Grand Grandparents
John Norberg, humor columnist s

In the great childhood dinner of life parents are the peas and grandparents are the ice cream.

Ask anyone who's a grandparent and they'll tell you it's the greatest time of life. Parenting is great, too. But along with all the joys parents have to do the tough stuff – make kids do their homework, make them go to bed on time, obey rules, discipline, eat the right foods.

Grandparents, on the other hand, are just there for the fun stuff like going out for ice cream cones. I guess we're called "grandparents" because it's a grand time of life.

I'm actually kind of curious about where the term "grandparent" comes from. I read that the word has been around since the 13th century and it's translated from Latin. But it could be "greatparent" as easily as "grandparent." Why did we settle on "grandparent?"

Is a "grandparent" better than a "greatparent?"

I am a great uncle. Why aren't great uncles called grand uncles? When our grandchildren have children will I be a great granddad or a grand greatdad? Will I become a grand great uncle, a great grand uncle or a great great uncle?

Maybe we should just be called wonderfulparents. Or better yet, happyparents.

I think about these kinds of things, which leads me to worry I might have too much idle time on my hands.

Last weekend we visited with our 10-month-old grandchild/greatchild/wonderfulchild/happychild Alex and his parents. It was fantastic – so maybe we're fantasticparents.

Why is it so great to be a grandparent and grand to be a greatparent?

It's great to be a grandparent because you get to go home and sleep when you're tired after the grandkids have worn you out.

It's grand to be a greatparent because you don't have to help grandkids with math because the parents remember how badly you messed them up in math and keep you away.

It's great to be a grandparent because you actually believe watching a 10-month-old eat strained vegetables is the most fun thing to do on earth.

It's grand to be a greatparent when you can convince the kids to go out for the night so you can have the grandkids to yourself – and they think you're doing them a favor!

It's great to be a grandparent because you can get back at your kids by telling the grandkids what their parents did growing up. Or, you can at least use it as blackmail.

It's grand to be a greatdad because you can use the grandkids as an excuse to go get ice cream cones.

It's great to be a grandparent because every time you visit you can bring the grandkids new clothes and toys and your kids are the ones who will have to figure out where to put all this stuff.

It's grand to be a greatdad because you can cuddle your grandson against your shoulder, sing to him softly and he can rock you to sleep at night.

The morning we had to leave our grandson I walked into the kitchen. Alex was in his special eating chair. His mom was working and grandma was helping. When Alex saw me he giggled, he laughed, he flapped his arms and kicked his feet. I recorded it in my memory. It's there forever.

Do you know why I'm called "granddad," Alex?

It's because you make me feel so grand.

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