Last Thursday, my mom left to make room for new grandparents to arrive from India the next day.
I am not going to lie. I miss my mom tremendously. And I was a bit anxious about having Bob’s parents around for 7 weeks. Don’t get me wrong. I am excited about the babies being loved on by all of their grandparents. It would be the first time they met their paternal grandparents face-to-face. Although technological advances are helpful, video chats are really not as good as physical interactions in person. So I am very happy that the babies get to meet their other grandparents. I am just very used to having my mom around. She and I are a team. We have our rhythm down for taking care of the babies. New caregivers in the house means new routines and a transitional period in terms of dynamics. My father-in-law adores both kids, but he seems to have particular love for Okra. Given how Okra likes to be held all the time, I could see that this baby boy would get his wishes fulfilled. I just do not want to see favoritism in this house and for my baby girl to feel left out by grandpa. Another thing is that the babies went through two weeks of nap training, and crying during nap was part of the training. I do not want any criticism from my in-laws in regards to letting the babies cry or to interfere with the training effort. Plus, my mom and I had a tight ship running, so deviation from that made me a little bit nervous. Prior to my in-laws’ arrival, there was quite a bit of work to do. Washing down the inside of the refrigerator was a must. Any animal products were used up or discarded. Brand new jars of Better Than Bouillon were hidden in my room. Indian cookware and other utensils were dug from boxes in the garage. My mom cleaned out her stuff and clean beddings were put on. The house was ready for my in-laws’ visit.
One thing I know for sure is that my in-laws adore the twins. They would see the babies on screen at least 4 to 5 times a week. They had been so excited and been counting down the days to their visit. Bob has taken a week off from his remaining parental leave. He was super excited about his parents meeting the babies for the first time. He checked the flight time repeatedly and was nervous about being late to pick his parents up at the airport (which is kind of funny for someone who needs to be urged to get out of the door most of the time). After waiting for over 30 minutes, his parents finally came out. His dad was so funny. He was so happy to see the babies that he immediately abandoned the cart full of suitcases and just let it roll off.
The babies were initially curious about grandpa and grandma. Bunny, with her anxiety of strangers, did cry for a little. Okra kind of stared at grandparents for quite some time. They were probably wondering why the other grandma was no where to be found and then there are these other grandparents. After a couple of days, things have settled down a bit. The good thing for me is, I did get used to my mom not being around. Bob being at home has helped with the transition tremendously. My mother-in-law really wants to help with washing and cleaning. Bob showed her how we wash the bottles and I told her how we wash the babies’ dishes for solids. She washed the bottles several times the second day. After she cooked several meals, I told her to leave the kids’ dishes for me to wash so she could go rest, granted it was her second day here and jet lag was probably still very much in effect. Later she asked Bob if she didn’t do a good job washing. I forgot that my MIL could be very sensitive. We reassured her that her washing was great. We just wanted her to rest.
The grandparents have been so enamored of the kids. You can just tell in their body language and their voices. They come to pick them up right away when there is any fussiness. Both of them sit on the floor and play with/talk with them all the time. Okra gets held by grandpa frequently. In grandpa’s eyes, Okra can do no wrong. My father-in-law praises Okra all the time saying that he is a very good baby and doesn’t fuss much. When he fusses, there is always a reason. It could never be because he is just fussy. It is good to see that he is also nice to Bunny and plays with her a lot. I am hopeful that he will spend equal amount of time with both babies and not show favoritism towards baby boy.
There are a lot of cultural differences for them. For example, the babies nap three times a day at a certain time. My in-laws are so not used to that. I guess in India babies fall asleep for naps in caregivers’ arms after they start crying? And babies go to bed at 9 or 10pm? So I guess they feel like they don’t get to see the babies as much as they thought because the babies are constantly napping. I was called “military” by my mother-in-law for putting the babies down for naps at certain times and down for the night so very early, before 8pm. I explained to her that the babies are happier to play with them if they nap well and are not tired. She agrees, as her neighbor’s 8-month-old cries all day long. She said, our babies are so much happier. Yup, good sleep can definitely help with moods.
Oh and they bought gold chains and bangles for the babies. I appreciate the thought but I think the babies would probably never wear the gold. Bob joked that the babies looked like thugs with their gold chains on. And, because I give them grandchildren, even though I didn’t carry them, I earned myself a marriage present from my in-laws. So almost seven years into our marriage, I now own a gold chain and pendant from my in-laws, although I was told by my husband that the gold I got was not nearly as expensive as the babies’. I still appreciate the thought albeit late.
I am sure I will have more to report on the next seven weeks. I am going to enjoy this time with an extra pair of hands in the house, homemade South Indian food, and watching my kids being loved on by their grandparents. Seven years ago when we got married, I wouldn’t have imagined things to turn out so well with my in-laws. It is definitely a God-given gift to enjoy having my in-laws and babies under one roof.