South Florida Hospital News
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August 2007 - Volume 4 - Issue 2


Publisher’s Note - "The Grandchildren ... Part Deux"

It takes a village ... and by the way, where can we hire a village? That same question occurred to me many times over the 4 days that we spent in Atlanta as sole guardians/caregivers/slaves for our 2 much adored grandchildren while their parents spent some well deserved time away in Chicago.

You've seen the Air Tran commercial that has the elderly couple screaming after a rapidly disappearing taxi, "Don't leave us with the babies!" Well, we didn’t run after their car, after all we have our pride … but between you and me, we sure wanted to.

Now, as you may recall, the "kids and grandkids" just spent more than a month down in Florida, dividing their time between both sets of grandparents. So while they were here a lot, it was always with at least one parent, and never for very long. But now, it was a whole new ballgame. We were in charge of their lives, their wellbeing — the very future of these 2 precious babies rested on our stooped, arthritic shoulders. If the "bad" happened, it would be our fault; it would be on our watch. (Do you hear that scary background music?)

Day 1

7 a.m. Carol and I watch Josh and Kristen's car pull out of the driveway — our "watch" has begun. We do the Cheerio/Eggo waffle/formula thing and one hour later breakfast appears to be over. Of course not for us, we haven't had time to eat a thing. And after surveying the breakfast room walls and floor, we wonder if there is a phone number for the Hazmat team.

8 a.m. I leave for the first of 3 business appointments I have scheduled during our 4-day stay.

9 a.m. Meeting is interrupted by an urgent call from Carol. Never one to use harsh language, she nevertheless gets her point across. I proceed to cancel my remaining 2 meetings … business, shmissness!!

10 a.m. It is 3 hours into our siege and it is clear to both of us that business meetings, personal hygiene and general housekeeping will be on indefinite hold for the remainder of our incarceration.

Suffice it to say that the rest of the day is much like the beginning of the day. We are always feeding someone, changing someone, and trying to reason with anyone who will listen. Thankfully it is getting dark and we have the promise of peace and quiet and sleep.

9 p.m. What's true in horror movies is true in babysitting the grandchildren … nothing good ever happens at night. We had been assured repeatedly that both Mackenzie aged 2 and Karter, 6 months, were "good sleepers" and slept most, if not all, of the night. We still don't know if Josh and Kris just really needed to get away, or were just afraid to tell us the truth; but that first night, Karter was up and screaming at 12, 3 and 5. Poor guy seemed hungry, starving actually, so after a sizable helping of formula, at least he went right back to sleep. Carol was another story. Now, I myself am not a "night person." I fall asleep early and get up early, but Carol ...well Carol is REALLLY NOT A NIGHT PERSON. Waking her up was well I can only liken it to disturbing a hibernating bear, and no, her bark was not worse than her bite! So right away, that first night, I knew things were not going to be good for me.

Days 2 and 3 unfolded much like Day 1. We were on the baby/toddler carousel and couldn’t get off … only getting dizzier and more tired with each successive day. They say the Lord works in mysterious ways, so we found it particularly amusing that Kenzie and Karter managed to never nap at the same time and never really ate at the same time. So, basically we were running a 24 hour, open all night, fast food/motel.

Sometime during our stay, which night I can't remember and it matters not, we decided it would be fun to take the kids out to a Mexican restaurant and visit with the rest of our Atlanta family--what can I say? Looking back on it, our naiveté is amazing. I think that between Carol and I we ate maybe one fajita and a few chips, and yes, it did take a village to clean both the tables when we left.

Carol and I had decided from the beginning that the kids were going to come home to find a clean house, clean children, and calm, bonbon eating grandparents. But when the final day arrived, it wasn't pretty, and we don't remember much of how we managed to transform the house or the kids. But when Josh and Kris walked in the door I think we pretty much looked like what I can imagine Fred Rogers would have looked like had he babysat the kids. Even Gabby, our goldendoodle, was calm and sort of cleaned up.

Looking back (and I don't like to do it often) on our 4 days in Atlanta, I want to leave you with a few of my thoughts and observations.

1) It is better to baby sit for the grandchildren before they are old enough to tell their parents what happened to the house/them/you, while they were gone.

2) A tour of duty without a trip to the Emergency Room is a job well done.

3) What happened those 4 days in Atlanta, will stay in Atlanta

And lastly, you've read the human interest stories about all those grandparents who for various reasons are now raising their own grandchildren ... well I can think of no reward too great for these wonderful people, who surely deserve a very special place in Heaven.

Charles Felix, Publisher

You can reach Charles Felix at
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