Dear Prince Charles and Camilla and Carole and Michael (Middleton!),
All first-time grandparents swoop in and shower their new grandchild with gifts and essentials and, of course, love. I expect you will be no different. (I know you absolutely cannot wait—what grandparent can?) But while you’re picking out outfits that befit the perhaps one-day future king or queen, consider the following. If we were in your shoes, here are the 10 things we would do for our royal heir.
1. Rewrite Goodnight Moon. Everyone knows this bedtime staple. It’s so, well, common. Tell the baby “Goodnight Kingdom,” instead. Hold him in your arms and say, “Goodnight, Big Ben. Goodnight, Westminster Abbey. Goodnight, Windsor Castle, Goodnight, Stonehenge.” Take photos and make him his own, personal book. Photoshop him into it. And when he gets a older, take him to all the places he's heard about as your secret adventure.
2. Commission Sir Paul McCartney to write a personalized lullaby. Believe me, we would do this for our grandchildren in a heartbeat. You can. And should. It's a win-win situation. Your grandchild will have something from you that lasts forever, the song would sell millions and you could donate the proceeds to your favorite charity.
3. Embrace germs. We suspect that in the Royal Kingdom cleanliness really is next to godliness. But germs can be good. They build up the immune system. So, as he (or she) grows let him play in the sand next to his runny-nose peers, and share crayons without sanitizing his hands every five seconds. One exception: the royal dummy (that's Brit-speak for pacifier). When it hits the floor, wash it well.
4. Use nappies. No disposable diapers for your little prince. Only cloth will do. Bonus: You don’t have to wash them. (You have people for that.) Plus, as the president of the World Wildlife Federation UK, you, Prince Charles, will be showing the world a way to reduce our carbon footprint and preserve the environment.
5. Sing London Bridge is Falling Down at London Bridge. How novel! Pack a picnic. Make it a party. Sit by the river Thames, take a video, and put it on You Tube.
6. Play dress up with the good stuff. Real furs, silks, and tiaras, isn’t that what the Crown Jewels are really for?
7. Have a Paddington Bear party. Never mind Build-a-Bear. Have a tea party with your famous storybook character, Paddington. Serve crumpets and scones. Use fine china. If it rains, all the better—he already has his galoshes and umbrella—be sure to be outfitted with yours.
8. Use your judgment. I love Uncle Harry, too, but do not let him take the little one to Vegas or on an excursion. I’m just sayin'.
9. Invite Mary Poppins to pop in now and then. I’m sure if anyone can find her, you can. Look how happy she made the Banks children. And a spoonful of sugar really does make the medicine go down.
10. Keep calm and carry on. There will be disagreements with your children, and with each other. And there will be slights. It comes with the grandparenting territory. Don’t get your knickers in a twist. Relax and enjoy. Remember, it’s all about the baby!
Beverly Beckham is the author of “A Gift of Time,” a collection of personal essays, “Back Then,” a memoir of childhood, is a contributor to the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series, is on the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress and writes a weekly column for The Boston Globe. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, Bruce, and has three children and seven grandchildren.
How well do you get along with your grandchild and other family members? Want to know if your personalities mesh?Find out here.