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    « The Saturday Post: Tap Pups wannabe edition | Main | The golden ticket: Child Hunger Ends Here »

    The well-stocked grandma: What grandmas need

    The other day I stood before my postage scale, weighing a package I'd put together to mail off to Bubby and Baby Mac—Batman jammies for Bubby, a cute short set for Baby Mac, and a special toy for each—when I thought, "Here is yet another thing I've purchased, yet another thing I needed as a grandma."

    It's not the Batman jammies I considered a grandma necessity—though considering Bubby's Batman infatuation, purchasing the set when I saw it in Target did indeed feel urgent and necessary. No, it's the postage scale that was a true and necessary addition to my house since becoming a grandma. I mail a lot of packages, and it's so much easier to do it all without leaving home (or standing in long post office lines) thanks to a scale, a account, and a friendly neighborhood mailman willing to pick up from my doorstep.

    Maybe only long-distance grandmas need a postage scale, but there's no doubt every grandma has had to stock up on myriad goods and gadgets to make the grandparenting gig run a lot more smoothly when the grandkids visit.

    Below is a list of things I found to be must-haves and life-savers when I happily host my grandsons. Most I've accumulated little by little—which is really a lot considering I've only been at this less than four years—and a few remain on my wishlist. New grandmas and grandmas-to-be may want to print and post the list in a prominent place, then plead with family and friends to help stock the house with the grandma necessities.

    Grandma necessities:

    • portable crib or play pen

    • sheets and receiving blankets

    • baby monitor

    • baby bottles and baby utensils—for babies, of course

    • toddler feeding sets—bowls, plates, and utensils for those who feed themselves

    • sippy cups

    • baby gates

    • child-proofing gadgets for outlets, doorknobs, cabinets, toilet seats

    • bulb syringe—just in case Mom forgets to pack it

    • baby bathtub and bathing supplies (mini towels and washcloths plus shampoos, lotions, etc.)

    • bathtub ring (the ones with suctions cups) to keep safe those too big for the baby tub but not yet stable in the real bath tub

    • non-skid appliques for the bathtub bottom

    • nightlight for guest room

    • booster seat for feeding at the table (or heck, spring for a real highchair)

    • potty chair

    • step stool to access the real potty

    • age-appropriate toys (for indoor and out), art & activity supplies, books, movies, and music

    • car seat for transporting (especially handy for grandmas who help out regularly with daycare, or when traveling to and from the airport with long-distance lovies)

    • the aforementioned postage scale for long-distance grandmas

    • a web camera—not just for long-distance grandmas

    • Bubby's favorite: Gloworms for bedtime (this grandma's saved from when Bubby's mom was little)

    • And, of course, a rocking chair

    I must say that with all that's necessary when stocking Grandma's house, I'm baffled as to why baby showers for grandmas-to-be have not become a trend among today's extra-involved and uber-attentive generation of grandparents.

    baby in bucket photo: stock.xchng

    Today's question:

    What other necessities should be found in a well-stocked grandma's house?

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    Reader Comments (18)

    Ah, I loved my glow worm!

    March 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate

    Kate: And the older ones are so much better than the ones out there today. :o)

    As a mom, I would add:
    - a boo-boo ice pack in the freezer
    - a list of emergency numbers
    - an extra toothbrush and toothpaste!

    Nice post! I remembered to vote, too!


    March 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTina

    Tina: Excellent additions! Thank you. Need to get me some boo-boo packs. My daughter has some cute Elmo ones in her freezer. (And thank you for the vote, too!)

    As a 'local' Grandmother with lots of drop-ins, it's just easier to have a bunch of stuff here. Over the past 4 years I've added::

    - Full size crib for baby
    - Toddler bed for oldest
    - Bandaids, Motrin, Tylenol (children and infant's)
    - Thermometer
    - bibs, diapers, wipes, and ointment
    - 'cold' teething rings
    - favorite foods in cupboards and fridge (nutritional and not)
    - stroller
    - dedicated drawer at my dressing table for Granddaughter's 'make-up'
    - fully stocked cookie jar

    Baby monitor is my hubby shaking me awake if I don't hear...

    March 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNonnieKelly

    Thanks Lisa for another thoughtful article. As a "local" grandmother who sees my grandson often, we are pretty well stocked with everything you need. And the list is always changing as he gets older. That spare set of clothes and PJs, favorite foods, and updated things to play with are always under review.

    I'll have to recommend the postage scale to my neighbor who has two infant grandchildren living in two different states. When her daughter visited at Christmas we lent them some equipment which came in handy.

    I'll be sharing the link on my Grandma Chronicles facebook page.



    March 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarion Conway

    I haven't had a baby around in so long, I would have to refer to your list to stock up. I do miss them when they were little, though!
    And, for me, the rocking chair is one of the most important "grandma" items.

    March 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTerri

    My situation is like Terri's, grandchildren-time with LITTLE ones was long ago; I do get to go and see the new GREAT-grandson tomorrow and am looking forward to the visit.

    All you much-younger grandmas are so prepared for them with all your extensive lists. When I was fairly new at it, the main needs were the rocking chair and plenty of headache pills...for ME.

    March 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

    Terri: Yeah, I'm with ya on the rocking chair. 'Tis my favorite grandma necessity, used regularly even when not in grandma mode.

    Marion: Thank you so much. I appreciate you sharing the link with your readers. Feel free to share on Pinterest, too. :o) At least if folks have the link rather than the list, they can see the smart additions in the comments.

    Great post Lisa

    insect repellent suitable for little ones
    sun block
    variety of story books
    lots of colouring pencils and paper
    extra clothing
    games indoor & outdoor

    March 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSally Kabak

    Someone may have said this and I missed it: Quiet music for sleep time (and something to play it on). Dark window coverings for the room where the child will sleep (we hung black burlap over our venetian blinds for a year).

    March 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBLissed-Out Grandma

    Great post. We had to take everything but the kitchen sink to visit Milo's grandpa! And visiting Milo's local grandma is a little like navigating a minefield with the lack of baby proofing there.

    March 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPammeey

    I love your list and I think a Grandma-to- be shower is a great idea!

    My granddaughter is now 10 so my list has's almost like Sally's. I would include lots of movies suitable for a pre-teen along with the munchies to go with the movies, flash cards to help her study and books.

    March 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie E.

    We are pretty well stocked around here too. With 9 arriving in 5 yrs it was necessary! I have mulitples of somethings like pac n plays. They really come in handy when I have more than one crawler around.

    I vote for Grandparent showers too! Whose going to be the first to get one?

    March 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterConnie

    I like a changing table also. I have the one from when my daughter was a baby, and I put a folded beach towel on the top for a pad. Extra diapers, pacifiers, and wipes. Bath toys and bibs. :)

    March 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJane

    Great post and great additions above, too! The 2 most important things I think we added were a swing set and a sand box!

    March 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGrandma Kc

    Lisa, have been thinking about this particular post. I would add the following

    small bike
    bucket and spade
    balloons - when Lucy was little we use to play table tennis balloon, she loved it. Great for eye hand coordination.
    play dough
    small balls

    If I think of anything else I shall add it.

    March 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSally Kabak

    I use USPS Flat Rate Priority Mail Boxes to send gifts.
    I am hoping to get a rocking chair.
    My list includes many items mentioned here. I keep food stocked for each age and diet request or need. I have vegetarian, dairy free, gluten free and some organic.
    Luckily I am near a store open 24 hrs.

    March 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGranny Mary
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