To Grandmother’s House We Go

We work hard to teach our kids that gentle criticism, when used correctly, is an important tool to meet one’s needs. We also teach them that stopping at criticism isn’t enough; it’s essential to offer a reasonable solution to a problem. “Identify what’s not working,” we say, “and also tell us how you’re going to fix it.”

For example, the other night my 6-year-old expressed some dissatisfaction with the way our house and schedule are organized. And then he offered a reasonable solution – woohoo! – which I captured via video interview so we can all see how this works.

(The sound quality on this sucks. Sorry. A written transcript is below.) 



Me: Hi, Cael.

Cael waves.

Me: Can you tell me what you told me last night?

Cael thinks hard.

Me: About Grandma’s house?

Cael: That it is, um… That they’re more organized and they get us up at 7:00 and then we come downstairs and watch TV, eat breakfast, go back upstairs, get dressed and brush our teeth and get ready for school and go to school.

Me: Yeah. So did you say you prefer it at Grandma’s House?

Cael: Mm hm.

Me: And what’s it like here [at our house]?

Cael: It’s like dirty and … you let us, like, do whatever we want.

Me: We let you do whatever you want? And it’s dirty here?

Cael: Mm hm.

Me: So it’s totally disorganized?

Cael: Mm hm.

Me: And how do you feel about that?

Cael: Like I want to live at their house.

Me: Like you want to live at Grandma’s house? That’s what you asked last night, right?

Cael: Mm hm.

Me: Yeah. Is there anything else you want to say?

Cael: No.

Me: You’re good?

Cael: Mm hm.

Me: OK. Thank you for having this interview with me.

End Transcript


So here’s the thing.

You’ll note Cael’s conclusion is not to make our house less dirty or more organized; he understands intuitively that’s not possible. Therefore, the only reasonable course of action is to move to Grandpa and Grandma’s house.

There was a time in my mama life when this kind of bold honesty would’ve offended me. I mean, who wants to be told that her mom-in-law does a better housekeeping / child-rearing  job than she does? No one with a shred of dignity is who. My dignity’s long gone, though, so Cael’s idea just sounds practical.

I totally agree, Cael. 

Also, good problem solving, man.

So that’s why Cael and I are moving to Grandma and Grandpa’s house tonight. The rest of this riffraff can fend for themselves.

The End



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9 responses to “To Grandmother’s House We Go”

  1. Oh my! I remember having this same conversation with my mother about the immaculate state of my grandparents’ house. Now that I’m a mom I get why my house is so disgusting and dirty… it’s because of the darn kids! Perhaps if my son asks to move to grandma’s I’ll just let him. Wonder how long it would take him to trash her house and want to come home to my “clean” one!

  2. Did you point out that the reason your house isn’t like Grandma’s is because little people like him live there, and if they went to Grandma’s they would just take the mess and disorganization with them. My kids routinely ask to live with Nana and I tell them, ” you better rethink that, I grew up with her and look how I turned out”.

  3. Just shipped my two bigs off to Gram Cracker’s house this week–I highly recommend it!! In the two days they have been gone I have gotten to 1)clean the house, 2)keep the house clean, and 3) go wine tasting, cuz that’s what people with no children do (I technically have two at home still, but seriously after usually having 4 it’s like having none). Yay!

  4. Hahaha! Brilliant. a) I bet my house is dirtier than your house, b) Solidarity on the “no dignity” thing and c) I think Cael and Joshua have been conspiring behind our backs because he expressed a strong desire to stay at Nam and Grandpie’s house this weekend rather than come home with us. I’ll look forward to finding out the details of exactly why when he’s old enough to articulate them, but it’s safe to say they’ll be similar to Cael’s. And now I’d better go and empty the cat’s litter tray, because I’m fairly sure she’s in the market for a whole new family these days.

  5. Although offended that the boy opts for “Grandma’s house” over Marine Barracks Portland Oregon (MBPO), familial pride in the child’s inherent genius in picking the BEST of three possible residences trumps mild indignation and a lightly-bruised ego.

    • My kids used to always want to go to their grandparents house when they felt I was unjust, (you know, the no hitting rule, go to bed at 8, clean your room type thing, and heaven forbid I raise my voice and yell, which Mimi would never do! But kids, she did when I was kid, trust me!). They somewhat got their wish, the whole family now lives with my parents while we await building our house….and Mimi and poppy don’t let the kids stay in bed with them til midnight eating icecream and candy, or sleep on their bedroom floor anymore. Or play games all day…that takes quiet time in between each visit in order to built up the stamina of having kids around. …

      With 3 kids in the house 8, 6 and 3, quiet time is hard to come by, so my parents door is often closed and locked! Gasp! That was a hard adjustment for the kids…
      And ps their house used to be clean too, not as much anymore, at least none if the areas the kids are frequently in. And now my parents support the routine bedtime as grown ups really need some quiet time, I mean growing young minds need their sleep!

      I bet a few weeks…or maybe months at any grandmas house would unclean the house and a few schedules might change slightly… No matter how consistent grandma tries to stay!

  6. I think that the best part of this is that most kids want to move to Grandma’s because then they can do whatever they want. Not the opposite.

    On that note, when I was 5 my family moved from Virginia to Florida. My parents and I lived with my Grandma for about a year while our house was being built. This was before my brother was born. He is now 21 and still laments that I got to live with Grandma and he never did. Life is sooo unfair!

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