Of course I occasionally think about the difficulties of being an older parent— it’s so “in my face” at times. Truly, though, more often I think about the blessings.
Yesterday at work, a young mother agreed to a lollipop for her pre-school son but cautioned it would have to wait until after lunch. I smiled. I remembered a couple of weeks back when one of my co-workers gave The Blitz five suckers, and I let him eat them, one after another, as we ran errands. YOLO, baby! (“You only live once.”)
Why on earth would I do that? Well that’s where the older parenting comes in. The sum total of calories was still under 125– so clearly the calories won’t ruin his lunch. The sugar is already coating his teeth, so if I’m letting him have one, 5 in a row is no different. But the real reason is that sugar says, “I love you” to kids. It’s how our biological systems work. I think all kids deserve an occasional opportunity for an over-the-top treat, and 5 suckers fits the bill with pretty low calories, no cholesterol, no fat, and low sodium. So, there you go.
Now don’t tell anyone because I certainly didn’t advertise the fact that he had 5 suckers in a row; not even my other children know. However, they wouldn’t be surprised since they’ve all had a handful of such opportunities themselves. It would scare the Bigs a little, though, because it probably does hint toward the kind of grandma I’m going to be.
Older parents may be more attentive in some ways, but I think we are also generally more relaxed. Yes, I hyper-focus on nutrition, but I also realize that 5 suckers once in a child’s life won’t really harm them, though suckers every day might. A much younger friend recently said that older parents are wiser, and I’m starting to think that wisdom is really just life experience. In any case, it can work.