Pat McDermott asks for more grandkids now please!
Memo to generations X and Y – get a move on! The grandparent biological clock is ticking and Pat McDermott wants a bigger gene pool to paddle in.
There it is again. Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock. Some nights, as I’m drifting off to sleep, I hear the faint ticking of a clock. But where’s it coming from? The bedside clock glows silently. My mobile phone is on mute. The Man Of The House (MOTH) is only in Stage One Snoring – a gentle, puffing sound interrupted by the odd snort.
TICK TOCK, TICK TOCK. There it is again – louder now. It sounds like Captain Hook’s crocodile is under the bed.
You can’t mention this sort of thing to adult children. You know what will happen. First the raised eyebrows and then the frantic text messages to brothers and sisters along the lines of “Mum’s finally losing it! What R We Going To DO? REPLY ALL!!!!” One or the other will gently offer to drive you to an expensive specialist. The rest find excuses to drop brochures in your lap featuring overpriced retirement options.
Instead, I confer with friends. We five women have stuck together through the thick and thin of family life. Between us we have 20 children. They can be relied on to give witheringly honest advice, the sort you don’t want to hear, but know you must.
“It’s your biological clock,” said one, firmly. “What?” we other four shrieked in unison. “It’s way too late!”
“Not that biological clock – the grandparent biological clock! You want more grandchildren,” she said. “A bigger gene pool to paddle in! When you lie awake at night, you think about how you’re getting older and your kids are getting older. Then you ask yourself, ‘When are they going to stop having fun and start having babies?’”
We settled back with our skim decaf coffees and gluten-free chocolate slices, and marvelled at the sound of a big fat hammer hitting a nail squarely on the head.
Baby Boomers everywhere are wondering whether we’ll still have the knees, backs and brains to fully embrace a herd of young grandchildren when Gen X, Gen Y and those crazy Millennials do decide to have babies. Yeah, we know they have stuff to do first. They have to travel to dangerous places, meet dodgy people, land amazing jobs, have brilliant careers, buy expensive cars and wait for old people like us to die or downsize to buy a house. But whenever they do decide to have kids, they’re going to need help. We won’t be around for ever. It just feels like it.
We want them to know that newborns take up huge amounts of time. I remember being surprised to find myself still in a nightie at 5pm when I knew I’d been up since 6am.
(It was just about that time that the MOTH arrived home from work and made the classic mistake of asking what was for dinner.)
And it doesn’t get easier as kids get older. The day a child goes to school is the day he or she receives the first of 10,000 birthday party invitations. Even the kids who take tuna fish sandwiches to school get them. Saturdays are a blur of parties, sports matches, ballet classes and swimming lessons.
The MOTH and I have the credentials and we’re here to help:
We’ve raised five practically perfect children. (Ask almost anyone.)
If you have an episiotomy, I will drop off delicious three-course meals in plastic containers. Okay – I’ll do that anyway.
Dad will pick up and drop off from school and sports just like the old days. Remember those long waits?
Dad loves having door-to-door child safety seats in his car again. The blokes in the pub think he’s married to a younger woman.
We’ll always carry mobile phones so you can ring and check we haven’t left the baby in a shop.
In tantrum situations, we will use the same old bribes and threats that worked on you.
And we’ll babysit at short notice. If we doze off, please cover us with a blanket. We’ll go home in the morning before all the crying and shouting starts.
When are they going to stop having fun and start having babies?