Spoiling the grandkids, double-aughts style

This evening my son (he of three) asked my wife for “a vanilla bean.”

“Come again?” my wife asked.
(I’m taking a wee bit of license here… she probably just said: “what?”)

“I want a Tall Vanilla Bean mommy.”

Cheryl and I had one of those “meant for you” moments. We each came to the conclusion that a certain mem-may (re: my bastardized, English approximation for in-law alleged, French-Canadian slang – meaning “grandmother”) was taking WAY too many trips to Starbucks on her baby-sitting day.

Mind you, I’m not above a tall, cool, Frappuccino myself (the kind with western civilization’s favorite stimulant – not the cream and ice kind). Still, I think kids oughta be carded at the coffee house door. Although I’m a recent caffeine convert, something about kids under 17 sitting around Starbucks nursing a cup of Seattle’s finest (not to be mistaken with Seattle’s Best) just seems wrong.

Somehow, someway… although I can’t quite put my finger on why… I think we’re sending my son the wrong message. Of course by “we,” I mean someone other than ourselves… that insidious scourge on parents everywhere, more commonly known as “grandparents.”

**Author’s note: My wife insists I mention that the “Vanilla Bean Frappuccino” does not contain coffee or caffeine. While I’m noting, I should also say that Adam isn’t really three. As I told my wife, two just didn’t sound lyrical enough when I started typing. (He will be three pretty soon though.)


  1. I must admit that my relationship with the in-laws is generally good. They’ve done a ton of stuff for us while I’ve been sick and my mom has been in the hospital, without ever throwing it back in our faces (“you can’t do ___ for us, even after ALL the things we do for you?”).

    They’ve also been good about not undermining us… like keeping to our rules about sleep-time when the kids stay over there. When my daughter was born (the senior Kauffman child), bedtime was my number-one anxiety producing, hair pulling moment (I’m really fond of sleep – it was my parental achilles heel). I think if my in-laws (or anyone else for that matter) had undermined, or disrupted our bedtime routine… I might have burst a major blood vessel and dropped dead on the spot.

  2. Oh don’t even get me STARTED on grandparents!!!! My monster in law came upto babysit while my husabdn adn I were both on business trips. I told her to sleep in my bed so that when my son got up in the night (something we have been working on) he wouldn’t be scared when there was no one in Mommy and Daddy’s bed. She took that to mean let him fall asleep in my bed with her lying next to him each night instead of in his own bed on his own like he has been doing for months (which she has witnessed). So now she is gone and I am faced with a kid who wants to sleep in mommy-daddy bed and literally throws himself on the floor screaming when I say no, would not go to bed at all for the first few nights, wailed and cried and banged on his bedroom door until I got harsh and told him to lie down and sleep NOW!
    She’s gone now and it is getting back to normal slowly, but I was SO ANGRY about it the first night I could not go downstairs for 1/2 hour after he finally settled, I putzed around upstairs until I could speak to the monster in law civilly. She did have the grace to say “well I guess I shouldn’t have let him fall asleep in your bed with me lying there… ?” Ummm…NO!

Give the gift of words.