Parenting is an odd thing. You spend a lot of your time trying to do your best, surviving when your best isn't good enough and generally trying not to fuck your kids up. There's millions of books on the topic if you care to read them, but in the end you default to emulating what you think are the best parts of what you know from growing up, fused with what you think are improvements to your upbringing. It's wonderful, infuriating, thrilling and miserable all at the same time. Above all, it gives you a new respect for your parents.
Armed with this new respect, you assume that you can hand your kids off to your parents and, with their honed parental instincts that produced the amazing person that you are, they will deliver your child back unto you in at least the same condition they were when they departed.
But that's not what happens. At all.
What's they very first thing your parents do when they get ahold of your children? Let the children decide everything. It's like those years between their own last child leaving the house and the arrival of grandchildren has wiped every ounce of parenting common sense out of their system. Suddenly the inmates are running the asylum.
My mother is very into health. She's been eating organic foods since before you could find them in regular stores. I can recall the week she decided that she was getting rid of all the non-organic stuff in the house, which has remained that way ever since. Based on this, one would assume that she would feed her grandchildren in a similar way that she fed her own family for decades.
Instead, my mother has introduced the following items to my kids:
McDonald's (a place she hadn't been in >20 years)
Chocolate ice cream for breakfast
Cheetos (quite possibly the antithesis of her diet)
And probably a dozen more things I haven't heard about
It's not that I mind that the kids eat these things - it is only that we don't usually eat these things ourselves that prevents the kids from being served them - but the fact that my mother was the vehicle of delivery for these foods absolutely floors me. I'm willing to bet that she had to look up where the nearest McDonald's to their house was.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. When I mentioned to my father on the phone some of the issues we were having with the Wee One recently, he said "Hmm, she doesn't push against the rules at our house." It wasn't until I pointed out that you can't push against something that isn't there, that he laughed and agreed. Bed time? whatevs! Naps? Who needs them? Don't want to brush your teeth? Those teeth are gonna fall out anyway!
I get it, it's not fun to enforce rules with kids and grandparents want to spend all of their grandkid time having fun. They want the grandkids to beg to go back and in the end they don't have to deal with the repercussions of utterly exhausted children returned home. They can drive away just as their parents did after dropping my exhausted sibling and I off after a few days of sugar fueled madness.
And I'm sure they chuckle all the way home.