next few days, the only separation between mom and the 3-year-old was overnight I think for a funeral, and the 1-year-old has not been away from mom for more than a few hours, and only a few times at that.  They are doing great.

Mom and dad have called us 3 times already in the 10 hours that they have been gone.  Now to be honest, mom is the one who called.  Dad seemed to be just fine.  Of course, dad is our son, so I am not exactly objective here, but he seems to be handling this much better than mom.

Our son was asked to attend a work-related event for a few days in Chicago.  First time he has been involved in any employer paid activity, and it included the airfare, a night at the Drake Hotel in downtown Chicago, as well as all of the incidentals.  They decided to make two nights of it.  They never even took a honeymoon.  They really deserved this.

Our daughter-in-law is a stay at home mom.  A very devoted one.  She is a big proponent of simplifying their lives, including as many natural and organic items as possible, no chemicals when they are identifiable in food and other household items, and our oldest granddaughter is not doing any preschool or play groups, etc.  She has been with them for nearly every moment and every decision in their lives. 

This trip is going to be very hard on her. 

This trip is going to be very good for her.

This trip is going to be very good for the kids. 

This may be hard to watch. I’m referring to watching us.

I have realized after just one full day of the caring for children at this age:  There is a reason parents are usually young.  It is very exhausting to keep up with two children.

We have spent today working as a team.  We are both exhausted. Tomorrow I am on my own, as my husband is back to work. It is likely to take about a week for me to recover from this couple of days.  In the meantime I am enjoying every moment of it.  Every exhausting moment.



  1. I am chuckling out loud… we had the SAME experience, grandaughter spending the night then strolling into our bedroom at 4:something AM loudly declaring “it’s time to get up!” She explained later that she did not know how to tell time so she gets when the birds get up.

    But yes, EXHAUSTING!! When their parents were young we could sleep in a bit on Saturday and let the morning cartoons entertain them while they helped themselves to cold cereal. And yes, we were younger then, and supposedly had more energy (or maybe it was just more stamina). Grand kids take more intense supervision, with projects and activities and endless questions. My wife and I crash when the kids finally take them home.

  2. I don’t have the patience for tiny ones anymore. My grandsons are 9 and 7 and less labpr intensive. I don’t envy you!!

  3. DH and I adopted all three of our girls when we were in our ’40’s – much older than most people have kids. And yes it was beyond exhausting, as at that age sleepless nights are much harder on a person.

    Your DIL needs to relax a bit as regards child rearing, being so fussy isn’t going to be good for her in the long term.

    The little ones sound delightful, though and it must be lovely having them.

  4. I’m so pleased for you having more time with the grandchildren: yes, its tiring, but when they go you can rest, and this is precious time. Enjoy their enthusiasm and energy: it must make a good foil for your day job. I’ll be interested to hear how DIL gets on.

  5. Whenever I get a grandchild, if the precious little bundle of joy wakes me up at 4:45am….I will be selling the thing on EBAY….

  6. Oh, you are brave souls. Take them to the zoo or some place like that tomorrow, and wear them out. Kudo’s to you.

  7. I sometimes envy my fiends who had their children young – I’m approaching 50 myself and sometimes find parenting my kids tiring. I dated someone for a while who was my age and had a toddler at home. Not for any money would I go back to that stage.

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